2016 Husqvarna FC and TC Web Impression

Husqvarna invited us out to Washington D.C. to unveil the 2016 FC and TC motocross models. Not only did they set us up in a posh hotel right across the street from the White House, they took us to Budds Creek Maryland to let us test ride the TC 125 and 250 along with the FC 250, 350, and 450 models, on the AMA National outdoor track. Husqvarna’s FC line up has a whole host of new changes (most are the same as the 2016 KTM SX-F’s which focus on weight savings and increased power) like a completely redesigned frame that is lighter, stiffer and more compact, carbon fiber composite subframe (that is proprietary to Husky), swingarm that is stiffer and lighter, updated WP 4CS fork settings, WP shortened rear shock, triple clamps that come with rubber mounted bar mounts, rear link with longer 148.2 mm pull rods (from 145mm), footpeg mounts that clean mud and debris away from the footpeg, Magura hydraulic clutch (switching from Brembo), Pro Taper Evo handlebars, lock on ODI grips with a new throttle assembly, updated map switch and launch control, 44mm throttle body, exhaust system, lighter lithium battery, redesigned fuel tank, airbox design is now updated for increased airflow, completely redesigned bodywork, seat cover with redesigned grip, and finally Dunlop MX52’s.

The TC 125 also received a ton of love from the R&D department with a redesigned cylinder and piston, new crankshaft, crankcases, physically narrower 6-speed transmission, exhaust system, and also new bodywork to match the FC line. The list of changes to the TC 125 machine chassis is surprisingly similar to the FC models; the new frame has been designed to offer better energy absorption, the subframe/swingarm/footpegs are now lighter, the handlebar clamps are finally rubber mounted, and the updated ergonomics and bodywork have been altered to keep weight down and improve handling.

The TC 250 changes are minimal with a CNC triple clamp with rubber damping and a new seat cover that greatly improves grip and durability. New disc brakes and 100 g lighter spokes reduce unsprung weight for improved agility.

Riding five bikes in one day and getting proper testing feedback is difficult to do, but sometimes when you have a limited amount of time we feel comfortable giving you our “first impression”. This isn’t a full-blown test. We do feel however that the demand is high enough to give you an idea of where Husqvarna is headed in 2016.

FC 450:

The Husqvarna FC 450 is arguably one of the best looking bikes for 2016.

Besides the changes mentioned above the Husqvarna FC 450 also gets a cylinder/head/piston/connecting rod/crankshaft that have been changed to produce more power with a lighter, more compact configuration. The new 2016 FC 450 has a smoother, strong roll-on power that is easy to ride. Bottom end feels slightly more usable than last year but still very strong, while it’s the mid-to-top peak power is where the Husky is really impressive. The yellow-headed monster has a mid range hit that is unlike any 450 that we have ridden to date. Once out of the corner and down the straight the FC 450 will excite you more than it does down low. Top end is plentiful and this 450 can be revved out similar to a 250 if you choose to be that guy who revs bigger cc’d bikes. The revised DDS clutch seems to be good fit for the FC 450; with a light and precise feel at the lever, it greatly helps modulate the power and gives you more connectivity between your throttle hand and the rear tire.

When we got on the FC 450 we expected the WP suspension to feel like the 16 KTM’s we have ridden. We were wrong. One quick lap around Budds Creek and we immediately felt the bike was too soft. Although great in the small braking bumps and acceleration chop the fork and shock moved way too much coming down hills and under braking. Gone was the harsh deflection of last year’s suspension and instead we had a soft pillow like feel. Playing with compression and rebound clickers proved to help some but we would like to maybe add some oil to the fork to let it hold up better under heavy braking. The chassis is much better this year on all the FC models, but the most noticeable difference was felt on the FC 450. You can definitely feel how much weight the Husqvarna lost especially laying it over in corners. We had some issues last year with the FC 450 being a little hard to get into a rut or berm to hold the rider in. The new 16 450 has much better front-end traction and can pivot around a corners effortlessly. Ease of direction change is much more rider friendly and feels 250’esq.

The Pro Taper bar is a nice touch and the rubber mounted bar mounts are a welcome change to your arms. The updated non slip seat cover actually works and keeps your butt safely planted, unlike last year when it felt like it had Crisco rubbed all over it. The footpegs actually don’t get packed with mud and go back down after dragging them through deep east coast style ruts.

Lightweight and powerful the 2016 FC 450 feels like a 250 out on the track with its flickable feeling.
2016 Husqvarna FC 450 Specs
Seat height: 37.8 in.
Ground clearance: 14.6 in.
Fuel capacity: 1.8 gal.
Claimed Weight: 226 lbs.

FC 350:

With a claimed 58 horsepower the FC 350 is not just your average mid sized four stroke engine.

