By Scott Hoffman and Gary Trachy
Most of you are probably not aware that supermoto has and always will be one of my passions. In fact, between my time working for Dirt Rider Magazine, I published a supermoto publication from 2003-2009 dedicated to SM. So when Husqvarna mentioned they were launching an all-new track-dedicated supermoto model, I was all over it and called up one of my old photo model/test rider/stunt man Gary Trachy to get the gang back together.
The 2019 Husqvarna FS 450 is based off the 2019 motocross bike but tuned for the customer specifically for supermoto. And we must say they did an amazing job. Husky said they have been bringing in bikes for a few years now but in very low numbers, and the demand has always outreached the supply. This season they are bringing in 200 units, yes that does not sound like a slew of motorcycles but it’s a solid number for a sport that has taken a back seat for the past decade but is still pumping along within its own subculture.
With its motocross base, the FS gets upgrades to suspension settings, radial caliper fork lug to house the Brembo four-piston caliper and very oversized 310mm front rotor. The standard clutch is gone and installed is a Suter slipper clutch or what they call (anti-hopping). Wheels are 16.5- and 17-inches respectfully, 3.5-inch front and 5-inch rear Alpinas. In addition to suspension tuning, triple clamp offset has been brought in to 16mm for supermoto chassis settings. Standard tires are Bridgestone, a tire I never really liked back in the day but on the Husky they worked really well and there was ample grip and no front wheel chatter, I was impressed.
Both myself and Trachy were amazed how well the FS works with very little tuning. It had been a while for both of us since we had ridden supermoto but it came back within minutes. This stock FS handles as well as the best Factory bikes we had the chance to ride back in the day. The power is strong and has solid top-end pull on both map settings and I even noticed that the traction control setting does help a tad if the rear steps out while exiting corners on pavement. Unfortunately, we were not able to ride the dirt section on our test day but I am certain the traction control setting will be amazing when riding with slicks.
Overall you can’t ask for a better supermoto bike right from a dealership floor. And supermoto is not just for road racers, it’s also for motocross riders as well. Not only is it fun, it makes you a better rider and smoother when you carry back to dirt. If you are in the market, the Husky FS has to be the first bike you look at and is probably your best option. And if you are a road racer, this is the most cost-effective practice tool available and most of the current top American road racers all have a supermoto background.
At the start of the day a bunch of skeptical moto journalists (not myself, I had butterflies from excitement) entered the track with very little expectation. But those ya ya expressions quickly turned to big smiles and energy after the first session on the track. Most never expected it would be that fun and challenging to go fast (or try to go fast). This has been the issue for years going back a decade, most motocrossers were not willing to try it but when they did most loved riding supermoto.
Will the sport blow up or surge back to where it was between 2004-2007? Probably not but it’s really fun and Husqvarna is the main player in the sport when it comes to turnkey track bikes. Not only is the FS the primary option, it’s a very good motorcycle and some testing and thought was put into producing the 2019 FS 450. I know I want to start riding SM again after riding the new Husqvarna.
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