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2023 HUSQVARNA FC350: FULL TEST

Some bikes need to be promoted, exposed and assisted in every way to encourage sales. Not the Husqvarna FC350. There are no factory riders for the FC350; no race teams, no big rigs and no works bikes. The FC350 is the most neglected model in Husqvarna’s motocross line, at least from the pro racing point

2023 HUSQVARNA FC350: FULL TEST

Some bikes must be promoted, uncovered and assisted in each approach to encourage gross sales. Not the Husqvarna FC350. There aren’t any manufacturing unit riders for the FC350; no race groups, no huge rigs and no works bikes. The FC350 is probably the most uncared for mannequin in Husqvarna’s motocross line, no less than from the professional racing perspective. It’s actually not uncared for within the engineering division. The FC350 bought a tough redesign for 2023. It was a part of the top-to-bottom reboot of all of the competitors bikes within the mixed Husqvarna and KTM traces this 12 months. As most riders know by now, round 20 bikes within the Pierer Mobility company group had been redesigned, making this the largest 12 months of change within the firm’s historical past.

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

Mechanically, the 2023 FC350 has a lot in frequent with the FC450. It has the very same body and bodywork, that are new this 12 months. The body continues to be metal with a central spine, however it’s extra sturdy. The rear suspension is redesigned with a brand new shock, a brand new swingarm and new linkage. Even the highest shock mount is linked to the body in a unique style, which is claimed to dramatically alter the way in which the bike handles. In entrance, the fork continues to be a WP Xact air fork, though the valving and bottoming methods have been altered. One of many defining options that separates the Husky from the KTM 350SX-F is a shorter seat top. The official specification for the FC350’s seat top is 339mm, which is 19mm lower than the KTM 350SX-F seat top. This was executed fully by way of modifications in suspension (i.e. fork, shock, linkage), though the official numbers supplied there don’t fairly match up—the fork is claimed to have 5mm much less journey, and the rear suspension journey is 7mm much less. We’ll say that Husqvarna’s seat-height quantity appears correct based on our admittedly crude strategies.

All of the handlebar switches are new this 12 months. The starter and the kill button are on the proper. The multi-switch that provides two maps, traction management and the brand new Quickshift function is on the left. You can too entry launch help on that facet.

There are a variety of signature Husqvarna elements that aren’t supplied on the KTM. The handlebar is ProTaper, the edges are D.I.D. Dust Star, and the subframe is a composite mixture of polyamide and aluminum. All of the work for 2023 resulted in a weight improve. On our scale, the FC350 is 228.7 kilos with out gas, which is basically the identical because the 450.

BIG SCREAM

We’ve all the time been huge followers of the 350, though we’ve got editors and take a look at riders who didn’t wish to hand over their 450s. Now, it’s a unique story. Of all the brand new stuff within the 2023 Husqvarna line, the 350 motor has probably the most clear and distinct enchancment. It makes such good midrange that you simply now not should scream it like a 250. You possibly can really torque it across the observe like a 450. The revs are nonetheless there for those who want them, however you don’t should go up there for those who don’t wish to. You get much less arm pump, much less psychological fatigue and fewer intimidation issue. It might additionally pull a holeshot if it has to. Clearly, this is determined by the observe and the rider, however for those who’re a very good starter on a 450, you’ll be a very good starter on a 350. The brand new Quickshift perform helps a little bit with full-throttle upshifts on the beginning chute, however most riders don’t belief it sufficient to make use of it afterward. We realized to show it off on the fly. Of the 2 maps accessible on the handlebar, the usual one (grey mild) is sweet in most conditions. Within the extra aggressive (inexperienced) map, the bike peaks out a little bit later however isn’t essentially any sooner. There’s additionally the choice of putting in a vented airbox cowl. Final 12 months this was an important transfer with all Husqvarnas. Now, the development is much less distinct. The usual airbox apparently breathes a lot better this 12 months.

The truth that the 350 weighs the identical as a 450 is a little bit mind-blowing. We’d by no means imagine that if we didn’t weigh them each for ourselves. Now we have usually identified {that a} huge motor with plenty of rotational mass creates gyroscopic impact that alters the way in which a motorcycle handles. That is by no means extra clear than once you evaluate a 350 to a 450. The 350 is way simpler to toss round. Past that, it even appears to land from jumps much less harshly and brake in shorter distances. Can we clarify that? Not likely. Whether or not it’s actual or imaginary, it nonetheless impacts the way in which you journey.

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How is it that the 350 feels as mild as a 250 however can sustain with a 450? Don’t ask questions; simply benefit from the journey.

In the event you’ve been paying consideration, you’ll have seen that the brand new Husky body has been a goal for criticism. It’s clearly extra inflexible, and that makes the suspension really feel prefer it’s not doing its job. Since the very same body is used for all three Husky FC fashions, it offers us yet one more demonstration of how energy supply impacts so many alternative facets of the way in which a motorcycle works, together with suspension. If you open the throttle on a giant bike, you hit every thing more durable. The 350 really feels prefer it has cushier suspension than the 450 just because it hits sharp edges with barely much less affect. We’ll nonetheless say that the majority riders assume the older body made for a cushier journey, however it’s not as noticeable on the 350 as it’s on the 450. On a hard-packed observe, most riders decreased compression damping at each ends. The shock comes set at 15 clicks out (for low pace), and most riders prefer it finest at 18. Excessive pace is 1.5 seems for many riders. The beneficial sag of 105mm can be finest. In entrance, you may get misplaced between air strain and compression damping, so we usually beneficial setting the air strain at the usual setting (10.6 bar) and concentrating on clickers. For the file, nearly no take a look at riders are delicate sufficient to note the lower in suspension journey in comparison with the KTM or GasGas fashions. Everybody notices the decreased seat top. The Husky is decrease, and that even pleases tall riders. It’s notably helpful on the beginning line. There is likely to be a slight drawback in ruts, the place you usually tend to catch a footpeg, so it’s finest to maintain that in thoughts in moist observe circumstances. One other remark from most take a look at riders is that the brand new bike squats much less on acceleration. It’s because the countershaft sprocket is positioned decrease in relationship to the swingarm pivot this 12 months. Some riders really feel that’s a fantastic enchancment, however most don’t discover.

WHOSE BIKE?

In the event you’re a faithful 450 man, it’s a tricky promote to speak you into a motorcycle that has much less horsepower and weighs the identical. It mainly contradicts all logic. That time is pushed residence by the truth that there isn’t a single 350 lined up for the beginning of a Professional Nationwide.

Our recommendation is to recover from your self. Many of the riders in the true world can go simply as quick on the 350 and do it with much less struggling. About 5 p.c of the energetic racers within the novice world can use the complete energy of a 450. After all, this isn’t a secret. With none actual promotion or racing finances, the 350 continues to outsell the 450. That’s been the case for a very long time. The one factor that’s modified is that in the present day’s FC350 is even higher. 

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