2017 Husqvarna FC 450 First Ride Review
The premier motocross bike in the Husqvarna line, ridden by the likes of Jason Anderson and Max Nagl, the 2017 Husqvarna FC 450 gets some innovative technology this year, along with new forks and tires. Let’s take a first ride on the FC 450 at Cahuilla Creek MX, and provide you with 10 Fast Facts.
1. The 2017 Husqvarna FC 450 receives a few key fine-tuned improvements to make it a superior motocrosser compared to the previous year model.
2. The new Husky FC 450 has a choice of two ignition maps. A simple switch allows the rider to toggle between two different ignition maps. Map one offers a more mellow power, while the aggressive map two is standard. The two maps are certainly noticeable. If you are really exhausted, the track is extremely worn down, or the weather has made traction nearly impossible to find, using map one can be of great benefit thanks to the more mellow power delivery it offers.
3. Traction control has officially found its way onto the production line of a motocross bike. The FC 450’s traction control system reads throttle input and engine speed, and reduces power when necessary to maintain traction. An example of this would be if you hit a slick spot on the track and the bike quickly jumped from low to very high rpm as the wheel spins. The traction control system would compensate for it as it senses an increase in rpm that doesn’t match the throttle input. We didn’t notice the traction control kick in during our first test, as the main track at Cahuilla Creek Motocross in Southern California was in pristine condition. There were no real slick spots where the traction control could be put to the true test. We look forward to spending more time on the bike to get a better idea and feel for the effectiveness of the system, as well as discovering if there are any drawbacks. The rider can turn off the traction control if he wishes.
4. The new WP AER 48 air forks use preload settings on the left hand side and damping on the right. The AER forks replace the already-excellent 4CS units used on last year’s model. However, the AER forks weigh 3.6 pounds less than the 4CS units, and the rebound and compression damping circuits can be adjusted by hand on the fork cap. Adjusting the air pressure requires the use of WP’s air gauge, and WP tells us that the psi should be checked and set before each ride.
5. The stock settings on the WP AER fork worked well for me. The fork didn’t come close to bottoming out on hard landings, and absorbed the chop equally well. We are anxious to put more time on the 2017 Husqvarna TC 450 on different tracks and in different conditions to get a better idea of how the forks perform. However, our first impression left us very happy with the new WP air forks
6. The Husqvarna FC 450 weighs in at 223 pounds, sans fuel. Although the forks are 3.6 pounds lighter than the spring forks they replace, the new FC 450 is on 2.6 pounds lighter than last year’s already very light bike. While the 2.6-pound difference is difficult to notice in and of itself, dropping over three pounds of critical fork weight is significant.
7. A new upper triple clamp and new handlebar support allow for a more rigid feel, as the Husky’s new triple clamp has more material than the previous model year in order to combat flex. This may be where a bit of the fork weight loss is given back. The front of the bike feels very stable and less twitchy as a result of this change.
8. Dunlop MX3S tires are mounted on the DID Dirt Star rims. The MX3S tires are Dunlop’s soft-to-intermediate terrain tire, and are a favorite of pro racers. The MX3S replaces the Dunlop MX52 intermediate-to-hard terrain tires found on the previous year model. The MX3S tires hooked up great in the deep and loamy main track of Cahuilla Creek Motocross on our first test ride.
9. The rear brake lever has been lengthened by 10mm. I didn’t really notice this through a pair of Alpinestars, others may appreciate the added leverage. Certainly, the brake lever is easy to modulate with a Tech 10, and that added length could be responsible for the excellent feel.
10. The 2017 Husqvarna FC 450 is a nimble, lightweight, well-suspended machine with a broad powerband. We can’t wait to head back to the track with it and put some serious time on Husky’s flagship and get a full feel for all of the changes for 2017.
Photography by Don Williams
- Helmet: 6D ATR-1 FLO Red/Yellow
- Goggles: Oakley Airbrake MX
- Neck Brace: Alpinestars BNS Tech Carbon
- Jersey, pants + gloves: Moose Racing Sahara Racewear
- Boots: Alpinestars Tech 10 A1 Special Edition
Andrew Oldar is sponsored by Moose Racing
2017 Husqvarna FC 450 Specs
- Motor: SOHC four-stroke single
- Displacement: 449.9cc
- Bore x stroke: 95 x 63.4mm
- Starting: Electric
- Transmission: 5-speed
- Clutch: Wet, multi-disc clutch w/ Magura hydraulics
- EMS: Keihin
- Frame: Chromoly steel central-tube
- Front suspension: Fully adjustable inverted WP AER 48 air forks w/ 12.2 inches of travel
- Rear suspension: Fully adjustable linkage-assisted WP shock absorber w/ 11.8 inches of travel
- Front brake: Brembo floating caliper w/ 260mm disc
- Rear brake: Brembo floating caliper w/ 220mm disc
- Rake: 26.1 degrees
- Wheelbase: 58.5 inches
- Ground clearance: 14.6 inches
- Seat height: 37.8 inches
- Tank capacity: 1.85 gallons
- Wet weight (no fuel): 223 pounds
2017 Husqvarna FC 450 First Ride Review