IT’S FAIR to say that that Husqvarna have really pushed the boat out with the new 2018 models and to bring the press to one of the most stunning places in the world you could kind of guess this thing – fuel injection – must be good. Yeah, Husqvarna really wanted to concentrate on the benefits of fuel injection at altitude, hence bringing us to a ski resort.
What can I say about the last few days? Husqvarna really found us the ultimate play ground, a full on ski resort with every kind of terrain possible and with a round of the Canadian cross country championship races being held there only three weeks previous it gave us chance to try the bikes in real conditions.
TE-I – IT’S NO CHOKE
So, on the morning of the test, as we arrived to see the bikes, I was fairly confident that Husqvarna had brought a bike that was right. Sat on the new bike, setting my levers, in normal two-stroke fashion I reached down for the choke. What choke? Of course – just push the button and it bursts into life. The first bike I threw my leg over was the TE250i which I’ve got to say I was immediately impressed with. This bike was super fun to ride as I entered the first wood section and started to get going. I instantly felt at home ducking and diving between the tight trees and eating up all the rocks and roots that faced me. The woods were pretty beat up from the Canadian race but the suspension – straight from the crate – seemed to take everything really well.
The front forks where a little on the soft side but with the new WP Xplor fork you can change the preload on the spring simply by twisting an adjuster on the fork top, and this helps lift the front up slightly and makes the fork a little firmer. I did this on both the 250 and 300 and with that adjustment alone I would happily do any club race with this setup (of course as you get higher up the championship ranks you get fussier and will look for every last ‘marginal gain’, but as a standard setup it’s very good). For 2018, the forks feature new outer tubes which Husqvarna say offer improved flex characteristics and reduced friction. A stiffer setting also provides extra sensitivity and improved bottoming resistance. It must all be to the good because I had no issues.
The rear of the bike seemed positive and planted. Not once over the day did I get kicked out of the seat and bearing in mind the bikes come stock with springs that are technically too light for for my weight, I was impressed. No question, Husqvarna really have got the chassis working well. Not once did I feel like couldn’t turn bike. As you’d expect though, when you ride both the 250 and 300 in the woods there is a noticeable difference, where the TE250i is an agile nimble bit of kit, fun to ride, whereas the TE300i is definitely heavier and less nimble but this is all down to the inertia and characteristics of the engine, not weight.