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2011 TE449 Owner Thoughts & Observations

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New here. Bought a TE449 about a month back and thought I'd express my experience with and impressions of it. Got the bike at Motocity in Avondale, AZ for $6,900 OTD. Felt good about the price - maybe others have done better.

I consider myself an experienced "B" level rider. Been riding dirt off and on since 1982. Never competitive, just trail riding for fun. Past bikes that have been in the dirt include an XL185, XR200, KTM125, YZ125, F650GS, R1200GSA. This is my first new dirtbike and certainly the most capable.

Me this weekend after spending the day on light MX track and desert trails to set up the suspension:

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I have been interested in the TE model Husky for several years. Always liked the idea of a dirt bike that came ready to plate. A true dirt bike with street credentials, as opposed to a street bike trying to play in the dirt. I have found, however, the bike to be more trail/play oriented than expected.

My first day out on the bike proved a disappointment for me. It was delivered in stock trim with the O2 sensor and standard mapping. The dealer had removed the vapor recovery system. I took it to a location north of Phoenix called the Mile Markers and rode two track, sand wash, and single track. There were many rugged hills, relatively steep, with lots of rocks - typical AZ desert stuff, if you know the area. Anyway my main disappointment was with the engine performance. The power was sluggish and the engine tended to stall at the worst times. I would be picking my way up a steep single track hill in a bunch of rocks and the engine would flame out - crud!!! That aint no fun! This happened several times and the recovery efforts simply wore me out. I also burned up a good set of riding pants on the unprotected header pipe and ripped one of the truely worthless stock hand guards completely off in a minor spill. The first two fixes were easy:

Cycra Pro Bend hand guards. Not the cheapest or the most expensive. I found them easy to install and solid:

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Wrapped the header. It's wearing okay so far, but I think I'll go the P3 carbon route when replacement comes:

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A trip to Motocity and I learned a little electronic plug came with the bike that would set it to "race map II". I was given the plug to install and told to remove the O2 sensor. With that accomplished, I did a 70 mile desert trail ride around the town of Wickenburg, AZ with a group of guys from ADV. Boy, what a difference! The engine ran much better - way stronger and no more flame outs. Had a good ride but noticed that I was slip sliding all over the place now that I had a little power/speed. I asked all the guys on the ride what tire they recommended, and the answer was Dunlap Geomax MX71. Ordered tires online at Rocky Mountain, along with some Dunlap ultra heavy duty tubes.

While I waited for the tires to arrive, I got in another ride at Bryant Park in Cottonwood, AZ. This day was with my little brother, who is a far more accomplished dirt rider than I. He used to race ADRA and some moto-x, so his skills are in another league from mine. He was on his YZ250 this particular day, as he said he needed to get the two-stroke out and running. We got in some good single track, fast desert trails, and played on a little mx track with good whoops and berms. The TE ran fine but, again, I was losing traction all the time. On top of that, we traded bikes, and that was when I realized just how poorly set up my bike really was.

My brother's YZ did EVERYTHING better. It danced over rock gardens, tracked well through sand, and remained level over whoops. Not the TE. My bike dropped into the rock gardens and wallowed around as it struggled to find its way out. Lines in sand were vague and imprecise. And whoops, well it was just plain freightening as the bike lurched front to back as though I were going eight seconds on some kind of wild bronco. My brother did a few laps on the TE as well. I rode up to him impressed with the YZ and asked what he thought of my bike. All he did was laugh. No comment; just laughter. Dang, that hurt. Some work was in order.

I got home and placed an order for bar risers to improve the ergos. I got on this and other forums to begin my study of suspension setup. I reviewed the TE owner's and shop manuals for sag and clicker settings. When the tires came, I spooned them on. When the risers came, those got installed. Called my Bro, and arranged another trip up the hill to Cottonwood.

New MX71 tires - great improvement:

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Touratech bar risers - much more comfortable standing. Also note that I dropped the forks one level down in the clamps from where they are in this pic:

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The objective of this day was to set the suspension. I'll get right to it and say that the bike, as valved, is meant for relatively light trail riding, IMO. I spent the day constantly looking for more compression and rebound out of both fork and shock. With my brother's help, and a couple well-tuned bikes for comparison, we got started.

I was looking for three things from the suspension:

1. The ability to dance over rock gardens, instead of getting trapped in them. This ultimately required a significant increase in compression damping on both ends. Now, instead of a soft stroke through the rocks that let the bike settle in, the firm ride keeps the bike up on top and eases the way through.

2. The need for stability in deep sand. I'll say that without a doubt the new tires made a huge difference here. Comparing the Dunlap MX71 to the Metzler Karoo is like apples and oranges. Frankly, I cannot in any way take the Karoo seriously. It is a bad tire. In addition to the tires, increased compression damping combined with dropping the forks one notch down in the clamps did wonders for the bike in sand.

3. It has got to ride level through whoops. This required playing with rebound damping more than anything. More and more rebound damping in the shock, and a bit less than expected in the fork. Initially, the bike would stink bug through whoops badly and practically launch me over the bars, even when on the gas. Progressively increasing rebound damping on the shock began to solve this problem, but something was still missing. I rode my brother's YZ and 450X and discovered the answer - the TE fork rebound was set too tight. The fork was simply not extending fast enough off the top of a whoop to hold the front of the bike up as the rear tire moved into the whoop. Easing up on the fork rebound settings did the trick and the bike can now attack a set of whoops with relative ease.

