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Tested: 2020 Husqvarna FC450

Husqvarna FC450 – 101.1kg 53.3bhp

Last year’s Husky FC 450 had a new chassis and compact new engine, with revised bodywork. For 2020 the main redesign is the airbox cover, to optimise air flow of air. The colour scheme changes a little too, with the lower side panel that turns grey to make the rear look more streamlined.

The WP XACT air fork – the “Sport” version like the KTM rather than the aftermarket, high-end factory versions – work well, especially in conjunction with the WP rear shock.

Our fastest tester thought the air fork was a little soft so he inflated it a little, while the slower tester softened it by reducing air pressure. That shows how easy it is to tune trackside, and how the setup is not far off stock.

The rear WP XACT shock goes through its stroke quickly, and both testers slowed the high speed and low speed compression, and then rebound. Overall, the FC 450 is a little unbalanced with the shock a tad too soft and active. It can be improved with setup.

Maintenance

Motor oil: 1.2 litres.
Oil and filter replacement: after break-in (3 hours) and then every 10 hours
Air filter cleaning: after each use. Replace after using in sand
Piston Replacement: every 50 hours
Valves: Check after the first 3 hours and then every 30 hours.
Starter motor: No maintenance required
Tyres
Front: Dunlop Geomax MX3SF 80 / 100-21
Rear: Dunlop Geomax MX3S 120 / 80-19

What the testers said:

Davide de Bortoli:

You have to adapt to the Husky, as it is more rigid and less manageable than a Japanese bike. At high speeds it is good but it doesn’t hold a line like a Japanese bike, probably because of the soft shock compared to the forks. Even in the middle of a corner when you are on the gas, it feels like it want to slide out.

The best part of the bike is the engine. You can put it in any gear you want and it always drives. It’s monstrously quick at high revs and torquey at low, but never runs out of grunt.

Francesco Muratori:

The bike is stunning, especially with map 2, which releases much more torque from mid-range to high revs. Map 1 is more restrained so is ideal for more slippery conditions.

The power comes in immediately and I really like the riding position, especially in braking when the back end tracks well.

And I like the WP air forks, which float over the bumps. I adjusted the shock because when I got on the gas it squatted a lot, but setting changes improved it a lot.

Verdict

Largely unchanged for 2020, Husqvarna continues with its version of the Austrian motocross philosophy. Its strength remains the pokey engine. But company has made lots of advances in recent years, bringing its motorcycles to the fore in terms of electronics and suspension. Husky insists on using air forks to keep the weight low and to make them easy to adjust. We are fans of the fork.

This year we found the shock a bit unbalanced, which penalised it compared to its orange cousin.

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