TE250 40 hour report

Well, I have almost 40 hours on my TE250, just under 800 miles (I'm slow). I had meant to post a 20 hour report, but I was too busy riding. This is long, so be warned.

First impression:

Pretty much solid. Good dealer (Reno Cycles and Gear), who is enthusiastic about the brand. They took care of my concerns and complaints without any hesitation. I was expecting a response more akin to my experiences with Michaels-Mart, and am still blown away by how good they were and are. I had some jetting issues, as in the bike would not start unless bumped. They apologized, and more than took care of it.

The goody box included rear passenger pegs and mounts, and no clue as to how they should mount. A couple of Sierra Nevada's later I figured it out. Once it warms up here in Reno, I intend to pinion my son (9 yo) the four blocks to school in the mornings.

The smog gear fell off without a hitch and the AC pump and slide limiters also went into the parts box. Armed with a handful of jets and a very imperfect understanding of the FCR carb I took a first pass at jetting. Extremely easy to work on! Three bolts and the tank is off. Almost every bolt is 8mm, which simplifies everything. On the 250 you have to loosen or remove the starter when you rotate the carb, but it is easy enough to be a non-issue. Lots of access. Checked the valves to have a baseline. Now I have checked valves on other bikes, most recently a friend's 2003 DRZ400E. The only way it could be easier on the TE is if they put thumbscrews on the valve cover. And the pads themselves - lift the rocker and there they are. Done. I could check and change all 4 pads (if needed) in less time on the TE than I could get to the valves on the DRZ. Valves were right in the middle of spec and haven't moved since.

The build quality is first rate, and the bike is ready to go stock. Although, as previously noted by others, the stock handguards are proof against grass only, the stock bash plate completely misses protecting the frame and the turn signals are well built, solid and doomed. Replace as your tastes demand. The black tank is very stylish, and impossible to get a level check on. Oh yeah, just go ahead and order the pipe heat guard from Rooster, or plan to burn your boot and pants. Some have said they had problems fitting theirs, mine went right on. Adjust the ergos and go ride...

First ride:

As others have noted, the clutch is a bit grabby out of the box. Not enough that I was really concerned, but shadow the brake when putting it into gear the first few times! The shifting was very notchy and the suspension harsh, both of which my dealer had warned me about. I rode open dez and jeep trails for the first hour (in 30 degree weather) then changed the oil. The stock oil was of a color and consistency I haven't seen before, green and black. An alarming amount of very small metal bits in the left screens. I had to use a dental pick to remove the O ring on the smaller screen. Used the check screw as I replaced the oil and what do you know, I managed to NOT strip it out! 10+ changes since - and it is STILL not stripped out - I must be doing something wrong...

I put about 15 hours on mine the first week, mucking with the jetting all the while. An extended fuel screw is absolutely neccessary. After I realized I was never going to get it on my own, I stopped at Motoxotica and picked up the JD kit. OHHH, that's what the throttle is supposed to feel like! Cleared all ills. The larger leak jet completely eliminated the idle to WFO bog when riding. I have to watch the front wheel now on my street runs, it comes up even in 4th. I may add a Boysenen, but I don't NEED it. I need to find a solution for exhaust leaks, ChamberSeal works for about 4 hours at time, then blows out. The better the carb works the more I realize the stock rear Michelin is not good for much. It wiggles around in sand, skips in rocks, digs in without ever hooking up in silt and loam and is like an ice skate in mud. The good news is that it wears horribly so you get to replace it before it bugs you too much. I have an IRC trials rear on order, should take care of my concerns everywhere but mud (and in a month or two mud will not be much of a concern around here). The front tire on the other hand is pretty good, hooks and sticks in every condition so far.

My impression of the bike at 40 hours is: Ya-bloody-hoo! Once the jetting is sorted out, it grunts along quite happily on the slow nasty stuff, and then when you crack the throttle it just pulls all the way out to 70+. Top speed is around 75, but it gets there right away. The bike invites throttle-steering. The suspension loosens up, and becomes very responsive to adjustment. I think the spring weight is just about perfect for my weight - 170 plus gear, you may need more work if you are over under that, but I can't see it being much better even if I ship it off. Others have commented on the bike's turning radius and tracking, and I have to disagree with those who have had a complaint - it goat trails beautifully, and is still stable at speed. The seat is comfy enough, although all my other bikes have pedals so my opinion may not be the same as everyone else's. The plastic work is plenty durable, which I can testify to, as I have now dropped it in rocks, trees and mud with only a few scratches and a gouge or two, but nothing needing replacement. Careful with the pressure washer on the graphics tho, you have been warned.The grippy clutch settles out, the shifting gets LOTS smoother and there is less and less scary metal in the screens with each oil change. I ran dino-juice for the first 400 miles then switched to synth, smoothed the clutch out even more.

With the exception of the stock rear tire, every ride has been better than the previous. Longest ride has been @ 8 hours, with refuel.

I've added a Rooster skid plate, with the stock left side guard (trimmed to allow easier access to the paper oil filter), Rooster radiator guards (good stuff, the only reason I still have radiators), Rooster heat shield, cheapo turn signals, hand guards, a couple of Moose fender bags and gel grips (filled the bars with silicone and lead shot - voila - no more vibration!). I will add a bigger, clear tank once Clarke gets theirs sorted out, disk guards once Rooster has them available, maybe a set of Flexxbars, just because I really want them, Powerpegs and find a replacement for the rear tire. I'm happy with the hydro clutch, so my earlier plans to go with a Rekluse are on hold. Same with a Scotts stabilizer, the bike tracks straight as an arrow under accel, right up to my freak-out threshold. I will probably grind off the head on the side-stand bolt this week, although I seem to have tweaked it just enough that it doesn't fly up anymore - see, dropping your bike every 15 minutes helps!

