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Husqvarna TE 610e

 

 

 

 

Make Model

Husqvarna TE 610e

Year

2000-02

Engine

Liquid cooled, four stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 4 valve per cylinder.

Capacity

576
Bore x Stroke 98.0 x 76.4 mm
Compression Ratio

Induction

Ignition  /  Starting

Max Power

51 hp @ 7300 rpm

Max Torque

5.5 kgf-m @ 5750 rpm

Transmission  /  Drive

6 Speed  /  chain

Front Suspension

Telescopic forks, 280mm wheel travel.

Rear Suspension

Monoshock, 285mm wheel travel

Front Brakes

Single 260mm disc

Rear Brakes

Single 220mm disc

Front Tyre

90/90-21

Rear Tyre

140/80-18

Dry Weight

149 kg

Fuel Capacity 

9 Litres

Consumption Average

16.6 km/lit

Standing ¼ Mile  

12.6 sec

Top Speed

171 km/h

Warragul may be just an hour out of Melbourne on the Princes Highway, but within minutes of leaving it you can be in amongst some good riding. On this particular morning though, the three of us were in amongst some seriously thick fog. James Barry was leading on a Husky 610, while Mick Shearer and I had a matching pair of the new Husky TE610-Es.
The '98 TE-E was Husqvarna's first attempt at a genuine dual purpose big-bore four-stroke. It had many similarities to the lighter and more aggressive units the company usually builds, but then it had some significant differences as well. While the top end of the engine was similar to the race bikes, the bottom end was completely new. There were twin oil pumps circulating a big two Litres
of slippery stuff, a balance cam, and best off all, a small electric motor behind the barrel that magically took all the work out of starting the beast. Since its release in '98, the TE-E has proven highly reliable. Yes there was the odd niggle like hassles with the starter gear and the fact that the engine wasn't too keen on deep water, but generally the new motor was as reliable as anything out of Japan.
It wasn't all good though. Husqvarna had built a dual purpose bike, and unfortunately in Europe this too often spells `Café racer'. The first TE-E suffered from an image - overfunction problem, with softish suspension which offered little in the way of external adjustments. It was well on the pace when compared with Dominators and the like, but KTM was playing hard-ball with its electric start 640 tourer's suspension set-ups and Husqvarna needed to update if it was to compete in this market.
It has. The 2000 model TE-E has been improved in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to clocking up some serious adventure ks. The 9 litre tank has been replaced by a much more practical 17 litre one, and the colours are now based around Husky's racing yellow instead of the older black. Engine- wise the Kokusan ignition has been remapped, the head and cam modified, and the carb settings improved.
The frame has been strengthened, there is a new starter motor and starter gears, and a new cam lifter for easier starting. The suspension has been heavily up-graded with the Marzocchi forks getting external compression adjusters and the Sachs shock gaining a rebound adjuster.
With all this on offer it was well worth taking the TE-E somewhere interesting to test the improvements, and what better than a gentle trail ride through the High Country with a quiet, laid-back, unhurried pair of blokes like Mick and James?

Setting it Up
The run through the fog gave me time to adjust to the bike. The tank is very slim for its size, holding the fuel low and reasonably well forward. You can still slide up onto the filler cap in the turns, but the stock seat could be a bit flatter. Mick had an optional taller seat on his and if you're in the least bit aggressive in your riding, this is the way to go. On the other hand, the stock seat gives a remarkably short reach to the ground and is nicely comfortable for the long haul.
Husky Imports had fitted a higher set of bars to the bike making standing very comfortable, but apart from that it was pretty much stock right down to the gearing.
While the front brake is a very nice unit with plenty of stopping power and more feel than a 18 year old debutante, out of the crate the rear brake is a doozey. Ours was locking whenever the boot was even waved near it and needed backing off badly. When we pulled into the petrol station at Rawson I lowered the lever to give it a bit more feel before lock-up. A good thing I did too, because from there we took to a muddy single track where maximum control was a big priority. Just a few millimetres difference in the actuation point made a world of difference, controlling the strength of the rear in even the foulest of mud.
The engine works beautifully in situations like this. The stock gearing is tall but there is power enough to pull it, coming on from very low in the rev range. Grunt is the word, especially in the slippery stuff where going up a gear slows wheel-spin and delivers impressive drive.
Back out on the tar the engine displayed all the characteristics that first impressed us two years ago. There is minimal vibration at any rev and the note from the mufflers is a pleasingly throaty one without being loud. There's a new cam driving the valves and the engine does benefit from it and the new ignition, being a bit perkier in the upper mid-range. Most impressive of all, it is almost impossible to kill it on a hill.
"You're going to like the next 500 metres!" said James, pulled up on an innocently flat bit of track that morning. There was no chance to ask why; he was off as soon as he'd spoken. The next turn revealed all - a broken, rutted climb with a pitch as steep as the Opera House roof. Committed, and with Mick on my mufflers looking for spare traction, I had no option but to nail it in second. The engine was awesome. At times the revs dropped to the point where you could count the bangs but it still kept pulling, seeking traction and finding it until roaring back into full song to loft the front over the last few steps near the top. Exhilarating? You betcha!

