For 2008, Husqvarna orientated on providing a better riding position, improved handling and stress on the frame, as well as delivering more powerful engines. It succeeded by moving the footrest forwards by 15mm and adjusting a steering angle between 26° and 28° while the rear suspension is brand new. But still, the masterpiece remains the fuel injected engines fitted on the TE450 and TE510. They have also been improved for better functionality and reliability.
The biggest Enduro models in Husqvarna’s lineup are considered to be among the most impressive built and performing machines that have ever been rode on the trails. Packed with technology and innovative features, the TE450 and TE510 see their way on top of customer’s preferences and we’re about to find out why.
For starters, the semi-perimeter steel frame with oval and box tubes is designed to offer advanced ergonomics so that anyone will have the opportunity to get a feel of the impressive machine, no matter their stature. The fuel injection powerplants are definitely worth testing and they have also received a new valve lifting system and new exhausts so the blast would be justified. Keeping things in control are the new subrame and rear suspension system which were designed to reduce the stress on the frame and make everything more interesting.
Husqvarna had first introduced the models featuring either a 440 or 510cc liquid-cooled four-stroke DOHC with four vales engine that was about to be revved off the road in 2004. You will find that it isn’t a great difference between the “old” and the new models, but it’s the little things that make it special. The engine was fed through a 41mm Keihin FCR with electronic throttle position sensor (that would be a difference) and it came to life be either a kick or a push of a button (that would be the similitude).
The fork was made by Marzocchi all along and the rear shock by Sachs while the Brembo brake pistons were applied on 260mm front respective 240mm rear discs. There is also not much difference in weight.
Next year, the two Husky models received their set of improvements which were aimed at improving every single characteristic. The engine received larger valve stems, a metal head gasket, revised starter system, CNC aluminum clutch basket, as well as redesigned ducts for the Keihin carburetor. Concerning chassis, the revised suspension settings, shock absorbers with lighter reservoir and new sealing ring as well as the lower shock pivot on roller bearings were aimed at improving overall efficiency. The rear disc featured no holes and the front brake master cylinder was brand new. Apart from the new bodywork, the two models were also spoiled in 2005 with a new generator featuring improved battery recharging circuit, timing at 0 rpm modified in order to facilitate starting, new CPU with recognition of individual gears the switch on clutch to prevent accidental starting of the engine.
So 2005 was a pretty big year following the bike’s launch, but 2006 couldn’t have brought anything along with it. So it did bring engine improvements such as increased intake valves (37mm instead of 33mm) and Arrow exhaust (from 28.5 to 31mm). The Marzocchi forks were increased to 50mm from 45mm and the rear Sachs shock absorber was also tuned for better soaking up the bumps. What was also new and well worth mentioning is the digital instrument panel.
Most important for 2007 model year is the color change, from yellow and blue to red and white, while for 2008 is the electronic fuel injection system.
Directly competing with both Husqvarna models are KTM’s 450 EXC-R and 530 EXC-R. You simply can’t find a better offering (not necessarily than the models of this review) than the one coming from Austria and you don’t even need to do so as these four were practically built to dethrone the other.
The engine makes the difference in this case also as the EXC-R follows the success recipe of the racing EXC and still offers a 449.3cc unit and a 510.4 one.
The single cylinder, four stroke engines can be either kick started or by button and are also mated to the same six-speed tranny, like on the Husky models. But what comes different is the fueling system. The Keihin MX FCR 39 looks a bit weak compared to the innovative electronic fuel injection system, but the difference when riding the bikes isn’t as stunning as you would expect so this battle isn’t yet over.
With a dry weight of 250 lbs, the two KTM’s prove once again they were built to get its manufacturer a piece of the cake and not any piece, but a big one. The TE450 comes with an MSRP of $8,448 while the TE510’s is $8,748. When you’ll read for how “much” Husqvarna markets its products, you’ll be hooked.
During the years, Husqvarna gradually dropped all of the unnecessary plastic, reaching in 2008 its slimmest appearance. It all starts with the white front fender featuring the Husqvarna logo. These two small and apparently insignificant things are the ones that get your interested going as you get near the bike and what directs your eyes to the black headlight fairing black stripe of plastic. The contrast is pretty unique: black and white in the front.
But what make this bike easily distinguishable out on the trails are the Red (on the side panels) and White (also present at the rear end). I don’t know if designers came up with the black so that their bikes wouldn’t look too girly, but I do know that it is there and it looks damn good.
By simply admiring these two models, apart from which you won’t make a difference until you read the model’s name on the side, you will reach to the conclusion that you are facing a truly able trail machine that will have you covered in an instant.
But let’s quit watching and start riding!
Once you through a leg over each one of the Husqvarnas you will feel no need to go back either on the KTM models or on any of the Japanese bikes. You will have at your disposal a really impressive motor that delivers tractable power and proves suitable for any situations that the track or the off-road may through at you at.
I first met with the Husqvarna TE450 and felt on my own skin what a fuel injected 450cc four-stroke engine means on a very light and versatile dirt bike. The motor, which is a four-stroke, four-valves, DOHC, liquid cooled single, managed to amaze me in an instant because, frankly, I kind of underestimated these two. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. This fact is even more unjustified considering the blast I experienced when riding the KTM 450 EXC-R and 530 EXC-R models. I now consider the Husqvarna models as being a step upper than the competition and I can explain why.
