40 Hours On The 2018 Husqvarna FX 350

This bike does not give up much, if anything, to its 450 competitors

2018 Husqvarna FX 350
2018 Husqvarna FX 350Pete Peterson

This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Dirt Rider.

Primary Use: Riding everywhere.
Main Mods: Optional black (gray is the stock slightly smaller one) throttle reel for quicker throttle opening. Raised air pressure in the fork and adjusted clickers for some motocross days.
Moment of Glory: Climbing a hill on the first try and riding by my buddies while they were struggling.
Forgettable Experience: Not getting one of these bikes sooner.
Hours: 40
Aftermath: Two sets of Dunlop AT81 tires, one set of Dunlop heavy-duty tubes, one set of rear brake pads, four oil changes, and four air filter cleanings.

I love riding dirt bikes, whether it's trail riding with buddies, motos at the local track, or testing my nerve in a desert sand wash or across a dry lake bed—I just can't get enough. Unfortunately, maximizing the enjoyment of these different disciplines within "dirt biking" can be a little challenging on just one bike model. This is where the Husquvarna FX 350 comes in.

I first rode the FX 350 at a motocross track for a comparison against the KTM 350 SX. Naturally, the do-all FX was not quite as aggressive as the 350 SX-F in suspension performance, and it was a little down on power delivery hit, but overall it was still plenty fast. At the end of the day I got to take the FX home for Long Haul testing.

I rode the bike a second day at the same track with a few adjustments to the suspension (raised the fork air pressure from 9.4 bar to 10.0 bar, went four clicks stiffer on both fork and shock compression and three clicks slower on the shock rebound) and found it to be quite enjoyable. Two days later I took it out to some single-track trails, and these settings were a touch harsh. So the stock fork settings went back, and the setup was really good for the trails. After only two weeks the hourmeter read 15 hours, and I was starting to think I’d maybe underestimated this bike’s potential.

Then a group of buddies and I went out to ride in a more open desert area. Several of them had new, tricked-out 450s. My thoughts were, “This is going to be a long day for me trying to keep up. My bike is underpowered, and the tires have 15-plus hours on them.” On top of that, this small group of riders normally offers up as much as I can handle, this area was 100 percent new to me, and we had some late-summer rain the night before to make the conditions just about perfect; these guys were fired up and really wanted to put the hammer down.

The ride began through a few fun canyons with some technical and rocky hills—great conditions for this bike. Then we reached the first big hill climb, where two of my buddies were already struggling. As I approached the base of the hill I made sure I was in third gear and twisted the throttle. To my amazement, at no point did I get the sensation I was not going to make it. As the day went on it became clear that this bike did not give up much, if anything, to its 450 big brothers. Its ability to climb hills and its stability in the higher-speed sand washes was fantastic.

The six-speed gearbox offers good first-through-third-gear close-ratio performance, and when you want to pick up the pace the bike has enough power to pull fifth and sixth gears with ease. While the suspension is a touch soft for a local moto track with jumps, I would say it performed excellently everywhere else.

In only two months I have logged more than 40 hours. I had one flat tire at about the 20-hour mark, and I installed the optional throttle reel that is included with the bike to reduce the throttle pull travel. This is a bike that can do everything very well. Its weakest point might be the softer suspension on a motocross track with big jumps, but it does not hold you back from having fun unless you plan on aggressively racing motocross on it.