2010 Husqvarna TE630 | First Ride

Refined for the rough stuff

By Roland Brown, Photography by Milagro

Following BMW's purchase of Husqvarna in 2007, the brand has been trying to attract road riders as well as the hard-core off-road contingent. One of the first fruits of the takeover is the TE630-a street-legal dual-sport single based on Husky's old 610.

The TE gets a new DOHC 600cc engine in place of the 576cc SOHC lump, complete with an upgraded cooling system, hydraulic clutch and a third crankshaft main bearing for increased durability. A new high-level, twin-silencer exhaust system helps deliver an alleged 57 bhp at 7800 rpm-20 percent up from its predecessor.

The rest of the package aims to be more rider-friendly. The seat is better padded and an inch lower thanks to revised suspension. The steel-tube frame gets an extra degree of rake to improve stability at speed. Styling is fresh, the headlight brighter and detailing neater thanks to molded/painted graphics. There are even passenger grab handles.

Even so, the TE630 still feels lean and racy sitting more than 3 feet high-tall enough to put most riders on tiptoes at a standstill. The big single fires eagerly, sounding like an irate cement mixer. Despite its height, the TE is manageable at slow speed, mainly because of its sub-350 pound heft. That's light for a 600cc single, if not for a Husky.

Performance is predictably lively. The engine pulls cleanly through the midrange, though low-rev throttle response is a bit snatchy. Typical single-cylinder vibration comes juddering through the seat at higher revs and above 70 mph

All that was forgiven when our off-road route turned steep and bumpy. Despite a reduction in suspension travel, the TE floats over rocks and drainage ditches that would make less dirt-worthy bikes very unhappy. Metzeler's Karoo tires did a good job of coping with everything from dry tarmac to wet leaves, though they feel predictably vague on-road and can't match real knobbies on dirt.

Back on the asphalt for one last blast to the lunch stop, the more rider-friendly TE is a compromised, uncomfortable roadster. The big single's vibration quickly becomes annoying, and despite the softer seat this Husky still bites your bum after a few hours. The 3-gallon tank should be good for more than 100 miles, but its rider would be looking for an excuse to stand up on the pegs long before then.

So? The TE isn't the most road-ready dual-purpose mount, but it is one of the most capable when the going gets really rough. Fans of the legendary Husqvarna marque needn't worry. Whether its ownership is Swedish, Italian or German, the brand stands for off-road excellence. The TE630 has gained some civilizing touches but it's still lean, focused and every bit a Husky.

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