MXA RACE TEST: THE REAL TEST OF THE 2024 HUSQVARNA TC65

Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2024 HUSQVARNA TC65 BETTER THAN THE 2023 MODEL?

A: Yes, it is. The Husqvarna TC65 is all new for 2024 with an updated engine, new frame and chassis, and new bodywork to match the big-bike Husqvarnas. Of course, one of the biggest updates is the fact that you can now adjust the seat height of the TC65 Junior Cycle, setting it in the low, standard or tall position. 

The Husqvarna TC65 is a white sibling of the KTM 65SX and GasGas MC65. The KTM Group has been the leader of the Junior Cycle class for a long time now, and 2024 marks the first major update for this model in a long time. Like an old glove, the 2023-and-earlier model KTM/Husky/GasGas 65s work great; however, KTM took a deep dive into its mini-bike range, going the extra mile to customize the new 65 to its target rider and modeling the rider-triangle geometry (footpeg-to-seat-to-handlebar ratios) of the full-sized Husqvarna big bikes. 

The MXA wrecking crew flew to Austria to tour the KTM factory in 2023, and we saw multiple young test riders working on the new 65 project. We got to see first-hand the actual effort KTM puts into developing new models. Funny enough, many of the mini bike test riders who developed the new 65 were sons and daughters of the employees who work at KTM.

Once we got home and our testers were able to swing a leg over the new machine, it took some time to work out a few bugs. But, soon our testers preferred the all-new 2024 Husqvarna TC65 to the trusty old 2023 machine.

Husqvarna went to great pains to build a 65cc Junior Cycle that was the spitting image of 2024 Husqvarna TC125.

Q: WHAT’S NEW ON THE 2024 HUSQVARNA TC65?

A: The 2024 Husky received a major overhaul. Let’s highlight the changes.

(1) Body. At first glance, the most noticeable difference to the 2024 Husqvarna TC65 is that it looks like a shrunken-down version of the full-size models. This is because Husky didn’t just want to make its mini-cycles look similar to the big bikes; they wanted them to be miniature versions of the big bikes. 

(2) Adjustability. What do all kids have in common? They grow! Taking the idea from their electric EE-5 frame, the 2024 Husky TC65 (as well as the KTM and GasGas 65 models) comes with adjustable ergonomics. It uses different mounting positions for the subframe, rear shock, fuel tank and seat, allowing for the 65cc Junior Cycle to grow with its rider. Plus, you can adjust the handlebar position within the triple clamps. When it comes to the cost of today’s dirt bikes, this is a huge win for a family and its bank account. Overall, the new model has 45mm of adjustability with a seat height of 28.1 inches in the low position, 28.7 inches in the standard position and 29.9 inches in the tall position. 

(3) Frame. The 65 has an all-new frame with updated geometry and flex. Mirroring the full-size models, the shock is no longer mounted to the upper frame tube, helping mitigate the effects of energy transferred through the chassis. Frame protectors have also been added to protect against “wear and tear” and provide increased grip.

(4) Subframe. In another nod to the full-size Husky models, the subframe is now a two-piece hybrid of polyamide glass fiber and reinforced steel. Of course, it has two different mounting points for adjustability as well. 

(5) Exhaust. To fit the new frame, the pipe and silencer had to be updated. The most noticeable cosmetic difference is the black anodized silencer on the 2024 model. The exhaust also received a tight rubber seal between the header and silencer to help with vibration and better overall performance.

(6) Airbox. To fit the new subframe, the 2024 receives a new airbox and air filter design. The most noticeable change is the Twin Air filter design and snap-lock mounting system for installation, requiring zero tools. 

(7) Engine. The gear ratio in the transmission remains the same, but stronger steel is used for the gears themselves, improving durability. For the clutch, the 65 has a new Diaphragm Spring (DS), just like the big bikes. This improves durability and overall feel. It is also coupled with a new steel clutch basket instead of aluminum, which shows the Pierer Mobility Group (KTM/Husky/GasGas) has focused big time on improving the lifespan of the clutch and transmission. An oil-level check screw has also been integrated onto the clutch cover for ease of use.

(8) Shock. To accommodate the new mounting position of the 2024 frame, a new WP XACT rear shock had to be developed. This resulted in a more compact rear shock design, and therefore the spring rate needed to be adjusted.

