Husqvarna is one of the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers, clicking over 110 years of production this year. Over that time, it’s learnt a thing or two about building bikes and the off-road model which best embodies all that experience is the TE 310 enduro. Husky seems to think so, too, as it’s this bike – not the more powerful TE 449 – which Frenchman Antoine Meo raced to the E2 class Enduro World Championship in 2011 and decorated Aussie racer Glenn Kearney campaigns here in the Australian Off-Road Championships.
Its strength lies in the exceptional marrying of a highly refined chassis and Husqvarna’s versatile X-Lite power plant. The 2013 TE 310 R’s four-valve, twin-overhead cam engine is a ripper – up a claimed five percent in power and eight percent in torque over the 2012 model thanks to a new cylinder head.
The electric-start engine (with kickstart backup) fired up instantly and impressed me with its smooth power delivery. This year’s updates include a new Keihin EFI system for better throttle response and it works. Rolling the throttle on through a grass-track section with off-camber turns felt like my wrist was connected to the rear tyre and each subtle shift in throttle position was instantly sent to the ground.
The boost in torque on paper is significant and on the trails means it pulls stronger right off the bottom and claws up hills like a mountain lion. The engine can happily be ridden wide open in its blistering top end or run a gear taller and torqued along at half throttle. For the racer, either approach can produce quick times depending on the circuit, while for the trail rider the versatility means you can flow along at a good pace all day or turn it up to challenge your mates.
A great engine needs a great handling package. I couldn’t say whether the engine was designed for the chassis or the other way around as it’s a perfect union that makes you think it was delivered by the gods.
Its crowning glory is its stability which encourages riders to go faster, brake later and hit obstacles and rough terrain harder. This trait earns big points for dirtbikers at both ends of the skill spectrum. Beginners will enjoy a safe bike to develop their skills on while experts can ride on the ragged edge with confidence.
My co-tester on the day – suspension tuner and ex-factory race mechanic Charlie Costanzo – was equally impressed. “This bike is awesome,” he raved, adding that riders “could be competitive at any level just by adding a bit of oil to the fork,” to help it sit up in the stroke.
The finish of the bike is also excellent, with a less cluttered cockpit for 2013 after ditching the key and slimming down the switches. The Brembo brakes proved excellent as always with a nice, positive feel at the lever and plenty of strength.
Husqvarna has definitely produced a winner with the TE 310 R, both for racers and weekend warriors, and one which deserves to leap to the top of Husky sales figures and magazine shoot outs in 2013. There, I’ve called it.
Cylinder head DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Bore/stroke 82 x 57.35mm
Compression ratio 13.1:1
Fueling EFI, 42mm throttle body
Power Not given
Torque Not given
Final drive Chain
Frame material Steel
Frame layout Tube cradle
Front: 48mm USD fork, compression and
rebound adjustment, 300mm travel
Rear: Monoshock, fully adjustable, 296mm travel
Wheels Aluminium alloy spoked
Front: 21 x 1.6 Rear: 18 x 2.15
Tyres Pirelli Scorpion XC
Front: 260mm disc, twin-pison caliper
Rear: 240mm disc, single-piston caliper
Weight 109kg (dry, claimed)
Seat height 950mm
Max width Not given
Max height Not given
Fuel capacity 8.5L
Strong yet versatile engine
Great chassis stability
Leading price and warranty
Suspension softens up fast
May strain your relationship!