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My WR250 review (very long)
Posted September 21, 2006 - 04:15 PM
I did a lot of research on bikes before I bought my WR250 and thought I would review the bike now that I have it set up and have some time on it. I like to nitpick so I found little things to complain about but overall I am very impressed with the Husky. My top priorities were power delivery, suspension, handling, total cost of ownership, and reliability. These were the things that I evaluated bikes on because I know I can live with small quirks. Overall the Husky was easy to set up and works well. If I hadn’t bought the Husky my next choices were a 05 or newer KTM 250, Gasgas 250/300, or 06 YZ250.
Mods: Gnarly pipe, Keihin 38mm PWK carb with JD kit, mini bars, Guts tall seat foam with gripper cover, handguards, skidplate, tires, 5wt oil in forks at 110mm, G2 throttle with #200 cam. There is not another bike made that I could have setup with this short of a list. I had budgeted for a new bike originally so I could add a lot more stuff but it just isn’t needed.
Planned mods: Lower gearing, integrated tail light mud flap, hydro clutch if I find one cheap, revalve of fork if I feel like experimenting, possibly some Nissin master cylinders.
Previous bike: 99 Honda CR250 that was woods converted. I have ridden a lot of different 2t woods bikes though.
Ability : Slow but I can ride most any trail. I try to ride the hardest stuff because the chance of injury is much less when challenging myself at 5mph then it is if I am trying to go 30mph on some quad trail. Almost all my riding is in the Tillamook State Forest, which I am told is much tighter and more technical then most areas. I search out the tightest stuff I can find there. I’ve got 4 long rides on my bike and a few days of dialing stuff in by myself.
Excellent power delivery. I don’t like massive big bore 4t like low end or a hard hit off the bottom. This bike comes on gently but somehow does it without ever stalling. It will be lugging and sounding like it’s about to sputter and die and you can still shift up. I have compared it a couple times to a 300 XC and it really lugs just as well down low but won’t accelerate from the bottom as well. If I want more power it is there in the middle but the midrange does not hit, it is more of a controlled surge. More power is there but you have to ask for it, it will not unexpectedly bite you. Not a lot on top (the Gnarly may have something to do with this) but I am a lugger so I don’t care. What’s weird is that when in neutral if you rev the bike it sounds like it has a light flywheel. It does not ride like it though. The porting and ignition must have something to do with this but I also wonder if the heavy old gearbox adds to the rotating mass to resist stalling. This bike is really easy to ride for a slow guy like me. It has plenty of power but it is not at all a handful like most 250 2 strokes are. On my Honda I used the #4 cam for the G2 throttle and it was the single best mod I made to the bike. The Husky doesn’t even need the G2, I only use it because I had it and I use the #200 cam.
Nice suspension. I had read that it was harsh stock but this is the plushest bike I have ever ridden that did not scare me. It is very compliant yet does not feel disconnected from the trail (like the 06 XC-W I rode) or loose contact with the ground when pushed (like a DRZ I rode), or see saw around (like my friends 03 200MXC). I really like it and don’t think I need to mess with it but I might for fun this winter.
Stable. There is no need for a damper on this bike. With 3 lines showing on the fork in the clamps, the high speed compression on fairly hard, and the forks tendency to dive the bike can twitch just a bit on a steep downhill but it does not bother me. It did not do this when I had the high speed compression backed off. I rode an 06 300XC and while it does turn much better then older models it still wanted to turn from straight ahead every time I hit a rock on a downhill. It got annoying real fast. The Husky does not do this.
Turns well. Once moving the bike just turns so effortlessly. It sounds cliché but really I just think about turning and the bike has already done it. I have not ridden another bike that handles so well at about 20mph plus. I find that it feels a bit chunky in really tight and narrow stuff but it still turns well there. That may be because I have the seat height really tall but it is also just a large bike. These trails where I would prefer something like a 200 XC are only the tightest of the stuff I ride though.
