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Husqvarna FC 450 Rockstar Edition First Look

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While there a lot of things shared by KTM and Husqvarna, the latter is definitely pushing the “premium” when it comes to its brand persona. As you might have already seen, KTM has released its Factory Edition motorcycles at its new test track. Yet Husqvarna went a different route to unveil its first FC 450 Rockstar Edition—a very vertical route. At 70 stories up, in downtown Los Angeles, California, Husky had the new bike, the new team, and an abundance of swagger.

Engine

One of the biggest changes is to the head of the FC 450, which is more compact and has a new camshaft with a low-friction DLC coating on the rocker arm and low-friction chain guides. This reduces the external dimensions of the engine as well as drops some weight (15mm lower and 1 lb. lighter, according to Husqvarna). Also, the transmission is now made by Pankl Racing Systems which is supposedly higher quality than what Husky has had in the past.

The exhaust is also all-new with a larger resonance chamber (approaching two-stroke proportions) and the header is also farther forward to better centralize mass. There’s also a mid-pipe joint that means you don’t have to take shock off to swap pipes.

The whole frame is different with the aim of increasing longitudinal rigidity, and, more noticeably, it’s also powder coated black. What’s a little harder to notice is that part of the cooling system is now routed through the frame, eliminating some hoses, saving and centralizing weight, and simplifying the system. There’s a new composite subframe (70 percent polyamide and 30 percent carbon fiber) that’ two pieces rather than three and saves a claimed half a pound. The swingarm isn’t actually longer; just the adjustment range has been increased 5mm allowing riders to get the rear wheel farther back if so desired. The FC 450 RE comes stock with a composite skid plate as well. The fork is still the WP AER 48 unit without any changes. But the shock gets a new piston, new settings, and a pressure balance system.

If you’re planning on racing one of these machines, Husky put a two-position holeshot device on the fork guard, saving you the extra expense. Obviously there are all-new plastics but a cool little feature is that the front number plate has built in triple clamp guards. Speaking of which, the upper clamp is bigger with a larger clamping surface—this change was necessitated by the new frame characteristics.

There’s also a new ProTaper handlebar with a lower, flatter bend. The clutch cover is a billet Rekluse cover, but the DDS clutch is the same. The bike also gets a new battery and the fuel line has been moved inward for better protection.

Those are the main highlights of the new machine but if you want to dig deeper into the specs, here is the information from Husqvarna.

Combining cutting-edge technology with a series of specific, race-orientated engine and chassis upgrades, Husqvarna Motorcycles’ engineers have ensured that the FC 450 RE sets the benchmark in terms of handling, power, weight and aesthetics.

The hydroformed, laser-cut and robot-welded frame is expertly crafted by WP Performance Systems. Constructed with specifically calculated parameters of longitudinal and torsional flex, the FC 450 RE frame features an increase in longitudinal rigidity resulting in improved rider feedback, energy absorption and stability. The frame is finished off in a premium black powder coating. A carbon fiber reinforced skid plate and frame protectors guarantee superior protection and durability.

  • Increased longitudinal rigidity → improved feedback, energy absorption and stability
  • Produced by WP Performance Systems → highest quality standards
  • Durable finish with standard skid plate and frame protectors.

Showcasing pioneering technologies and innovation the composite subframe is a design unique to Husqvarna Motorcycles. Using 70 percent polyamide and 30 percent carbon fiber, the new 2-piece subframe design saves 0.5 lb (250g) for a total weight of just over 2.2 lbs (1 kg). Apart from being robust, specific care is taken to create the perfect rigidity for optimal handling and rider comfort.

  • New 2-piece subframe → 0.5 lb / 250g saving
  • Carbon fiber composite construction → lightweight and robust
  • Specific rigidity → improved handling and comfort.