Here are my settings. Obviously this is a very individual thing, but I found that the bike probably should be revalved for my taste and riding style, as I am certainly on the firm end of all the settings. Note that the "clicks" designated below represent back, counter clockwise from the fully closed, clockwise position:

Rear Race/Rider Sag: 4 1/4 inches

Shock High Speed Compression: -1/2 turn

Shock Low Speed Compression: -2 clicks

Shock Rebound: -1 click

Fork Compression: -3 clicks

Fork Rebound: -5 clicks

With the mods mentioned, I am far more happy with the bike. I can now "attack" the trail, as my brother puts it. The setup allows me to ride through obstacles with confidence; whereas before, I was tentative on a bike that felt tentative.

More improvements are in my future. The bike is fast. In drags with the 450X it pulls right along with it, but I feel the power delivery could be improved. Specifically, I need a more immediate hit off idle and low RPM in order to lift the front over whoops and other obstacles. The current power delivery off idle/low/mid RPM is very linear and electric. I need a bit of punch. The hope is an FMF Power Core will do the trick. If not, maybe the JD will be in order. As I have not experienced either, it is only hopeful speculation on my part based on what I read here and elsewhere that these parts will help.

I like my bike. Best of all, I like getting out and riding. It has been a while. Too much road riding, and not enough dirt. That has changed, and I'm sure the Husky will serve me well.

All tuned, and only a broken blinker and scratched Cycra to show for it!

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Edited by Gillies

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Gillies, welcome to the Husqvarna community and yes the stock TE449 and TE511 require some suspension work just like any other new dirt bike... so I wouldn'd get bummed about that.

It sounds like you're getting things sorted out well and the P3 heat shield makes a great addition.

If you're going to be keeping it street legal you're going to want to relocate your rear turn signals.

Keep us posted on your progress and happy riding.:bonk:

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The FMF slip on and JD tuner will transform the bike. You will be amazed at the pent-up power that bike has.

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My first day out on the bike proved a disappointment for me. It was delivered in stock trim with the O2 sensor and standard mapping. The dealer had removed the vapor recovery system. I took it to a location north of Phoenix called the Mile Markers and rode two track, sand wash, and single track. There were many rugged hills, relatively steep, with lots of rocks - typical AZ desert stuff, if you know the area. Anyway my main disappointment was with the engine performance. The power was sluggish and the engine tended to stall at the worst times. I would be picking my way up a steep single track hill in a bunch of rocks and the engine would flame out - crud!!! That aint no fun! This happened several times and the recovery efforts simply wore me out. I also burned up a good set of riding pants on the unprotected header pipe and ripped one of the truely worthless stock hand guards completely off in a minor spill. The first two fixes were easy:

Congrats! I'll have to look you up next time I get out to Cave Creek and go hit Pleasant Lake or WildCat ORV, LOVE riding out there and plan to send my RV and some bikes out next winter for some more exploring of AZ.

With a good aftermarket slip-on and the race jumper plugged in, the low RPM flame outs should subside after a couple hundred miles of break-in, a lot of it is getting use to modulating a crank mounted clutch IMHO. Also you might want to check all of the hose clamps on the intake tract, if loose they can let air in on a bump such as a hilly technical climb and cause a stumble as well.

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Excellent post, thanks. I bought one of the first TE511 in the NW. I have since put over 2200 mainly off road miles on it and flat love the bike. Putting muffler and JD kit on it will completely transform the bike power wise. Also you do not need to remove the o2 sensor on this model when running the power up plug. I found the stock suspension very good. Yes, it is on the soft and almost loose side but works very well when set up right. That said mine is off tot he suspension tuner as i want it 100% and it needed stiffer springs for me anyway. Looks like you are well on your way to getting it sorted. As for your brothers YZ is is an off road bike, minus everything your bike has for street and e-start and, and, and so it really is apples to oranges. But with a little work you can get your Te to be everything you hoped. It is a great platform. Enjoy. :bonk:

Tips:

- Make sire the air box seals well and inspect for leaks, it is possible to get the corner of the foam to not line up right on the far side.

- Set your sag longer than normal. or better yet get the 2012 progressive spring

- Get the JD tuner, makes a HUGE difference in performance

- Different bars made my bike feel a lot better. I like the Trailtech woods bend ones. Cheap, look great excellent euros and STRONG.

- Do not overfill with oil, check hot. if you do over fill it will blow out the breather into your airbox and make a mess.

- "Bag" filters (screens) need almost no attention. Check them every once in a while just to make sure nothing is in there. I have seen nothing on them.

- Valves seem rock solid on this bike and I tend to hammer my bikes some.

- Never had it over heat or even get hot, you will be testing that more than me but seem very cool running for a modern 4st.

- EZ to reset the TPS but simply unplugging your battery for a few minutes, seems to be worth doing once in a while. (Thanks for the tip "Some dude")

- if you ride long trips or real remote a light weight battery in your pack makes sense. Also build some little jumper cables to tuck under your seat. Never had a problem but not asking for one ether.

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Gillies,

That's an excellent informative post. Wish more were submitted in this manner. Even if you end up hating this bike after all your work, we can now see what and why. Optimistically, I bet you will end up tweaking it till it purrs. You seem like that kinda guy:thumbsup:

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Suspension work on a new bike is pretty much a given if you want the best handling out of it.

Ride: how often do you reset your TPS?

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