posted on May 03, 2012 00:00
Project Husqvarna TE610 Part 4: Ergonomics and Armor
By Dan Barnes
Finally, we're going to start the fun stuff: upgrades! Having a bike fit you properly makes everything work better and is safer, especially in the dirt. In spite of its overall bigness, the TE610's cockpit is only of average size, and some details are more cramped than typical, so there was work to be done to make it fit this 6'4" guy.
Proper handlebar position makes a night-and-day difference. If the bars are too low and too far back, they push the rider off balance, making it almost impossible to not use the handlebars to "hang on" to the bike, which is a recipe for the painful compounding of errors known as "whiskey throttle".
My ideal handlebar position is such that when I'm standing, balls of my feet on the pegs and balanced in the "attack position" (elbows out and up, comfortable and not strained), my hands can encircle the grips without actually touching them. This puts my weight on my legs and allows me to move around freely on the bike, using my hands to control, rather than to hang on.
|Though the TE610 is a big bike overall, its control layout is set up for an average-size rider, with the bars relatively far back and low. Fortunately, the cockpit can be opened up with little cost.
|The TE610's handlebar mount is bolted to the upper triple clamps with an offset toward the rear. An obvious opportunity is to flip the mount so the offset is toward the front, but the mount interferes with the factory "dash" when flipped. I duplicated the factory computer mount from 0.060-in aluminum sheet I had laying around, adding just enough length to move the computer clear of the bar mounts without interfering with the headlight fairing.
The result looks stock (or a little sexier), saves several ounces, and cost only time. Threads on some of the stock M8 bolts clamping the bars were showing wear from just a few rounds of adjustment, so I replaced them with ARP bolts. With the bars rotated forward on the flipped mounts, there was enough improvement to move on to other areas.
Foot Peg Position
I was missing a lot of upshifts, just not getting the lever moved far enough, and was scraping up the ignition cover behind the shifter with the metal toe of my boot trying to make it work. I don't have the problem on my Yamaha, so I was pretty sure it wasn't just poor technique. I looked at what was different between the bikes and quickly realized that the Husky's shifter was much closer to the foot peg, only 4 5/16 in., whereas the YZ has 5 3/16 in. The foot pegs being mounted to the frame with separate brackets provides an opportunity.
|The solution is a steel plate bolted to the original foot peg mounting holes and providing new holes for the peg brackets behind and below the original ones. The limit on rearward movement is the brake pedal on the right side. I ended up moving the pegs downward 5/16 in., keeping them no lower than the lowest point on the frame, but gaining additional rearward movement, for a total rearward shift of 11/16 in. After mocking up a sample part with MDF (HD CAD) to confirm the design, I used 5/16-in steel plate for the brackets.
I first roughed the perimeters with a Sawzall. A really crappy drill press got the holes drilled, but it proved utterly incapable of producing countersinks for the grade 12.9 flat head screws. Zenith Performance Fabrication came to the rescue, finishing the countersinks perfectly on a mill in just a few minutes. Some OCD with large power sanders to finish the edges, and the brackets bolted up. On the left side, the back of the bracket must be relieved to clear the kick stand bracket on the frame and sit flat on the foot peg mounts. On the right, the brake pedal comes close but goes firm without touching the bracket.
|Rust sucks, so I had the brackets black zinc plated. I also hit the bolts with LPS Cold Galvanizing Spray and semi-gloss Rustoleum before final installation.
Thursday, May 03, 2012 9:39 AM
2 lbs for a skid plate? That seems like a lot.
Agreed on the handlebars. If they're the same bars as my SMR510, they're too far back and make for a weird position while riding while standing. That's a neat trick.
Be careful with those handguards. Hit a whoop at speed out in the desert that sends you over the bars and your arms can get wedged in there. Two broken wrists and your girlfriend is wiping your butt for a month. On my dirt bike I fitted ASV "unbreakable" levers and took the handguards off. They're super stout, although frankly the feel is pretty annoying. If I had to do it again I'd just throw an extra factory lever in my backpack with my tool kit and be done with it. Or leave it in the truck.
Thursday, May 03, 2012 9:42 AM
Also if you haven't already, I would recommend fitting the Uptite carb vent filter. These things have a tendency to suck dirt up through the carb vents.
Thursday, May 03, 2012 12:29 PM
I love Dan's bike but I can't even swing a leg over it. Dan is like two feet taller than me....
Thursday, May 03, 2012 4:37 PM
Hey Mike, try kick starting one of these! I'm apparently same height and foot size as Dan and even at our height, no MAS.
Thursday, May 03, 2012 10:53 PM
I want an SM450 super bad but I can't even sit one one. I got the hypermotard because it was one of the only bikes with a reasonable seat height for my 30" inseam.
Thursday, May 03, 2012 11:35 PM
It's a big skid plate. A lot more material there than the one on my YZ and a lot lighter than if it was made of aluminum. The carb vents on this bike were all connected to a single line running to the charcoal canister system. There's a filter between them and the atmosphere. Looked factory to me. The previous owner definitely wasn't the kind of guy to get into those details.
I had a whole discussion on flag vs. wraparound hand guards, but cut it for length. The wraparounds protect your hands from things coming at the bars. The flags are less risky if you go over the bars. At the end of the day, you have to evaluate the risks and make a decision you can live with.
Thursday, May 03, 2012 11:42 PM
That sounds like the Uptite system. Does it look like this
I go for no hand guards, ASVs, and gloves with carbon knuckles. Trees aren't so much of an issue out in the desert where I ride, so I don't view hand guards as necessary.
Sweet project, enjoy it!
Friday, May 04, 2012 12:21 AM
I didn't realize the SM 450 is that much taller than the Hypermotard!? Yeah, well I don't fit very well in most sports/sporty cars very comfortably. I thought a Lotus Exige might be an ideal track car until I found out with one of the Lotus Cup guys I can't even fit with a roll cage installed :(
I think riding without hand protectors is crazy anymore. I rode bikes for over ten years (my last 3 were on my Husky 610) and can't believe how naive I was with what minimal protective gear I had!
Friday, May 04, 2012 12:29 AM
The carb vents look like this
Saturday, June 30, 2012 12:06 PM
Have you thought about producing those footpeg relocater plates? I have a Husky 610, and would be interested in a set. Dan
Saturday, June 30, 2012 12:20 PM
Go to whatever Husky forum you hang out on and search for "husky666 foot peg" and you'll find a guy who's happy to sell you a set.
Saturday, June 30, 2012 3:50 PM
Thanks for the quick response. Tried to reach Husky666 on Cafe Husky forum and no response. Their PM system is not working,strange. Heading out to ride the Western TAT in August and this would be a great addition to the bike.
Sunday, July 01, 2012 1:04 AM
Big Dog and Gas Pipe's TAT story was a big part of my inspiration to get this bike. Good luck on your trip!
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