2020 Husqvarna FC 350 First Ride Review

Improved rider comfort and power on Husqvarna’s midsize motocrosser.

2020 Husqvarna FC 350 jumping at the Fox Raceway in Pala, California.
Riding the 2020 Husqvarna FC 350 at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.Jeff Allen

The Husqvarna FC 350 enters its second year of the latest-generation model in 2020. The updates made to the midsize motocross bike last year were extensive including a stiffer frame, redesigned bodywork, updated settings in the WP suspension components, and a new exhaust system just to name a few. For 2020, Husqvarna focused on refining its heavily revised motocross models from a year prior with different suspension settings, a gearing change, and an optional airbox cover. We spent a day riding Husqvarna's 350cc four-stroke motocross bike at Fox Raceway in Pala, California, to get an idea of how it performs.

Engine

2020 Husqvarna FC 350 left and right static profiles in desert.
Left: Like the rest of Husqvarna's full-size motocross bike lineup, the FC 350 received several updates in 2019. The focus for 2020 was on refining the midsize motocrosser. Right: For MY20, the FC 350 comes with two airbox covers—stock (pictured) and an optional vented one.Jeff Allen

The development of the 350cc four stroke has come a long way. The new 2020 configuration of the FC 350 engine works very well. There was a time I would have described it as a faster 250cc four-stroke but not fast enough to compete with the open-class power of a 450cc four-stroke. Today’s engine has gained enough torque that I would say it’s more comparable to a mellow, easy-to-ride 450cc powerplant.

The 350’s biggest advantage is that it has very good midrange torque and plenty of over-rev without the abrupt initial hit of a 450 as soon as you crack the throttle. With that, you can roll your corners more easily and with much less energy. If you’re really looking for that harder snap as soon as you crack the throttle, you need to remember to downshift coming into corners and grab a handful of throttle at the apex. The engine-braking is certainly more noticeable in second gear, which makes it a little trickier to roll your corners compared to third gear.

2020 Husqvarna FC 350 with one-tooth-larger rear sprocket.
Husqvarna spec’d the FC 350 with a one-tooth-larger rear sprocket for 2020.Jeff Allen

The engine is smooth and linear. For the most part, the gear selection was right about where I liked it to be and had a decent amount of recovery if I let the rpm drop a bit low. Map 1 and map 2 are noticeably different, with map 2 just seeming to be stronger overall. The optional vented airbox cover was also noticeable, adding just a little more roll-on torque in the midrange coming out of corners. A new final drive ratio of 13:51 (up one tooth on the rear sprocket) for 2020 worked well and allowed me to carry third gear just a little more, in turn reducing the number of shifts per lap.

Fortunately, the smooth roll-on power delivery and great torque means you can ride this bike with minimal clutch use. When the time comes that you forget to downshift and need to pick the rpm up, the Magura hydraulic clutch works smoothly and is consistent. The Magura slave cylinder has been known to have piston seal issues in the past, so be sure to keep an eye on the fluid level in your clutch master cylinder.

Suspension & Chassis/Handling

2020 Husqvarna FC 350 with WP Xact suspension components.
In an effort to find more suspension comfort, Husqvarna did extensive testing with WP to find better settings on the Xact suspension components.Jeff Allen

The chassis of Husqvarna’s full-size motocross models were significantly updated in 2019, so changes to it for 2020 are understandably minimal. Most riders found that the settings in 2019 were a touch harsh and lacked rider comfort, so Husqvarna did extensive testing with the WP Xact suspension components in an effort to find the missing comfort. They let us know they worked very hard on the 2020 model line setting to better suit the US market and to target the everyday rider. The stock fork air pressure setting and shock spring rate are the same as 2019, but WP increased the hydraulic control via the suspension valving and oil levels. While the overall setting is softer, there is plenty of room to adjust the suspension to your personal liking.

2020 Husqvarna FC 350 jumping at the Fox Raceway in Pala, California in front of mountain.
The new suspension settings are quite soft, but there is plenty of room to adjust it to your personal liking.Jeff Allen

It didn’t take me long to realize the suspension is quite soft and that stiffening it for me would improve the bike’s overall handling. I went up on the fork air pressure from the stock 10.4 bar to 10.6 bar and made several adjustments to the shock’s high-speed compression adjuster, ending with it a half turn out from fully closed. I also stiffened the fork compression adjuster to nine clicks out from fully closed and went two clicks in on the rebound. This turned out to be a very balanced setting that offered an equal amount of comfort and performance. I feel the 4.2-kilogram shock spring was adequate for my weight of 170 pounds, but I would have liked to try the next rate up. With more testing time, I would possibly add even more air to the fork as well. If you are above the 180-pound mark, you may want to consider a heavier shock spring right from the get-go.

The 2020 settings right off the showroom are going to be in the ballpark for a very wide range of riders. If you are the kind of guy who is looking to enter the pro ranks of motocross or plan on hitting every Arenacross money race you can find, you may discover that the stock suspension is just too soft. If you plan on going out and buying a new 2020 Husqvarna, be sure to give it some time to break in (a good five hours of riding) and then start working on the suspension adjusters. Take your time and I bet you will be able to find settings that are very good for your riding ability.

How Does The Husqvarna FC 350 Ride?

2020 Husqvarna FC 350 racing on dirt track in desert.
The FC 350 has very good midrange torque and plenty of over-rev without the abrupt initial hit of a 450 as soon as you crack the throttle.Jeff Allen

The 2020 Husqvarna FC 350’s settings are noticeably improved, making this a much better bike right off the showroom floor than the 2019 model. Gone is the harsh feeling in your hands, which has been replaced with a significant amount of comfort. The engine is unchanged with the exception of the one-tooth-larger rear sprocket, which seems to be a step in the right direction. You can also install the vented airbox cover and the black (shorter turn) throttle cam, both of which are included with the bike and will give you a fun powerband on a bike that is already very enjoyable to ride.

Gearbox

2020 Husqvarna FC 350 rolling around corner.
In comparison to riding a 450, you can roll your corners more easily and with much less energy on a 350 due to its smooth and linear powerband.Jeff Allen

TECH SPEC

PRICE $9,899
ENGINE 349.7cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain
MEASURED HORSEPOWER N/A
MEASURED TORQUE N/A
FRAME Steel central double-cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION WP Xact 48mm fork adjustable for air pressure, compression damping, and rebound damping; 12.2-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION WP Xact shock adjustable for spring preload, high-/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping; 11.8-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Brembo 2-piston caliper, 260mm disc
REAR BRAKE Brembo 1-piston caliper, 220mm disc
WHEELBASE 58.5 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 37.4 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 1.9 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 221 lb. (w/ all fluids except fuel)
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT husqvarna-motorcycles.com