Last year’s bodywork was a one-piece panel
that went from the radiators to the rear
fender. The 2018-1/2 FC450 has conventional radiator shrouds, airbox cover and a
quirky winglet below the airbox cover.
brake is that the 260mm front rotor is floating and made
by Galfer instead of being solid-mounted like the 220mm
GSK rear rotor. The Rockstar Edition comes with a black
front disc guard.
Wheels. The D.I.D DirtStar rims and cast but machine-fin-ished hubs are identical to the production FC450 wheels,
but a two-position holeshot device is standard on the
Gas tank. The fuel tank has the same capacity, but is
more compact. Note the increased height of the gas cap
and lowered section on the left side of the bike. The fuel
line has been moved inward for a straight shot at the EFI
throttle body and for added protection.
Skid plate. The skid plate is rubber-mounted and made
from plastic reinforced with carbon fiber.
Seat. The seat is still held on with one bolt, but the
loose seat-bolt spacers are now molded into the seat bracket. The seat itself is thicker, softer and more rounded on
the corners. The seat cover is pleated.
Plastic. The new bodywork is no longer one piece on
each side. In fact, it consists of a fairly standard radiator
shroud, airbox cover and side-panel design (with strange
winglets under the side panels). The ergonomics are much
narrower. The big bulge at the back of the 2018 production FC450 has been greatly reduced, although some riders liked the bulges because they could grip them when
Q: HOW DOES THE ROCKSTAR EDITION’S
SUSPENSION DIFFER FROM THE 2018
A: Although essentially the same fork, shock and
triple clamps as on the 2018 FC450 production bike, each
piece has been tweaked enough to make noticeable differences. Here is the list.
Forks. The Rockstar Edition’s AER air fork features a
two-stage base valve; recommended air pressure has been
lowered to 10. 5 bar or 153 psi. There is a spacer in the
rebound (balance) side of the air chamber that reduces
air volume by 50 percent. Compression damping has been
softened in the initial and middle sections of the fork’s
stroke, while the rebound damping is softer in the begin-
ning and set up to move faster at the end of the stroke.
Standard compression and rebound are set at 15 clicks out.
Shock. The WP shock features a pressure-balanced
design to keep internal pressures consistent. Overall, the
compression damping is increased at low speed, slightly
increased at mid-stroke and increased more at high speed.
This should help in G-out situations. The spring rate
remains at 45 N/m.
Triple clamps. The revised triple clamps are 5mm
wider (from front to rear), which makes them stiffer than
the 2018 production triple clamps. There is a yellow plastic protector that extends from behind the front number
plate to protect the bottom triple clamps from rock dings.
Strangely, it only protects the top half of the bottom clamp
from rock abuse.
Handlebars. The ProTaper handlebar is 5mm lower,
and have more rearward sweep. It is the old Ricky
Carmichael bend. Handguards come with the bike.
Q: HOW FAST IS THE ROCKSTAR EDITION
A: First and foremost, on the dyno the MXA wrecking
crew didn’t see any major horsepower differences between
the Rockstar Edition and the production FC450—save for
more over-rev. However, in the saddle, the Rockstar engine
had a freer-feeling rev. The power was so controllable and
metered that most test riders said that they didn’t feel
the need to keep a finger over the clutch. The power was
much improved right off idle. It doesn’t bark, but picks up
sooner and with less delay. It has a traction control feeling (even though it wasn’t in traction control mode). The
power is much easier to utilize.
When in map one, it delivered more torque and seemed
to run better across the board, but for some reason had