Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2018 HUSQVARNA
ROCKSTAR EDITION BETTER THAN THE 2017 ROCKSTAR
A: No, because there wasn’t a Husqvarna Rockstar Edition in the 2017
model lineup. It is a new model. You might be tempted to call it the 2018-1/2
Husqvarna FC450 Factory Edition, because it essentially mimics the concept
behind the 2012 through 2018 KTM 450SXF Factory Editions; however, if you
call it a “Factory Edition,” both Husky and KTM will be upset. Why? Because
the KTM version could well be named the “Red Bull Edition,” since these models were built for KTM’s Red Bull-sponsored race team, while the Husqvarna
version is built for its Rockstar-sponsored race team. Neither company wants
the inevitable confusion.
Q: WHY ARE THE HUSQVARNA AND KTM SPECIAL
EDITIONS BEING BUILT AT ALL?
A: Back in 2012 Roger DeCoster needed a fuel-injected, 450cc, purpose-built motocross KTM to fulfill his commitment to Ryan Dungey, who had
left Team Suzuki on the promise of a new machine at KTM. Roger cajoled
KTM’s management into building a works bike for Ryan Dungey. The fly in
the ointment was that the AMA had banned one-off works bikes back in
1986—the only bikes that could be raced in the 2012 Supercross series were
existing 2012 models. But, Roger DeCoster was not deterred by the rulebook;
instead, he found a loophole. The magic loophole in the AMA homologation
rules was that Roger could provide star pupil Ryan Dungey with a full-blown
works bike for the 2012 season if KTM would make 400 of them.
Q: WHAT IS THE LOOPHOLE?
A: Under the AMA homologation rule, no one can race a bike that isn’t
produced and sold to the public. To be a legal race bike for any given race
season, a manufacturer must produce at least 400 bikes and offer them for
sale to the public. Roger realized that if KTM made 400 special race bikes as
2012 models, then Ryan Dungey could legally race one of them in 2012. KTM
agreed and accelerated the timeline of the 2013 KTM 450SXF and built 400 of
next year’s bike seven months ahead of schedule. KTM and DeCoster thought
that this special run of loophole-bending bikes would be a one-time deal, never
to be repeated. Wrong! The 2012-1/2 KTM 450SXF Factory Editions sold out
at a premium price, and the one-and-done concept became a yearly model.
Q: IS IT CHEATING?
A: No. DeCoster followed the homologation rules to the letter of the law.
The Factory Edition (and Rockstar Edition) are officially 2018 models and are
thus legal in the 2018 Supercross series. It should be noted that there is nothing stopping Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki or Kawasaki from dong the exact same
thing—if they had the will to do it.
Q: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW
ABOUT THE ROCKSTAR EDITION FC450?
A: The biggest takeaway is that the 2018-1/2 Rockstar Edition is the 2019
Husqvarna FC450—minus the graphics, pleated seat cover, front brake rotor
guard, Rekluse clutch cover, skid plate, and whatever damping and mapping
changes that Husky’s engineers learn from Rockstar Edition owners in the
Q: HOW DOES THE ROCKSTAR EDITION’S ENGINE DIFFER
FROM THE 2018 PRODUCTION ENGINE?
A: Now that we know how Ryan Dungey got his own personal one-off
race bike from 2012 to 2017, let’s take a look at how the 2018-1/2 Rockstar
Editions of Jason Anderson and Dean Wilson differ from the 2018 Husqvarna
FC450 production bike.
Engine cases. The bottom end of the FC450 engine is identical to the
2018 production bike.
Cylinder head. The head is totally new. It is 15mm lower. That doesn’t
mean that the engine is lower in the frame, only that the camshaft is mounted 15mm lower, which means shorter cam towers, shorter valve stems and a