(9) Radiators. Last but not least, the new Pankl radiators are inspired by the full-size models, replicating the same design but smaller in size to fit the 65. The radiator protector is mounted directly onto the frame, and the radiators are mounted onto the frame protectors.

(10) Extras. The TC65 also has new footpegs, a new shift lever, and a new lighter and more ergonomic kickstarter to help Little Johnny kick over the TC65 more easily.

WHICH PARTS REMAINED THE SAME FOR 2024?

A: Because the 2024 Husqvarna TC65 received a massive overhaul, not much stayed the same.

(1) Brakes. Because the 2023 model received an upgrade to its rear brake system with beefed-up calipers and a larger rotor (160mm to 180mm) compared to the 2022 model, there wasn’t much need to make any revisions heading into 2024. The front and rear braking system on the TC65 has plenty of stopping power.

(2) Wheels. Carried over from the 2023 model, the 2024 Husky TC65 comes with black anodized aluminum rims laced around aluminum hubs. Husqvarna also stuck with the Maxxis Maxxcross MX-ST tires for the new bike.

(3) Forks. Outside of receiving some revised setting changes and updated fittings to work on the new chassis, the 2024 Husqvarna TC65 comes with the same 35mm WP XACT air forks.

Q: HOW HEAVY IS THE 2024 HUSQVARNA TC65?

A: When Husqvarna came out with the all-new big bikes in 2023, they gained 6 pounds. Thankfully, the new 2024 Husqvarna TC65, which mimics the chassis updates of the big bikes, only gained 1 pound. It weighs 118 pounds. 

Q: HOW DOES THE 2024 HUSQVARNA TC65 RUN ON THE DYNO?

A: We put the new TC65 on the same dyno we use for all of our bike tests. One important thing to note: dyno numbers are only relevant if you are comparing bikes on the same dyno and on the same day. Weather affects how an engine will run, and dynos differ drastically, even if they’re made by the same company. 

We always use Pro Circuit’s dyno for our tests, and the 2024 Husqvarna TC65 reached a peak of 16.63 horsepower at 12,000 rpm with a peak of 7.61 pound-feet of torque at 10,200 rpm. The curve has a dip in power at 8000 rpm and another big dip between 10,000 and 11,000 rpm. We saw a prototype version of the Pro Circuit TC65 pipe and silencer on the dyno. It produces a few extra horsepower and has a much smoother and more consistent power delivery; however, we can’t provide the actual numbers because it was not finalized during our test time.

Q: HOW DOES THE 2024 HUSQVARNA TC65 RUN ON THE TRACK?

A: In stock form, the 2024 TC65 was quicker on the dyno than the 2023 model. The overall power package improved in 2024. On the track, all of our test riders agreed about the engine package. There was a slight hesitation out of the corners or in deeper parts of the track. The clutch had to be used consistently to keep the rpm higher to pull out of these conditions. Once in the midrange, the TC65 had a solid pull through the top. 

We worked with Jamie Ellis from Twisted Development to dial in our TC65 test bike. The first recommendation we followed was to use Twisted Development’s exhaust flange. This upgraded flange not only added to the integrity of the stock O-rings, but because the aftermarket flange is a little longer, it greatly helped with the bottom-end power. 

Also, the Husqvarna manual recommends using a 50:1 pre-mix ratio, but Jamie recommends 40:1, and we, like Jamie, prefer 40:1 in all of our two-stroke test bikes. We also installed a VHM power-valve mechanism because it has an external adjuster for changing how quickly the power valve opens or closes.

Q: HOW IS THE SUSPENSION ON THE 2024 HUSQVARNA TC65?

A: Similar to the 2023 model, the 2024 Husqvarna TC65’s suspension is on the soft side for more experienced Junior Cycle riders. All of our test riders felt a sensation of blowing through the stroke consistently with the forks. Even after we added more air to increase stiffness, our riders complained of a “slap bounce” reaction over the jumps and bumps. Adding more air was not the answer. For the forks, we settled on a stock setting of 3 Bar (44psi), four clicks out on the rebound, and eight clicks out on compression. 

The shock was also on the soft side for our liking. Husqvarna’s manual suggests one full turn out on the high-speed compression, 12 clicks out on the low-speed compression, and 12 clicks out on the rebound in “Sport” mode. We recommend a stiffer setting at half a turn out on the high-speed compression, six clicks out on low-speed compression and 10 clicks out on rebound. For sag, we settled on what the manual recommended, which was 80mm.

