If you’re thinking the Husqvarna TC85 has a striking resemblance to the KTM 85SX then that’s because, apart from the colour and graphics, they are essentially the same bike.
From the time KTM purchased Husqvarna, the “Swedish” brand has come along in leaps and bounds.
The Husqvarna TC85 now has all the same race-ready characteristics as the 85SX, along with the same reliability and performance. The carburetted 85cc engine is fed through a reed-valve into the crankcases. Located in the exhaust port is a power valve which lowers the height of the port at low engine revs and lifts at high revs to allow the exhaust gases to flow more freely. This gives the TC85 a broad, yet strong power curve that is manageable but very competitive.
WP manufactures the chrome-moly frame and suspension. The frame is designed to flex with the suspension and give a smooth ride while still being solid enough to handle well under pressure. The TC has an AER 38mm fork, which has adjustable compression and rebound damping as well as an adjustable air chamber. This chamber is located in the left fork leg and the pressure can be adjusted to suit the rider’s weight and riding. Adjusting the air pressure is the same as changing a spring rate in a normal fork. The air spring saves weight but it also saves parents’ money as, instead of having to pay for different springs, the spring rate can be adjusted with a simple pump.
The air filter is accessible via a panel that pops out of the left-hand side of the airbox. This has been redesigned to make it much harder to fit the filter incorrectly, which is a bonus when you are trying to teach your kids how to service their own bikes.
ARE THEY RELIABLE?
A few years ago, if I wrote that small-bore Husqvarnas were reliable I would have dads right across the country sending me workshop receipts to prove otherwise. These days, the Husky 85 is every bit as reliable as its orange cousin. The fact they share many parts means you can buy them from either a Husky shop or a KTM dealer, depending on which is closer.
They are a high-performance race bike so they require regular maintenance. If you do not stay on top of the maintenance and decide to try and stretch your service intervals to triple digits then you are going to have nothing but trouble. If you’re one of these guys then it is not fair to blame the bike if it breaks down. This is your fault for not treating the bike the way the manufacturer intended. This bike needs to be given the once over after every race meeting and have regular piston and ring replacements as well as oil changes to stay in optimum condition. One mechanical issue I have seen with the Husqvarna TC85 is where the kickstart idler gear shears off, dumping metal in the gearbox. It happens because the idler gear spins on a cast-alloy shaft rather than a pressed-in, hardened shaft like most manufacturers use. Whenever I have seen this problem occur Husqvarna has repaired it under warranty and I have been informed that the issue has been resolved on more recent models.
WHERE DO THEY FIT IN?
Just like the 85SX, the Husqvarna TC85 is a high-end race bike. If you are one of those kids who likes the crust cut off your bread then this probably isn’t the bike for you. They have high-end componentry that is designed to win races. They have plenty of power and good quality suspension for a large range of riders.
They have years of development behind them and have been designed for experienced riders. They are at the high-end of the price scale at $8195, which means they are not the ideal bike for a beginner or someone to go cruising around a farm on. There are much cheaper bikes out there that will suit farm life much better. If your idea is to go racing and to be on some of the best equipment money can buy then this is one of the bikes you want to be looking at.
ARE THEY COMPETITIVE?
The Husqvarna TC85 is very competitive, in fact, it could be argued that their main competition is their cousin. They are dearer than other brands but if you want the best quality equipment then you will have to pay for it. If you look across the start grid at any Junior motocross event then you will see a glaze of orange with some white and blue mixed in. My advise if you are interested in either of the European brands is to approach both dealers, see who offers you the best service, who you get along and then go for that brand. You can’t go wrong with either the KTM or the Husky, you are essentially buying exactly the same product at the same price. You just get two colour options.
While parents are all aware that the Husqvarna TC85 is essentially the same bike as the KTM apart from the plastics, some of the riders said they liked the Husky better and not many said they felt exactly the same. The only thing I can put this down to is that the shape of the plastics on the Husky creates slightly different ergos that some riders may have liked better.
Husqvarna TC85 SPECS
Type Piston-port, reed-valve
Bore & STROKE 47 x 48.95mm
Compression ratio N/A
Fuel metering Keihin PWK carburettor
Tank capacity 5.2L
Transmission Six-speed, constant-meshClutch Hydraulic, wet multiplate
Seat height 890mm
Ground clearance 362mm
Weight 68kg without fuel
FRONT WP AER 43mm USD, 278mm travel
REAR WP Xplor non-linkage, 305mm travel
Front Formula four-piston, 240mm wave disc
Rear Formula twin-piston, 210mm wave disc
Handlebar Tapered alloy
Front tyre Maxxis 70/100-19
Rear tyre Maxxis 90/100-16
Price & Contacts
Phone 1800 644 771
Warranty Three months parts only
THIS FEATURE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ADB ISSUE #478 – JULY 2019. WORDS: MAT BOYD, PHOTOS: MITCH LEES