Awesome power is delivered at any rpm range so that you won’t have to deal with the gears very often, but simply rev the engine higher and sort everything out. I especially enjoyed doing fast and long take offs in second gear because torque from down low is excellent and I love the never ending power that kicks in once you’ve reached the mid range. I twisted the throttle even further and reached the impressive top end, but by now, I was already craving for another tractable power action. Shift first gear and there we go again.
Quickly passing through corners and heading for the steepest hills, I noticed that the ergonomics are absolutely great, proof that the engineer’s work never manages to pass unnoticed. And boy, they did work! The frame features a new steering angle (between 26 and 28 degrees) and their plan of making this the bike of the many succeeded, because stature isn’t now a problem.
Riders can simply enjoy the impressive powerplant underneath them and the easy handling that clears out their minds that this is not a top notch product. It is very easy to steer and so take it through tight corners and it all comes as result to extensive testing and fine tuning. Personally, I love the idea of getting on what seems to be an off-road bike and feed with the throttle a race-inspired engine. And when a corner comes along, I would be so well accommodated that it would all come naturally. I must say that is the motocross track looks tempting, you are strongly recommended to give it a go, or maybe two.
The six-speed gearbox is the only track enemy you will find on these two bikes, but, as I said earlier, the engine is very enjoyable and gets you covered in an instant. Clutch is also very precise so shifting will be more of a kid’s play instead of an adult rider’s tool.
I also got on the 510 model and noticed that fun comes at a whole new level and erases the “why did they built two engines?” thought for ever out of your head. It is practically the same motorcycle with a motor that never forgets going to the gym and enjoys burning more calories. It still needs a little bit of getting used to, because second gear take offs are now even more delighting.
What you’re going to notice on either one of the TE models is the brand new rear suspension system. During the bike’s evolution the Marzocchi forks had grown to 50mm, but the Sachs rear suspension were kind of left behind and it was now time to cover up the lost ground. A new shock absorber featuring an 18mm piston instead of the previous 16mm unit, definitely do the trick and the rear end doesn’t end up wondering where you’d like to go. Not to mention the forks; they don’t bottom up easily (I only managed to do so once and that was when I jumped over a log from higher ground).
BREMBO braking systems is what it is all about on all Husqvarna models and these two weren’t willing to become the exception. All the stopping power that this kind of machinery requires is being applied on 260mm respective 240mm front and rear brake discs. I felt the well capable of stopping even when the going got rough, but with a bit of handling and adherence, no grip loses will result into a ruined day, and not only.
Husqvarna beats KTM by far when it comes to the price tag so the TE450 has an MSRP of $7,698. Its bigger brother, the Husky TE510 comes very close with its $7,898 suggested retail price. Notice that the first number changes compared to the Orange dirt bikes and that is all I’m saying!
The most cheerful thing for an ex motocross rider that heads down the trails is to hear that the bike he was prospecting from last year, when he was still jumping from bump to bump on the track, now received fuel injection. Nobody who had ever considered either the Husqvarna TE450 or TE510 will be capable of ignoring such an outstanding new offering.
Building a great and reliable product has always been the best strategy for the best sales numbers, but this beats them all.
Engine and Transmission
Displacement: 449cc; 501cc
Type: Four-stroke, four valves, DOHC, Liquid Cooled Single
Bore x Stroke: 97 x 60.76mm; 97 x 67.8mm on the 510
Compression Ratio: 12.9:1
Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection
Starter: Electric and Kick start (with automatic decompressor)
Lubrication: Dry sump with two oil pump rotor and cartridge filter
Ignition: C.D.I. electronic, with variable advance (digital control)
Clutch / Transmission: Wet / Multiplate / 6-speed
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Steel single tube cradle (round, rectangular and ellipsoidal tubes); rear frame in light alloy
Front Suspension: 50mm diameter Marzocchi “Upside-Down” telescopic hydraulic fork with advanced axle; compression and rebound stroke adjustment.
Rear Suspension: 296mm wheel travel Sachs Progressive “Soft Damp” type with single hydraulic shock absorber; spring preload adjustment, compression and rebound adjustment (compression stroke: double adjustment)
Front Brake: 260mm “BREMBO”, fixed disc type with hydraulic control and floating caliper
Rear Brake: 240mm “BREMBO”, floating disc type with hydraulic control and floating caliper
Front Rim: 1,60”x21” light alloy
Rear Rim: 2,15”x18” light alloy
Front Tire: 90/90-21” Michelin
Rear Tire: 140/80-18 Michelin
Wheelbase: 1495mm (58.86 in.)
Overall Length: 2267mm (89.25 in.)
Overall Width: 820mm (32.28 in.)
Overall Height: 1285mm (50.59 in.)
Seat Height: 963mm (37.91 in.)
Ground Clearance: 300mm (11.81 in.)
Trail: 106mm (4.17 in.)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 7,2 litres (1.9 gallons)
Dry Weight: 112 kg (246.9 lbs)