2019 Husqvarna FC 450 Rockstar Edition First Ride Review
Husqvarna first introduced its FC 450 Rockstar Edition last year, which served as the basis of the bike Jason Anderson used to win the 2018 AMA Supercross title. If you are a Supercross fan and like to ride dirt bikes, then a part of you would like to ride as well as Anderson. To do that, first you’d want a bike similar to the one he races, and the FC 450 Rockstar Edition is the closest thing you can get to that right off the showroom floor. Husqvarna invited us to Milestone MX in Riverside, California, to ride the special-edition machine, and we came away impressed with the improvements over the standard FC 450 model.
The FC 450 Rockstar Edition comes with several very nice upgrades. The engine has a new CP box-in-box piston, new Pankl connecting rod with a bushing in the small eye for reduced friction, and a new topology-optimized rocker arm, all of which are designed to help the engine make better power. To help you go faster across the bumps and through corners, the WP Xact air fork and WP Xact shock feature updated settings.
The limited-edition bike is also equipped with high-end CNC-machined triple clamps that have an adjustable offset from the stock setting of 22mm to 20mm, which will certainly help you turn sharper. The rest of the bike received some additional trick components, such as anodized D.I.D DirtStar rims with blue hubs and blue spoke nipples, an FMF Racing Factory 4.1 silencer, a dual position holeshot device, a carbon-fiber-reinforced skid plate, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team graphics.
The Rockstar Edition engine is noticeably improved from the 2019 standard FC 450 model. The updates improve the free-revving feel, while the FMF Factory 4.1 silencer gives the engine some serious bark. On this test day, we ran the muffler without the spark arrestor insert, but we would certainly consider putting it back in to see if it might make the bike a little quieter and possibly broaden the power even more. We asked about the ECU base mapping and were told it remains unchanged from the 2019 standard FC 450 model; however, the powerband is noticeably changed in comparison to it. The Rockstar Edition does not have the small issue we experienced with deceleration popping on the standard model.
Changing from map 1 to map 2 is noticeable, and the same can be said for traction control. While the gearing is the same as the standard FC 450, we seemed to be shifting a little more often on the Rockstar Edition. We were sometimes all the way up to fourth gear in some open sweeping corners. We are not saying the engine doesn’t rev, because it can certainly rev higher that any Japanese 450 motocross bike. We just noticed that it could also pull low-rpm corners with good acceleration and throttle response.
Husqvarna introduced a new chassis for the 2019 models that included a stiffer frame, more rigid upper triple clamp, and revised suspension settings. While it was good, it lacked some rider comfort. After a few days of riding the standard FC 450 and working on the settings, we felt like the bike would really benefit from some updated internal suspension changes. WP took test riders’ feedback and came out with new settings for the Xact air fork and Xact shock. The fork is paired with a new billet triple clamp that, according to Husqvarna, features optimally tuned steering stem stiffness, perfect alignment of the fork tubes, and precise geometry of the fork clamping with no distortion of the outer tube. These triple clamps are designed to provide smoother fork action and improve responsiveness.
Fork action was noticeably smoother and overall rider comfort is improved on the Rockstar Edition. We made some small changes from the OEM base settings and quickly got to a point where riders of multiple skill levels felt comfortable. For the most part, we went softer. On the fork, we lowered the air pressure to 10.6 bar from the stock 10.9 bar, and opened the compression adjuster by three clicks. The shock was fairly close right out of the gate with only one significant change, as we went a half turn in on high-speed compression to help push the front end down in the ruts.
Throttle pull is too long on both the Rockstar Edition and standard FC 450 models. We found that switching to the included optional black throttle cam got rid of the “chicken wing” feeling we had when holding the throttle wide open with the stock white throttle cam installed. Some test riders also felt they would want to cut down the stock ProTaper handlebar by a few millimeters on each side.
We liked the FC 450 Rockstar Edition and all of the updates made to it. The additional trick parts surely make it stand out in the showroom and at the track. The updates to the suspension settings make it more enjoyable to ride and an already fast engine got even faster. With Husqvarna’s already somewhat “limited” production, the even more exclusive Rockstar Edition is an excellent bike to ride and would be great to own.