We are three years into KTM owning the Husqvarna brand and it's going from strength to strength. Looking back at the recent years since KTM purchased the company which was in receivership, I've run a 2014 TC250 two-stroke, a 2015 FC350 and 2016 FC350. I still have the 2015, the bike I raced at Weston. So I think I have a good understanding of the brand. And they've all been great bikes to own and ride. They’ve never missed a beat. I even have a TC85 which was used as a team race bike and the engine has been bulletproof, too!
Despite this, I still hear the old rumours of failed parts and gearboxes. If a manufacturer was so scared of its bike being fragile, then why would they give me a 2017 bike as a long-term test machine that already had 20 hours use on it? They have confidence in their bikes, and so do I.
I've never had a 250 Husky four-stroke before, and with it being used I didn’t have the agony of having to run it in. I also didn’t know how hard it had been used or what settings had been messed around with.
For the first test I went out to a little private jump track that I practice at. I used it last year a lot for the Arenacross squad to test on as it's fun to ride and drains well.
The main changes for the Husky for 2017 are the WP AER air forks and an ECU with an optional mapping switch on the left side of the handlebars. There are three options - 1,2 and TC for traction control.
Even in total stock form, the bike is great on just about any track. You'll find it hard to moan and in fact once you've got the pressures set in tyres and forks, it's pretty hard to improve on. But of course, I will make it my mission to try!
I did have one small problem, however, and it's something I touched on last year as if you are new to the brand, it could cause some mild panic. And that’s over use of the start button.
It does really leave me nervous when people try to start the bike in the morning. I've experienced it myself and it really does leave you feeling edgy when pressing the start button and the motor struggling to start.
So I’ve found the best way is to initially press the start button for a short time, not to try to start the bike but more to wake up the battery and get things moving in the motor. Then try to start it properly.
If the bike is still struggling after that, don't keep persevering by just pressing the button as you'll run the battery flat. Keep calm and hold in the kill button then press the start button for five seconds. Leave it alone for ten seconds and do the same again. Next time push the start button with the intention of starting the bike with the choke in or out - that decision is up to you depending on weather conditions.
I found this system resets things and helps start the bike normally after two tries. Just keep calm and remember not to just keep pressing the button like your life depends on it as it's the worst thing you could do.