For 2015, the Husqvarna FC350 is brand new to the United States market. While Husqvarna did produce the FC350 in 2014, the bike was only imported in select countries, which did not include the United States.Luckily for stateside Husky fans, Husqvarna chose to bring the bike stateside to include in its 2015 model lineup. While the Husqvarna FC350 is fairly similar to the KTM 350SX-F, it does possess several differences, including a plastic subframe, different airbox, different seat, two-position ignition map, Neken handlebars, D.I.D. DirtStar rims, and a mesh screen inside the muffler.The engine on the Husqvarna FC350 is unique in many ways, beginning with the starting procedure. The FC350 engine is brought to life by the click of a button via electric start. Surprisingly, the bike does not need the high idle screw to be engaged when the engine is cold.
Out on the track, it quickly became apparent that the 350cc powerplant hits hard on the top end. While the bottom and mid-range made decent power, the higher RPMs are where the engine really comes to life. In addition to that, the bike revs to the moon! I found it best to ride the bike on the top end and keep it in the meat of the power.While the engine’s powerband can be likened to that of a two stroke, the bottom and mid-range were strong enough so that I did not need to slip the clutch excessively to get the bike going. It took some getting used to, but I began to come to terms with and came to enjoy the unique powerband that the FC350 offered. The FC350 engine features different colored accent pieces including a brown ignition cover, brown clutch cover, and a yellow valve cover.Shifting through the FC350’s gears is effortless, even when placed under a load. I did not miss a shift or hit a false neutral, even when shifting quickly out of a corner. The FC350 shifts better than any other bike I have ridden, and the clutch worked perfectly thanks to the Brembo hydraulic unit. The hydraulic clutch self adjusts while riding, and provides a consistent feel at the lever at all times.The suspension on the FC350 was a bit soft out of the box on both the front and rear end. The new WP 4CS forks came close to bottoming out on my first ride. To alleviate this problem, I turned the compression clicker in, which helped significantly. I kept turning the clicker in until I felt that the forks were stiff enough to absorb the bigger impacts.The best setting that I found for me was 15 clicks out from full hard. A very praiseworthy characteristic about the 4CS units are the ease of adjustment. Instead of having a flathead screw to adjust the clickers, the forks feature a dial with three ends on it making adjusting your forks a tool-free job and can even be done with gloves on!The WP rear shock was very soft initially as I found myself bottoming out on hard landings. I turned the compression clicker in until I found the best balance between rear-end traction and bottoming resistance. The best setting that I found on the compression clicker was seven clicks out from full hard.The handling on the FC350 is impressive. Once I got the suspension dialed, the bike turned very well and offered a very nimble feel when cornering. In addition to that, the bike maintains stability at high speed as well. This became very apparent when putting in long motos as the bike does not take as much effort to throw around as a 450, yet doesn’t have to be ridden as hard as a 250F to go fast.The brakes on the FC350 are top notch and perform the way that all motocross brakes should. The 260mm-Brembo rotor up front is very strong, yet provides a progressive feel and remains very predictable when riding. The rear brake withstands being dragged and was reluctant to fade.In the ergonomics department, the FC350 comes equipped with several top-of-the-line parts. The clutch lever has a gradual bend that fits the index finger well – and the same can be said for the front brake. The Neken bars offer a comfortable bend that most riders will enjoy. The grips were a bit on the hard side and weren’t as soft as other stock grips I have ridden with. However, this is an inexpensive and easy item to replace.The seat was a bit on the hard side, and somewhat slippery as well. But once again, this is a very simple thing to replace. The Dunlop MX52 front and rears worked great in all conditions from the hard pack, intermediate, and soft terrain. The MX52 rubbers are also very durable and last for a long time as well. The in-molded graphics are resistant to showing wear easily while the white plastics and frame make it stand out from any other bike out on the track.Maintenance on the FC350 is simple. Changing the oil requires a thirteen millimeter socket to unscrew the drain bolt on the bottom of the engine. Oil filter access is a breeze as there are two eight-millimeter bolts in the front of the engine on the left side for easy removal and reinstallation. Refilling involves unscrewing the oil filler cap, which is right above the clutch cover. There is a sight glass below the clutch cover to ensure that a sufficient amount of oil has been added as well.The 2015 Husqvarna falls into a class of its own. It is an open class bike that feels smaller than most 450s, yet makes great power and can run with the 450s in the hands of the right rider. It makes its best power on the top end, which makes it similar to a 250 in that aspect. Because it hits the powerband higher in the RPMs, it is best suited in the hands of a more advanced level rider or any level rider who likes to keep the bike revved out. However, all levels of riders will enjoy riding this bike because it does offer a great compromise between a the high revving power of a 250 and the massive amount of power that a 450 offers.Riding Style:
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