—  MC News Test – 2013 Husqvarna TE250R/TE310R – ‘R’ Is For Race!
—  By Darren Smart

The 2013 Husqvarna TE250R and TE310R have an ‘R’ added to their names and more importantly both models have benefitted from recent race development in the World Enduro and MX2 championships and now feature a lot more power for 2013.

In fact, the work put into the new 23kg engines has given the 250 an 8% increase in power and torque while the 310 gains 5% in power and 8% in torque thanks to a completely new EFI system feeding the new cylinder heads with new finger followers to actuate the larger steel valves coupled with an all new piston and revised crank shaft.

The EFI is now a 42mm Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection body which comes with a ‘battery fail-safe’ condenser and a completely new air intake boot to give an unobstructed flow of air into the system.

Other than the engine mods, the 2013 models no longer have a cold start lever and come with a more compact handlebar switches, new handgrips (glued to the bars), separate hour meter, new chain guide, strengthened radiators, magnetic drain plug, new in-mould graphic and handlebar pad.

Unchanged for 2013 are the Kayaba front forks and rear shock, Brembo brakes with 260mm/240mm wave discs, hydraulic clutch, electric start and Excel rims all bolted up to the steel frame consisting of round, oval and rectangular tubing which is additionally reinforced around the steering head with 25CrMo4 chromoly steel plates for 2013.

LET’S RIDE!! At the official launch of the two new models the track that we were given for the test was an ideal combination of slow speed tree-lined single trails to open natural terrain grass tracks with jumps and off-camber turns.

Forgetting the motor for a minute, I continue to revel in the overall handling of the latest Husqvarna models. Honestly, they turn great yet are stable at speed, there is no top heavy feel when changing direction and the Kayaba suspension/steel chassis combination inspires confidence with minimal sideways deflection when banging through the rough stuff.

If you think getting a good suspension/chassis/engine package working is as easy as it sounds you are wrong, there are still off-road motorcycles out there built by major manufacturers who haven’t achieved what I would deem a well-balanced package so I take my hat off to Husky for their current crop of enduro and moto models.

For me the ergos are comfortable and un-obstructive with the handlebar, seat and footpeg combo all in sinc with each other while the Kayaba suspension offers a good balance between a plush feel on the small hits without bottoming hard on the larger jumps. I simply put all of the clickers on the middle settings and found they suited by 85kg/172cm build.

As you would expect the Brembo brakes work like a cracker and for this test we were treated to brand new Pirelli Scorpion tyres thanks to Link International so combine all of the above with a perfect day on a spectacular track and I can tell you straight up that I had an absolute blast all day.

At 109kg the 250R and 310R offer a light feel with the centrifugal forces of the larger bore and stroke (82 mm x 57.35 mm compared to 79 mm x 50.9 mm) giving the larger capacity machine a slightly heavier feel.

OK, we have a great feeling chassis, suspension and brake package, how did the changes to the engines work? OK, let’s start with the TE250R. If you have ridden any of the current crop of 250F enduro machines the last thing that pops into your mind is ‘awesome’ power and that trend continues with the Husky BUT thanks to the changes made to the 2013 model there is definitely a lot more power on offer than before.

It was easy to keep a constant throttle with the occasional ‘blip’ through the tight single trail stuff but once the terrain opened up it did take some clutch action to build revs up and thanks to the improvements I was able to rev this motor right through to red-line without fear any drop in performance.

I found myself ripping around this great enduro loop on a motorcycle that I have enormous confidence in that is predictably slower of the bottom part of the rev range but works itself into a nice pace as the revs build so it didn’t take long to work out that I could ride the wheels off the 250R without fear of spewing off the track or getting myself into a huge amount of trouble.

In fact, thanks to the overall package I could really attack the corners, braking deep, letting the brakes off early and pulling throttle on as soon as the brakes were released and let the motor pull me through the corners as the revs build to shoot me towards the next corner. Awesome fun!!

Having spent three months in the early part of this year on the 2012 TE310 I was very keen to see how the 310R performed and on the very first pull of the throttle I could instantly feel the difference, the motor is just so much more responsive and offers quite an increase in power across the rev range compared to last year’s model and compared to the 250R the difference is substantial.

So on the same loop that I was riding the 250R I started to get into a rhythm on the 310R and instantly found a new tact was needed as I was arriving to each corner a lot faster and getting from point-to-point at a great rate of knots.

The difference in handling between the 250R and the 310R is marginal so you can still really run the 310R deep into corners, get on the throttle nice and early but the revs build much quicker so the gain in speed was definitely more rapid though the power was still linear and without any fault through to red-line.

I would really like to test the 310R against the current 450 enduro models. I think the 310R would be competitive against the bigger capacity machines and would even surprise them when getting from corner to corner. Just saying….

So let’s just take a quick summary of what Husky has done and it is no wonder the new 250R and 310R are winners. They have basically kept the chassis that they know works, attended to any unnecessary components on the handlebars, bolted on great components like Kayaba Excel and Brembo, up-graded what needed up-grading, gave their engineers open slather on the motors and kept the ergo package that has proven itself a winner from last year.

A lot of thought has gone into both models to give them the best chance on the track and on the sales floor so with the 310R selling for $11,695 plus on roads while the 250R retails at $10,995, neither machines are over-priced for what they offer.

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