The burning questions the Enduro21 readers wanted answered about the 2020 Husqvarna TE and FE enduro models – you asked us, we put it to the man.
Husqvarna’s 2020 model launch in Finland gave us our first test rides on the 2020 TE and FE Enduro range. Part of the deal with press tests is always to try out the bikes of course, that and get a better handle on the details behind them by talking to engineers and designers.
For this test we also arrived armed with a list of questions from you guys, Enduro21 readers. You sent us questions, we got them answered by Justin Maxwell, Head of Husqvarna Motorcycles Product Management and Florian Schober, Project Manager for the Enduro range…
Darren Sanders: What is the thinking behind no kickstart on all the models now (except the 150i)? Surely we need them in Enduro?
“We’ve been running electric starts now for more than 10 years and I think we have got them to a place where they are really reliable. So we don’t think it is necessary to have even the mechanism there on the four strokes.” Says Justin Maxwell, Head of Husqvarna Motorcycles Product Management.
“On the two-strokes we’ve removed the kickstart because we think that for most hobby riders it is not necessary to have them because the system is so reliable. We don’t have any problems with our electric starters I don’t think. We know that most people don’t even use their kickstarters on their bikes if they have them.
“Obviously there are some races where they have dead engine starts and for those people want a kickstart so people can still retro-fit them on the 250 and 300 models. We don’t think that gives you the same benefit on the four stroke in the dead engine start so we removed it and the other benefits that brings in terms of weight and the new four stroke exhausts fitment outweighs the negatives.
“With the latest generation of fuel injection, starters and batteries it is so far removed from how things used to be. You only need to push the button once and it works.
“It is still fitted to the 150 as a supplementary system because it is not on the same level as the other bikes yet.”
James Clements: Do you know if it’s possible to update the 2019 TE250 with the map etc. from the new bike?
“No, really, it would be too much and the new bikes are so much different,” Maxwell explains. “There is the new sensor in there so it is additional information for the ECU from that but also the ECU has to accommodate the extra telemetry from the bike so it really is not possible.
“It is a complete new map from the ground up that takes into account the new exhaust, the air intake, the engine changes and more.”
“For sure updates will happen and the process continues [with older models] but naturally the focus is on the new development so they can’t spend the same amount of time developing maps for older models. The EFi team is only so big and the hours it takes for even small changes you wouldn’t believe.
“Of course, the 250 and 300 injected models are something relatively new for us so it is still something of a work in progress you could say. But part of that process of development made us arrive at the issues we have changed for 2020 like the new sensor [and the more refined throttle body and cold start system].”
Forrest Granlund: Previously the TE250/300 models had the “older” linkage. The focus on lightweight led them to use a new linkage with much lower (and lighter) spring rates on the rear shocks. How the latest SX curve better (or worse) for off road use?
“The linkage is the same as the current motocross range across all enduro models.” Explains Maxwell. “We did a lot of testing across different linkage geometries to get more stability and also increase the rideability and access to the bike on the rear for the rider – with the body work, the size of the muffler as well as the suspension and linkage.”
“From a stability, comfort and traction point of view we actually found it was the motocross one which was working the best. It is not the same shock set-up of course – the spring and damping setting is obviously different but the actual linkage is the same as the TC and FC models.
“It is true the original generation in 2013 we had the motocross set-up but then moved onto the previous generation (to 2020) which had its own unique geometry and that one was higher so this new change is to help get the bike lower and more accessible.”
Florian Schober, Head of Husqvarna's Enduro development adds: “The reduced degree on the rear also means we have generated a more open fork angle, just because of that, we haven’t change anything on the front part of the chassis.
“We did a lot of research on the front end but we ended finding that with this and all the other modifications the handling improved a lot. The cornering and the stability in fast sections has also improved with the head angle 0.7mm more open and the increased trail, 0.31mm (I’m not sure if it’s the exact number), is working well. We had to modify the forks setting but the head of the chassis remains as before. In the fast sections the fork now seats more forward making the bike more stable.”
Guerin Marsal: I would like to know if the TE 250/300 will have that powerful grunt like the older two-strokes. The 18-19 (Fi models) seemed to be much more linear and to have lost some of their fun along the way!
“I think we’ve made quite big steps now with the new bikes with getting the feel for the power people will be familiar with form older models. People will only see this when they ride the bikes.” Says Maxwell.
Ben Gibbs: In the specs the overall seat height is 10mm lower, is it just from the new seat shape or is the linkage also contributing?
“It is a combination of both,” explains Maxwell. “The seat base itself is new and the combination of shape and the new packaging underneath the seat we realised we could reduce the seat base height by 10mm.
“Then with the new geometry of the rear suspension linkage we also reduced that height by 10mm so it is 20mm in total with the combination of the linkage and the seat.” Says Maxwell. “20mm doesn’t sound like a lot but when you put it together with the new shape of the back end of the bike and the way the new shock setting works it is actually quite a difference.”
“It’s tough to achieve a reduced seat height that allows the shock to move freely but not too much or sitting in a steadied position,” adds Florian “but after many hours testing we came up with the right position.
“The flex on the rear subframe has also been changed. It’s a bit softer in the vertical stiffness which generates more comfort and more harmony with the chassis. It’s also stiffer on the side movement and is more resistant in low or high temperatures. Before in extremely hot conditions the subframe it could feel like it was moving a little bit, because plastic can change its characteristics depending on the temperature, but with this improved stiffness is not happening anymore.” Says Schober.
Rob: Does the TE150i have a counter balance shaft to reduce vibration?
“No, we found it is not necessary on the 150. It is there on the 250 and 300 two-strokes because they have more compression and power going through the cylinder but the 150 really doesn’t have the power to need it.” Says Maxwell.
Chris Sorrell: The enduro models use Magura brake systems, Husqvarna motocross bikes and also KTMs use Brembo – why use Magura? Are they better?
“I wouldn’t say it is more premium product, it is just different. It is as simple as that.” Explains Maxwell. “It is quite important for us as a company, especially as we continue to grow bigger, that we have alternative suppliers for products on the bikes so that we can develop parts in different directions.
“It is important to have differences between our brands so you’ll find the Magura has a different feel to it but the performance result in the end is right up there. I personally find the feel for the sensitivity for the brakes is really good on the Enduro bikes.”Photo Credit: Marco Campelli/Sebas Romero Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org