Husqvarna WR 360
Liquid cooled, two stroke, single cylinder
Bore x Stroke
78 x 73mm
Mikuni TM 38
CDI / kick
6 Speed / chain
Steel tube cradle, alloy
Marzocchi inverted telescopic
fork with compression and rebound damping adjustment
Sachs shock, linkage type
w/spring preload, compression and rebound damping adjustment
Single 260mm disc
Single 220mm disc
Photos: Captured by Cal
dirtbikes are certainly the flavour of the month, Husqvarna's WR360
two-stroker is far from dead and buried - and that's a good thing!
The big bore
two-stroke looks to be a dying breed. With mid and large capacity four-strokes
such as the Yamaha WR426, KTM 520EXC and even Husky's soon-to-be-released
450TE now just as light, powerful and wieldy as only the two-bangers were in
the past, the market is turning its back on the oil-burners.
are also taking their toll (the whole oil-burning thing), and big two-strokes
are dropping from the market place. KTM's 380EXC, for example, is disappearing
from the company's price list this coming year.
So where does all
this leave riders, such as myself, who love two strokes in the bush? The
snappy power delivery, the 'on the pipe' scream, the smell... what to do?
WR360 is still going strong, and is such a complete motorcycle, so easy to
ride, that it makes you wonder why anybody would go to a four-stroke. I know I
It's a looker is the WR360, with many components not just there for those
aesthetics, but for very practical reasons as well.
It soon becomes
apparent the Husqvarna, in stock form, is ready to ride in anger, as most of
the tackle a trail-rider/racer needs already adorns the bike - only really
fussy riders would need add much more than a few items.
rims, for instance are from the Excel stable, and are laced to an enormous set
of hubs front and rear - there must be an industrial-sized set of wheel
bearings residing in there!
Also standard was
the pair of puncture-resistant Michelin heavy-duty tubes residing in the
aggressive-looking Trelleborg knobbies, in place of the OEM Michelin
The 'speedo' is a
trick seven-function digital travel computer, pretty handy deep in the bush,
and excellent for keeping an eye on fuel consumption rates and the like.
The trip computer
is nestled neatly aside the Tommaselli 'bars (which are just the right bend
and width for me) meaning it is safe from even the most violent get-offs -
you'd have to try pretty hard to damage it.
The Acerbis hand
guards were fitted by First Class Motorcycles in Lilydale (Vic), and would be
probably be one of the few things a new bike owner need bolt on, along with
more aggressive knobbies, and maybe a bash plate to protect the engine and
The only other component an owner may consider attaching is the super-trick
Decompression Head from S.G Products. The S.G is an acronym for Steve
Greenhorn - who is the principal at First Class Motorcycles - and the
Decompression Head is his creation.
WR360's compression can be a lot to overcome when it's time to kickstart the
beast - in fact the short-ish kick starter can support the weight of a fully
grown man without budging!
To negate this,
the $480 (fitted) head all but removes the cylinder's compression with the
bike not running, allowing easy kick starting, not to mention making
bump-starting a simple procedure.
The head doesn't
affect power in any way, and it is possible to buy the kit (some of which
Steve has sold overseas) and fit it yourself if you're on a budget. Contact
First Class for more information, tel (03) 9739 7277.
I must admit, I climbed aboard the 360 with an amount of trepidation - big
bore two-strokes have a well-earnt reputation of being able to dislodge even
the most experienced rider at the blink of an eye, thanks to the prodigious
amount of power and torque they produce.
liquid-cooled single certainly sounded menacing enough at idle, and while
Husqvarna doesn't mention any power outputs, I guesstimate it to be in the
region of 50-55ps at the crank, with equivalent torque to burn.
Steve was at
pains to explain that the 360 works best if you just lope along, as opposed to
wringing its neck, and let the engine do its torque thing. Once I started
riding it, I understood what he meant.
