2019 Bike Test Week Part 2: Husqvarna Motocross range | Bike Reviews | Features
If ever there was a perfect time for Husqvarna to be launching a new range of two-stroke and four-stroke motocross bikes it is right now.
WORDS // LEE HOGAN
PHOTOS // HUSQVARNA
Coming off the back of Jason Anderson’s record-breaking AMA 450cc Supercross Championship (the first in the company’s history) and Zach Osborne’s back-to-back 250cc Supercross crown, the firm is well and truly on top of its game.
For a company that started making bikes in 1903, it is perhaps fitting that the 2019 motocross launch would happen in the retirement capital of the world, Florida. But the chosen launch venue, Bakers’ Factory, is no place for retirees.
Husqvarna’s mantra for 2019 is ‘Intelligent Moto’ and over 60 per cent of the range is new. With all models receiving redesigned bodywork and graphics, blue powder-coated chrome-moly frames with increased rigidity, a new two-piece (instead of three) carbon composite subframe (which is 250g lighter), revised damping on the WP 48 AER forks, a new piston and revised damping in the WP shock.
Like the 2019 Katos we reviewed last month, the Huskies have 5mm longer chain adjustment slots so you can lengthen the wheelbase. There’s also a stiffer top triple-clamp, new throttle cable routing, updated cooling systems with a larger diameter centre tube, a new bend for the Pro Taper handlebars, laser-engraved DID rim with new spoke nipples and new gearboxes produced by Pankl.
The FC450 received a reworked cylinder head that is lower and 500g lighter, while the FC350 got similar changes that resulted in a 200g saving. The 125 and 250 TC two-strokes received new mufflers while the TC250 also received a redesigned expansion chamber.
All of the four-strokes got a new lithium-ion 2.0 Ah battery while the TC125, FC250 and FC350 got new DS (diaphragm steel) clutches. Now you know what’s new, let’s see how it works on a Factory track.
Out of all of the changes for 2019, the most important one in my opinion has been the weight saving, which is most noticeable on the FC450. With the 500g shaved off the cylinder head, the 450 comes in at an incredible 101kg, which is just 1kg heavier than the 350. The weight saving was particularly noticeable when quickly changing directions on some of the Bakers’ Factory switch backs and I also really noticed it when tipping the bike into ruts.
The next most notable change for me was the redesigned plastics. When you are seated, the new Husqvarnas feel slimmer between the knees, which Husky has achieved this by lowering the radiators by 12mm. And the bike is also slimmer at the widest part of the sideplates which is really noticeable when standing going through whoops.
While it hasn’t been a massive change, the updated settings in the WP AER 48 forks have definitely headed in the right direction. With slightly ‘beefed up’ valving I found that I didn’t really need to have quite as much air on board. This allowed the fork to hold up nicely when hard under brakes but also retained the plush feeling that you expect from this fork. Helping could be a new grease being used on the fork cartridges which Husqvarna claims reduces stiction.
Read the full report from the 2019 Husqvarna motocross launch in ADB issue #468 – on sale August 6.