Husqvarna’s new TC 250 two-stroke MXer is proof positive that two-strokes are alive and well
The 2019 Husqvarna TC 250 is pure motocross. Nothing will ever replace the power statement of a singing two-stroke 250. Whether it’s ripping starts or railing corners, the sound alone defines what motocross is. Even though today’s riders have no reason to remember the glory days of gates full of 250s, the sound and smell of these bikes resonate just the same.
The 2019 Husqvarna TC 250 is the most macho motocross bike in Husqvarna’s 2019 lineup. Even though it reeks of testosterone-mixed two-stroke goodness, it’s actually quite refined and updated and, dare I say, civilized on the track.
Photography Courtesy Husqvarna
This isn’t to say she’s a slouch, by any means. In fact, the 2019 TC 250 is still quite pissed off, inherently. But, thanks to incredible engine-balancing magic inside Austrian two-strokes, quick and clean electric starting, smooth and controllable clutch action and beautiful two-stroke lightweight handling, this two-smoker can play nice if respected.
But you don’t buy a 250 two-stroke for civility. You buy it to kick ass. And kick ass this does.
For 2019, Husqvarna has not left their flagship two-stroke motocrosser alone. They updated the model with motocross model-wide updates to the chassis, subframe, swingarm and the like. Other trickle-down updates from the FC 450 Rockstar Edition can be seen in the swingarm, with extended chain adjustment, new bodywork, new seat and more.
The 2019 TC 250 gets plenty of unique updates for the new year. First, it has an all-new pipe which is narrower to offer more ground clearance and a new muffler and mounting bracket that drops some grams off the total weight.
Like it’s little buddy, the TC 125, the TC 250 engine gets a machined finish on the exhaust port to up performance.
This is, in fact, the most updated, most modern two-stroke motocross bike available at the moment.
Also, I’m really stepping out on a limb here, it’s probably one of the last carbureted 250cc two-stroke motocross bikes Austria will ever produce. We will likely see Husqvarna TPI (Transfer Port Injection) two-stroke fuel-injected motocross models in the near future. There’s something to that.
When Austria bolted Mikuni carbs on their two-strokes a few years ago it threw everyone’s jet-boxes into turmoil. The Mikuni’s proved finicky and inconsistent and mysterious. The stock settings would work. But step outside their comfort zone of altitude or temperature, and the Husqvarna two-strokes would be a bit of a bear to dial in to clean fueling.
For 2019, Husqvarna has a revised setting that worked well for us in Florida, at sea level, in a million percent humidity. Will it work as consistently at your track? In our experience, the Mikuni has gotten a lot better. And we know plenty of owners are happy with their performance. So, we feel the Mikuni transition has finally smoothed over.
When will TPI get here in the TC model? We’ve put a lot of hours on the mellower TE 250 and KTM’s 250 XC-W TPIs and we’re ready for motocross models. This bike seems ready, too.
I had a bit of a struggle making the TC 125 work with my short window of talent at Baker’s Factory’s challenging test track. Clearly, for me, when riding in that depth and weight of soil, I will require some horsepower to clean up my mistakes. Enter the TC 250!
The TC 250 two-stroke does nearly no wrong in loose and heavy soil conditions. Its combination of snappy power and ultra-lightweight feel, means you can blow inconvenient ruts out of corners (sorry to everyone who was using that!) or simply hop over them. You can snap up on top of the softer sections with instant momentum and pick your line with more freedom. But the thing I really fell in love with at Baker’s Factory on the TC 250 was the fact that it was slowing the bike down.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the TC 250 out of control. The ground in Florida simply held it back and that put its power and my skill into almost perfect alignment. The same thing happened to me on the four-strokes. I actually preferred the bigger machines, where back home I prefer something smaller that I have to ride harder. In Florida, count me in for more horsepower in place of natural talent, please.
I love this Austrian 250. It pulls with super controlled torque and big top-end performance that doesn’t require quick shifts to stay in the power. In my opinion, they’re the best displacement for technical off-road (I prefer them even over the hugely popular 300s). And on the track, the TC 250 proved to be a desirable choice, especially when I ran out of 125-level talent.
The updated chassis and suspension balance of the Husqvarnas are really good. The AER 48 fork from WP is one of my favorites for front-end tire feel and resistance to bottoming. It just hangs in there no matter how hard I try to hurt it by coming up super short on jumps, and if I have the sag setting just right at 104mm, the front-end traction in corners is amazing. And I don’t feel too much of the reported air fork harshness on these WP forks as others. I need to go up at least one spring rate on the shock to set this bike up properly (there, I admitted it again) but I can crank the stock spring down enough to get it close.
The acceleration of this bike is absolutely fantastic, and I can’t think of a better bike to pass people on the exit of corners. It simply goes when your wrist moves. Thanks to its light weight and awesome balance, quick changes of direction mid-corner, mid-jump, mid-straight are nearly effortless. And the simplicity of it all has me thinking hard about what bike I’d buy to ride and race this year.
I feel the Husqvarna TC 250 checks off all the boxes for diehard, old-school two-stroke fans and for racers looking to compete in classes full of 450s. As a vet-class rider, it’s hard to not choose a 450 to stay with the punch-it-on-the-straights crowd and their strangely modified 450s. But now I could see a TC 250 being a better weapon in the long haul with less year-over-year cost. Also, I’d need a little corner-speed practice.
The bottom line is the 2019 Husqvarna TC 250 is massively modern and nicely updated, once again, to be a better motocross machine that’s easier to go faster on. But it still holds true to the gnarly heritage of 250 two-strokes. This class of bike commands respect when ridden well and they absolutely shine when you’re on your game.
And isn’t that the point of motocross? It’s not supposed to be an automatic success story. It’s supposed to favor those who are on their game. The TC 250 is worthy of your attempts.CN
||2019 Husqvarna TC 250 ($8299)
||Liquid-cooled, 2-stroke, single
|BORE x STROKE:
||66.4 x 72mm
||Mikuni TMX flat-slide 38mm
||Wet, multi-disc, DDS (Damped 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.
||110/90 x 19 in.
|DRY WEIGHT (claimed):