The day I had
chosen to spend in the bush dawned wet and cold, and the single-track trails
of the riding area were a muddy cocktail of puddles, slime and slippery logs.
And there was me on a WR360.
pressures reduced, I headed out into the murky bush, quite unsure what to
expect from the Husky.
felt spot-on in the ergonomics department, both standing and sitting. The wide
footpegs offered plenty of grip for my mud-soaked Alpinestars, and gripping
the bike with the knees while standing was easy enough.
advice, I punted around a gear higher than I could have, and revelled in the
traction and drive from the rear Trelleborg.
There was still
enough grunt to loft the front wheel under power on command, but I still felt
in control - it wasn't the scary experience a two-stroke of yesteryear would
have provided me.
In fact the 360 felt no less tractable than some of the new-fangled
four-strokes, and muddy sections I felt would prove a problem were dispatched
with nary a glitch.
Hill climbing in
particular was a joy, the engine just tractored the Husky up the greasy
slopes, and flattered my hill-climbing abilities - I could make mistakes, and
get away with it. Brilliant.
This point was
rammed home when a large hill presented itself, complete with a slick clay
coating, ruts and tree roots. Gnarly!
While other bikes
along for the ride struggled, the 360 bounded up and over with surprising
ease, completely unfazed.
In contrast to
the mellow, torquey method of forward progress, I also tried revving the crap
out of the thing, all in the name of bike testing naturally.
sounding absolutely fantastic in my opinion, the progress was no more rapid,
and I soon reverted to the recommended method - a much more economical modus
operandi for a day in the bush at any rate.
The suspenders gracing the Husqvarna were almost faultless in the bush, the
action over small roots and rocks as controlled as over the bigger stuff, and
once again they flattered my abilities.
While the damping
and spring rates definitely lean towards the competition end of the spectrum,
a trail rider won't need to rush off to a suspension technician, unless they
are either very heavy or very light.
The beefy 45mm
Marzocchi USD forks offer a large range of adjustment, effective for
fine-tuning the forks to an individual's liking via the rebound and
action Sachs Borg rear shock, too, is a beauty, and just a click or two was
all it took to make a noticeable difference to the action.
The suspension is
of the sort that can get a rider out of trouble as quickly as they get
themselves into it, a feature I put to good use early in the day.
A dark, sneaky
log jutted halfway onto the trail mid-corner, and I had hit it before I had
seen it. The 360 bucked, then continued on, with yours truly laughing
hysterically at how easily I had escaped a potentially big one, while
compatriot Mav, on a lesser suspended bike, went arse up behind me.
Another component I had on my side were the brakes, although I had to really
think while using them in the sloppy conditions, else they turn against me.
Trelleborg had lost its 'sharpness' after 400km of use, and the sheer power of
the front 260mm disc brake set up easily overpowered the tyre's grip if used
After a couple of
'warnings' early on, I became used to the front brake's action, and could use
it to good effect. The rear brake was also on the money, powerful without
being overly sensitive.
The low 104.5kg
claimed dry weight is another factor in the brake's performance, and the
weight manifested itself in the speed in which the bike responded on the trail
At the end of the day, the $9895 Husky is a damn fine motorcycle, and one that
would suit a large spectrum of riders - not just the enduro competitor.
The engine does
have seemingly endless amounts of grunt but, thanks to the joys of powervalve
technology, is delivered in such a way that even mildly experienced dirt
riders can cope with the power.
That's not to say
that faster riders won't be happy, light the wick on a 360 and you know all
about it! The suspension and brake package is just the icing on the cake.
The Husky's only
competition circa 2002 lies in Honda's $11,590 CR500E, which it is safe to say
is a few levels behind in development and equipment.
The Husky abounds
with innovative features, and pride of ownership will rate highly on the
scale. In my opinion, the WR360 is just one very good reason why two-strokes
aren't done yet, especially at that price - it's a bargain. I'm now an even
more confirmed oil-burner than before. My apologies to all the hippies out