This year’s Husqvarna FC 450 Rockstar Edition has all the bling you’ve come to expect from these bikes, but it has some really smart performance parts as well, so it isn’t just a show pony.
Pro Taper bars and lock-on grips come standard, as do blue anodized triple clamps with some very special features. These clamps minimize the pinching that can happen with overtightening. They also spin around so you can run 22mm or 20mm offsets. This gives you handling options and also allows you to swap to the cone valve spring fork without buying a new clamp. The suspension itself has an updated setting and a new look and name for this year. XACT is what WP is calling it now, and they have new, silver coatings for a sharp look.
The engine has updates to the piston as well as a new Pankle conrod. A coating in the CP piston ring grooves allows for less friction and quicker revs while the box design of the piston helps keep the skirt from flaring out when heated, minimizing drag in the cylinder. The mapping is the same, and the traction control and launch control are still there. The changes equate to a bike that feels lighter and revs up more quickly. There is also a slip-on FMF muffler, which is a good addition. I’ve been suggesting for a few years now to anybody who asks to just get a slip-on for these bikes. The header is really good, it looks cool, and you save a grip of cash by just buying a muffler. The exhaust reduces weight by one pound.
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The wheels are very sharp with black rims, blue hubs and nipples, and a black spoke that has a crazy green/purple hue to it. It’s subtle, but they look really good. There is a floating wave rotor in the front to help slow you down, a gripper seat to keep you from flying off the back and Rockstar graphics that are built right into the plastic so they can’t scratch off. There is a front disk guard and a composite skid plate that is shaped exactly like the ones the factory team uses; it’s very sleek and practical.
On the track this bike brings the goods. The engine is so unimaginably fast and broad in its power delivery that you wonder how it would be possible to improve upon. The seat/bars/grips are all comfortable and as quality as anything that has ever made its way onto a production motorcycle. The suspension is a bit stiff, at least it was for me. I’d guess that they aimed for 200lb riders when they set this up. The fork can obviously be adjusted with air pressure, but the rear is over-sprung for guys weighing less than 185. I dropped air pressure, slowed rebound, and opened up compression, high speed and low, but I could tell the real solution was a lighter shock spring. Economy-sized riders like myself will have to correct this, those close to 200 pounds will be fine and they’ll like the way this bike works. Although I do prefer spring forks, this one works well, and the bike handles great overall. A quick-revving, free-feeling engine like this one makes a bike feel lighter. Although this machine may be about the same on a scale, it feels lighter than a 2018 RE or even the 2019 standard FC 450.
If you want a bike that is ready to roll off the showroom floor and go racing on immediately, this is your bike. Once you find a suspension setting you like you will just need to put gas in it and go. Kudos to the Husqvarna folks for producing an incredible bike. Go check them out.