So, my impression at 40 hours is that this is the best vehicle purchase I have ever made. It requires some tweaking to bring it out (JD kit mainly), but I am very, very happy with it. Who wants a bike you can't work on anyway? I have had no trouble getting parts (filters mainly so far) from Reno Cycles and Motoxotica (my friend with the DRZ has given up trying to get parts at Michaels-Mart and just mail orders everything, so much for buying a big 4 bike based on parts availability). There is plenty of aftermarket available for it, everything you could reasonably want.

My biggest complaint about this Husky is that I haven't used my Mt. Rose pass since I got it! :thumbsup:

Good writeup NGA!

Nice report, thanks for sharing. I sure am glad to hear about Cycles and Gear being into it, I bought my kids Polaris there, I bought my Husky from Ed on 4th St and dont think Id go back to him. If we could just get Cycles and Gear to carry some parts, I tried getting sprockets from them and they really didnt sound interested in getting them for me so I ordered from Motoxotica and had them next day, I guess not all dealers can be as good as the best. Next time we go to Moon Rocks you should come and try the 510! :thumbsup:

I have to watch the front wheel now on my street runs, it comes up even in 4th.
Great write up, jetted right the 250 does pull pretty darn strong but you must be on a 450 that got 250 stickers.
(filled the bars with silicone and lead shot - voila - no more vibration!).
I never heard of that, doesn't that add a considerable amount of weight?

I have not noticed the vibs and being a Laverda rider I usually do.

I bought my Husky from Ed on 4th St and dont think Id go back to him. If we could just get Cycles and Gear to carry some parts, I tried getting sprockets from them and they really didnt sound interested in getting them for me so I ordered from Motoxotica and had them next day, I guess not all dealers can be as good as the best.

Yeah, I went to Ed's first, guess I wasn't cool enough for them to talk seriously to. Reno Cycles seems to get stuff in 1 or 2 days - I keep thinking if I ask them often enough they will stock it just to shut me up. On the other hand I drive to Cloverdale once or twice a month and Motoxotica is a good rest break.

Next time we go to Moon Rocks you should come and try the 510! :thumbsup:

I seem to time my trips to Cali about the time you all head over here. I live just off of Pyramid Highway. Maybe next time - I do want to try the 510 (maybe I can convince my wife that the 250 and 510 are the same bike and she needs glasses).

I have not noticed the vibs and being a Laverda rider I usually do.

Nerve damage in my left arm. My left hand goes numb all the time. The shot and silicone give me 15-20 minutes of riding at time before I can't tell if I'm touching the clutch lever. I think Flexxbars may be a better long term solution, but this cost 3 bucks...

Notagraphicartist - GOOD writeup.

I agree 100% for the first hour at least since that is all I have on mine.

For the record is Mt Rose a ski resort?

Nerve damage in my left arm. My left hand goes numb all the time. The shot and silicone give me 15-20 minutes of riding at time before I can't tell if I'm touching the clutch lever. I think Flexxbars may be a better long term solution, but this cost 3 bucks...

Hey Mark! I have similiar issues with my left thumb. :thumbsup: Can you explain the process of how you accomplished this shot/silicone fix? Did you just fill the bars completely with shot? :thumbsup:

Great write up! I'm headin out on a cruise with my wife next week and then plan on getting my TE250 so thanks for the excellent info!

Excellent report. I'm still on the fence about whether to get a TE 250 or 450, and am leaning toward the 250. I look for riding reports like yours everyday! :thumbsup:

Great write up, jetted right the 250 does pull pretty darn strong but you must be on a 450 that got 250 stickers. I never heard of that, doesn't that add a considerable amount of weight?

Well, I do have to help it up in 4th, big fork bounce and aggressive clutch, but I can ride it out 3 out of 5 tries so it counts, right?

I started using the birdshot and silicone on my DH mountain bike years ago after my hand got so bad I couldn't even finish a run with it. It added about 2-3 lbs to the Husky handlebars - less than the handguards. On my road and cyclocross bicycles I use a lot less birdshot to keep the weight down. Use a tube of silicone and just add some birdshot, then silicone, then birdshot, etc. Pack it in tight and use the handguard plugs to cork it. It is messy, but it got rid of 90% of the low frequency buzz that was getting my hand. The full gell grips help too. I figure I'm not racing and I'm not all that worried about a couple of pounds, particularly if it means I can feel my hand!

For the record is Mt Rose a ski resort?

Yeah, www.skimtrose.com. It's the resort to the southwest of Reno, kinda overlooks the town. I usually manage 30+ full days and 20 or so half-day-ditch-outa-work days a year.

Not this year!

Great writeup there! Hey, my local dealer just got in some giant postcards for a Husky Trip in Baja in April. :thumbsup: Did your dealers get the same cards too?

Thanks, that was a very good, informative writeup.

Well, I do have to help it up in 4th, big fork bounce and aggressive clutch, but I can ride it out 3 out of 5 tries so it counts, right?
I count it!!
Hey Mark! I have similiar issues with my left thumb. :thumbsup: Can you explain the process of how you accomplished this shot/silicone fix? Did you just fill the bars completely with shot? :thumbsup:

Great write up! I'm headin out on a cruise with my wife next week and then plan on getting my TE250 so thanks for the excellent info!

Love the avatar, pilot!!

Great write-up for the little TE. I had always been thinking I'd get the 450 or 510 as my next bike (though my old TE still rips so I have no idea when I'd be getting a new bike....), but I think I'd have to seriously consider the 250. A lighter bike would certainly be welcome for everything except maybe the hill climbs at Carnegie.

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