Best climbing bike I have ever ridden. It is so easy to climb something steep and nasty. The power hooks up and does not yank you around and the bike will still steer when pointed uphill. I realized this when I rode a 06 300XC (probably one of the best climbing bikes out) and took 3 tries to get up something I easily motored up on my WR. A better rider would have made the hill on anything so I am not blaming the KTM but the Husky really compensates for lack of skill when climbing.
Nice aluminum silencer that keeps the sound down. Would be nice if it had USFS Approved stamped on it though. This bike is very quiet which I really like.
High quality fasteners throughout. This is really nice when working on it. These are a big deal to me and I don’t know why more manufacturers don’t use good bolts. It can’t add that much to the cost of a bike. There are other little details such as a metal ignition cover and drain holes built into the swingarm. This seems minor but it took some brands until 06 to finally do this. So far the only fastener issues I have had is one fork clamp bolt broke ( I think the torque spec of 18 is a bit high) and one of the nuts built into the subframe to hold the side panel on has come loose and spins. This isn’t bad for a 4 year old bike that has probably never been torn down. When I first got my used Honda I was drilling and cutting off bolts every time I worked on something for the first time.
Easy to work on. Not as easy as the hype led me to believe but easier then most. Most importantly I can get to the carb for jetting changes without having to tear half the bike apart (like a certain other ready to race euro bikes). Of course the seat comes off very nice. I am not fond of the tank removal. It was a good idea to make the plastic fit together like it does but I think it was not executed well. The shrouds don’t stay together well in the brush so I will probably end up drilling and zip tying them which will make pulling the tank a PITA. Then there are the bragged about zirc fittings. Nice idea but since there are none on the swingarm, and the swingarm bearings are not the best, I am going to have to pull it all apart a couple times a year anyway so the zircs are kind of pointless. If there were zirc fittings on the swingarm I would really be ecstatic about the ease of maintenance factor. Some little things take a few extra seconds, like the bolts that hold the silencer require a second wrench on the back to hold a nut. Bleeding the rear brake is kind of hard by yourself. The forks don’t freely slide in the clamps when the bolts are loose. Front wheel removal requires a special little tool. These are minor things though so overall ease of maintenance is definitely in the “good” category, mainly due to the frame not blocking access to everything, a well thought out design, and good fasteners.
Nice features for off road. For example the linkage does not hang down far because it is bolted on in the center of the swingarm instead of the bottom. It makes removing and installing the linkage take a couple extra minutes but is well worth it.
Nice stuff like Excel rims. I am not sure if they are the real thing or the “made for oem” cheapies like KTM and all the other brands spec.
Reputation for reliability. I do not have enough time on the bike to form a personal opinion of this though.
The owners are very helpful and seem to be above average in maturity. I really don’t care much for most of Thumpertalk but the people in the Husky forums are great.
Silencer is sealed on both ends with o-ring. It’s great that it keeps water out but the fit is so tight that it took me an hour to get it apart the first time to repack. Since then I have left the one on the front end out and I seal it with gasket sealer.
Tall. Good for a tall rider. The bike just fits a person over 6’ very well. In fact I couldn’t run my Fastway pegs in the low position because with a 10.5” foot I was on my heel to hit the brake. I think things like the peg to control distance is greater on the Husky. Bars are high and easy to move forward and of course the seat height is tall. I really feel comfortable on this bike, especially after adding a tall seat. Mine was higher stock then my friends KX with a tall seat, and about the same as a KTM with a tall seat.
I wouldn’t recommend the bike for those under 6’ though.
Closer ratio gears. I prefer this for where I ride but I would not recommend the bike for people who need to go over 50mph often.
Dealers – It’s bad that there are not a lot of them. The good thing is that it seems like a good deal of the remaining ones are die hard Husky guys. They know the bikes real well and are passionate about them.
Clutch – It is not as easy to pull as my Honda (nothing is though) but much better then the RM and KX I rode.
Information – There is limited information available on line here or at *****talk.com ( this lame website will not allow mention of the Husky site) compared to what KTM riders have. Although I think Husky riders are very helpful there just are not that many of them.
