REVIEW: 2019 Husqvarna TC250 | Bike Reviews
There was a time when 250cc two-strokes reigned supreme. Where the smell of Castrol R castor oil and racing fuel filled the air at motocross and supercross events.
THIS FEATURE WAS PUBLISHED IN ADB ISSUE #470 – NOVEMBER 2018
WORDS: Lee Hogan
The sound of the race-bred two-strokes gave you goose bumps and the power delivery demanded expert throttle and clutch control to keep them on two wheels. It was a time when every decent rider had a well-stocked carby jet box with a nice selection of pilots, mains and needles to choose from and a variety of after-market pipes to fine tune their chainsaw-type power delivery.
Times have changed and in the place of the smokers has come a highly developed generation of four-strokes with power so smooth that your nanna could throw down some laps around your local ride park without too many dramas.
While the 250cc two-stroke is no longer the main choice in the premier class, manufacturers such as Husqvarna have kept their thinking caps on and continued development in an attempt to bring these aggressive beasts up to the next level.
With over 60 per cent of the TC250 changed for 2019 it is fair to say that the Husky engineers have been hard at work, as you can see below, starting with a revised frame that is now powder-coated a more sensible blue, rather than white.
1. DOES IT STILL FEEL LIKE A TWO STROKE?
Yes and no! Out of all the two-strokes I have ridden this is the bike that feels the most like a four-stroke. It has an almost electric feel that comes on very strong right off the bottom and then flows smoothly into a strong mid-range.
The power delivery almost resembles that of a Honda CR500, minus a few ponies of course. The delivery makes the TC very easy to ride and the extra torque means that you very rarely need to give that clutch lever a slap coming out of a corner to bring the motor to life.
You can pull a tall gear and the power will still almost instantly come on without that two-stroke smack to the back of the head. If there is one small sacrifice that has been made here in order to bring about this electric bottom-end torque it has been a slight decrease in top-end horsepower.
However, I’m certain that with the right engine developer you could easily extract a bit more top-end. I have to say that when I rode this bike at the world launch at Bakers’ Factory in Florida it was my favourite and I spent a good half day on it.
2. HOW GOOD’S THE NEW CHASSIS?
The frame is very good, and a big improvement over the old one. It is responsive when you want it to be and predictable when you need it to be. It is noticeably slimmer at its widest point (the widest part of the sideplates and radiator shrouds) while also being slightly fatter at its skinniest point, directly above the footpegs.
This liposuction program has made the TC a lot more comfortable to move around on. The chassis has some added rigidity and on the Bakers’ Factory circuit it was easy to notice it was more accurate when tipping into the many deep ruts.
A test session on a rock-hard track would be good to see if the added rigidity will play a negative role but it the sandy Florida dirt there were no negative aspects to the new frame.
3. DOES THE FORK ACTUALLY WORK?
After many years of air forks copping a flogging it is refreshing to see a production unit that works well on an MX bike. Both Husqvarna and KTM use the latest WP AER 48 and both firms are having success with it.
It wouldn’t be too difficult to improve over the previous WP 4CS fork which was not a personal favourite of mine. But I have to give credit where credit is due and WP has done a fantastic job with the AER 48.
Sister brands Kato and Husky are responsible for their own spring rates and valving and the Husqvarna TC250 fork felt very well balanced, with an extremely plush feel. The fork held up exceptionally well on a track with more ‘G’ outs and giant landing ramps than you could poke a stick at.
Adjustability is great and, provided you don’t confuse yourself too much by fiddling around endlessly with air pressures, it is very easy to set up. I found that by setting the pressure first, just as you would spring rates, I could then fine tune the compression and rebound adjusters to get the fork right.
A lot of people spend too much time playing with air pressures in an attempt to get the fork compression finely tuned and I found that this just leads to confusion. Keep it simple and use those clickers for what they are meant for.
4. IS THERE STILL A PLACE FOR THE 250T ON THE TRACK?
Without a doubt! This latest TC is one of the best 250cc two-strokes that I have ridden. The lap times were right up there and the energy it took to ride at speed was noticeably less than what it would normally be to ride a 250cc two-stroke.
With the horsepower and rideability of the current 450s, you wouldn’t expect a 250T to be competitive in MX1 but against a 250F it is more than capable of competing and winning.
The brute horsepower and smooth, useable power delivery of this 2019 Husky makes it one of the most competitive 250cc two-strokes that I have ever ridden and an exceptional platform from which to build a race bike.
5. WHERE TO NOW?
The obvious next step in 250cc two-stroke development is fuel injection. We have seen it already in selected off-road machines but we are yet to see it in two-stroke motocross models. We all know how much easier fuel injection has made life when it comes to tuning today’s four-stroke bikes and how much easier the bikes are to start.
But has it taken away some of that brutal mid-range power that we used to see with carburettors? And how will EFI go down with the huge army of two-stroke fans if we smooth out an already creamy motor?
Husqvarna TC250 Spex
Type Piston port, reed valve
Bore & STROKE 66.4 x 72mm
Compression ratio N/A
Fuel metering Mikuni TMX38
Tank capacity 8L
Transmission Five-speed, constant-mesh
Clutch Magura, wet DS multiplate
Seat height 950mm
Ground clearance 375mm
Weight 96kg dry
FRONT WP AER 48 USD, 310mm travel
REAR WP DCC monoshock, 300mm travel
Front Brembo twin-piston, 260mm wave
Rear Brembo single-piston, 220mm wave
Handlebar Pro Taper alloy
FronT TYRE Dunlop MX3S 80/100-21
ReaR TYRE Dunlop MX3S 110/90-19
Price & Contacts
PHONE 1800 644 771
Warranty Three months parts only