Husqvarna TE 310: The Honeymoon Phase

Husqvarna TE 310: The Honeymoon Phase

Let’s just get this out of the way, shall we? I am not brave. There.

It is no secret that I have had confidence problems all throughout my dirt time with the DRZ. No one knows this better than the people I ride with. I putt-putt around like a scared granny. Kenny with his infinite ability to know what is better for me than I do, bought me a Husqvarna TE 310 to help pull me out of my shell and grow to enjoy dirt riding more naturally.

——

As I previously noted, when I first stood next to the 310 I couldn’t help but noticed was that it was so tall. As I pushed the bike up my driveway, I logged a big red checkmark in the “Oh Shit” column of my Getting To Know This Bike checklist.  I then parked it, put the sidestand down and immediately sat on it and began the new bike ritual. You know, poking and pressing everything that was in the would-be dashboard area.

Me and my new toy

During my examination, I leaned the bike to the right and went to sweep the sidestand up. No dice. While standing on my right foot, I could not get enough force with my tippy-toe to swing the stand up. Apparently though, the stand had pivoted just enough to keep its foot from sitting flat on the ground.

I was now in a limbo of not being able to lean the bike back to the left on its stand and I couldn’t get enough balance and leverage to kick the stand forward so that it sat flatly . The insult to injury was that  I could no longer sit on the bike because the position of the stand and my weight made the bike tip to the right. I had to get off on the right side and walk around to the left side to kick the stand down. ::sigh:: I’m so awkward.

I then mentally drew a red circle around the red “too tall” check mark and drew devil horns on it.

Husky : 1 – Fuzzy : 0

Along with the bike, Kenny bought me a Kouba Link dogbone that was good for dropping the Husky down an inch. When you’re at your at the far end of your height comfort zone, every inch counts. News Flash: If someone says size doesn’t matter, they’re lying.

Kouba Link on Husqvarna TE 310

When I sat in the garage on my newly lowered bike, I was still unable to put the sidestand up. Now with the lowering link and because of the shape of the stand’s foot – when you go to sweep it up, it drags. You have to tip the bike to the right to allow for the rotation.

But the benefits of the link outweigh the inconvenience. I was able to get more than just the very tips of my toes on the ground. So, I have to get off the bike to put the sidestand up or down. Being that the 310 is so light, that is easy enough to do.

Let’s Go

Snug as a bug in a rug
Snug as a bug in a rug.

On Sunday morning, I had my first ride on the 310.

As Kenny loaded the Husky in to our Free Candy Van, its bars barely cleared the roof inside. He has this same trouble with his KTM. The barkbusters have to be removed and even then it’s a mighty tight squeeze as evidenced by the scars in the vans interior roof paint.

During the drive to the riding property, I wondered how I was going to manage dealing with this tall bike. Because I had zero dirt experience with any other dual sport bikes – I only knew what the DRZ felt like. Of course I was imagining what it would be like riding the DRZ but with more height. I was scared.

…and SO WRONG!

the TE 310 and the DRZ

Power, Weight, Suspension, Ergonomics

Dealing with the differences in the way any new to you bike feels takes a little while. The pull of the levers and their positioning, throttle response, brake feel, foot controls – it was all so different than what I was used to.

I don’t even want to call these issues Cons – because they really aren’t. They were just small niggling issues that need to be adjusted or I need to get used to them.

  • The shift lever nubbin is so short and far from where it would “normally” be for me – I had to lift my foot off of the peg to click it. I missed many a shift.
  • The rear brake lever is high. I was unable to just press it with the toe of my boot. Again, I had to take my foot off the peg to use it. Also, when standing on the pegs naturally, the toe of my boot tended to tuck under it. I had to adjust my footing to avoid that from happening. The lever has since been lowered slightly but I’m not sure if I need to replace that with something different.

When we rode away from where our van was parked and headed down a sand road, I immediately noticed that for the first time, standing up on a motorcycle felt NORMAL! The height of the bars, the angle, foot placement – all of it. It felt natural in a way that it never had on the DRZ.

I have often remarked to Kenny in the past that I never felt quite “right” standing on the DRZ. It was awkward. I just went on under the assumption that I was doing it wrong or that it felt that way to everyone. Kenny smiled and said he had the same epiphany going from his DRZ to his KTM. So I guess it wasn’t just me.

Husky TE 310 and DRZ 400

The 310 is so beautifully narrow. It feels tiny and nimble. In a way it seems like there isn’t even a gas tank between your knees. With this svelt frame also comes a big weight savings – it has to be at least 60lbs lighter than the Suzuki. I was aware of that weight savings all day.

Husky TE 310

When you twist the throttle on the 310, the power is on. Not in an immediately violent way like Kenny’s 525 feels to me, but in a “okay, we can take it easy if you’d like but when you’re ready… we’re gonna fly” kind of way.

The bikes suspension was so much more confidence inspiring than the DRZ.  I felt very natural moving much faster over terrain I’ve covered dozens of times. Everything felt firm and focused.

———

Kenny after his first ride on the husky
Oh, Lawdy. It's too good!

Kenny and I stopped at one of the sand pits and I let him take the Husky for a test ride. The sound of the bike echoing through the woods was like sex. He came wheeling back in with a huge grin on his face. I think he loves it too.

As the day wore on my stress and nervousness were all but gone. That was totally unexpected and most welcomed. I made several personal triumph throughout the day. I tackled some hill climbs and descents that felt effortless, moved significantly faster and with more ease overall and hell I *might* have even done a jump or two. I’m talking 2 big inches of air, people! 😆

For the first time it seemed like I was riding for pleasure, not to just survive until the end 🙂 I think that was the biggest gift of all. Taking away the fear element changed my whole day. It was, hands down, the most confident dirt riding I’ve done to date.

