For the past two years, the Husqvarna FC 450 has claimed Bike of the Year honors in our 450 Shootout. But instead of sticking with a tried and true package, the European brand went to work and released an all-new motorcycle with the 2018 Husqvarna FC 450 Rockstar Edition. The changes to the then-limited edition bike included more rigid chassis, updated suspension settings to the WP components, and a lighter and more powerful engine, all changes that made the standard 2018 Husqvarna FC 450 feel “off” in comparison. Just as expected, all of those changes made their way to the full-time production model in 2019.
The biggest change to the new Husqvarna would be the new chassis, which is centered around a revised steel frame that retains the same geometry as the prior model but is constructed with updated tubing, cross members, and engine mounts for more longitudinal rigidity. It is also paired with a new two-piece subframe that is slightly longer for more stability while becoming 250 grams lighter than before and a new hollow aluminum subframe. New bodywork is wrapped around the chassis and is designed to improve rider mobility when in the saddle.
The WP AER 48 fork and DCC shock have been further fine-tuned with new parts and settings. The left fork leg, which contains the negative air chamber, has a new spacer that reduces the total volume of the chamber by fifty percent in an effort to create a more responsive feeling in the initial portion of the stroke. As for the shock, there is a new main piston and settings to mesh with the fork and chassis changes.
The mounting position of the camshaft and other valvetrain components has been altered for a lower center of gravity, which allowed 500 grams of weight to be cut from the cylinder head. In addition to this, Husqvarna completely revamped the intake and exhaust systems with a new airbox, Keihin throttle body, and header pipe with resonance chamber, and a shorter silencer. The two pre-programmed ignition maps have been slightly tweaked to correspond with the engine changes and the traction control setting remains an option when the circumstances require it. The five-speed transmission is now built by F1 supplier Pankl and is matched to a dampened diaphragm steel clutch.
In addition to the performance-minded upgrades, Husqvarna addressed assorted areas of the motorcycle with new parts. The D.I.D. wheels are built with new spoke nipples in an effort to maintain tension, the electrical system is powered by a new 2.0 Ah lithium-ion battery pack for instantaneous startups, and the bend of the ProTaper handlebars is meant to suit a wider range of riders.