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Husky History Lesson needed - good vintage?

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Howdy!

I have a long history of mucking about on antique American, British and Italian bikes, they have all been road bikes. I ride a 2008 KLR these days, and am interested in possibly riding a vintage Husqvarna.

I have tried to learn a few things on the web about them, but would appreciate suggestions on a good year and model for playing in the desert. Ideally I would like it to have lights and a speedo, so it can be plated.

I prefer air-cooled, from the late 1970s to mid 1980s with a wide ratio tranny and heavier flywheels. What is a good year, as far as ignition reliability, ability to rebuild suspension, and finding replacement parts? Can anyone help me understand the differences in model designations ( WR, XC, etc.)?

Here are the bikes that have a lot of appeal to me!

Thanks very much!

The RideDualSport Forum

100_0082-500.jpg

husky_85_WR250_001.jpg

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mmmmk.

well, here ya go...

first the 2 bikes you have pictured, though both nice, not original.top looks to be a 82 250 WR with a few mods, bottom looks to be a 84 250CR with enduro mods..

anyhooo.

the whole WR CR XC thing started in 1978 , with the 250 and 390 WR CR and OR..

the CR is a straight up motorcrosser, close ratio gear box, longer shocks and forks, smaller tank.

the OR {off road} was a mix of both the WR and CR, longer shocks and forks, short tail fender, didnt come with lights but were available, close ratio 1st -3rd, wide ratio from 4 to 6.

WR was the enduro weapon of choice for me, and other riders of the day.

came with lights, kickstand, speedo, toolbag, on and on. these were the bikes that really made Husqvarna the ultimate Enduro motorcycle, red and gold on the 250,s and black and gold on the 390,s wow, what a sexy bike.

my dad and i went down to Bill Thomas Husky and took one of each home, i rode that 250 until it needed a new Engine..

flash to 1981,,said by some to be the sexiest Huskys made with that valcano tank, upgraded suspension..ect. i own 2 82 Huskys, both are original mint unrestored bikes.

then,,the 1983 Husqvarnas,,,wow. welcome the white nights..one year only for the alloy tank and white trim.

used the new reed valve system, and improved susp, again, enter the 510 4 strokes.

anyway.

these bikes 78 to 83 were likely the best, relaible, most powerful dirt bikes offered at that time.

if you wanted the best, most awesome motorcycle to Race Enduro, Desert or trail ride, you got a Husky..plain and simple..

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Wow, thank you very much Huskychuck! That is a big help. I was wondering about the OR model designation. I bet a WR would be most suitable for trucking to the desert for a few days and would be the most versatile bike. Did Husky tune the WR models for a wider power band and more torque, compared to a CR?

I imagine, I will need to become fairly familiar with what the bikes came with from the factory, so as to be able to know that the motor, frame and suspension have not been mixed and matched by previous owners. I'd like to find an original condition bike that needs some TLC, and is serviceable.

Thanks again!

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the WR and CR share the same top end, the OR has smaller porting..

finding an original unrestored bike is tough,..

i have a few projects available depending on your skill level and taste.

if you contact me,.i can give a list of the bikes i have for sale.

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Thank you HuskyChuck, I am still early in my phase of learning about the bikes, and kind of figuring where I want to go with it all. I'll keep everything in mind.

I seem to be rather short on time to restore bikes these days, my 1953 Indian Chief is languishing in boxes, so I am thinking along the lines of a fairly complete bike that needs minor fixing up, cleaning and refurbishing. I don't mind doing lots of labor, its the searching and purchasing of any major components that might keep a bike from going to the desert... and doing what it was intended for... having loads of fun!

Thanks! :banana:

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As a former Husky dealer in the 80s, I would avoid the 85 and later water cooled Huskys like the plague. The first water cooled 250s in '84 were fine but the '85s and '86s 250s and open bikes were a mess! The open bikes in particular had a crank balance problem that make them vibrate like a blender with a golf ball in it, and they overheated regularly to the point of boiling over. They were pretty darn fast though... I had an '86 water-cooled XC500 that was probably the fastest dirt bike I ever owned. You had to be quite a man to ride it though, as it was tall, heavy and would vibrate your arms numb in 5 minutes at any kind of speed.

As mentioned above, the '78 to '84 Huskies were fine bikes. A bit slow steering, but very reliable and strong engines. The 250s were nothing special powerwise, but an early '80s Husky 500, particularly an XC model, will run with anything made today.

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Thank you FatherTime, for the most excellent advice! I have been tempted by the watercooled models, but I got kind of scared reading about what can happen to magnesium cases if there is a coolant leak that goes unattended.

Plus, I am partial to the simplicity, easy maintenance and good looks of the air-cooled motors. I figure that at 48 years old now, something in the 250 to 400 cc range will be more than enough for plonking around the desert!

Thanks!

