If two bikes use the same engine, frame and suspension then you’d think they’d be the same. And as KTM’s all-new 2017 250 two-strokes shares those main components with the 250 smoker from sister brand Husqvarna, then it would be easy to think the bikes ride exactly the same. In fact, it’s the number one question we get asked every time we wheel out a Husky.
And the answer is always the same – and that’s on paper they may seem identical but out on track it's not the case. Largely due to differences in components and the Husky’s one-piece rear subframe and airbox compared to the KTM’s conventional alloy subframe, the power delivery feels different and they both offer something slightly different in terms of feel.
The Husky sits a little lower at the back end and bars are different too. The bike feels a little more compact and it performs better in a higher RPM range as it prefers to be ridden there.
Like the new KTM, the TC250 Husky has a lighter chromoly steel frame and new swingarm and linkage, air suspension and a new motor. The engine has a different crank position to maximise mass centralisation, and the motor has new cases, crank, anti-vibration counterbalance shaft, cylinder with new waterjacket, head, powervalve, piston, engine covers, gearbox, gearlever, DDS-style clutch and exhaust. And KTM has ditched the Keihin PWK carb for a 38mm Mikuni TMX carb – although industry sources tell us that’s a stop-gap until fuel injection comes to smokers very soon.
The 2017 TC250 is smaller and lighter than last year’s model and you can really feel the weight reduction and improved agility when you just sit on it, never mind out on track. It's been completely redesigned, the lightweight engine offers a better centralisation of mass that improved handling and the lack of vibration is welcomed too.
You can really notice the more nimble handling as you have more line options – something you don’t get that often on a two-stroke! The new model doesn't ride like a 250 of old and that's because it's much more rider-friendly. I've had many a conversation regarding how much easier TC250 rides as lots of riders are gagging to get back on a smoker. But the old-style abrupt power put them off. The new Husky is not like that.
It's not slow but it's not got arm-wrenching delivery, aided by the extra weight in the engine. The counter balance shaft doesn't just calm down the vibration as it also calms the power delivery too. This allows you to whack the throttle on more if you require some extra power out to fire you down the straights or over the jumps. The TC’s extra torque helps you hold a higher gear and the grip and drive for a smoker is impressive.
The balance is spot on too, combined with the improvement in the mass centralisation and the smaller engine make for a very moveable and flickable smoker. It’s even more fun than previous years!
If you’ve made the switch to four-strokes but have been waiting for a modern 250 that’s easy to ride fast and brings back the fun of racing, then wait no more. Get a ride on a 2017 Husqvarna TC250 and fall in love with the purity of two-stroke racing all over again.