Husqvarna SM 125s

When you think of a Supermotard, you visualise a rip-snorting, vibratious, big four-stroke single with mountains of torque and a serious lack of social skills.
We forget that the original supermotards were based on motocrossers and before the advent of the Yamaha YZ400F all motocross bikes were two-strokes.

So what happens if you take a late-generation lightweight two-stroke MX bike, bolt on sticky 17″ street tyres and decent brakes at both ends and just enough electrics to make it street legal?

You get a high-revving, 28kW, 125cc hand-grenade of a streetbike with a powerband like a light switch that functions best at full throttle and seems to thrive on abuse – and the scary part is that it’s legal for 16-year-olds
The 54×54.5mm bore and stroke engine is fed by a classically simple Dell’Orto 28mm slide carb.
It’s based on a 125cc enduro machine with a very compact single-cylinder two-stroke engine. Husqvarna claims 28kw for it but doesn’t say at what revs; it’s academic anyway because the bike doesn’t have a rev-counter.

The 54×54.5mm bore and stroke engine is fed by a classically simple Dell’Orto 28mm slide carb and an HTS power valve based on the Suzuki system smooths out the power transition and allows quite harsh porting without making the bike totally unrideable.

There is still a noticeable step in the power curve, however, and another after peak revs when the power suddenly drops away, discouraging ham-fisted riders from revving the little single to death
Husky ‘strokers need careful running-in if you want good results from the transmission.

Once on the pipe with its classic tin-can two-stroke accompanying sound track, the bike pulls hard up to 120km/h with about another 12 available to those sufficiently lacking in mechanical sympathy.

There’s almost no vibration, just a little through the footpegs on the overrun.

The clutch is a honey (enduro clutches need to be, they’re subjected to enormous abuse) but the six-speed gearbox on the test bike was disappointing.
It was notchy, with high lever pressure and only seemed to work properly when the bike was revving hard.

Downchanges in particular were clunky at any speed and neutral remained elusive throughout the time I had it.
Some of that, however, may have been due to the bike’s extreme youth (it had 30km on its odometer when I got it), which is also why I didn’t push for an accurate top speed measurement.
Suffice it to say that Husky ‘strokers need careful running-in if you want good results from the transmission.
There was remarkably little drivetrain lash considering the length of the final drive chain and the range of rear suspension movement, making the bike surprisingly easy to ride in heavy traffic.

If you have the self-discipline not to bang down three gears and hang on the cable every time you see a tiny gap between the cars it’s actually a decent school-run commuter.

The engine pulls evenly if a little tamely out of the powerband and there’s enough torque (thanks to the power valve) to ride it in a civilised fashion – just remember to change down early or you may find yourself sitting at the lights in fourth gear, unable to do anything about it.

This fierce little engine is mounted in a simple double-cradle tubular steel frame with a bolted on square-section sub-frame.
The suspension is much more sophisticated, however, with 40mm Marzocchi upside-downies in front and a Sachs piggyback monoshock on a progressive linkage taking care of the rear wheel.

The wheels themselves are beautifully laced with straight-pull spokes and alloy rims. Before the advent of cast rims in the early 1970s these were fancy stuff and they are still lighter than all but the most expensive forged alloy wheels.

Braking is by Brembo, with low-tech sliding callipers at both ends – more than enough to haul down 113.5kg of mini-hooligan, especially with a stainless-steel braided hose in front to lend extra-sharp response and enable superb stoppies.

Most ‘motards are distinctly twitchy thanks to their off-road-orientated chassis geometry but the SM125S is reassuringly stable up to 120km/h; its steering is surprisingly accurate and the wide handlebars give plenty of leverage for throwing the bike about.

Hard braking, of course, steepens the front end, making the steering even quicker, but progressively so; the bike remains predictable and ultimately, controllable.
The Husky’s furniture mirrors the off-road bike it was derived from, with a long, flat seat/tank unit, extended to form shrouds over the two radiators.

The instrumentation is basic, with a cute trapezoidal speedometer and a clutch of warning icons. There’s no neutral light, however – enduro engines lack the fitting for a neutral sender switch – which with this bike’s difficult ‘box is something of a nuisance.

All the normal switchgear is there, as well as a decent pair of mirrors, making the bike fully street-legal; it even has pillion footpegs, although any young lady willing to park on the thin end of the plastic plank Husqvarna calls a seat is either very brave or very much in love.

The SM125S is not a learner bike but it’s probably the ultimate street tool for a youngster with a few years of junior motocross behind him. It’s a remarkably competent commuter that simply oozes street cred; if I was sixteen it’s what I would aspire to.

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