MotoOnline.com.au rides and reviews the 2015 Husqvarna motocross models.
In the second year of operation following a complete rebirth of the brand, the 2015 Husqvarna motocross range was treated to a list of updates across the board. These updates were showcased this week at the 2015 Husqvarna world media launch here in Lulea, Sweden, where we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to put each and every model to the test.
The most significant update for MY15 is the new WP 4CS four-chamber fork, which features improved damping characteristics and is also lighter than the previous close cartridge fork. The clicker settings can be easily and quickly adjusted via the dials on the top of the fork tubes with the red dial on the right altering rebound damping and the white dial on the left adjusting compression.
Overall the addition of the 4CS system has been a welcomed addition to the Husqvarna motocross range. The fork provides great rider feedback, consistent performance and responds well to slight changes within the settings. In addition to the improved performance, the fork weighs in 175 grams lighter than the previous model.
To compliment the 4CS fork, the MY15 motocross bikes feature a new 22 millimeter front axle with specific fork shoes in place of the previous 26mm axle. The new axle is lighter, and the shoes have shorter offset and increased trail, for more stability and better front-end feel – stability is undoubtedly of the major highlights of the 2015 motocross range. The new 22mm front axle also reduces unsprung weight by 40 grams.
Introduced to the MY15 range is all-new rear link geometry. The rear link has been revised and now features a higher starting rate, and therefore a less progressive curve, that provides better control in all situations. This new rear link setup matched with the 4CS fork provides the perfect mix of high speed stability and agile cornering performance.
Matched to the new rear link is a new high performance Husqvarna DCC (Dual Compression Control) rear shock made by WP with a revised setup. The shock has been re-valved to match the geometry changes of the new rear link and features a four millimeter increase in stroke thanks to the new link geometry.
The lightweight polyamide rear subframe has been reinforced with an additional screw on the airbox side that improves the fitment between the left sub-frame arm and the airbox. The improved seal guarantees better performance and durability. The sub-frame and airbox system really is a work of art showcasing Husqvarna’s innovative design ideas.
The engineers in Research and Development had clear objectives in terms of torsional rigidity, longitudinal stiffness and weight when designing the unique cromium molybidenium steel frame for MY15. The goal was to give the rider optimal feedback and complete confidence in every situation.
The single component construction of the aluminium swingarm eliminates welding, providing more reliability, stability and safety, as well as superior quality and consistent behaviour over time compared to other construction processes.
The specific flex engineered into the swingarm makes the most of the Husqvarna engine characteristics in terms of traction and power. This specific range of flex, paired with the flexible steel frame provides a huge amount of traction to ensure the power is transferred into the ground at all times.
The lightweight black-anodised CNC machined triple clamps are designed to precisely flex under certain conditions, perfectly complementing the 4CS fork and transferring detailed information to the rider. They are designed to evenly distribute the clamping force on the fork leg, maximizing contact area for optimal sensitivity and minimum friction.
Lightweight black DID wheels are complemented by new Dunlop MX52 motocross tyres that feature a new ‘block-within-a-block’ design for more progressive cornering. The new Dunlop rubber has been developed to offer superior grip in a wider variety of terrain. The tyres performed quite well across a range of surfaces; a clear all-round choice.
As ergonomics play a major role in rider feeling and confidence, the handlebar can be adjusted in four different positions to adapt to a wide variety of riders. This range of adjustment is a must-have in my opinion to allow for varying riding styles and preferences.
Weight saving on the crankcase was achieved thanks to the high pressure die cast production procedure and the absence of the kick-starter mount. The thin walls achieved by the advanced production procedure significantly reduce weight, maintain tensile strength and resistance to chipping, and have the added advantage of a higher quality surface finish compared to other casting methods.
The MY15 four-stroke models feature an electronic fuel injection and 44mm throttle body Keihin Engine Management System. This combination offers impressive power delivery and efficiency at all engine speeds. The injector has been positioned on the bottom of the inlet tract for optimal air-fuel mixture, resulting in crisp throttle response and class-leading power throughout the range.
The CSS clutch (coil spring steel) is featured on the FC 250 and FC 350. The one-piece CNC machined steel clutch basket has been redesigned for MY15, making it lighter. It integrates the primary gear for maximum strength and reliability. The clutch springs have also been upgraded with new material that guarantees more consistent behaviour.
Every model in the range, except the TC 85 and TC 125, features a lightweight five-speed gearbox to give maximum performance on the vast majority of track layouts. The TC 85 and 125 feature a precise six-speed gearbox. Both versions provided consistent and precise shifts throughout the day under extreme forces in the sandy conditions.
Great attention was dedicated to ensuring that cleaning and washing the bike will not damage the electronics. The wire harness, lead wire, and sealed critical connectors ensure that a jet wash poses no threat – this attention to detail is also vital to ensuring riders finish out their motos on those wet and rainy days.
All motocross models except the TC 85 and TC 125 receive a standard map switch, the power delivery characteristics of the engine can now be modified according to terrain and rider preference. This update is an impressive addition to the range, especially within the two-stroke models.
To bring the Husqvarna motocross range to a stop, the latest high performance Brembo brakes feature 260mm and 220mm wave discs at the front and rear respectively. The perfectly placed controls allow for optimal feel and balance under extreme conditions. This strong breaking system matches perfectly with the extremely strong motor packages on each and every model.
For MY15 a new Neken handlebar featuring the same bend as the previous model year has been fitted across the range. A Husqvarna bar pad has been mated to the Neken ‘bars along with Husqvarna grips which feature a medium compound. The half-waffle grip is thin and provides great traction, the perfect combination in my opinion. Handguards are also standard across the range and now feature better impact resistance thanks to a new plastic compound.
The seat features a new seat cover material that improves grip and durability for MY15. The sturdy material is also harder than the previous cover, making the entire seat firmer, improving comfort and feeling – something that increases the already high performance feel of the bikes.
Ergonomically the sleek seemless design flows throughout the bike without any awkward areas where boots could catch while cornering. Admittedly riding Japanese motocross bikes more often than not, I felt instantly comfortable on the MY15 Husqvarna range with it’s slim and streamline layout.
The traditional Husqvarna white, blue and yellow has evolved into a striking and distinctive look for the MY15. The clean and simple design also differentiates between the motocross and enduro models; the subtle differences are a nice touch for the new year.
The distinctive yellow fork protectors have been redesigned and no longer wrap around the fork leg. This new design allows for improved access to the fork leg for better maintenance and cleaning – a welcomed change to the range in my opinion following the fiddly system on the previous models.
Overall the 2015 Husqvarna range of motocross models is seriously impressive and will be a force to be reckoned with during the upcoming season upon scheduled release in October 2014. Pricing is yet to be finalised locally. Be sure to stay tuned to MotoOnline.com.au for in-depth reviews on selected models over the coming weeks.