We rip around on the Husqvarna TC 125. You might not know it but you want one!
The 2019 Husqvarna TC 125 represents everything that is good about motocross. The look, the smell, the sound, the inner-child excitement only a two-stroke can stoke, and the comfort of knowing you’re about to have one helluva time every time you gas it up. It also refuses to hide your weaknesses.
125s are the heart and soul of MX. They require your full attention effective performance and fast lap times. But they reward such focus with unbeatable rider joy and undeniable blame when the RPM drop (it’s your fault). Miss a shift and the world knows it.
Photography Courtesy Husqvarna
125’s take a hard pass on bullshit. It’s a simple, pure, ageless displacement and if you haven’t been on one for a while, you’re missing out. One lap and you’ll remember why you fell in love with motocross. And if you’re like me, you’ll also see how lazy you’ve become.
Updates for the 2019 Husqvarna TC 125 include most of the MX model-wide changes Husqvarna has made to all five of its full-size competition machines. We covered this in our 2019 Husqvarna Motocross Lineup First Look.
Most notable of the shared changes on the 125 are the frame rigidity updates, WP AER 48 fork and DCC shock setting tweaks, and the new muffler. Notable 2019 TC 125-specific changes include machined finishing to the upper contour of the exhaust port of the cylinder, new Mikuni carb settings, a new Pankl six-speed gearbox and integration of a Diaphragm Spring (DS) clutch.
All of these updates are welcome. Port timing on a 125 is huge. It is the engine’s timing, and the black magic of cylinder poring is undeniably effective. During our humbling romp around Baker’s Factory in Florida, we’re happy to report the 2019 Husqvarna TC 125 is quite capable of going fast, being comfortable, making you feel cool, being extremely fun and putting your talent shortcomings on display.
The power delivery is strong and long, not requiring upshifts halfway down the straight like some modified small-bores do. The bike isn’t chasing big torque numbers, but the bottom-end power delivery felt adequate in the challenging conditions we rode it in. Granted, the torque of a 125 is greatly determined by how well you implement gear position and clutch control. You’re not going to be able to ride a gear high through a corner on a 125, no matter what. So, where you shift, not if you have to, is really the deciding factor on a 125’s power output. It’s about character, not overall numbers here.
In this regard, the 2019 Husqvarna TC 125 is a performer. It exudes high-quality fit and finish while being abused on its way to finding a flow. Even so, we can’t pull a fast one on anyone here and say we rode the bike to it’s potential in Florida. We did not.
Yes, I was a bit out of my comfort zone. Riding at Aldon Baker’s personal testing facility where Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne earn championships will do that to a guy. Baker’s Factory is a beautiful and awe-inspiring facility. It’s like a unicorn. But it’s also pissed off. It’s more like a unicorn cinched across its sensitive bits in a rodeo chute.
The sand/limestone soil is heavier than it looks and you need to be on the gas to push through, or stay on top of it. Slowing down makes it more of a fight to go where you want. Traction isn’t guaranteed. More than once I hit quicksand and felt the bars tap my beltline. Also, it’s a billion-percent humidity and 900-degrees in Florida. So, the softies from California are going to wither and wilt a bit.
I struggled with keeping my momentum alive for more than a few sections at a time. When I was on it, the TC 125 was so good. It’s planted in turns and berms and the straight-line stability is excellent. Again, the “dirt” at Baker’s is unique and this is not the place to have a twitchy/nervous bike. The TC 125 proved planted around the course.
Likewise, I’m a fan of the updated WP AER 48 fork. It’s my favorite air-sprung fork and I think it has a great front-tire traction feel. It provides direct contact with the ground for me and it’s absolutely predictable. It does this so well that it amplifies improper rider sag settings, in my experience. If you feel any push into and around the turns on the front end on this bike, take out a millimeter or two from the rider sag and it will fix it. Ideally, 180 pounds of Jesse needs a stiffer shock spring.
I also like the bottoming feel of the AER 48 fork. It is totally controlled in the big hits for me and I’m always confident it will hold up when I make a mistake.
The TC 125’s ultra-lightweight feel means it can be manhandled and put where you want it with a shift of your weight. Using muscle instead of skill isn’t a great long-term success plan. Soon, I was huffing and puffing and missing my marks and shaking my head and 18-year-old Jesse was super disappointed with me. Where once I had the bike singing through the heavy berms, I now dabbed and clutched my way through a momentum-less arc. Ugh, I’ve been so lazy!
So, I rested. And I came out swinging for another round with the TC 125 after a romp on its TC 250 bro and all three of Husqvarna’s four-strokes. It was the end of the day at Baker’s. We were being asked to wrap it up. I wanted redemption. And I wanted to feel the sing of the 125 again because, frankly, the other bikes made it a little too easy. I was addicted to motocross again. But I was addicted to 125 motocross. And I knew this track was deciding which bike I could ride effectively more than the bikes were.
On my last attempt at 125 glory I felt a little better. The track had dried out considerably in the middle of the day as lines developed and a flow showed up. The temp and humidity levels dropped to human-friendly levels. And I could finally get on the pipe for a few more sections before falling back into the hole where my talent should be. As the rain began to fall I succumbed to the fact that I’m not good enough to ride a 125 at Aldon Baker’s house. I’m blaming four-strokes.
As I sit here back on western soil, there isn’t a 2019 Husqvarna motocross bike I’m more excited to ride. I have a fondness for 125’s that is fueled by my first race experiences. And my modern rides on them have reminded me that earning a good ride on a 125 is often more fun than expecting one on a four-stroke.
Husqvarna has a legacy of building motorcycles that carve their way into our memories with time-leading performance. Continuing on with that trend, the 2019 Husqvarna TC 125 is the most advanced 125 they’ve ever created. It’s ultra-modern and supremely high quality. If you buy one, it’s a bike you’ll remember for the rest of your life.CN
||2019 Husqvarna TC 125 ($7299)
||Liquid-cooled, 2-stroke, single
|BORE x STROKE:
||54 x 54.5mm
||Mikuni TMX flat-slide 38mm
||MEDJ Digital 2K-1
||Wet, multi-disc, DS (Diaphragm Steel), Magura hydraulics
||25CrMo4 steel central-tube frame
||48mm, WP-USD, AER 48, fully adjustable
||Single WP DCC shock with linkages, fully adjustable
|FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL:
|REAR WHEEL TRAVEL:
||80/100 X 21 in.
||100/90 x 19 in.
|DRY WEIGHT (claimed):