The Homer factor – Like any exotic you have to take user comments with a large grain of salt. Because the users believe in the products they tend to make it their mission to promote them. I hesitate to mention some of the trivial gripes with my bike but really I don’t care enough to be self censoring. I really like my bike and understand why others do but I try to be unbiased when I recommend a Husky.
Brakes – Brembo. I have ridden several KTM’s and have seen the thousands of post on the subject on ktmtalk so I knew to expect the mushy front and on/off switch rear. I might fit some Nissin units some time. I know some like these brakes, I don’t. There is no doubt that they are higher maintenance though.
Heavy. The 125 is real light so the weight must be in the motor. Too bad they haven’t put and R&D into it for a long time.
Takes a hard kick to start. The kick lever position could be a problem for short people. It takes a lot more effort to push then the pumpkins do.
Hard to shift through neutral. Maybe I am just spoiled since my Honda has a really nice transmission. I also hit neutral all the time whenever I ride a KTM. I’m going to gear the bike down some so I never have to try for first gear in the middle of a hill climb.
Limited aftermarket. I can’t just get on rockymountianmc late at night and order things like sprockets easily for dirt cheap. I don’t think the aftermarket companies pay much attention to the products they do make for the bike. My Gnarly pipe doesn’t wrap around the frame very tight, the motion pro clutch cable I bought needed to be adjusted all the way out (I discovered a bicycle chain ring spacer is the perfect inner and outer diameter to use as a spacer where the clutch cable hooks to the engine though), Fastway pegs eat the kickstarter and hit the rear brake lever before the frame stops. The Fastway Husky collars I bought didn’t even fit, I had to file quite a bit on them. Fortunately most of the stock parts are good.
The subframe bolts and rear master cylinder bolts catch on my boots when braking. These should be flush mounted fasteners.
Swingarm and front wheel bearings look like they are not going to last long. One annoying thing is that it is about impossible to drain the float bowl and not have gas pour right into the left swingarm bearing.
Kick stand sticks way out. I think I am missing the parts to make it auto retract but I wouldn’t want that anyway. It would be nice if it had a built in rubber band to secure it in the upright position.
Dead end – I don’t see Husqvarna doing much to the WR250. It’s too bad since woods riders started flocking back to 2t models about the time Husky finally got a foothold on the 4t bandwagon. I have ridden older KTM’s and they don’t come close to the suspension and handling of my bike. They have made up a lot of ground over the years though while Husky hasn’t done much. If they could maybe shave 10 pounds off the 250 motor and put sixth gear back, and create a 150 – 200 cc bike based on the 125 I think they could make a lot of sales. If I ever have to ride a 4t though then I won’t have to think long about which bike to buy.
No service manual made. I was not aware of this when I bought the bike, this is the reason I scratched TM off my list. I can get a service manual for a 04 I think but it’s about $60. The owners manual is very nice though.
Fuel tank – black with tiny filler hole. Trying to not overfill the tank in less then perfect lighting is really hard.
Slot in steer tube to let water / gas run right into bearings.
No on/off switch for headlight.
Totally unsealed airbox. You can see right in the sides between the seat and side panels.
Mikuni TMX carb – why not have the pwk like almost all other 250’s, except the newer Hondas which suffers in the low end from the TMX also.
Mudflap has two high ridges on it that rub against swingarm and cut lines in it.
Some fasteners seem undersized. The lower engine bolts like to come loose. 10mm seems a bit small for the job. The 8mm axel pinch bolts look easy to strip. Not sure why the steering stem is held on with an aluminum nut that can only take about half the torque of bikes with a steel one.
24mm oil drain seems kind of large, I had to go out and buy a socket for it. I guess it eliminates stripping the threads though.
Overall I am really happy with the bike. I feel that the only thing holding me back is my ability and risk aversion because I know my bike is competitive with anything.
Posted September 21, 2006 - 06:25 PM
Great rider report/review!
Posted September 21, 2006 - 07:52 PM
BTW I just rode the GP up at Washougal last weekend on my '06 WR/CR 250 and the bike was awesome. It was more than competitive with all other bikes in my class. I did a little write-up in response to the "06 vs 07 WR250" thread which you may want to check out.
