There is no doubt that we have an affinity for TPI-equipped Austrian machines, and the 2022 Husqvarna TE300i is near the top of our list. Still, it’s basically the same fuel-injected machine—a six-speeder with button-starting and WP suspension components that are very similar to those of the 2021 model. The engine is identical. The suspension has new valving, and there has been a change in the hydraulics at the brakes and clutch.
We have broken this product test down into these key areas.
- Engine (the search for power)
Because we have quite a bit of history working with fuel-injected machines, most of the performance products tested were chosen because we had a strong notion that they would give us immediate gratification. Sorry, but there are times when we don’t want to spin our wheels simply because we want to ride! Here goes.
The power is linear, immediate, clean and vibration-free. The TE300 is very efficient and big-time smooth. It throttles down and craves a taller gear with instant throttle response and runs superbly at elevation. It feels less tinny (lean under a load) than earlier fuel-injected family members, but knocks under a heavy load and lacks any real muscle anywhere in the powerband.
A new ECU
The Coober ECU is a plug-and-play unit that replaces your stock unit. Plug it in and go ride. It looks identical to a standard ECU but adds usable performance to your 300. Coober claims the biggest gains are in low-to-mid rpm, and it is far more accurate at fueling, ignition and oil-injection management. While it lacks the glitz of some of the more expensive adjustable aftermarket ECUs, the Coober is immediate gratification for the 300 owner looking for a meatier bottom and midrange power output. It’s mandatory if you’re going to a high-compression head, which is phase two.
A compression IV
It’s a fact that the fastest way to increase the usable power is by adding compression. We fit our Husqvarna TE300i with an S3 high-compression head, which is CNC-machined, increases cooling capacity and eliminates hot spots that crop up with the original cylinder head. On the TPI machines, you must equip the machine with an ECU that can enhance the fueling/ignition required when changing to a high-compression head (see the Coober test above). The bike will detonate itself to death if you don’t.
The S3 head we got from Slavens Racing has changeable inserts (for elevation changes) and proprietary ratios tagging it the “Mule.” It makes a huge difference in power delivery with a tremendous increase in low-to-mid power, allowing ridiculously short-shifting abilities and the mid-hit to attack hill-climbs that are out of the realm of possibility with the stock machine. Remember, you must fit your machine with an aftermarket ECU to run the S3 head on a TPI machine, but it is a major step towards gaining a wildly potent powerband that promotes tractability.
Twin Air Power Flow
We really didn’t realize a power gain with the Twin Air Power Flow kit, but liked the rigid cage design with improved sealing, superior locating post angles and filter locating pins. The kit comes with a pre-oiled filter. The fit is tight, and we have never had any breaches where dirt entered the engine
ALL THINGS EXHAUST
Here’s the skinny on the TE300i exhaust system: it’s excellent right out of the factory. The expansion chamber has a rigid design for increased strength at the belly of the pipe, and the stock muffler is light and flows well, helping to mold a strong powerband; but, the two-stroke pipe is a consumable unit and easily damaged. Once we crushed the stocker, an FMF Factory Fatty was fit up. FMF uses a lighter steel for the body of the pipe and a thicker gauge at the header to resist denting. Seams are hand-pounded to keep a smooth exhaust flow. It nearly mirrors the stock chamber, lacking a little in initial response, but pulls a bit longer on top. Overall, it is a very competent replacement when the time arises.
Out back, we installed an FMF 2.1 Turbine Core spark arrestor when we hit the trails that required one. This muffler was inspired by FMF’s 4.1 muffler line and uses its turbine damping system as the spark arrestor, which helps increase the exhaust flow and requires zero maintenance since it is not a clog-able, screen-type unit. The silencer is larger in diameter and longer than most, and this helps with depressing the decibel level and extends the life of your packing. In an out-and-out battle against a straight muffler, you do lose a little midrange whack and a skosh down low, but for trail work, the unit is super, since it is light, quiet, and durable.
One simple stick poking your throttle body’s TPS can easily damage the $350 part, and the stock plastic guard won’t be much help. There are a number of these TPS guards out there, but we like the Slavens Racing model because of its mounting setup. We have seen units that require both TPS screws to be removed for an install. This allows the TPS to fall out and can alter the TPS value, which is no good! The Slavens Mule TPS guard leaves one screw intact so the TPS value remains at the OEM setting, and this also makes installation much simpler.
