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Written By:Gardner Tarlow
Have I mentioned how cool it is to get to test new bikes each year? If not, it’s way cool. Anyways, I’m here in So-Cal and with summer and fall having had very little rain, I’ve been focused on riding at the track for the last 6 months to avoid the dust in the hills. Well, we’re now into early winter and my hopes for a wet winter with chocolate brown soil in the hills have me wanting to get after some enduro riding. Like an early Christmas present, Kris reached out to me to test the all new 2024 Husqvarna TE150 enduro. I must say, I was excited to get out in the hills and play. The last few years I’ve had the pleasure of testing the 2021 Yamaha YZ125X and the 2022 KTM 150 XC-W TPI. With those experiences I was excited to see the progression of the industries small bore enduro from the class leaders in the 125/150 enduro division.
For 2024 the Husqvarna TE150 is an all new package with a new chassis, motor, electric power valve and new throttle body fuel injection system. The suspension up front on the TE is all new WP XACT closed cartridge coil spring fork with enduro valving as well as the improved XACT rear shock. This all new package is a blast to ride regardless of age, gender or rider size. For my solo day ride I spent my time in my familiar high desert hills playing for the day and this bike is indeed the natural progression in performance for those who have ridden previous generation Austrian TPI 150s.
I’m a vet motocross, enduro rider, 5’10, 190 lb and not the intended ideal pilot for a small bore TE150 enduro. In my opinion however there is no training tool out there better then small bore bikes to hone your skills on what you love doing. There is no being lazy, you either get after it or the lack of power will penalize your riding.
The chassis on this bike is all new and feels stable and more precise compared to the previous generation chassis. The chassis is similar to the TC 125 but designed for that more aggressive enduro purpose versus motocross. The rear sub frame is hybrid polyamide and aluminum and provides improved reliability and tolerability for impacts associated with hitting the ground. In both tight single track and fast pace single track similar to GNCC the bike felt racy as I blasted around the trails of the High Desert. The suspension although designed for a rider in the 160-pound range, felt capable even under my larger frame. The WP XACT coil spring fork has a new hydrostop which is effective in the last 68mm of travel and seems effective at preventing harsh hits from heavy landing. With suspension clickers set firmer to better handle my size I thought the forks might feel harsh on small chop and rock gardens but that was not the case, and the chassis as well as the forks were plush/performed very well together. With the hydrostop fork I did not get any hard hits that left me wringing out my wrist from small jumps or G outs. I did not get the opportunity to test the forks on heavy hits that one might appreciate while racing or hitting larger jumps, but maybe I can get that on the next test. The WP XACT shock is all new, 100g lighter, 15mm shorter along with a revised linkage, the rear end of this bike was well mannered. With the sag set up for my size the spring had a bit more preload on it than was optimal but the rear suspension performed well and didn’t do anything alarming in all types of enduro terrain. The bike was agile and performed well on tight rutted single track as well as fast flowing tight desert trails.
The Braktec brakes are not new to Austrian Gas Gas or a limited line of Husqvarna models. Historically the Braktec brakes have been a few steps behind the performance of Brembo but in 2021 Braktec was purchased by Brembo and subsequently in 2023 with the assistance of KTM/Brembo, the Braktec product has been much improved over the previous generation Braktec products. The Braktec brakes on this 2024 Husqvarna are very capable brakes and in my limited day riding enduro, I did not have any brake fade or thoughts questioning these brakes performance. I had recently been riding a 2024 Gas Gas at the track with braktec brakes and those performed well and although maybe not performing exactly like the Brembo, in my opinion they are better than some of the other competitors in the market place. I would not let Braktec products be my deciding factor on any of the 2024 Austrian bikes.
The motor on the TE150 is based off the TC125 platform, however If your wanting to have the performance of a modified 125 or a stock 150 you will be disappointed as this bike motor is nothing like a track 125/150. That’s not to say the motor isn’t enduro worthy as it is very capable for its intended purpose of enduro. Rock gardens and technical terrain the motor is very predictable and manageable. The TE bottom end can literally idle around the pits without a finger covering the clutch. Be it controlled throttle roll on or a bit of clutch and the motor comes to life in a linear manor getting you over whatever obstacle your skill set can handle. The mid range and top end is good but then the top end flattens out a bit. The motor isn’t overly exciting but it is more than capable for its intended purpose. Small rocky hill climbs can be chugged up at a slow pace and with a little clutch the bike jumps to attention. Moderate hill climbs attacked with momentum is where this bike shines but that isn’t to say it can’t climb long steep sandy hills. Although bigger bore bikes are more at home on longer climbs, the TE150 if you attack the entire hill can climb some fairly steep, long hill climbs. With the TE150, it’s even more important to modulate the power with the clutch action as chopping the throttle is even more penalizing than when riding bigger bore bikes.
The Braktec clutch system is also a revised version from previous generation clutches and seemed to handle my heavy handed abuse without issues throughout the day. Clutch performance in tight rocky single track felt good with good modulation and response without any appreciated fade. I’m not certain if small bore clutches are more abused at the track or on tight enduro trails but I hammered this clutch all day and it would be nice to see how this clutch handles the same abuse for 25-30 hours. Hopefully I can achieve those hours this winter.
The TE150 comes with two maps, the white map is a regular/stock map and the green map is the richer map. I unfortunately ran the richer green map at first thinking it was the more aggressive map as is the case on the bigger TE’s. Being at slight altitude of the high desert and cool, the green map did not perform well and seemed to suffer with performance on climbs. Once I figured out the maps and ran the regular white map the TE150 performed much better. First gear is fairly low and second gear at times is a bit tall and left me feeling like I was abusing the clutch in tighter sections. With some of the technical riding there was a consideration to add a single tooth to the rear sprocket in hopes of making second and third gear more useful.
Comparing the 2022 TPI against the 2024 TBI technology, the TBI power delivery is much improved. The TBI has a better bottom end response and carries that through the mid range into the upper power band. Although the top end flattens out with this TBI motor similar to the TPI, it’s more exciting across the power band than the stock TPI version.
Be it moto, desert or enduro, for some reason most riders always feel the need to ride bigger bore bikes even though they are not using the bikes to their full potential. These small bore two stroke bikes are a blast to ride, easy to manhandle, is a great technique training tool and very rewarding. Unfortunately, this bike does not multi task very well and be it open desert or closed course moto your really stretching this bikes ability. If however you are a true enduro rider, I would consider adding this bike or one in this small bore class to your collection. I think a good competitor for this bike could be a modified Yamaha YZ125X or if we’re really dreaming, maybe Yamaha steps up there game in the future and produces a production YZ150X. Dang, wouldn’t that be cool!