Posted September 22, 2006 - 03:38 AM
Posted September 22, 2006 - 04:26 AM
Posted September 22, 2006 - 08:35 AM
Thank you for the excellent review. You obviously did put a lot of work into this.
Soon you might want to add to the “Bad stuff” a stuck kickstarter. Both my CR and now my WR have that problem. The kickstarter will get stuck and will not go to the “starting” position if not lubricated regularly.
The bikes have a heavy engine, but I not sure I would classify it as a problem. The husky 250cc 2-stroke engines have a reputation for being “overbuilt” and very reliable. For a very competitive guy that is not worried about cost and maintenance time, yes it may be a problem. But I (and most ?) do consider it a positive thing.
I am interest in your opinion. Since you now have a new WR, how do you like the plastics?
It looks to me the new WR’s (2006 up) are quite a lot “fatter” because of the new tank/plastics?
It also looks like the bike is carrying the fuel higher?
Do you feel the new plastics are an improvement or not?
Posted September 22, 2006 - 09:54 AM
I fully agree that the bike inspires confidence (sorry to use a magazine cliché). It is so stable and handles so well that it’s easy to go fast on. If I was riding more open stuff I think I would want a more “CR” like powerband and stiffer suspension but for where I ride the bike works better then anything else I have tried.
Skoalman – I have a 50 tooth coming today. If I was a better rider I don’t think the bike would need it though. Two guys I ride with have a 300XC and a KX250 that are geared taller and have a harder time pulling second then my bike. The difference is that they are in third where I am struggling in second but it’s all rider and nothing to do with the bikes. Mine might have a lot more bottom end pull because of the Keihin carb. I see them used on ktmtalk all the time so you could pick one up cheap if you ever want to upgrade. You could try the carb off your 250SX to see the difference, you might have to swap cables also. With the Gnarly and PWK it pulls nearly as well as a KTM 300 but doesn’t require the careful throttle control.
GU520 – I regularly oil the kickstand but all my rides so far have been dry. I ride heavy mud most of the year so I hope this will not be a problem. One other minor problem I forgot to mention is that the front brake line sits about half an inch below the top of the headlight shell. So as the suspension moves it rubs really hard on it. I just put some electrical line protection on it so it will not be an issue. Most of the pictures of other Huskys I see show the brake line above the headlight shell so maybe I just have a slightly short line for some reason?
Norman Foley – I am envious of your swingarm grease fittings. I wonder if I could add them to my bike? Do you ride the 250 much now that you have a 125? I still wonder if I should have gone for the little bike but since I could not get a ride on one I was hesitant. If the rumors of a 200 are true I will be lusting for a new bike way to soon. If I could have the power and weight of a KTM200 with the handling and suspension of a Husky that would be a dream bike!
Posted September 22, 2006 - 03:56 PM
This is a good question. I remember wondering about the same thing as I looked over the '06 model. In fact, I was somewhat concerned about it. The '06 is clearly wider from the front portion of the seat area forward. It did feel different to me initially but I quickly got comfortable with it and I have not thought about it at all, until I saw your question. All I can say is that I am very comfortable with it and have not noted any concerns. As far as the fuel tank is concerned it does look like it could be somewhat higher but again I have not noticed a change in weight distribution. (although I rarely fill the fuel tank) I think the difference here is actually quite minimal.
As far as the plastics are concerned, the red and white color scheme is a big hit at the tracks. This bike gets a lot of attention that's for sure. Overall, I guess I like the plastics but besides the color I can't say it's an improvement it's just a little different.
Posted September 22, 2006 - 05:55 PM
Posted September 23, 2006 - 07:14 PM
I picked up a new 2006 WR250. In my quest to build a great harescramble machine.....So We'll see.
As with the CR125, I forget how much 2 strokes vibrate. I hope that subsides a bit as it brakes in and the jetting is dialed in.
Now off to dial the bike in. As delivored, it way too tall for this 5'9" (30" seam) guy.
