2019 Husqvarna FC 450 Rockstar Edition
This is the second year for Husqvarna to release a one-off premium version of its flagship motocross machine, the FC 450. In 2018, the first Rockstar Edition Husqvarna saw major changes from the standard 2018 FC 450, with an all-new frame and mostly-new engine, and some extra bits thrown in for good measure. This year, the 2019 FC 450 Rockstar Edition builds on that same new generation frame and engine with some small changes across the bike.
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 fiber reinforced engine protector
- New settings on the fully adjustable 48 mm WP split air fork
- Mechanical holeshot device as standard
- High-quality Magura clutch system
- New FMF Racing Factory 4.1 silencer
- High-quality ProTaper handlebar
- New anodized D.I.D DirtStar rims
- New 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
Just like the KTM Factory Edition, the Husqvarna Rockstar Edition receives the same internal engine changes including a brass bushing on the connecting rod, lighter and stiffer rocker arms for the intake and exhaust valves, and a CP box-in-box piston. These small tweaks add up to a livelier, quicker revving engine on the track. The power delivery is similar to the standard FC 450 but it seems to want to skip over the smooth bottom end of the power and jump straight into the meaty mid-range, and then scream through the top end. In map 1, power is nearly instant and there is excitement and pop even in the lower parts of the RPM, but you sacrifice a little on the top end and overrev. In map 2, the power is slightly delayed but if you are a revver, you are mightily rewarded by massive top-end pulling power.
The newly named WP XACT fork is primarily the same WP AER 48 mm split air fork that is on the standard FC 450 now, but got a few changes that just happened to coincide with the name change. The top caps have a new, adjustment-friendly design and the fork piston is calibrated to make a smoother initial part of the stroke. Out back, the XACT shock has some internal updates as well as setting changes. These new settings didn’t feel drastically different than the standard FC 450 but we did notice a little more comfort when dialing in the fork. We actually went down form 10.9 bar to 10.6 bar and slowed down the rebound on the fork to get it to move a little lower in the stroke, but not bounce back out too fast.
If we put the standard FC 450 and the FC 450 RE side by side on the scale, we guessing they’d be the same, but on the track, the Rockstar Edition somehow feels even lighter. We don’t know how Husky (and KTM) keep making their bikes lighter and lighter but it is the defining character of how these bikes handle. To be able to flick a 450 around like you can with this bike is remarkable. Perhaps the quicker revving, more exciting motor character makes the bike feel lighter and less substantial.
Also, the new split clamping CNC’d triple clamps have to be giving the front end more compliance and grip. The clamps have a ton of aluminum removed and the more open space a triple clamp has, the more flex it generally has. Although we didn’t change it, the new clamps have an adjustable offset from 20 mm to 22 mm.
Different than the KTM Factory Edition the Husky gets a two-position holeshot device. It also gets the same D.I.D. DirtStar rims, new blue niples and blue hubs, as well as a new three-cross spoke pattern. While the rims are stiffer than stock, having a three-cross spoke pattern give the wheels a little more compliance as well. The Guts gripper seat cover is aggressive as can be, and the new semi-floating front brake rotor is for better braking performance.
Do we think the Rockstar Edition is better than the standar FC 450? Yep. Without a doubt, the quicker, freer feeling engine character is worth the extra bucks, let alone all the other updates you get. But, we have a hunch that all the limited number of Rockstar Edition bikes might be spoken for. The good news is, as these things usually go, the 2020 Husqvarna FC 450 might remind us of the RE quite a bit.