Project Husqvarna TE610 Part 4: Dual Sport Adventure Bike Ergos and Armor

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Skid plate
This TE610 came from the midwest, where the soil is perfect for plowing and rocks are a comparative rarity. Before venturing out in California's deserts and mountains, it needed a skid plate to protect the frame and lower sides of the engine. I have been happy with the plastic skid plates sold by Hyde Racing. They are molded from lightweight PTFE co-polymer material, which is very durable and will slide over obstacles, even abrasive ones, rather than sticking to them as aluminum can. They won't dent or bend, and many riders report that they reflect less engine noise upward.

 

te610 hyde racing skid plate
Hyde Racing skid plates are molded to closely fit the shape of the engine and frame, wrapping up around the edges for protection while providing space for air to circulate. The skidplate for the TE610 goes up the frame a little higher in front than others, so Hyde Racing provided holes for additional air flow. I drilled a 3/16-in hole at the point that is lowest when the bike is on its kick stand so wash water can drain.

The skid plate weighs 2 lb, 0.2 oz with brackets and hardware, but most people will simply remove incompatible stock parts weighing 1 lb, 9.8 oz, for a net gain of just 6.4 oz at the lowest point on the bike.  Lightness is another reason to like Hyde Racing skid plates better than aluminum ones.

Radiator Guards
Radiators are one of the most delicate parts of a dirt bike, and they by necessity hang out in space on the sides of the bike. Without good radiator guards, a rider can easily end up far from a truck with a bike that won't hold water, and paying what a good set cost to make that whole situation never have happened would seem like an awesome deal. Many companies make radiator guards or braces for dirt bikes, but only a handful are strong enough to protect against serious impacts. Of those, just one is compatible with the close-fitting tank and shrouds on the biggest Husky. Bulletproof Designs is the only choice for the TE610.
 

te610 bulletproof designs radiator guards
These guards are machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum, rather than stamped and bent out of sheet metal. The void ratio on the front is better than some other guards, and being set out in front of the radiator gives the air more ability to redistribute itself across the fins. They protect the entire front of the radiator from punctures and provide resistance to crushing from side impacts. Bulletproof Designs offers a lifetime warranty to the original owner.

The Bulletproof Designs fit on the radiators is perfect, bridging from the radiator mounts on the frame to the mounting points on the outside of the radiators. All needed hardware is included. They seem tight when installing, but once in, everything is just right. Everything except the front fender. Because the guards stand in front of the radiators, I had to trim a few inches from the back of the front fender to keep it from rubbing the guards, not a big deal.

I started to smooth some of the edges prior to installing the guards and before I knew it, had a couple hours of OCD into deburring them. Having gone that far, I decided to anodize them to match the blue plastics, also enhancing their scratch and corrosion resistance. The pair of guards weighs 1 lb, 8.6 oz, just 15.8 oz more than the stock plastic louvers. Well worth it for “bulletproof” radiators.

The Bulletproof Designs guards have already proven their worth. It turns out that a 335-lb thumper hits the ground a lot harder than a 225-lb motocross bike. I've already scratched the heck out of the left side radiator shroud and even cracked it, and the radiator is still perfectly straight instead of ripped off and stuffed back between the tank and the cylinder head.

Stick
The Husky's original Metzeler Karoo tires are loved by no one. The stale donuts on this bike were six years old – useless, in spite of having some tread left. They tried to kill me on the street and dumped the bike out from under me in the dirt, in spite of caution bred from their observed lack of grip. They had to go.

It's been a few years since off-road riders started running rear trials tires on their standard dirt bikes and calling it cheating. Some riders who like to slide the rear end around decide it's not for them, but more say they'll never go back to a knobby. The many biting edges and rubber compounds are made to grip, rather than spin and roost, making the tires a good match for a bike like the TE610, with wide-ratio gearing and low-rpm torque. Gripping rather than roosting also helps reduce wear on trails and keep them open.

 

te610 pirelli mt43 trials tire

Pirelli makes a DOT-legal trials tire, the MT43. The reports from riders who use it on the back of a TE610 are that it works better than a knobby from new all the way until it's almost worn out, and is smoother and quieter on the road. They also say it lasts longer than any knobby they've tried. I paired it with Pirelli's aggressive, yet still DOT-legal MT21 knobby on the front.

The difference between Jurassic rocks and actual tires was impressive on pavement. Being able to use the rear brake without fear of unintentionally sliding into an intersection sideways is a good thing. Modulation at the traction limit is good, and the tire communicates mu-slip effectively. It's waaay smoother and quieter than the big knobby, too.

I've run about 100 miles on dirt with the Pirellis so far, ranging from smooth fireroads to rutted out, sandy single track hill climbs, and am totally happy with the setup. Between the gearing, torque and traction, I have no problem riding up stuff that proves challenging to ride back down.

 

te610 motion pro liteloc rim lockte610 motion pro liteloc rim lock installed
The Husky didn't come with rim locks, but they are a necessity for a bike that's used off-road, gripping the inside of the tire when the nut tightens them against the rim. This prevents the tire from spinning on the rim and ripping the valve stem out of the tube when aired down for traction. I installed Motion Pro LiteLoc lightweight rim locks front and rear. They weigh 1.5 oz front and 2.75 oz rear, so you'll need to balance the wheels before riding at highway speed. Typical rim locks are larger, made of aluminum, and quite a bit heavier.

 

Balancing the wheels eliminated a serious vibration that had been present before, even without the rim locks. That may seem obvious, but the wheels don't come balanced stock, suggesting it's not necessary. That suggestion is wrong. Balancing your dual-sport bike's wheels is totally worth doing if you ever get out of third gear.

This project has gotten fun, finally. It's feeling like the build is making progress, rather than just trying to get to the starting line. There's plenty left to do, of course, so stay tuned!

 

Sources

Bulletproof Designs

Cycra

Doubletake Mirror

Techna-Fit Fluid Transfer Systems

Hyde Racing

Motion Pro

RAM Mounting Systems, Inc.

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