Rear tire will come off, for a lower profile tire (S-12 or Kenda Millville) and stock tires must have 40+lbs of pressure in them.
Then comes setting the suspension. Sag to 105mm (or so) must be 50-70mm now.
The I will adjust the forks to three or four lines showing.
Will fit the Red/White/black bodywork and sticker kit.
ProTec undermount bar mount (fits Scotts dampner, raises bars 20mm and puts bats 12mm forward) and pro-taper bars (Carmichals? 77mm rise/55mm pull back).
Thinking about Steahly 10 oz flywheel weight.
ZipTy external Carb mixture screw and Powernow valves (great results on CR125 and TE450)
Weight it on a certified 1000lbs scale at my warehouse. 230lbs with a bit of gas.
more to come.
Posted September 24, 2006 - 03:05 AM
The shrouds don’t stay together well in the brush so I will probably end up drilling and zip tying them which will make pulling the tank a PITA.
You can use Dzus fasteners to beef up the shroud junction. Cut away the fiddly retaining slot to create a QD set up. Also, depending on the range required, you might get on better with the 125/CR250 tank. It definitley makes the bike feel smaller. General stuff: I'm running a one piece gripper seat cover which seems to help make the bike more sensitive to rider input in the single track. Makes you feel more connected to the bike, good news when you hit that hidden stump in third
ps great review, keep us posted.
Posted October 20, 2006 - 06:59 AM
Posted October 20, 2006 - 09:51 AM
Posted November 08, 2006 - 11:39 AM
I discovered another negative thing, the lower chain roller seems to break off very easy. Mine is gone and the person I bought the bike from has a new one with low hours and his has broke the welds. It can be ridden without it but I will get a new mount welded back on soon.
I have some more time on the bike and while I am still the slow guy in the group my speed has come up. In really slow tight stuff the bike still feels big so I am about the same speed but on the third/forth gear rocky trails I can go a lot faster. Also I’m still amazed with how well the bike climbs and I am faster on the all the hills. The only thing that is taking a while to get used to is pulling the front end up. The powerband does not make a big hit off the bottom and the bikes geometry seems to want to keep the front end on the ground. These two characteristics make the bike an awesome climber but on hills that are not very steep it is hard to get the front end up fast. Basically I need to learn to hold the clutch in a little longer and twist the throttle more then pull back some. My old Honda CR would snap the front end up very easy with no clutch work so I built the habit of being very timid when I needed the front wheel up. The bike is eating more gas then my Honda did even though it has the same carb and jetting. I think it’s because the Honda was a beast on the pipe so I short shifted all day where it is much easier to ride faster and more aggressive on the Husky. It hooks up a lot better also. A S12 last about twice as long on the Husky as it did on the Honda, it must be in the power delivery.
I put a 50 tooth rear sprocket on(required a new chain). The gearing is now perfect for tight woods for a slow guy. With the Grarly pipe and PWK carb the gearing would have been fine for a faster rider. I could have lived with the stock gearing if the bike shifter through neutral better.
Posted November 08, 2009 - 01:49 AM
This feels like a god tread to ask things about the Husqvarna WR 250.
At what hour to change the piston? And what hour do you change the crankbearing? (did I get the right word?) That bearing that is important to change in a two stroke. What's the english name?
Posted November 08, 2009 - 03:16 AM
Not that I know anything. I'm a good listener
Posted November 08, 2009 - 10:11 AM
I was on the phone to eric gore this week regarding a rebuild on my 02 cr250. He says he's only ever rebuilt a lower on 1 husky 250. The 250 is built like a 360 and way overbuilt at that. He doesn't feel the lower is really an issue. You can look at the stator side crank and look for oil reside as it will leak some if the crank is getting sloppy. As for the piston, I would do a compression check. Mine is still @ 170psi. That being said, I think this winter it will get done, only because I don't want to have to do it mid season next year.
Not that I know anything. I'm a good listener
I´m most interested in how many hours you can use a piston before you change it. I don´t feel like trusting a compressor check, I rather change the piston at the correct hours...
And as fore the lower end, that´s a god tip
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