Q: HOW DOES THE 2016 HUSQVARNA FC450 RUN ON
A: The 2016 Husqvarna FC450 makes 57. 10 horsepower at
peak (9300 rpm). That makes it the second-most-powerful 450 of
2016—behind the 57.98-horsepower KTM 450SXF but ahead of the
Yamaha YZ450F’s 56. 85 horsepower, the Kawasaki KX450F’s 55. 40
horsepower, the Suzuki RM-Z450’s 54. 88 horsepower and the Honda
CRF450F’s 52. 94 horsepower. The real question is, how much power
does the ice-cream-cone muffler and convoluted air-intake system cost
the FC450 versus the 450SXF? The answer is 1.0 to 1.25 horsepower
at 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000, 9000, 10,000 and 11,000 rpm. It’s one thing
to give up 1 horsepower at peak; it is a completely different thing to
give up 1 horsepower at every step on the curve from bottom to top.
Q: HOW GOOD ARE THE 2016 HUSKY’S 4CS FORKS?
A: Unlike in the past, most MXA test riders are willing to race
with the production WP forks this year. What changed? WP’s mindset. Prior to the 2016 version of the 4CS fork, WP was chasing a
setup for a rider who wanted incredibly harsh forks that loosened
teeth and sent the front end chattering across rough ground;
however, WP was never able to tap into that mythical market. So, for
2016, WP decided to build forks for the actual people who buy and
race its bikes. And that isn’t AMA Pros or 17-year-old home-schooled
Loretta Lynn wannabes. Surprise! Even though they said it couldn’t
be done, the forks on the 2016 Husqvarna FC450 are plusher and
more resilient than anything WP has offered over the last decade.
The test riders consensus was that these forks were raceable in
stock trim. They want to move. They feel fluid. The clickers actually
make a difference (before, you chose between harsh and harsher).
But, not everyone will be happy with the stock WP setup.
Fast Pros, jump tracks and teenage Intermediates will not like
Husqvarna’s decision to go with comfort over stiffness. These forks
can and will bottom in the hands of a Pro rider, but we don’t know
any Pros who race with stock suspension (and that goes for Pros
with Yamaha SSS forks).
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE REAR SHOCK?
A: We are not fans of the 48 N/m shock spring on the FC350
or FC450. It only works well for riders around 190 pounds. Anyone
lighter than that will have problems getting any preload on the shock
spring. The saving grace for the FC450 is that most 450cc riders are
larger and heavier than 125, 250 or 350 riders, thus the shock spring,
albeit wrong, will be right for the typical FC450 rider. If you are
under 190 pounds, you should look into swapping the stock 48 N/m
shock spring for the 45 N/m spring from the FC250. Husqvarna did
change the shock and fork valving over the WP units on the KTM
450SXF, but the differences only show up as clicker preferences.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Spacers. There are spacers in the seat bolt hole and right-side panel that fall out when you remove either of these two bolts.
Shouldered bolts or tolerance-fit spacers would have solved this
( 2) Tires. There is a place in the world for the Dunlop MX52 front
tire, but in a direct comparison between the KTM 450SXF’s MX32
and the FC450’s MX52, we’ll take the MX32 every time. The MX52 is
sketchy. Although the stock tires are Dunlops, the tubes are Pirellis.
These lightweight Pirelli tubes are prone to flatting.
( 3) The pipe. You can’t take the pipe off the bike without
removing the shock—and removing the shock is a pain.
( 4) Sprocket/spokes. Watch the sprocket bolts closely. They
loosen up easily. On the plus side, we had better luck with the