Out went the GasGas 300 which I thought was the greatest thing since sliced bread and in came the Husky WR250. Now the Husky is a 2007 run out model but when I look at the way the $NZ is going and the likely increased cost of any new bike, let alone any big ticket imported item, the change over deal sounded pretty good to me.
Like most people when they buy any kind of vehicle and I have bought a few over the years I almost always leave the dealer with the nasty thought that I have been screwed some way. Well in this case I can report that I came away feeling pretty good about the deal. I feel even better about it after riding it for the first time yesterday.
Matt at Bikesport had done a pretty good sales job - the Husky is an improvement on the GasGas, I wouldn't notice the difference in power, and it had a better suspension package (out of the box. I haven't touched it) so was much more stable in the rough stuff than the GasGas. If I thought the GasGas was a great bike I would love the Husky.
Suffice to say that he was right on all accounts.
The Husky is a much harder edged bike than the GasGas. The GasGas is a performance machine that is cleverly disguised in a fairly docile package. The GasGas is a great trail bike for the average rider and a highly competitive package in the hands of a good rider.
The Husky has much more snap to it and is also pretty stable-the big whoops on some of the return tracks out at Woodhill are suddenly a bit more fun and easier to negotiate. The Husky combines straight line snap and stability with agility in the tight tight stuff which on the basis of a few hours of a shakedown ride bodes well for the kind of riding that I generally get into.
The gearing is suited to a sandy place like Woodhill with the bike managing to lug my 95KG plus along in 4th and 5th on the longer return tracks and still accelerate when I have the nerve to twist the throttle a bit more. The bike seems to be a little under geared in some ways so it will be interesting to see how it goes in more open, faster conditions.
There are a few things to get used to. Being the a highly strung piece of Euro competition bike it is not as forgiving at low speeds as the GasGas and stalls relatively easily. More judicious use of the clutch will solve that problem. Being relatively low geared it is not as easy to bump start as the GasGas after stalling while undergoing low speed manoeuvres. The bike is also a surprisingly stubborn starter. The kick starter itself is a little awkward - it is hard to get a decent swing at it and it will just not start in gear.
Cosmetically it is a good looking bike - it looks as if it is ready to attack anything thrown at it. After years of owning bikes with see through fuel tanks the black fuel tank is an interesting novelty.
I enjoyed my first blast on the Husky and can't wait for the next outing in the new year. After years of riding four strokes I finally realised after testing a GasGas that two strokes suited my style of riding. On the basis of the first ride the Husky brings a new dimension to my riding enjoyment.
Not so long ago I thought a DR400 was the pinnacle of offroad engineering as after throwing my leg over one I thought 'this is built with me in mind'. I thought the same about the GasGas-but the Husky feels even better.