This week the press was invited out to the historic mining town of Randsburg to ride the much awaited Husky 449 models. Husqvarna choose the Mojave desert because of its proximity to some of the most popular riding in Southern California.
I got to spend a little bit of time riding both the TE and TXC 449 models. Both bikes are very similar to each other. Major differences include suspension, lighting, exhaust systems and EFI programing. But at the core, both are essentially the same bike.
This bike comes to the USA carrying a little “baggage” even before it arrived. BMW finally gave up on their ill-fated G450x model that originally housed this motor. The motor was then quickly shoved up in a Husky frame as a prototype for Juha Salminen to race during the 2010 season. So it does not take much imagination to wonder about all the board room discussions that may have taken place to make all this occur. BMW’s foray into true dirt bikes is over and now it is up to sibling company Husky to make good with the Taiwanese made Kymco 450cc motor.
For the moment I can say that the whole bike works. Nothing ugly reared its head during our short time on the models. The chassis is typical Husky; very stable and planted. It is easy to get leverage on the pegs to direct inputs to the bike, but big direction changes take a little more forethought and effort.
The stock suspension will need more time before I can make any real conclusions. I have not spent any time playing with the settings yet. In general the TE with its open chamber Kayaba fork is very soft. The TXC comes with a twin chamber fork and is much stiffer feeling. The top link rear shock has some unique feel, but I can’t really call that good or bad yet.
As for the motor, it pretty much does everything you would expect. It is not a real power house in stock trim, but it works very well with good power delivery and hook up. During our ride we got sidetracked and spent much of the time hill climbing and the 449 proved itself very well.
The fuel injection and electric starter both worked well. The brakes felt weak initially but gained power as we rode. So I attribute that to just being a break in issue.
As much as I hate to sound vague, this bike will need plenty of seat time before I am able to make some credible judgments about it. But for the moment, everything is off to a good start. The chassis shows real promise as an open terrain bike; it is stable and easy to ride. So I am anxious to rack up some more miles and the TXC 449 and will bring you a full report soon.