Test and previews Tue 08 October 2019

HUSQVARNA FE 450 2020

What better opportunity to try the FE450 my 2020 than to participate in the 4th testday of the Husqvarna single-brand held in Enego in the province of Vicenza. The displacement available to us is one of the "demanding" ones to be treated with respect.

APPEARANCE
The first thing we notice is the almost total absence of graphics if not for the symbol of the brand printed on conveyors and rod-covers; this can be a good choice, since every buyer can customize it to taste. The blue saddle has a pair of black inserts on the sides and has a good grip, the standard hand guards are study and do their job while the front headlight mask is molded in two-color polypropylene (yellow and white). The engine mapping selector is placed on the handlebars, from here you can easily engage or disengage traction control.

ON THE ROAD
Sunday morning arrives and we leave for the race planning to have fun and, why not, hoping to achieve good results too. The first impression is that of a lean bike, agile and easy to ride thanks to the engine that pushes gradually right from low revs, it goes without saying that if you insist on the throttle the horses come out. If you change mapping you can feel the difference; with map 1, which is the standard one, the behavior of the bike is all-in-all easy, it does not undermine riding the bike on hard sections or with poor grip; with map 2, the so-called "racing" one, the responsiveness is more "sporty" right from the start and a bit of traction may be lost. In this case by inserting traction control the problem is solved. Surely map use is personal and based on situations and riding styles, what is certain is that electronics works and often helps. In the suspension department, I found that the mono-shock absorber works and copies roughness very well. In my case I had to intervene a little on hydraulics to better support my weight, but a few clicks were enough to appreciate the difference. On the other hand, I found the fork a bit soft for race purposes, but it has a good fluidity and reacts very well on any type of terrain at low speeds, but when you try to make time, a customized hydraulics "setting" becomes indispensable.
In brief, this 4 ½ (Italian slang for a 450 displacement) doesn’t need big interventions to the suspensions for a non-competitive use; when we were racing, thanks to the contribution of the WP specialists present at each trophy event, we were able to achieve a perfect behavior. The brakes work well even if they’re no longer Brembo! The Magura calipers and pumps are excellent, they are very adjystable especially the front.
This Husqvarna 2020 has improved even more; although apparently it doesn’t seem to have undergone substantial interventions, in reality each compartment has been updated, from the lighter rear frame, to a more rigid frame, to upgrades to the engine and suspensions. A great job that makes this bike even more usable by the average user as well as by who races in the various championships, who just need to make two simple adjustments of the fork to aspire to good placements.

I want to thank Husqvarna motorcycles Italy for inviting me to this trophy test and for putting a "brand new" FE450 at my disposal and Lello Tasca for his hospitality and help.

Text and tester: Michele Zoppi