We dare you to get on this bike and not have a smile on your face! The 2016 FC 350 received all the basic changes the FC 450 did but this motor packs more excitement down low. Just like we said in previous tests with the 350cc size we think this is a perfect engine size for most motocross enthusiasts. The new FC 350 has great throttle response and punch right out of the hole. The first 100 feet the FC 350 will pull the FC 450 out of corners and then you will give up some down the straight to the mighty 450. It revs up quickly and is exciting to ride. Yes, almost all 450’s do have more grunt right out of corners, but the FC 350 can pop out of a sand berm as good, if not better than a 450cc sized machine. Mid-range is where this motor shines. If you’re not careful while rolling the throttle on, shifting into third gear, the FC 350 can get away from you. Second gear pulls extremely far, almost too far where your brain will tell your left foot to pull up. The FC 350 loves to be revved out, so let her eat in second gear another 1000 rpm or so then shift to third. Trust us. After playing with ignition maps we feel the standard map was the most useable around Budds Creek. With the aggressive map there wasn’t as much top end pull and over-rev.

Yes, just like the FC 450 the WP suspension is also soft on the FC 350. The fork and shock bottom out considerably on steep jump faces or g-outs, which was a negative. But, the trade off is there is more comfort when the track gets rough and choppy, which we liked. All of the models we tried could of benefited from some added oil in the fork to get us better hold up coming down hills. The chassis feels light and flickable and front tire traction is also increased on the FC 350 in 2016. We do want to note that all of the models came with Dunlop MX32’s on this test but will come with Dunlop 52’s on the showroom floor. Do yourself a favor and ditch the 52’s for a more soft to intermediate tire for increased feeling on the track.

The FC 350 has the engine character to do it all along with a lightweight package that inspires confidence.
2016 Husqvarna FC 350 Specs
Seat height: 37.8 in.
Ground clearance: 14.6 in.
Fuel capacity: 1.8 gal.
Claimed Weight: 224 lbs.

FC 250:

Lighter weight and improved power was the name of the game when developing the 2016 Husqvarna FC 250.

The 2016 FC 250 received the same array of engine, chassis, and suspension changes as the other four-stroke MX models. The power is extremely linear and there’s less pulling power than the FC 350 and not near as much initial hit as the 450 but it does have more torque than last year’s FC 250. We still would like snappier bottom end power (torque feeling) to get out of deep loamy corners better. The engine does feel more free revving than in years past and not so tight on de-cel. As with the other machines, the weight reduction is a huge positive on the track in tighter areas. The FC 250 is extremely fun to ride because of its sheer lightweight feeling with a powerful top end engine character. The suspension like the other models is sprung soft for a 170-pound intermediate/pro rider.

It’s hard not to dive into corners and pop out with ease on the lightweight FC 250.
2016 Husqvarna FC 250 Specs
Seat height: 37.8 in.
Ground clearance: 14.6 in.
Fuel capacity: 1.8 gal.
Claimed Weight: 221 lbs.

TC 125:

Two- stroke development is in full swing with the newly redesigned Husqvarna 2016 TC 125.

With the changes that Husqvarna made to the 2016 TC 125 the future is bright for two stroke lovers. The TC 125 engine character is unbelievable. It’s snappy and hits hard down low and screams into the mid range and top end with minimal use of the clutch. The TC can pull the biggest of riders around on a hilly track and the gap between the TC 125 and the FC 250 is closer than ever before. Going from a four stroke to two stroke on the same day you are able to really feel the difference in power character but the 125 took minimal time to get used to. Yes, you still have to carry more speed into corners but this is the best “point and shoot” 125cc engine we have ridden ever. The jetting was crisp and clean with no popping or burble when landing off of jumps. There also is less vibration through our arms with the updated engine changes and rubber mounted bar mounts.

Extreme high levels of fun were had at Budds Creek on the screaming TC 125 two-stroke.
2016 Husqvarna TC 125 Specs
Seat height: 37.9 in.
Ground clearance: 15.0 in.
Fuel capacity: 1.8 gal.
Claimed Weight: 198 lbs.

TC 250:

Minimal changes were made to the TC 250 but it still remains one of the most solid 250cc two-stroke packages to date.

Even though the 2016 TC 250 is virtually the same bike as last year this is still one powerful mid size two-stroke! Tons of bottom end and mid range grunt with top end that falls a little flat going up hills. Jetting was not as spot on as the TC 125 and felt like the 250 could use a richer main jet to pull farther up on top end. Suspension was surprisingly different feeling than the other machines. The front end held up more coming down hills and this made charging into corners easier, but the rear of the bike felt low and made the TC 250 feel unbalanced down straights. Noticeably more vibration was felt through the handlebars (even with rubber mounted bar mounts) and footpegs, which made the bike feel old and worn out around the track. I am sure with the updates made to the 2016 TC 125 we should see the TC 250 get similar changes in 2017.

Loads of torque will get you out of a loamy berm quickly on the TC 250.
2016 Husqvarna TC 250 Specs
Seat height: 39.0 in.
Ground clearance: 15.1 in.
Fuel capacity: 1.9 gal.
Claimed Weight: 216 lbs.

With the advancements that Husqvarna took for 2016 with their line of motorcycles, we can only hope for continued growth of this iconic brand in the years to come. Look for more in depth tests from each model soon in the pages of Dirt Rider Magazine and dirtrider.com.