RIDING THE 2020 HUSQVARNA TE300i 2-STROKE: THE WRAP

With the 2020 Husqvarna TE300, fuel Injected two-strokes have been around long enough to enter a second generation. This bike looks completely different from the 2019 version. Most of that comes from a redesigned frame and new bodywork. For 2020, the off-road and dual-sport bikes in the Husqvarna line got the same updates that the motocross bikes got last year. The engine and suspension have fewer changes. Obviously, the transfer port fuel injection system is undergoing rapid development, but most of that is on the software side. The only changes you can see in the motor department are a new pipe and a missing kickstart lever. As of 2020, big bikes in the Husqvarna line have either electric start or kickstarters. The only bike that has both is the TE150.

For 2020, the TE300i got the chassis and bodywork changes that came on the motocross models last year.

The pipe gets an interesting look from a series of ribs and an oval shape. They should provide a little more strength. As a side note, TPI bikes require completely different exhaust pipe specifications. Even though older pipes will often fit a new fuel-injected bike, they don’t work well, usually because the head pipe is much too short. The fork is still the XPLOR 48 with two coil springs and separate damping functions in each leg. On the official Dirt Bike scale, the 2020 TE300i weighs 235 pounds without fuel. That’s 2 pounds lighter than last year’s bike, probably because of the removal of the kickstarter.

The 2020 Husky TE300i still loves ugly terrain.

There’s nothing about the TPI EFI system that will surprise anyone at this point. When the system first came out on the 250, we did back to back comparisons  with an otherwise identical carbureted bike (which was still available at the time) and discovered that there were almost no disadvantages aside from a six-pound weight increase. There was only an occasional hitch when the motor was under a sudden load, and an overly smooth power delivery that was often interpreted as a lack of punch. In outright acceleration, there was no difference. There was, however, a difference in fuel range (10 to 20 percent better for TPI). The 2020 model has no trace of the hesitation that we complained about on the first model. It’s still freakishly smooth, but there is more hit now. If you like the kick, you can always tune some in with the powervalve adjuster. We have found generally is best at about a half turn in from flush, but we know some riders like it absolutely flush with the case. There are also different color springs that you can play with. Or not.

The price for the 2020 TE300i is$10,099.

We got former national motocrosser-turned-pro-trail-rider Eric Mckenna out on the 300i last week and it was fun to see the reaction of a rider who had never ridden a fuel-injected 300 two-strokes. He loved it. In tight, technical terrain, the fear of stalling the bike absolutely goes away. This is a guy who we usually can’t get off a big four-stroke.  We’re pretty sure he’s a convert. He did say that we would have to stiffen the suspension if we ever took him into faster stuff where he might actually shift to third gear. As a rule, we avoid that kind of riding, especially when  we have a 300 two-stroke in the house. We’re going to keep riding and testing as long as the dirt stays moist here in So Cal, and the test will appear in the March, 2020 print issue of Dirt Bike.

SPEAKING OF HUSQVARNA

I enjoy the Husqvarna Good Old Times Blog, by Swedish Journalist Ken Olausson. It comes out a couple of times a month and features Husqvarna history. The company is the oldest continuously-operated motorcycle maker in the world, beating out Harley-Davidson by a few months. This week, Ken talks about the post war years when Husqvarna produced over 100,000 small two-strokes, mostly selling for under $300 apiece. You can read the current Husky Good Old Times Blog here.

BEST OF THE DECADE

Everyone likes/hates a list. With the decade of the 2010s ending in just a few days, we figured it was a good time to pay tribute to the bikes that really stood out. This isn’t a “best of” list, simply because that would be boring. Almost all of the bikes would be 2019 models. Contrary to what some grumpy old men say, bikes really are getting better all the time. These are bikes that were important steps along the way. Click on the image to check it out.

MY NEW BIKE

Sometimes, you should keep your mouth shut. Mark Dooley told me to come get this bike because I had expressed interest in it years ago. It was sitting at the end of a long row of unrestored motorcycles at DG Performance. I said I thought it was a Suzuki X6, which was a good club roadracer in the ’60s.  Mark had picked it up at a swap meet because he wanted a carburetor off of it for another old bike. That project was never completed. It turns out that it isn’t an X6 at all. It’s a much more obscure model called a T305 Raider. He talked me into taking it anyway. So if anyone has any Suzuki 305 parts–or if you want this one–let me know at [email protected] No, I can’t figure out why it has a knobby on the rear.

OLD BIKE MECCA AT MECUMS

This bike is a tribute to the Yamaha 360 raced by Jimmy Weinert back in the day. The number is made from electrical tape, and does actually signify the AMA 500cc National Championship. Jimmy had won the title on a Kawasaki and was then hired by Yamaha in 1975.  The bike is now in the David Boydstun collection and will be auctioned off at Mecums in the South Point Resort in Las Vegas on January 21 – 26, 2020. The Mecums motorcycle auctions are amazing spectacles where some of the rarest motorcycles in the world change hands.

U.S. MOTORCYCLE COACHING ASSOCIATION MILESTONE

The USMCA provides national structure to motorcycle coaching.

The USMCA has reached another milestone and have surpassed 125 Coaches who have become USMCA Certified. Coaches will be receiving a personalized social media image and are encouraged to post and promote that they have become a USMCA Certified Coach. Our mission to grow the sport of motorcycling could not be possible without the support of the coaches who have made the decision to become USMCA Certified – THANK YOU!

Here is a list of the newly Certified Coaches:
1. Destry Abbott
2. Colleen Millsaps
3. Kevin Foley
4. Andre LaPlante
5. Ronnie Stewart
6. Gina Eaton
7. Kaitlyn Beecroft
8. Sarah Whitmore
9. Jimmy Lewis
10. Donald Solley III
11. Kacy Martinez Coy
12. Heather Lewis
13. Sarah Forney
14. Robert Imondi
15. Seth Rarick
16. Scott Rabon
17. Tyler Enticknap
18. Aldon Baker
19. Tyla Rattray
20. Adrien Liets
21. Doug Lenz
22. David Hawxhurst
23. Stuart Smith
24. Melissa Paris
25. Joshua Hayes
26. Dan Jannette
27. Lydia Wills
28. Keith Code
29. Cobie Fair
30. Laura Orozco
31. Mark Taylor
32. Lyle Warner
33. Josh Herrin
34. James Toohey
35. Johnny Haynes
36. Andy DiBrino

BIKES LEAVE FOR DAKAR RALLY

Bikes and equipment are now en route to Saudi Arabia for the 2020 Dakar Rally. It will be the 42th edition of the event, and will be held from January 5-17 all on Saudi Arabian terrain.  A total of some 7800 kilometres  are planned between the start in Jeddah, on the banks of the Red Sea, and the end at entertainment megaproject Al-Qiddiya. Riders will have to tackle over 400 kilometres of timed special on seven different stages, the longest of which clocks up 546 kilometres on day seven. The rally will thus include some 5100 kilometres against the clock and 2750 of liaison sections, with 75% of the entire race battled out in the sand. Among some of the new features unveiled were the Super Marathon stage, where riders will be unable to receive outside mechanical assistance, not even from their own team-mates and one Marathon stage in the second week of competition. The new color roadbook, after being tested and approved at the recent Rallye du Maroc, will now make its official debut. For some stages the roadbooks will be issued just minutes prior to the start of the competition. Americas Ricky Brabec and Andrew Short are confirmed.

 

That’s all for this week,

–Ron Lawson

 

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