Dirtbike Showdown: 2018 Husky TE 250i vs. Honda CRF250R
From the 2018 dirt bikes unveiled this past July, two bikes definitely had some major changes. The 2018 Husqvarna TE 250i and the 2018 Honda CRF250R had some historic innovations to bring to market this time around. Comparing both the Husqvarna TE 250i and the Honda CRF250R, you’ll see how especially the CRF250R has improved greatly since last year’s model.
Both the Husqvarna TE 250i and the Honda CRF250R have electric starters this time around. For trail riders the electric starters can be a godsend if your bike is down and a kick start is hopeless. For racers, the new electronic fuel injection on the Husqvarna TE 250i requires a reliable battery and wiring system hence the need for an electric starter. We’ll look closer at that new electronic fuel injection on the Husqvarna TE 250i in a moment. The changes occurring for most Modern MX bikes and the need for easier maintenance and timing accuracy has required the need for an electric starter.
Both the Husqvarna TE 250i and the Honda CRF250R have map select for power features in the 2018 models. The Husqvarna has two map sets, Map One and Map Two. Map Two seems to be the better of the two for open trail riding. In the Honda CRF250 R, Standard is fixed but you can adjust Smooth and Aggressive. This is a great feature for both new racers and more experienced racers. Having the Smooth for more timid racers provides more control and adequate power, while Aggressive mode gives more experienced racers the mid-range and top end power they may want.
The Husqvarna TE 250i definitely is lighter than the Honda CRF250R by about 13 (lbs) but the Honda CRF250R has lost some weight to compete with bikes in the Husqvarna range. As a result, both bikes have better performance on the track as well as the advantage of the ability to maneuver a bike on a trail.
Electronic Fuel Injection in the 2018 Husqvarna TE250i
4-strokes have seen electronic fuel injections but until now, 2-strokes had lagged behind. The carburetor, as well as premixing fuel, seems to be a thing of the past with the new fuel injection systems. The 2018 Husqvarna TE 250i now has an engine management system that uses an electronic control unit that can adjust for temperature and altitude variations through different sensors that retrieve information from the engine. In addition, premix is not necessary because of the separate oil tank that uses an electronic oil pump to provide the right amount of oil the engine needs.
2018 Honda CRF250R Power Difference
For the first time, Honda has replaced the Unicam valve train system with the DOHC valve train system. In order to get more of the fuel/air mixture sucked into the engine, Honda went with the DOHC. The DOHC gives more air efficiency in the new downdraft intake and airbox so that the bottom, mid-range and top end power are smoother and transition better.
Honda also paid attention to the need for Absolute Holeshot. That required a motor and chassis to provide that jump out of the gate. More power, less front-end life and more rear grip were changed which meant a new clutch. Having two fiction materials means that the bike should have a better feel to it. In addition to the new clutch, Honda also shortened the stroke and expanded the bore which in turn means a higher rev limit. To deal with this, the CRF250R has a new crankshaft which reduces the weight by 12 ounces. Honda says that the same rigidity and internal mass should stay intact.
The CRF250R also was given a new fully independent dual exhaust system with two separate head pipes and mufflers to deal with all the air pushing through the motor. As a result Honda claims there is no cross over and gives more power better throttle response.
2018 Husqvarna TE250i Braking System
Husqvarna rolled out its new Magura braking system for both front and rear brakes. This new system tries to balance between improved sensitivity but not so much that it impedes upon performance.
The TE250i also has the WP DCC rear shock system. This allows for more precise dampening without added weight to the design. This combined with the braking system adds control and yet doesn’t take away from performance.
2018 Honda CRF250R Suspension
Lastly, we can’t forget the new shorter swingarm that was added by Honda to put more weight on the rear wheel. To get to Absolute Holeshot, this was needed to make the wheelbase shorter and it allows for the bike to be more agile in the process. In order to compensate, rake was changed a tenth of a degree to keep the front end down.
Both bikes are definitely worth the wait and with the new improvements, the Honda CRF250R at around $7999, and the Husqvarna TE 250i at about $8299, are worth the price.
Sources: “2018 Honda CRF250R Announced” by Andrew Qidar July 30, 2017 Dirt Rider
“2018 Husqvarna Off-Road and Dual Sport Motorcycle Models” Dirt Rider June 27, 2017
Husqvarna official website
Honda official website
Ultimate Motorcycling “2018 Honda CRF250R First Look 20 Fast Facts” by Don Williams July 31, 2017