Q: HOW DOES THE 2024 HUSQVARNA TC65 HANDLE ON THE TRACK?

A: The 2024 TC65 felt lighter and more agile than the 2023 model for our mini testers. This was especially noticeable in tighter, low-speed turns. Our test riders raved about how easily the 2024 could pivot on a dime. At first, in the higher-speed and rougher sections of the track, the bike tended to dance around more and felt unstable. But, once we dialed in the suspension and let the bike break in, our test riders felt more comfortable with the new bike.

Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?

A: The dislike list.

(1) Spark plug. It’s long been a challenge for mini dads to keep Little Johnny’s 65 from fouling a plug. The new Brisk plug from Husqvarna isn’t perfect. We recommend the NGK LR8B spark plug.

(2) Stator. This complaint comes from Jamie Ellis. Previously, engine tuners could advance or retard the ignition timing via the stator plate to prevent detonation. Now, KTM has pinned the stator to the plate beneath it so you can’t move it anymore. It’s a safety thing for KTM, but it makes it harder to tune the engine. 

(3) Carburetor. Our issue isn’t with the carb but with the new subframe. When re-jetting the carburetor on previous 65cc models, we liked to disconnect the silencer from the pipe and the intake boot from the carb, remove the bottom subframe bolts, and loosen the top subframe bolts to be able to flip the rear end up and easily access the carburetor. Now, with the two mount holes for the subframe, we’ll have to grind off the front tabs to be able to do that.

Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?

A: The like list. 

(1) Adjustment. We love that the KTM Group is using what they’ve learned with their electric minis and implementing the same ergonomic adjustability on their 65 models. This saves money and is safer and less intimidating for Little Johnny. The only downside is carb access. 

(2) Rider triangle. Most parents set the handlebars in a position that feels good to them, not their kids. We appreciate that the KTM Group has gone all out to redesign the ergonomics of the new 65 range to fit its target audience. 

(3) New generation. Of course, it’ll take some time for aftermarket tuners to learn the new Austrian 65s, but we appreciate the new model. The new stock bike makes more power than the 2023 model and can still be improved with aftermarket mods.

Q: WHAT DID WE REALLY THINK?

A: When a new model comes out, everyone tends to hold their breath. With the previous model already an industry leader in the 65cc class, we were surprised to see KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas go above and beyond when it came to making changes to the 65. We loved the idea of making our mini riders feel like their grown-up counterparts by having a bike that looks like a shrunken-down version of the full-size model. But, when it comes to performing like the full-size model, that can create a whole different set of challenges. We are pleased to see that with the new look, Husqvarna did not sacrifice its performance in the 65 class. By integrating the technology behind the working components of the full-size model into the mini bikes, Husqvarna has pushed the mini bike world into a new era.

The post MXA RACE TEST: THE REAL TEST OF THE 2024 HUSQVARNA TC65 appeared first on Motocross Action Magazine.

Related Articles

Motorsports Newsletter 5/15/24

By Richard Parks EDITORIAL: Jon Asher IS 100% correct. If someone has BIG money on a specific team/driver they just might do something that gets someone hurt. So, no gambling on any motorsports. The NIL problems are bad enough. Who can’t see the top 4 or 8 College Football Teams not being the same 4 or 8 each
The post Motorsports Newsletter 5/15/24 appeared first on Drag Racing List.

2024 ATV BUYER’S GUIDE: REC-UTES

There’s a lot to choose from when selecting a rec-utility ATV. Do you need 4WD? Will you be using it primarily for work or trail riding? How much power do you need? Do you need a youth model or two so the kids can tag along to help with chores? We’ve prepared a list of several ATVs from leading manufacturers, and each model has anywhere from one to seven trim levels.
The post 2024 ATV BUYER’S GUIDE: REC-UTES appeared first on Dirt Wheels Magazine.

Motorsports Newsletter 5/03/24

EDITOR: A recent letter stated that non-professional bloggers make it difficult for professional writers and photographers to make a living and this is true. I realize that amateur bloggers, like me, make it difficult for professionals, but I have to stress that my small newsletter is non-commercial and does not take ad (or any) revenue. If it
The post Motorsports Newsletter 5/03/24 appeared first on Drag Racing List.

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x