The TE-E's 17 litre tank and surprising fuel
economy meant we could venture into
interesting country without
worrying about the next refuel

On the Fiddle
The suspension has been improved out of sight, but it's still more dual than race. The action from both ends is good. The damping is well-specced and on the afore-mentioned hill the control it delivered was brilliant. I stiffened the compression dampers but to go hard the Husky needs heavier springs. On the bigger erosion banks it was easy to bottom both ends, but remember that we're talking about a touring bike with a 17 litre fuel tank, pillion pegs and a carry-rack here, not a race bike. Put in the context of equivalent equipment levels, the TE-E is up against the Dominator, XTZ, BMW F650, Pegaso Cube and the like, and in the suspension department it now flogs the lot. Still, heavier springs would make it even better!
The forks have seen the biggest improvement. The too-rapid rebound on the old model has gone, and as long as the hits aren't too big it's hard to unsettle the front. This has helped the steering in a big way and means the TE-E can be punted reasonably quickly over rocky trails. The shock is better as well, and the inclusion of external adjusters at both ends means the bike can be fine-tuned with ease.

Scrapers
The run up the tar to Licola from Burgeons Gap was a hoot, but there seemed to be a slight credibility problem when we pulled up at Ray's store.
"Clearance is a problem on those corners," I said.
"Wadda ya mean?" asked James.
"Well the bloody pegs scraped on that real tight left-hander."
"Bullshit!"
"Dinkum!"
James's problem was that he'd been copping a bit from Mick and I whenever we'd started the bikes. James would fiddle around kicking, while the TE-Es were already idling, courtesy of their buttons.
"I thought electric start was for pussys," offered Mick at one stage, "but I could get used to this."
From Licola we headed straight up to Arbuckle Junction and then past the 1600m high Mt Wellington. The road up was a fairly typical touring dirt one, with the corners deeply corrugated and the long, steady climb bringing an added crispness to the air. Corrugations such as these usually high-light any deficiencies in a touring bike's suspension, but the TE-E handled them well. The altitude could be felt though, and once we hit the snow it was clear that all three bikes were running rich. We'd climbed about 1300m though, and the effect wasn't as great as I'd expected it to be.
Snow? Well, it was more like compacted ice so I was thankful for the Husky's stability and its talent of holding a line with ease. Even then there were moments.

Fuel
There comes a time in every ride when someone, usually the lead rider, pulls up and says `I'm not sure if this is the right track'. James made just such an announcement not long after we'd dropped back down clear of the snow. He was concerned about fuel, Mick and I were not. In fact the TE-Es were using so little fuel we'd started grumbling about carrying the stuff when we didn't need it. Mick was getting around 17kpl and I was getting slightly better, so the beasts weren't thirsty, which means that 20kpl would be achievable in flatter, smoother terrain. Let's face it, if Mick can get 17kpl your average bloke should do a lot better ...
We were travelling reasonably well through tightish touring conditions and could expect to get close to 300ks to a tank. Backed off on good roads, 350 to 370 shouldn't be out of the question which isn't bad from a stock set-up.
As it turned out James was on the right track, but swollen rivers were limiting the short-cuts and in the end we had to head to Dargo to top-up James' TE.

