If you want to ride the most blinged-up bike that has lots of 2020 tech, this Husqvarna 450 could be for you.
If you have nine grand burning a hole in your pocket and want the very best, latest 450 then the Husqvarna’s new 2019-and-a-half FC 450 Rockstar Edition might have your name all over it.
It’s the bike that forms the basis of the factory machines Zach Osborne and Dean Wilson race in the AMA Supercross, complete with the No.1 plate to signify the 2018 championship win of now-injured Jason Anderson. The bike is likely to be the machine that the 2020 production machine is based on, albeit without the bling of the special edition.
AMA rules state all bikes must be production based, so Husqvarna and KTM annually make a batch of bikes with the latest technology to use in Supercross and legally have to offer a minimum of 400 for sale. These bikes often have the same technology as the forthcoming standard bikes.
Last year Anderson had a 450 with the new frame, bodywork, engine and suspension that made it onto the 2019 production machine. The bike was totally different to the stock 2018 450. But the new Rockstar Edition does not look to have any massive, obvious changes.
What it does have is lots of bling from the Husky catalogue, like the factory-spec wheels with D.I.D DirtStar rims, a holeshot device, carbon fibre reinforced skid plate, disc guard, floating front brake disc, Jason Anderson graphics, and all-new CNC-machined triple clamps with a different steering stem stiffness for a smoother smooth fork action. The clamps offer offset adjustment between 20 or 22mm. So far, so bolt-on bits.
The suspension is also revised, and has a new name. Instead of WP AER forks, the front forks and rear shock are now called WP XACT and have different settings. The front is still air, but takes more pressure than the old AER forks.
Also what you can’t buy from the parts catalogue are the engine changes, which has a new CP forged box-in-box piston and a new Pankl conrod, just like the factory racers. These are for reduced friction, and the bike breathes through an FMF Racing’s Factory 4.1 RCT silencer with a blue anodised titanium body and a carbon end cap. It’s shorter so less susceptible to damage. Moving the silencer closer to the engine also aids mass centralisation. Inside the motor, there are changes to the followers and top end, but Husky is keeping those details close to its chest. You can just feel that the 2020 bike will have this new top end, crank and piston, with ECU changes to match.
In the flesh, the bike looks the business and it still looked fresh after we put in some 20-minute motos to get it bedded in and dialled in.
First impressions on the track were that this machine does make life easier. The feel is so positive and it reacts quickly to your input, allowing for a wider range of line choice. The connection from bike to ground feels positive which builds confidence because you have full trust in the bike. The front end did flex, which took away the harshness. Whether that be suspension, bars, clamps or a combination of all is unclear, but it felt good and very planted.
We did harden the compression and up the air pressure in the front because the track was super tacky and the forks needed to hold up a little more in the stroke leading into the rutty turns.
It was just a first impression ride and it was a public practice day with group sessions, we couldn’t afford to come in to make tweaks as it was important to make the most of track time.
We will tweaking the bike and test lots of settings in the near future, but these are personal tweaks as the bike is on point. Husky has hit the ball right out of the park with this one, especially with the power delivery and response. It’s so manageable with a responsive feel. The motor pulls second and third through tight rutty turns with ease. The linear power curve has an awesome response and the revs stretch out, making the power so usable.
The free revving motor feels great and having less drag into turns allows you to push and play with the throttle more too. So all those extra engine modifications make a difference.
When the bike’s fully bedded in and dialled in, we’ll be bringing regular reports of how it’s performing and whether it offers great value for money despite the high asking price.
FC 450 ROCKSTAR EDITION – HIGHLIGHTS
=>Compact SOHC engine providing class-leading performance
=>New CP box-in-box piston & new Pankl conrod
=>Hydro-formed frame with black premium powder coating
=>CNC-machined triple clamps with adjustable offset [20 – 22 mm]
=>Composite 2-piece subframe design
=>Carbon fibre reinforced engine protector
=>48 mm WP split air fork that is fully adjustable
=>Mechanical holeshot device as standard
=>High-quality Magura clutch system
=>New FMF Racing Factory 4.1 silencer
=>High-quality ProTaper handlebar
=>New anodised D.I.D DirtStar rims & hubs
=>Selectable map switch also activating launch & traction control
=>Electric starter powered by a lightweight Li-Ion 2.0 Ah battery
=>Advanced bodywork with specifically-tailored ergonomics
By Dave Willet and Adam Duckworth. Photos by Adam Duckworth