I came home buzzing, feeling high about what I was able to do. The DRZ introduced me to the basic mechanics of riding offroad but the Husky seems like it will now help me to build and fine-tune skills and will allow me to discover my confidence.

My Husqvarna TE 310

I’m so happy 🙂

27 Replies to “Husqvarna TE 310: The Honeymoon Phase”

  1. Great report. Sounds pretty much like what I’m hoping is going to happen with my new bike once we get it out in the dirt. I’ve only ridden it on-road so far and all the ergonomics make so much more sense than on any other bike, including standing up.

    I’m hoping the winter storms here pass soon and we can get out soon for a ride report. I definitely feel the same way about trying to survive instead of enjoying it sometimes.

    Great bike!

  2. I’m really happy for you! I had a similar experience moving from a heavy 400cc dual sport to my WR250R (which is still heavy by 250 dirt bike standards). Way easy to ride. Now to get you to chat with my wife… 😉

  3. Great post!
    I’m a big chicken. It shows in my bicycling and motorcycling. I’ve pretty much given up that I’ll ever ride dirt on anything more than my mtn. bike.

    I’ve been shopping for a new mtn. bike and I’m amazed at the handling differences of various bikes. I think the same is true of the bigger sibling, the motorcycle. All those little parts, suspension, weight, how the weight is carried, etc add up to a whole package that either does or doesn’t work for you.

    I’m jazzed that you’ve found a new bike to take you to the next level! Woot!! Sometimes we can’t tell the handling benefits until we take it into it’s natural element, that oh so fun dirt. It’s sweet getting that ride that just feels right.

    I’m encouraged that heeding the dual-sport call might not be so unrealistic for a inseam-challenged, chicken heart, like me.

    Great post, Sorry for the long ramble 🙂

  4. You were kickin butt. It was so unbelievably apparent that your comfort level was miles higher than before, and it was great to see you let loose.

    That TE is AMAZING. narrow, light, great power, suspension is fantastic. Im pretty jealous,

  5. Great ride report. And nice to see an actual eyewitness report the confidence boost, too. And those are my kind of jumps. You go girl. Air is AIR!

    On a completely unrelated note… as I was reading your post, I realize just how much people take writing for granted. You have definitely got the knack. I so enjoy your posts.

  6. Fuzzy glad you love your new Husky. I felt a little ambivalent towards my new bike Scarlet. She is a little taller than my other bike and I have to do a little dance and stretch when getting off. But now that I have ridden her for a bit all is good.

    Great ride report. I wish you and the Husky lots of fun in the dirt.

    1. Experience really changes your perspective on things. After a while what you think is “tall” changes. Not that it is no longer tall – but you become more aware of how you’re able to adapt.

      Thanks, Dar 🙂

  7. Great ride report. I am glad that the new addition is working out so well for you and you feel the love. It is nice when things finally click.

    Can’t wait to hear more.

  8. Considering your light weight, there’s a good chance setting the sag in your suspension correctly will lower the bike a bit, it could be significant. It will also handle and perform much better for you and you’ll feel more in control.

  9. Sounds to me that you have just entered a whole new world of riding. I’m really glad your confidence is up with this bike. It is amazing what the right equipment can do for someone isn’t it? Going from a heavy bike like the DRZ to the Husky is such a great leap in everything. You really describe it well.

  10. Just when I thought I couldn’t get any MORE jealous of you, then you have to go show off a new bike that looks like so much fun…I am glad you like it. Keep with the reports, I just may buy another bike some day and I’m glad you are there, in the front, testing them out!! Happy Trails!!!

  11. I cringed reading about your whole side stand ordeal, here’s some tips, DO NOT get on the bike with the sidestand down, put the sidestand up and lean the bike toward you and throw your leg over it’s easier and your sidestand won’t break, when getting off DO NOT try and put the sidestand down while on the bike, get off, then put side stand down! I am a 5 foot 4 woman dirt bike rider and a Husqvarna dealer of 12 years so trust me on this!

    1. Awesome – Thanks for the tips, Ann! 🙂 Much appreciated.

      Since that initial meeting with the bike, I’ve been using the stand only when I am standing next to it. But I will heed your advice.

  12. I’m so glad to read that the Husky works out for you. Your report reminded me when I first rode the KTM. It almost felt like cheating when comparing to other, heavy bikes…
    Good Luck

  13. Hi Fuzzy, great article, I really enjoyed reading it. It just occured to me that the new 2012 Husky 250 is lower than all the other ones, with just 35″ of seat height. As you probably realized now, in the dirt you don’t really need all that much power, actually less is more, as when the power comes on gently, as you described it, you’ll get better traction. You might want to go to a Husky dealer and sit on one to see how much lower it is. Also, if you were to switch bikes you could always transfer the Koubalink to the 250 and make it even an inch lower, down to 34″ seat height.
    Cheers!

  14. Hey Fuzzy, how tall are you? I’m looking to buy this bike from my uncle but I’m a small female! Just wondering if you are comparable in height. This article gave me some great info from a girls point of view on the bike, so thank you already for that!

    1. Hi Shelby 🙂 I’m 5’7″ w/ 31.5 inseam. Without the 1in. Koubalink dealing with the bike was impossible. With it, I still had to get off of the bike to swing the side stand up or down.

      Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: