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Husky turns sexy again

Over the years the incredible athlete and her offspring won scores of championships in track and field.

Many men hankered after them, but were put off by reports of the Swedes' expensive tastes. These girls were "high-maintenance".

As time passed, a flood of Japanese beauties and anorexic Austrians began pulling in the younger guys and Husky fell on hard times.

After an unhappy dalliance with a vacuum cleaner salesman named Electrolux, she was forced to marry MV Agusta in 1986 and move to Schiranna in Italy.

As it happens, things turned out pretty well. The marriage spawned a wave of muscular crossbreeds sporting sexy Italian clothes.

Husky's proud history has been recognised for 2006, when the family's track athletes will carry the red and white of Varese, their new home province, and the field stars retain Sweden's yellow and blue.

The motocross team consists of the CR125 two-stroke and the TC250, 450 and 510 four-strokes.

The blue and yellow enduro range features the WR125 and WR250 two-strokes plus the TE250, 450, 510 and 610E four-stroke machines.

There's also a bunch of supermotard bikes, including the black sheep of the family, the SM610.

Though the colour switch is the most visible change, there are plenty of upgrades below the surface.

All the four-stroke engines get bigger valves, lumpier cams and two-ring pistons. Motocross versions get an all-titanium exhaust system and a redesigned kickstarter, but their electric starters are optional, which won't please "recreational registration" riders, but saves 4kg and gets rid of the battery in the airbox.

The two-stroke models have had engine work designed to improve power, with V Force reed valves and redesigned manifold.

The CR125 and TCs now run the excellent Ohlins rear shocks with compression and rebound damping adjustment. No such luck on the WR and TE models, which stay with revalved Sachs shocks.

The Marzocchi forks have increased by 5mm, to 50mm, on the 450 and 510 models.

Digital trip computers and handguards are a big bonus on the enduro models while the handlebars are now adjustable for height and offset.



Chasing 2005 Australian Off-Road champion Anthony "AJ" Roberts on the single-track enduro loop at Toowoomba is hard work.

With loads of power on tap, the WR250 like the one he races is a blast to ride on open trails, steering with the back tyre spinning.

But with less than 1000km on the clock it is jetted rich and stalls fairly easily. In comparison, the TE450 makes traction everywhere and won't spin the rear as easily. It doesn't stall on the loop which, by this stage of the day, is a big bonus.

Husqvarna-sponsored V8 Supercar driver Russell Ingall has no trouble on the WR, which proves you can't hold a good racer down.

Interestingly, the factory claims only a 5kg advantage for the WR250 two-stroke over the TE450 and no weight difference from the TE250.

On the groomed Echo Valley motocross track, it's hard to pick between the three EC models.

The Ohlins shocks are a big bonus, but the bigger Marzocchi forks don't seem to make much difference on directional changes.

All the bikes are beautifully finished with smooth castings, excellent plastics and quality welding — something you could not say about the old Swedish Huskys.

With a two-year parts and labour warranty on the enduro models and one year on the motocrossers, the Huskys are worth considering, especially if you are serious about your riding.