looks like a screen-style spark arrestor, but it isn’t actually approved by the U.S. Forestry Service for that type
of application. The silencer is about 80mm shorter than
it was last year. The head pipe is interesting too. It has a
resonance chamber that looks something like a two-stroke
This year Husqvarna uses a Magura master cylinder for
the hydraulic clutch rather than a Brembo. The only thing
we didn’t like about the Magura unit in the past was that
it used mineral oil rather than brake fluid. That’s been
changed, and now the Husky uses DOT 4 brake fluid in
both the brake and clutch.
THE STRONG STAY STRONG
In 2015 the Husky was a great motorcycle but had a
handful of clearly defined weaknesses. Everyone loved
the motor; everyone complained about the fork. Everyone
loved the overall handling; everyone complained about
the comfort. Everyone loved the construction quality, the
reliability and the general appeal of the bike. Perhaps the
most common criticism of the Husky was that it didn’t
have the upper hand over the KTM in any category and
that its differences were mostly disadvantages. There’s
that giant orange shadow once again.
For 2016 that last criticism will be back, but it’s not
legitimate. This time it’s the muffler that’s more restrictive,
not the airbox. But, the power is so deep, rich and smooth
that anyone complaining will find it hard to keep a straight
face. The Husky has a long powerband and a wicked top-end surge that only a few riders can take full advantage
of. It doesn’t have a sharp hit anywhere along the way, at
least if the definition of a hit is when the motor gains power
very suddenly. That implies that there’s a weak spot somewhere prior to the so-called hit, and the Husky powerband
has no weak spots.
Having said that, if you ride the KTM back to back with
the Husky, you’ll find that the KTM has more of a horse-
power surge. On a dyno it shows up to be about 1 horse-
power on top. That’s all in the muffler, and if you really
feel you can use more, it’s easy to turn to the aftermarket.
A slip-on muffler will close the gap. If you compare the
Husky motor to last year’s FC450, there’s a huge dif-
more to a motor than dyno numbers. The new motor is
crisper and livelier. When you blip the throttle with
the gearbox in neutral, it responds instantly;
it doesn’t have to wind up. On the track that
means you can control the motor easily with
very little clutch work. The motor is always willing to
answer the call.
As with most EFI bikes, you can alter the
power output with mapping changes.
Husky has its own system for remap-
ping in the pits, but there are two dif-
ferent settings available through a
handlebar switch. Opinions varied
on which map was the best, but
there wasn’t as big a gap between
the aggressive map and the stan-
dard map as last year. One simply
moves the power peak a little higher
in the rpm range than the other. This
year you can also access Husqvarna’s
version of launch control via the handle-
bar switch. If you flip it back and forth
quickly a light will flash, and that changes maps
temporarily. The motor won’t gain revs as quickly, and
There are only two things
that are new on the 2016
Husky FC450: the motor
and everything else.
Husqvarna meets European racing sound restrictions with
its exhaust system, whereas the KTM is a little louder.
Brembo brakes are still on top of the off-road world,
especially these Brembo brakes.