MotoOnline.com.au tests the 2019 Husqvarna FC 450.
Words: Ryan Marmont
The victorious machine of the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, the Husqvarna FC 450 is a proven race winner that’s become a popular choice amongst riders and racers globally. For 2019, the premier class contender has received a complete overhaul, as with the entire Husqvarna motocross range, which has only boosted an already impressive package. MotoOnline.com.au recently had the opportunity the test MX1 bike, with former Australian MX2 champion Ryan Marmont at the bars.
Where we rode:
Thanks to Husqvarna Motorcycles Australian, we were able to sample the brand’s fleet of 2019 motocross bikes at Appin in New South Wales – the same venue that will host the opening round on the Pirelli MX Nationals. The practice track is a popular favourite amongst local riders and national pros, mainly due to its diverse offering of surfaces and obstacles. A mix of hard-packed sections, rutted turns and sizeable jumps proved to be the perfect testing ground for the 2019 Husqvarna FC 450.
All-new for 2019, the Husqvarna FC 450 has received a major overhaul with a host of changes, upgrades and enhancements. At first sight, the most significant thing you’ll notice is the bodywork that’s inspired by pioneering Swedish design. The ergonomics have also been tailored to deliver greater comfort and control, while a new SOHC cylinder head has been dropped onto the engine for a more compact unit that’s 500g lighter. A mapping switch as standard serves multiple functions – it can be used to initiate launch control, allows riders to toggle between two engine maps or activate traction control. As always, the FC 450 comes standard with a selection of premium components, such as a Magura hydraulic clutch, Brembo brakes, CNC machined triple clamps, WP AER 48 and WP DCC shock.
With the suspension, I started out with the factory recommended setting, but I’m only round 70 kilos, so for myself it was a little soft in the front and hard in the rear – the balance was a little bit out. Although, with the WP AER 48 air fork, which gives you great adjustability, it allowed me to run a higher air pressure to hold the fork up, and I compensated by backing out the compression to ensure the front-end feeling was still there. I was able to wind off the compression on the WP DCC shock – we came out half a turn on the high-speed – and that allowed the back to start squatting more, and in turn it offered me greater balance, especially coming into corners. The frame is a really good set-up this year – I feel it’s the best change they’ve made chassis wise. The ergonomics as well are really good – the shrouds, number plates and seat position just feel really good to turn. The frame changes have made the FC 450 more stable and predictable, particularly under braking bumps.
I started riding the FC 450 on the smoother of the two maps, but the track we were riding needed more aggressive power off the turns. So having the two maps allowed that to happen, and I ran the more aggressive map for the remainder of the day. I’m a small guy, and sometimes in the past the aggressive maps have been too strong, but this one really helped the bike off the bottom end coming out of turns – it allowed me to run a gear higher for the turns where you’re kind of in between gears. I think it’s a good change they’ve made with the motor – it’s definitely a much smoother delivery that makes it much easier to ride. If I was to make any changes, I’d try to put the power where I need it – one of those things would be the gearing – I found my riding style resulted in me being between gears, so I’d feel a gearing change to use a second a bit more would be ideal. I’d probably go a 14-52 combination opposed the standard 13-48 offering. The bike has quite a good note out of the exhaust – that is one thing that is quite noticeable between a KTM and Husky – but, an aftermarket exhaust would really wake it up with power and response.
This year the Husqvarna FC 450 is a much more rider-friendly premier class contender. It allows someone to confidently ride it who is maybe a little smaller or doesn’t want the crazy, hard-hitting 450s that they used to be. They’ve tried to make this bike a much easier bike to ride, and it’s got the ability to make personal changes, such as the fork or ignition, which you can tailor for your riding style or the track and conditions you’re riding. I think Husqvarna has done a great job with the overall package and the bike is a real pleasure to ride.
Engine type: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, single cylinder
Bore/stroke: 95mm x 63.4mm
Seat height: 950mm
Fuel capacity: 7l
More details: www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com/au