Just the One
"I reckon," said James thoughtfully, studying the map, "That if we go straight up here we'll cut out about 20ks of track."
It was getting late and we still had to reach Benambra before dark.
"Aren't the blue lines rivers?"
"There's just the one."
But it was a beauty. Me, I would have turned around and headed back but not Mick and James. The latter went first, surging into the flow then turning to run with it, angling across for the far bank. This was no minor creek. It was a good ten or 12 metres across and flowing faster than the beer at a presentation dinner. James was wrestling all the way, but Mick had an even harder time, bucking the current and tossing a huge roost from the back as the rear tyre spun madly on the rocks. If a national champ enduro rider was having trouble, I was a dead man.
Still, they were on the opposite side and I wasn't. There were no options. I eased into the flow and didn't so much turn with it as was pushed. I bounced a couple of metres over rocks then stalled, the Husky threatening to topple over.
"Hold it!" yelled Mick, somewhat unnecessarily I thought.
The water was rushing over the barrel, so I climbed carefully off and fished for neutral, preparing to push. Just out of curiosity I hit the start button and the bloody thing sprang to life! Click back into gear and after a couple more moments the TE-E and I were safe on the other side.
"I've never seen a bike start in water like that before," admitted a stunned James.
Me neither.

Omeo Falls
The track up the valley wall was fun. The Husky does a wonderful powerslide, its longer wheelbase and broad power combining to produce a feet-up kind of heaven on a fast and winding road. All too soon though we were back in the snow, this deeper and even more slippery than it had been near Wellington. Suddenly I was training for the Olympic rowing squad, paddling like a mad thing just to stay upright. The TE-E was awesome. Time and again the front would just slide away on the wheel rut, plough into the softer snow on the edges and then come back in a shower of white stuff.

Snow, ice, deep rivers,
and even a shallow lake
nothing stopped the new TE-E

I began to build confidence and was actually disappointed when the snow thinned as we ran down towards Omeo.
On what turned out to be the last snow-covered corner though, I put the brand-new bike down whammo in a flash. Just standing was a hassle on the ice, but eventually I picked it up and checked it over. Hardly a scratch. Most bikes in this class would have sustained major buck damage in a fall like that. Some of them do it just falling off their stands. The Husky though is pretty robust and will take a fall or two and come away unscathed.

The Stripper
No good adventure ride is complete without a night in the pub, and while this has absolutely nothing to do with the Husqvarna TE610-E, the story wouldn't be complete without mentioning the stripper. The Benambra footy club had just won the semi-final and the whole town was in the pub to celebrate. Eventually most of the mob moved down to the local hall, leaving us and few of the old fellas propped at the bar. Some bright spark had hired a stripper for the hall that night, and she wandered in to the bar before heading to work at the main party.
By and by she started playing pool and as you do, she ended up leaning over the table. Every time she did her short black skirt rose over her thighs and the old blokes at the bar tilted their heads to one side.
"I don't reckon she's got anything on under there," said one to his mate.
"I'm pretty sure you're right, but I might just keep watching to make sure," his mate replied, dry as you like.

Closed Course of Course
The lake at Benambra had water in it so we roosted around in that for an hour or so the next morning until the throttles started sticking, then made a line for lunch at Swifts Creek.
"We'll take the tar down to Buchan. I'll just cruise along at 110, okay?" asked James.
Sure. Right. As soon as the road went twisty Mick was around me, past James and disappearing fast. I went after him, James came after me. The TE-E is a joy on winding tar, knobbies and all. We set up a three bike express and achieved speeds that would have turned a hanging judge puce with anger, squirming into the corners under brakes and charging out under full throttle. By Buchan even the side knobs were buffed jet black.

Adventure
Husqvarna has produced a one hell of an improved model. It has targeted the couple of weak - as far as reliability goes spots in the old model so the new one should be rock reliable. Tony Tervoert rode one to third outright in the Safari a few weeks back and his engine went untouched for the entire distance. It sounded as sweet at the end as it did at the start, and that's not a bad accomplishment for any bike.
Improved too is the suspension, catapulting the bike well ahead of the others in the big-tanked adventure-touring class. Along with this comes much improved steering and even better stability at speed. The six speed gearbox is a feature more manufacturers should offer, allowing the engine to deliver at anything between zero and 170. Flexible is the word here, especially when you can tackle some tight snotty long hill then emerge on the tar and be topping 160 within seconds.
The weight is reasonably low, it's hard to damage, and it now has everything the tourer needs straight out of the crate including a healthy fuel range. At $10,450 it isn't overly expensive either, considering the host of quality standard inclusions. All this makes the TE610-E a far better adventure tourer than it was, and real contender for King of the class.
Forget the Café, head for the Cape

Source husky.com.au

 

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