The hollow, cast aluminum swingarm is designed to offer optimal stiffness and reliability at the lowest possible weight. The chain adjustment length has increased by 5mm, extending the total wheelbase range for improved straight line stability on rough tracks and whoops. The machining on the side by Husqvarna Motorcycles engineers is a mark of premium quality that perfectly demonstrates attention to detail and superior craftsmanship.

  • Optimal stiffness and reliability in a lightweight construction
  • Extended adjustment range → improved straight-line stability.

The 48mm split air fork features a capsuled air spring and pressurized oil chamber for progressive and consistent damping. Damping is easily adjusted via the single air pressure valve for pre-load (on the left) as well as easy access clickers adjusting damping with 30 clicks (on the right). Additionally, the air pump needed to adjust the air pressure in the fork is provided as standard. Standard on the FC 450 RE, the mechanical holeshot device compresses the front forks and decreases front wheel lift right off the start.

  • Precision engineering by WP Performance Systems → highest performance levels
  • Capsuled air spring and pressurized oil chamber → progressive and consistent damping
  • Easy access clicker dials → simple and fast clicker settings
  • Mechanical holeshot device standard on the FC 450 Rockstar Edition.

The 22mm offset CNC-machined triple clamps feature an integrated rubber damping system that reduces vibration and increases rider comfort. Due to the increased longitudinal rigidity of the main frame, the upper triple clamp is now stiffer. A 3-way handlebar adjustment is standard and allows for customizable ergonomics. Additionally, the front number plate integrates a triple clamp protector which covers the lower triple clamp and protects it from wear.

  • Rubber damping on top clamp → reduced vibrations, increased comfort
  • CNC aluminum → finest quality and reliability
  • Stiffer upper triple clamp
  • Adjustable handlebar position → adjustable ergonomics.

Featuring a new main piston and updated setting, the WP DCC is further perfected to provides advanced damping characteristics while keeping a compact and lightweight design. With a pressure balance inside the shock offering consistent damping the end result is superior rider comfort and handling. Fully adjustable and matched to a linkage system with a specific geometry the system delivers the greatest possible traction and absorption. The rear wheel travel is 300mm.

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Pressure balance → consistent damping
  • Linkage system → specific geometry for superior damping and absorption.
  • 300mm wheel travel.

The highest level of quality is guaranteed with class-leading Brembo calipers and levers. The 260mm floating front and 220mm solid rear discs deliver superior stopping power instilling confidence in any condition. A standard front disc protector is fitted as standard.

  • Brembo brake calipers and high-performance discs → superior stopping power with greater control and confidence

The ProTaper handlebar is second to none for function and style. Manufactured to exacting standards, it features class-leading fatigue resistance while adding minimal weight. A new bend, further increases comfort by improving the pressure point on the rider’s hands, while the standard handguards offer maximum roost protection.

  • ProTaper handlebar → class-leading function and style
  • New bend for improved comfort → pressure point on rider’s hands

The FC 450 RE features a 44mm Keihin throttle body. The injector is positioned to offer the most efficient flow into the combustion chamber. To ensure optimal throttle response the throttle cable is mounted directly and without a throttle linkage. This setup provides more immediate throttle response and feeling. A new throttle cable routing eases maintenance allowing the cable to be removed more seamlessly.

  • 44mm throttle body → injector positioned for optimal flow
  • Direct cable mounting → more immediate throttle response

The exhaust system is expertly designed to deliver the best possible performance while adhering to competition noise limits. The header pipe features a new flow-designed resonance chamber integrated into the header pipe, which also features a new joining position allowing it to be removed without removing the rear shock. The new silencer is shorter and more compact while delivering the same damping volume and noise level. The unit is crafted from lightweight aluminum and is stylishly finished off in a new coating that proudly carries the Husqvarna Motorcycles logo.

  • Exhausts → light-weight, optimal performance
  • New header joining position → easy removal without taking out the rear shock

Along with the benefit of an easy electric starting system, a new-generation Li-Ion 2.0 Ah battery is fitted to the FC 450 RE. The Li-Ion battery weighs approximately 2.2 lbs (1 kg) less than a conventional lead battery. Offering the convenience of electric starting, overall weight is kept to a minimum.