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all good info here.. and i do agree the sexiest huskys were the early 80's..good post

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I had a new 82 CR 250 Husky. I must of been a little hard on bikes back then becuase it only lasted 3 months. Forks and shocks leaked in a couple weeks,the bore wore out twice. But it handled so good in the sand washes that's all i did. (It was a little hard on it). My buddies 82 YZ 250 would pass me like i was standing still.BUT.....i loved the look of the Husky and would grab one up if i can find one....(still running)

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I inherited a 79 Husky 390OR that I brought back to life. It is a fun bike but I do not ride it anymore. The main issue I ran into was parts availability. They are hard to find and expensive. The rear shocks can be rebuilt but it's expensive.

Some of the issues I had with mine was the inner liner in the exhaust pipe started to disintegrate. I had to cut the pipe open, remove the liner, and re-weld it together.

One tip if you get a 70's bike, is to try and find some forks and triple tree from an 80's era bike (white forks), this may be blasphemous to some, but it made the bike much more enjoyable to ride.

Oh yeah, the OR model looks like a "chopper" compared to the newer bikes due to its steering angle. It is very stable at high speed and in the sand, just not much fun in the tight stuff.

Good luck and have fun, the old bikes can be addicting and fun, just big money pits. If you get one, it's a good laugh to watch one of your buddies try to start kick start it.

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The air cooled 4 strokes were "King or the Desert" in the mid to late 80's.

I prefer these to the open class 2 strokes of the same period.

This is my recent ground up restoration with a few personal touches.

1986 Husqvarna 510 TX (dual sport registered)

garage.php?do=viewattachment&attachmentid=85205

garage.php?do=viewattachment&attachmentid=85204

garage.php?do=viewattachment&attachmentid=85206

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I inherited a 79 Husky 390 OR .....Some of the issues I had with mine was the inner liner in the exhaust pipe started to disintegrate. I had to cut the pipe open, remove the liner, and re-weld it together.

.

I inherited a 79 Husky 390 OR from a co-worker last year. I had the same problem with the exhaust pipe - the inner wall fell apart. The OR models came with a double wall pipe, so I replaced mine with 390 CR pipe - problem solved.

Came across another rider that had a '78 OR a few weeks ago. He replaced the skinny '78 (also '79) forks and triple clamps from those from an '80 model, which are "beefier". Anyway, this guy could ride -clearing all jumps on the course with style - and he was no youngster.

Vintage Husky claims that all parts are available for those years.

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i have several project 390,s for sale, right now, ill be cleaning out my stable a bit.

running out of room, and just made a deal on some 15 or so Huskys,

cant pass em up.

Hey Phillybeef, think the CR,s in 82 had a internal type rotor flywheel and no lights, the XC and WR had lights, mine has dual light coils.

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i have several project 390,s for sale, right now, ill be cleaning out my stable a bit.

running out of room, and just made a deal on some 15 or so Huskys,

cant pass em up.

Hey Phillybeef, think the CR,s in 82 had a internal type rotor flywheel and no lights, the XC and WR had lights, mine has dual light coils.

Yes, The #211 430 Husky above is a WR dressed like a MXer.

Thanks, Huskychuck, for all the good info you dispence here....phillybeef

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...bottom looks to be a 84 250CR with enduro mods....

Sorry, I belive you are wrong.

The WR and CR have different rear breaks, different frames, different front forks. The bike picktured have ALL the WR parts, so it is an original 1984 WR.

Rear break: WR's have the stay arm bolted to the swing arm, the CR's is connected to the frame (floating system)

Frame: WR have a rear frame loop behind the seat, the CR's frame is cut just behind the seat. The WR has one more frame tube under the engine, to function as a skid plate. The CR does not have this.

Forks: The WR has shorter travel than the CR. The swedes belived that the bikes could run higher corner speeds with a lower senter of gravity. If you look closely at the lower fork legs, when you compare WR's and CR's, you'll notice that the forks stretch further down past the wheel bolt on the CR's. It is quite easy to notice, if you know what to look for.. :banana:

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Sorry, I belive you are wrong.

The WR and CR have different rear breaks, different frames, different front forks. The bike picktured have ALL the WR parts, so it is an original 1984 WR.

Rear break: WR's have the stay arm bolted to the swing arm, the CR's is connected to the frame (floating system)

Frame: WR have a rear frame loop behind the seat, the CR's frame is cut just behind the seat. The WR has one more frame tube under the engine, to function as a skid plate. The CR does not have this.

Forks: The WR has shorter travel than the CR. The swedes belived that the bikes could run higher corner speeds with a lower senter of gravity. If you look closely at the lower fork legs, when you compare WR's and CR's, you'll notice that the forks stretch further down past the wheel bolt on the CR's. It is quite easy to notice, if you know what to look for.. :banana:

Weren't the enduros air cooled that model year?

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The air cooled 4 strokes were "King or the Desert" in the mid to late 80's.

I prefer these to the open class 2 strokes of the same period.

This is my recent ground up restoration with a few personal touches.

1986 Husqvarna 510 TX (dual sport registered)

garage.php?do=viewattachment&attachmentid=85205

garage.php?do=viewattachment&attachmentid=85204

garage.php?do=viewattachment&attachmentid=85206

Wow! That thing's beautiful!

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