The Husqvarna TE150i is light, nimble and plumbed with crisp, albeit mid-to-top-oriented power. It has etched a cubbyhole in their closet as one of the top machines to just go out and enjoy, and with nearly 100 hours on the 2022 TE150i, our focus turned to a few areas that we felt could be improved. This included suspension, traction, protection and equipping it with the necessary additions to let us ride where we want to. All mods helped to sharpen the blade of an off-road buzz saw.
WE ARE INTO DIRT
Our primary goal was to improve the suspension balance and feel. The WP Xplor 48 fork in standard form is a well-rounded damper, but it has shortcomings. It’s actually very plush and in its element (slow speed, cobby terrain, rocks) works well. The downfall is when you start picking up any type of speed; this is when the fork wants to wallow. The shock is a touch stiffer than the fork, making the bike ride higher in the rear for an unbalanced feel. You can obviously obtain stiffer settings with clicker adjustments, but going stiffer tends to erase the plush factor.
We didn’t have any major complaints with the stock shock. It’s willing to handle technical terrain, high-speed hack or any type of loose rocks quite nicely; it just didn’t pair well with the fork. That’s where N2Dirt (www.n2dirt.com) came into play.
N2Dirt installed a new mid-valve piston with a sprung shim stack like a cone-valve-style fork. The fork employs a single high-/low-speed base valve with a custom shim stack for single-track and hard enduro. The fork’s lower tubes were micro-polished to lower the friction on the seals for smoother operation. This was their Stage 1 tune of the Xplor fork, designed for the best value and added performance.
The fork now has enhanced adjustability and is pressure balanced. Tuning comes from N2Dirt’s software analysis. Out on the trail, we found a much more planted and stable machine in extreme conditions. The fork was ultra-plush, excelling in rock gardens and nasty rooted trails. There was zero deflection, and the bike felt more balanced and ready to tackle any obstacles with aggression. Once up to speed on faster trails, the fork had much more hold up than stock, which was a major complaint. We obtained a great technical terrain fork that also excelled in faster conditions as well.
With the rear end, the shock main piston and compression adjuster were re-valved via N2Dirt’s software analysis. This process optimizes the rebound and compression ratio at all speeds/movements. The analysis also confirms the shock will be free of any cavitation. Also added was an N2Dirt bladder kit for less friction, more oil and a plusher feel at mid-speed shaft speeds.
Pairing these changes with the fork made for an ultra-stable and well-balanced machine. The bike tracks like train smoke through hacked-out trails and offers great rebound action to hop the bike or seat bounce with ease. We also found that the machine was much more settled and less twitchy at speeds, making it easier to push harder with confidence.
Finally, we added ProTech fork guards that offer enhanced lower fork tube coverage. They help keep the lower chrome tubes safer from rock strikes and damage. This adds life to the fork seals. Total cost is $999 for forks and shock mods, and $59 for the fork guards.
PIECES OF EIGHT
Our next goals were protection, durability and spark legality. A spark arrestor was mandatory for our trails, and we opted for the Enduro Engineering (https://enduroeng.com/)end cap. This is a more cost-effective option over buying a new silencer/spark arrestor, and the install was very straightforward with no hiccups. Top marks for ease of spark-arrestor screen cleaning, as there are two Allen bolts that allow access to the screen. This makes maintenance quick, and you can also pop it out if you’re riding at a location that doesn’t require a spark arrestor that day.
We went with STR (www.systemtechracing.com) rotor guards both front and rear for disc protection. The System Tech Racing (STR) guard is an evolved rotor protector that is very light but stronger than conventional plastic disc guards. The actual shield piece is a 2.5mm-thick carbon fiber unit fit with an outer edge of UHMW plastic (ultra-high molecular weight). The total weight gain is 6 ounces for the carbon fiber shield. It has an axle-mounted carrier made from 6061 aluminum with stainless steel hardware press-fitted.
Down low, we added a TM Designs (www.tmdesignworks.com) chainguide when the stocker folded after getting clipped by a rock. The stocker has flag units on the handlebars that are sano but lack any strength for hand protection. We went with SXS Burly handguards (https://sxslideplate.com/product-category/handguards), which are flag-style guards fit with beefy (gnarly thick) deflectors. These babies do not flex and are some of the best when it comes to keeping shrubbery from whacking your hands.
To keep the machine sticking to the absurdly dry dirt in our riding zone, we chose the Bridgestone Extreme E50 rear and Bridgestone X40f front tire. We’ve tested the rear in the past, and it is one of our favorites. It is a gummy compound that loves rocks yet has an aggressive scoop tread pattern that excels in the sand. The rear tire propels you up the nastiest hills and rocky terrain as if you were on a trials machine. Braking traction is equally impressive, as you feel glued to the ground on steep downhills. Up front, the X40f is an intermediate compound but also offers an aggressive tread pattern and a great overall radius on the side tread for cornering. From hardpacked to sand, this tire will be on a list of keepers from now on. Testing tires in dry conditions is usually very revealing, as traction is nonexistent. Both Bridgestones exceeded our expectations.
CAREFUL, IT’S SHARP
We’re pumped with the Husqvarna TE150i. Our next goal is finding a bit more bottom power—if that’s possible. This wagon carves hard, is easy on the body and is saddled with a big fun factor. Now, it’s armed for a fight and chews on the ugly stuff with a big appetite.