  • Electric starter → easy starting when time is critical
  • Li-Ion battery → lightweight, 2.2 lbs/1 kg lighter than a conventional battery.

The radiators are expertly crafted by WP Performance Systems using high-strength aluminum. CFD (computational fluid dynamics) technology is used to channel air through the radiators more efficiently and provide optimal cooling in any condition. The cooling system is integrated into the frame. Channeling coolant through the frame allows for improved cooling, with the application eliminating the need for additional hoses. New to the system is a larger center tube that runs through the frame. The new tube reduces the pressure at this point in the system allowing for a more consistent coolant flow.

  • Integrated cooling → maximum efficiency in minimum space
  • WP radiators → offering optimal cooling
  • New central tube → more consistent coolant flow.

The 1.85 gallon (7 liter) polythene fuel tanks incorporate a threaded filler cap and an integrated fuel pump. The fuel pump is optimized with a new internal line that routes directly from the pump to the flange for improved fuel flow. Additionally, the external fuel line has moved inward making it less exposed and susceptible to damage.

  • 7 liter polythene fuel tanks → large capacity for extended running times
  • New fuel line routing → improved flow and reliability.

WHEELS

Black high-strength alloy rims by D.I.D are coupled to CNC-machined hubs using lightweight spokes and silver anodized aluminum nipples. The nipples have a new design reducing the frequency of checks or tightening.

  • Lightweight but strong and reliable construction → minimum unsprung weight

The FC 450 RE features fresh bodywork. The new bodywork clearly showcases Husqvarna Motorcycles’ pioneering design direction in motocross motorcycles. Apart from the Swedish-inspired design, the ergonomics are specifically tailored to deliver greater comfort and control, enabling riders to perform at the highest level for extended periods of time. After numerous tests, the contact points have been slimmed down making movement between riding positions seamless. Additionally, the new seat line and high grip seat cover deliver superior comfort and control in all conditions.

  • New bodywork → distinctive looks, modern design and graphics
  • Ergonomics → confidence-inspiring riding position in all riding situations
  • Seat → improved comfort with superior control in all conditions.

The new SOHC cylinder head is now even more compact while being 15mm lower and 1 lb (500g) lighter. As a result of the more compact design, the camshaft is now closer to the center of gravity significantly improving handling. Shorter valve timing improves bottom end performance and responsiveness. The new camshaft features an improved cam surface and actuates four lightweight titanium valves. The diameter of the intake valves is 40mm, with the exhaust valves featuring a diameter of 33mm. Low-friction DLC coating on the rocker arm and low-friction chain guides offer optimum efficiency and reliability.

  • New SOHC → more compact design, camshaft closer to center of gravity (1 lb/500g lighter)
  • New camshaft → improved cam surface
  • DLC coating & optimized chain guides → reduced friction.

The lightweight 5-speed gearbox is now produced by Pankl Racing Systems ensuring the highest level of durability and reliability. The gear lever features a design that prevents dirt build-up and keeps the lever tip in its original position even in the toughest conditions. An advanced gear sensor selects a specific engine map tailored for each gear.

  • 5-speed gearbox → smooth and precise shifting
  • Integrated gear sensor → specific engine maps for each gear.

DDS CLUTCH

The DDS (Dampened Diaphragm Steel) clutch includes a single diaphragm steel pressure plate instead of traditional coil springs. It integrates a damping system for better traction and durability. The clutch basket is a single-piece CNC-machined steel component that allows the use of thin steel liners and contributes to the compact design of the engine. The billet clutch cover is exactly the same as the one used by the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team and delivers that unmistakable factory look while also being lightweight and robust.

  • DDS clutch → lighter with better modulation and improved durability
  • Magura hydraulic system → perfect clutch modulation.