E-Line pipe guard
The carbon fiber E-Line expansion chamber guard offers additional protection for the belly of your pipe. It protects against dings and burning, fits tight and installs easily. These are manufactured using a hand-laid mix of carbon, Kevlar and high-temperature resistant resins. This combination makes them durable, clean-fitting and good-looking guards
REAR DISC PROTECTOR
The Ares rear rotor disc guard is unique with its three-piece design; it replaces the standard chain block and uses the strength of the swingarm to help absorb impacts. It’s made from 6061 aluminum and installs in seconds. Just remove the right-side chain block and fit in the Ares unit. Done. It’s very tough and comes with a two-year warranty. We got ours from Slavens Racing.
Contact: www.aresmfg.com, slavensracing.com
With an exposed header, it is easily crushed, and if forced back to the cylinder, it can actually break off the exhaust flange. Tagged a cylinder saver, the Slavens Racing unit is made in Spain, is CNC-machined and is very easy to install. We don’t ride our bike without one.
FRAME AND ENGINE ARMOR
The TE300i comes with a tidy plastic skid plate that offers decent protection and comes on and off easily. This is a plus when you’re changing the engine oil and don’t want crude dripping down the frame rails and into the skid plate. But, we wanted the enhanced protection and fit of an SxS glide plate, which has increased coverage for the ignition cover and water pump. It also flows all the way under the machine and protects the low-hanging linkage. It is light weight (compared to aluminum units) and slides over obstacles. The glide plates are formed from 1/4-inch UHMW plastic, which is incredibly tough. The install seemed harder than it should be, and if you’re OCD over oil dripping everywhere, the skid plates are a pain to remove quickly.
We moved the bars to the forward position and installed Enduro Engineering spacers to raise the handlebars. The kit includes three sizes of spacers (5-10 and 15mm) and the hardware for a quick install.
We have found that one of the keys to long-ride off-road comfort is the Seat Concepts Comfort saddle. For our guys looking for more legroom, we use the Comfort Tall, which is 1 inch taller than stock. Seat Concepts uses a high-quality foam (plusher yet good support), and the design tapers out at the mid-point for better weight distribution. The cover is also superb, offering great fanny traction. Seat Concepts sells both a kit and a complete saddle.
Price: $179.99, foam and cover; $284.99, complete
Our taller riders swear by the IMS Enduro Core Lowboy footpeg (5mm lower, set 5mm back) for superb foot grip and needed real estate in the peg/saddle relationship. The Core peg is gnarly. We like the sharp tooth design, and the wider platform offsets a little more load to the feet and causes less knee scrunch.
For riders having trouble reaching the brake pedal, or those with big boots who need additional room, they will love the STR adjustable rear brake pedal plate. The two-stroke Huskys come with a narrower pedal than the four-stroke, and the STR unit mirrors the four-stroke. It is three-way adjustable, with a larger outer radius (promotes sliding rather than foot snagging), and the longer length allows for a larger inside opening, allowing debris to pass through. It has hardened steel cleats (replaceable).
The stock handguards are merely deflectors that fight off roost and a modicum of cold wind. We fit on the SxS Burly guards and the Beefy mounts, mainly because the new Husky uses Braktec hydraulics and lacks the perch-mounted guards used in the past. The Beefy mounting kit is made from thick, high-quality aluminum and is much stronger than the plastic mounts used on most hand shields. The Burly guards are made from the same 1/4-inch plastic that SxS uses for skid plates and slide plates and can take a hit from saplings and brush and not bend into your hands. The guards are larger than stock and far stronger, offering increased protection.
Price: $50, Burly shields; $95, Beefy mounting kit
CHAINGUIDE SWINGARM STIFFENER
The chainguide mount on the swingarm of the Husqvarna TE300i is a weak point. When you slam the guide into a rock, it can damage, bend or break the tabs on the swingarm. The Bullet Proof Designs swingarm guard is an aluminum one-piece design that protects this area from ride-ending abuse. You will not see a factory Husqvarna, KTM or GasGas off-road racer without a device like this.
MORE TO COME!
In the near future, we’ll delve into the suspension, testing several aftermarket companies’ designs and setups. Also, we’ll dig deeper into the aftermarket ECU world and do a head-to-head comparison of the top systems. One of our final goals is working on the brakes on the new machine. We’re not totally sold on the Braktec system, as it lacks the feel of the Brembos that we so craved.