Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2015
HUSQVARNA FC350 BETTER THAN THE 2014
A: Yes, but not for any technical reasons. Since
Husqvarna did not import any Husky FC350s to the
USA last year, 2015 is the first year for this model. That
doesn’t mean that Husqvarna didn’t make any FC350s in
2014; they just didn’t import them.
For 2015, Husqvarna decided to bring the FC350 to
our shores. Since the 350 is KTM’s best-selling engine
size, it only makes sense for Husqvarna to ride the
mid-size wave. Plus, since Husky has a much larger
offroad following than motocross following, the 350cc
engine size fits into its wheelhouse.
Q: IS THE HUSQVARNA FC350 IDENTICAL
TO THE KTM 350SXF?
A: Amazingly, it is not—and we don’t mean that as
much from a mechanical standpoint as a riding characteristic one. On the track, it has a completely different
personality from the KTM it is cloned from.
Q: HOW DOES THE HUSQVARNA FC350
DIFFER FROM THE KTM 350SXF?
A: There are eight major differences between the
Husky 350 and KTM 350.
(1) Plastic. While the running gear (engine, brakes,
forks, swingarm, suspension and geometry) are all shared
parts, the gas tank, fenders, side panels, seat and
subframe are Husky-only parts.
( 2) Subframe. The most obvious difference between
the Husqvarna and KTM 350SXF is the FC350’s polyamide plastic. It is unique to Husqvarna and even requires
a frame change in order to have double mounting bolts
instead of the single bolts of KTM’s aluminum subframe.
( 3) Airbox. When Husqvarna’s engineers decided
to go with an updated version of Husaberg’s plastic
subframe, they committed themselves to a new airbox
shape. Perhaps if they had to do it over again, they
would consider the effect that the thick structural shape
of the molded subframe would have on the engine’s
ability to breathe. KTM’s thin aluminum subframe tubes
leave more room for air to come in from the battery box.
Plus, KTM has vents in its airbox covers. Not so on the
Husky FC350. It is buttoned up tight. A loaf of bread
would stay fresh in Husky’s airbox for a week.
( 4) Seat. Although the Husqvarna saddle looks
identical to the KTM seat, it is not. Not only does it
mount via two bolts that are accessed via the handholds,
but its fancy, gripper-style, yellow-and-blue seat cover is
slippery as ice.
( 5) Ignition maps. Both KTM and Husqvarna offer
reprogrammed ignition maps. Husqvarna’s optional maps
are accessible from a two-position map switch on the
handlebars. Map 1 is the stock map and Map 2 is
Something borrowed: At its heart the Husky FC350
is a mildly revamped KTM 350SXF, but on the track
it is a very different machine.