Words by Geoff Walker Photos by Sutty

Husqvarna's world launch last year of their 2011 machines naturally centred around the all-new 449 and we didn't get to spend a major amount of time on the smaller thumpers or indeed the two-stroke models. This gave me an idea for a bit of a head-to-head challenge - putting a manufacturer's two-stroke bike up against the comparable four-stroke in their range. So as soon as both the 250 and 310 were available for us to test we hit my very cold and wet Marshfield enduro loop for the challenge of two versus four over a timed lap.

The WR250 two-stroke is a slightly weird one for me as at the tests in Italy over the last few years the bike has not run to its full potential. The jetting seemed to be off and it made the bike difficult to enjoy. The base was there but the final pieces in the puzzle were missing to make the bike reach 100 per cent of its potential. I had the opportunity to ride the two-stroke a couple of times recently and the bike - although not changed in any major way - is a good, solid enduro bike again.

The WR has benefited from an all-new ignition system and this seems to have made a massive difference in the overall package and ease of ride. The power was smooth and linear through the range and this was a new experience for me on the 250. The difference is noticeable straight away as the roll-on ability of the power inspires a confidence to tackle everything in the way. All the way from the first opening of the throttle to the screaming over-rev the bike behaves itself and tries to deliver the goods to the rear wheel.

The chassis is unique in feel with a low front end but grip is easy to find. As with most bikes the time spent getting the body positioning and timing right in technical going is important but the WR gives good feedback straight from the off. The clutch is a little heavy compared to some of the bikes in the range as it's still cable actuated but the feel is solid so you know the clutch is strongly sprung and therefore robust enough to take a lot of abuse no matter how hard the going gets.

The smoker was feeling good on the sections of the loop where Sutt was snapping the pics and as the rain kept pounding down things were getting a little wild and out of control at times, especially in the bombholes where the final hole of three has a 10 foot undercut exit ramp. Good for trials type riders, pictures and Sutty's smiling chops but not so good for little old me or the bike...oops. But the Husky was fine after its solo ride and I jumped on the 310 to get a good feel for the four-stroke Husky power and chassis before the competition began.

I cannot hide my liking of the 310 Husky as it is one of the easiest bikes to jump on and ride in every style of going. There is a feel from the bike which makes you want to ride it hard and it does not wear you out at all. The seating position is comfortable and easy and the controls are all positive and light at both handlebars and feet.

The fuelling from the injection system is slightly off at the initial part of the rev and this causes a bit of stalling on the tight sections of track until you become aware of it and keep the revs up a tad. This needs to be addressed as the motor is absolutely solid in every way except for this small glitch. The bike may have needed a little more running time but this is not the case with other manufacturers' bikes in this modern fuel injection era. The power output is a pleasure when you get above the stutter and grip is easy to find even from a standing start into climbs. Basically everything about the 310 Husky makes it fun to ride and it does beg to be revved when you get into the faster parts of the track. The Italian revving style comes to the fore on these parts.

So with both bikes ridden and a good feel >>

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