2020 Husqvarna TE 150i

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Bike Test: 2020 Husqvarna TE 150i Two-Stroke Review

This small-bore fuel-injected two-stroke is like a scalpel on the trails. Lightweight and super agile with ultimate rider control.

Straight up, the 2020 Husqvarna TE 150i surprised the hell out of me. After riding all the 450 and 250 moto bikes for the shootouts and other tests, I have been calibrated for those hard-hitting four-strokes designed for the track. And when I hopped on this small two-stroke tuned for off-road, my initial impression wasn’t very good. Yet over the course of testing this bike in some super gnarly terrain, I’ve turned a complete 180. The TE 150i is one of the most fun and capable off-road bikes I’ve ever ridden and the following will explain why. 

Features

There are a couple things that make the 150i unique. First is the fuel injection. Technically, it is called TPI (transfer port injection) because there are two fuel injectors spraying gas directly into the transfer ports on each side of the cylinder. The throttle body just provides air and oil is metered in after the reed cage. The ECU keeps track of RPM and other data points to adjust how much oil to give it. So, at idle, the gas/oil ratio can be as little as 100/1 and it is adjusted upward as the RPM increase. This not only makes a fuel-injected two-stroke cleaner burning, it takes the “art of jetting” off the table. No need to chase down a crisp setting when elevation or weather conditions change. 

The throttle body is air only. Oil and gas are added independently at different spots in the engine.

On a practical, ease-of-use note, no more mixing gas. Straight gas goes in the tank (8.5 liters) and most two-stroke oils can go in the oil tank (0.7 liters), with the filler cap right in front of the gas cap on the frame (some two-stroke oils specify pre-mix only). This makes filling up easier and if you had to pop out of the woods to hit a gas station mid-ride, you’ll be good. A full tank of oil lasts about 3 full tanks of gas, according to the Husky guys. 

The rest of the bike is standard Husqvarna, yet the suspension is a bit of off-road/moto mix. Last year WP renamed their suspension components to make it clearer which is for what application. WP XACT fork and shock are for moto and cross country (linkage shock), and the WP XPLOR fork and shock for enduro and dual-sport (PDS non-linkage shock). On the TE 150i, there is a mix with the XPLOR fork and an XACT shock, though Husky has obviously set the shock setting to match the fork. This does mean that you have to be careful with the linkage hanging down if you are used to the PDS shock. Lastly, it has lights, a kickstand, 18-inch rear wheel with 2.15 width for big tires, and the composite carbon subframe (70% polyamide, 30% carbon fiber). 

The pipe doesn't look like a 125/150 pipe, but that longer shape gives the bike more bottom-end and torque.

On The Trail

Power

There are a couple things working for and a couple things working against this bike, and 150i really highlights that high HP and massive muscle don’t count for much in certain terrain. Yeah, if I really had to be brutally honest, the TE has a very mellow motor. It is a small-bore two-stroke that is tuned for off-road riding with fuel-injection, which also lessens the hit of a two-stroke motor. If you haven’t read or heard anything about other fuel-injected two strokes, pretty much everyone agrees that they make power in a smoother, more linear way than carburated two-strokes of the same displacement. 

This is one of the two fuel injectors that squirt gas into both sides of the cylinder in the transfer ports.

That being said, the absolute control over the power is incredible. Because the throttle response is super crisp and instantaneous, and it lugs down surprisingly low for a small bike, I rode gnarlier trails than I ever have on this bike. Combined with the 18-inch rear wheel that has a 2.15 rim allowing for a fat off-road tire, the tractable power delivery had me climbing up gnarly terrain that I had only gone down before. I know this sounds counterintuitive because, typically, more power equals more capability, which is true. But, because of the smooth, easy delivery of the power, I had complete confidence to ride super rough trails. 

The only time I wish I had more motor was on loose, soft, steep hills. I’m sure a better extreme enduro rider could make the bike work, but for the average off-roader (which I’m on the bottom end of that category) having more CCs would definitely help on climbs. There is plenty of power for more open trails and faster terrain, but you will be shifting quite a bit. 

Suspension

In keeping with what this machine is designed to do, the suspension is very soft, which is perfect for gnarly, technical, slow-speed terrain. I did ride the bike at Glen Helen, just to see if it can be moto’d and, unless you way less than 125 lbs, that’s a no. 

I started out with the suspension at the stock clickers (with the sag set for me) and for rock gardens and tight switchbacks, the combo of the XPLOR fork and XACT shock worked awesome. Super plush, controlled and mega comfort over repeated, sharp hits. 

But, when things got smoother and faster, the TE blows through the stroke pretty quickly. Even at a full turn stiffer on HS compression on the shock and five clicks stiffer on the fork, it still felt pretty plush, but I could hit rollers and whoops at greater speed without getting too bucked around. 

The XPLOR fork and XACT shock combo works extremely well in extreme terrain. Just don't try to moto the TE.

Handling

By far, the best part of the TE 150i. This bike is so fun to whip around in tight trails. It’s not just the controllable power or the low weight, but the slimness of the bike as well. All Husqvarnas have a very slim profile and the “sit on top” style seat that gives maximum control and agility. I don’t have anything negative to say about the Huskys handling. I pointed it where I wanted to go and I went. 

Again, it sounds weird to say, but having such a nimble, controllable machine made me explore trails that I had avoided in the past. I sort of had the mentality that I was on a mountain bike and if I got in over my head or things got too gnarly, I could just turn around or muscle the bike up and over stuff. And with the bike being so light, picking it up repeatedly or hopping off and lifting the rear end over something took very little effort. 

Overall

The TE 150i seems to be greater than the sum of its parts. The fact that you don’t have to mix gas or mess with jetting is just a bonus. The fun factor of this machine is off the charts if you are in the right terrain. Gnarly, extreme conditions and I probably wouldn’t want any other bike. Even a bigger two-stroke wouldn’t be that much heavier but would be harder to control and more of a handful. For all-day riding, through tricky trails, I’d pick the TE 150i every time.

Specifications

Product Husqvarna TE 150i
Model Year 2020
Engine Size 150cc
Engine Type Two-Stroke
Engine Displacement 143.99
Bore x Stroke 58 mm x 54.5 mm
Compression Ratio N/A
Fuel System Transfer Port Injection
Ignition Continental EMS
Transmission 6-speed
Final Drive N/A
Suspension Front WP XPLOR 48, 300 mm of travel
Suspension Rear WP XACT, 300 mm of travel
Brakes Front Disc
Brakes Rear Disc
Tires Front N/A
Tires Rear N/A
Overall Length N/A
Overall Width N/A
Overall Height N/A
Seat Height 950 mm
Wheelbase N/A
Ground Clearance 360 mm
Rake/Trail 63.5 steering head angle
Fuel Capacity 8.5 L
Curb Weight 99.6 kg
Features
Miscellaneous
Price $8,899
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