That new "R" at the end of TC250 is significant. It signifies Husky's newest-generation "Red Head" cylinder head design, which is also now found on three more of some of the company's latest off-road and dual sport models - TXC250R and TXC310R (off-road) and TE310R (dual sport).
Husky first introduced its F1-race-inspired Red Head last year on the 2012 TC250 motocrosser, which was designed to breathe new life into the otherwise lifeless motor. And it helped. But not enough. Compared to the Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and even the carbureted Yamaha motors, the Husky's motor still wasn't in the same league. It was an okay bike overall but it just wasn't strong enough in the power department to hang with the other more established 250Fs. Husky went back to work on the Red Head design, did some tweaking, and fitted it on to not only the '13 TC250R but also to the aforementioned models. You can spot the 2013 Red Head models because of the - you guessed - red-colored heads.
The updated Red Head cylinder head has 10-percent larger intake valves and modified finger followers that allow for longer valve lift. All of the new "R" models also got a new piston and upgrades to the Keihin EFI system, which also gets a new capacitor to create a stronger ignition spark and to allow kickstarting in the event of a dead battery. The airbox is also modified and the intake system has been massaged for improved efficiency. The result - the new TC250R performs the way it should've last year.
More power means you can take more advantage of the TC's already solid chassis. Photography By: Kit Palmer
Husky gave the media a chance to sample the new Red Head-equipped Husky's for a quick, one-day riding impression at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park. While we rode all of the bikes, we focused our attention on the TC250R; after all, we were at a motocross track. Even though our time on the bike was very limited, you didn't need much time to feel the difference. In fact, you notice it almost instantly.
We had a 2012 TC250 at our disposal and the back-to-back difference between it and the 2013 TC250R is dramatic. The TC-R revs noticeably quicker and freer than before and makes pretty darn good power across the board now. We would like to see a bit more oomph off the bottom and more go on top but, in between, the little Husky is a runner. We were pleasantly surprised. No wonder why the Husky reps were anxious to get the bike in our hands. It's that much better, but it's still not quite on the same level, at least powerwise, as some of the other more popular 250Fs on the track, but at least it's close now and might even have a manufacturer or two looking over its back. We'll see when we get a chance to compare.
Although power is much improved the TC250R still has some catching up to do when it comes to some of the other 250Fs out there right now. But it's certainly getting there and in some cases it might already be there. Photography By: Kit Palmer
For the first time, we actually had good fun riding the TC250. Power will do that, as will a solid chassis and good suspension, which the Husky also has now. The TC250R is again fitted with Kayaba suspension components, including a 48mm cartridge fork, and all is well up front and in the back, though the fast guys will want to stiffen things up a bit and spend time doing some fine tuning. But what else is new?
The Husky is a solid-handling machine, is well balanced, feels light and is great at carving through the turns, once you get it leaned over - that's the tricky part. It likes to be leaned way over, the farther the better.
The Husky is fitted with all kinds of cool stuff: an Akrapovic exhaust system, Magura tapered aluminum handlebars, adjustable bar mounts, Regina chain and sprockets, a Brembo hydraulic clutch, and Braking rotors with Brembo braking systems.
And you get it all for $7199, making it the least expensive 2013 250F on the market by as much as $400 compared to the Japanese bikes. It's $700 less than the 2013 KTM 250 SX-F.
We also got a chance to spin a few laps on the Red Head-fittled 2013 TXC 250 and 310 off-roaders. Nice! Photography By: Kit Palmer
As for the TXCs, they also feel much snappier. The TXCs, especially the 310, were already outstanding off-roaders and the new Red Heads will, no doubt, make them even better. They already feel better on the track, but we're chomping at the bit to get these babies out on the trial, where they are most at home.
Unlike some of the previous TC250s, we must admit that the new TC250R definitely leaves us wanting more after getting our first taste.