Featuring brand news chassis and bodywork surrounding a revised engine, the two motocross models rely on versatility and sharp handling in order to make a good impression for 2008 model year. Proof of these bikes being real racers is also the fact that they donate their brand new features to the TE 450 and TE 510 Enduro models.
The MX class looks dominated by Japanese motocrossers, but makers such as Husqvarna cover up a lot of ground and manage to situate itself in the front line, the one that gathers the best of the best track machines.
Revisions to the engine and tranny for 2008 consist into a new valve lifting system, new chain tensioner and clutch basket while the chassis is brand new, complete with 50mm Marzocchi forks and everything.
Entering the scene in 2002 as the biggest motocrossers in the Husky lineup was the subject of today’s review, the TC 450 which, as you will see, had all to do with the introduction of the TC 510 later on. Characterized by a 449cc high-revving four-stroke single-cylinder motor fitted with a carburetor and kick starter, the TC which practically started the lineup was pretty much all that Husqvarna needed and could offer for the time. Brake discs were 260mm front and 220mm rear in diameter and the gas tank’s capacity was 2.11 gallons. Marking its introduction was the Blue and Yellow color scheme that really cheered up the bike’s higher half look.
For 2004, Husqvarna decreased the fuel tank’s capacity at 2.03 gallons and the new upside-down forks were now provided by Marzocchi. This is also the model year which was covered in red, yellow and blue.
2005 was a big year for Husqvarna as the engine improvements (Mikuni TMR 41 mm and DOHC fuel control system) practically launched the bike again. Husqvarna noticed the opportunity and produced in parallel a 500.82cc engine featuring the same configuration and which was about to go on the 2005 model year and start being sold as a separate model. All of the bike’s features were the same, just like on the 2008 versions, except the engine’s capacity. For 2008, the maker had returned to simple yellow and blue, while the redesigned plastics are pretty much what you’ll find on it today.
2005 Husqvarna TC 510
The increased bore was no obstacle on making these two look like twins and in 2006 both the TC 450 and TC 510 went for the red and white color scheme that is so well known today. It is also the year when 50mm Marzocchi forks and 240mm rear disc were added.
For the 2007 models engineers aimed at smoothness and rideability so they changed the clutch basket and the kick shaft. Suspensions have also been recalibrated in order to perform excellent in any track or off-road conditions.
What was to come for 2008 blew even more wind in the bike’s marketing mainsail.
Racing through its nature isn’t easy, but in the MX1 and MX3 classes the going gets rough each and every year. Husqvarna knows how to stay competitive because, for starters, it knows how to keep its enemies close.
KTM is their strongest opponent and the one which stands the chance to make a statement against the two Husky models.
2008 KTM 450 SX-F and 510 SX-F
The motocrossers which make them have second thoughts about winning are called 450 SX-F and 505 SX-F. Equipped with 449.3cc, respective 477.5cc single-cylinder four-stroke engines featuring the exact same configuration and being fed through the exact same Keihin MX FCR 41mm carburetor, there is no doubt these two are up against the Husqvarnas.
Also similar is KTM’s intention to aim towards versatility and sharpened handling, with excellent results.
What’s different is the fact that the SX-F’s engines are electrically started and mated to four-speed gearboxes. The KTM’s don’t feature goodies such as Marzocchi forks, Sachs shock absorber and Brembo brakes and they still come with higher suggested retail prices ($7,498 for the 450 SX-F and $7,498 for the 505 SX-F)
You decide which suits you best!
2008 Husqvarna TC 450
Husqvarna definitely knows how to establish a perfect balance between a bike that stands out for itself and one that doesn’t scream “watch me, watch me!” all the time. Although the colors chosen by this maker have always been a bit daring, its bikes have never looked exaggerated or far from being attractive.
Ever since the TC’s introduction in 2002 evolution said its word and the bike ended up being a highly refined and even superior to some of the MXers.
The front number plate looks like joined with the fender and that is pretty unique because of the different coloring. “No problem, let’s put a black stripe of plastic on the white fender” probably the designers said. And it works; the front end of the bike is dominated by white and black elements such as the mudguards, fork, number plate, handlebars, even the rim and only the white fender. I begin to wonder if the TC isn’t a bit “dark”, but I simply take a look at it and no, it isn’t (my opinion).
The red side panels make sure you won’t end up believing that too, as well as the white rear fender and protective engine shield.
It is a very angry looking racer, but let’s see if the perception from the seat is the same.
I must say that I am very impressed with the new TCs because they are truly powerful, adaptive and well put together motorcycles that have the quality of being motocross bikes with a thing or two for the off-road terrain.
The engine is the same on both models despite the cylinder capacity which tends to set them apart one from the other. That, my friends, can only happen in a straight line because the 510 will definitely prove more effective in relation to its little brother who manages to keep the rhythm a little bit behind, that’s fair.
Riding in the seat of a Husky TC is enough comfortable for a bike in its category, but what comes as a plus is the advanced riding position offered by the new frame which brings up a steering angle between 26 and 28 degrees. Husqvarna engineers have spent a lot of time developing the new frame for this exact purpose and for immediate steering. The results are simply awesome! Once you are properly accommodated thanks to a narrow seat, and ideally arranged footpegs, you will be charmed by the sharp handling and by the engine’s power. I consider these two rides the culmination of Husvarna’s success these days and by further reading, you will definitely agree with me.
The engine develops all the power you need for the motocross track and makes the 450 an aggressive opponent for the KTM and even the rest of the Japanese bikes in the class. Great take offs in first or second gear (your choice) and a lot of mid-range pull as you go across the powerband and reach the top end. You will notice that fun doesn’t end when you get there, but continues combined with an amazed feel. I just wouldn’t believe that the Husky has that much grunt when the throttle has finished twisting, but once again I had to enjoy, I mean conform.
The redesigned and more compact engine has now a new valve lifting system and I reckon it has much to do with the blast I had while riding these two models. The acceleration is constant and powerful, not necessarily arm-ripping. This engine will help you reach to the conclusion that a highly refined motor beats even a more powerful one, if the fine tuning is done correctly. In this case it is!
What I most appreciate and consider as radically improving the bike is the suspension equipment, 50mm Marzocchi forks in the front and completely new suspension at the rear. I felt the fork opposing good bottoming resistance, but what definitely made me crave for another lap was the result of an all-new offset Sachs shock absorber, new swingarm and also a brand new link. It goes fast and secure through tight corners and has an affinity for bumps and high jumps.
2008 Husqvarna TC 450 and TC 510
Husqvarna, just like KTM produces bikes that like all kinds of dirt, from the track or from the off-road terrain so I took it down the trails where it manages to impress with its versatility and engine power. The chassis also goes on the TE 450 and TE 510 so enduro riders have already a clue of what’s all this about. TC’s biggesy advantage is the engine, which provides more tractable power, and the fact that it is a bit lighter makes it easier to ride.
The Brembo brakes, 260mm front, 240mm rear, have no idea of what nice and steady means and profit the most of the grippy Pirelli tires, getting the bike to a complete stop in an instant. This can also result in confident riding and better lap times because the rider is more able to push the bike harder and rely on the effective brakes to save the day before the corner arrives and gets your foot off the peg.
It makes a damn good impression out on the track and the question on everyone’s minds is the buck for which they will be able to take one of these babies to their garage, although they won’t spend that much time with the roof above their heads.
MSRP for the TC 450 is $6,898 and for the TC 510, $7,198. Significantly lower than the competition’s the numbers on the price tags will surely influence the ones on the sales charts.
By riding a Husky TC 450 or TC 510 you will experience uniqueness in its purest form. The power of valuing the bike’s abilities on virtually any kind of terrain is incomparable and although it doesn’t come with a guaranteed first place as some of the Japanese manufacturers brag about, it features European finesse.