The 2019 Husqvarna FX 450 is the Austrian manufacturer's flagship cross-country model. It shares many of the same parts as the Husqvarna FC 450 motocross bike, but uses Magura brakes instead of Brembos. It also has a multitude of off-road-specific components such as a larger fuel tank, softer suspension settings, an 18-inch rear wheel, kickstand, hand guards, and Dunlop AT81 tires. One additional part our testbike was equipped with that does not come stock was the skid plate, which is available through Husqvarna Technical Accessories.

2019 Husqvarna FX 450 Engine

Before we began the shootout, we ran the 2019 Husqvarna FX 450 on our in-house Dynojet dynamometer. With a Dunlop D404 street tire mounted on the rear wheel, it churned out 52.34 hp at 9,360 rpm and 33.94 pound-feet of torque at 6,800 rpm—essentially identical to the KTM 450 XC-F. With those numbers, the Husqvarna ranks third in the horsepower department and first in torque. We then installed a fresh set of Dunlop AT81 tires to ensure consistency in traction among the four competitors through the duration of the test.

Husqvarna FX 450 in field.
Weighing it at 240 pounds, the Husqvarna FX 450 and KTM 450 XC-F are the lightest bikes in the shootout.Jeff Allen

The 2019 FX 450’s engine has a linear powerband that is very usable and sneaky fast. It’s ultra smooth from bottom to top and pulls all the way to the rev limiter. These characteristics make the Husqvarna FX 450 very easy to ride, especially in tighter, more technical terrain. It has the least low-end of the four bikes in the test, which hinders it when traction conditions are optimal, but helps it hook up in slick terrain. Its power delivery is slightly less aggressive and slower revving than the KTM 450 XC-F.

The Husqvarna has a fair amount of engine-braking that is useful but not overpowering. The engine vibrates slightly, which is felt through the handlebar and footpegs. The Magura hydraulic clutch is buttery smooth, consistent, and helps the Pankl transmission shift smoothly and easily. It’s also the quietest bike in the shootout.

FX 450 Dyno chart.
The FX 450 makes 52.34 hp at 9,360 rpm and 33.94 pound-feet of torque at 6,800 rpm.Jeff Allen

The 2019 HusqvarnaFX 450 has two maps that can be changed via the switch on the left side of the handlebar. It also has traction control, which can be used in either map. Map 2 (aggressive) offers more low-end torque than map 1 (standard). Map 2 was the preferred choice among test riders. Traction control made each map slightly less responsive and came in handy in tighter, more technical terrain.

2019 Husqvarna FX 450 Suspension

The Husqvarna’s WP AER 48 air fork and WP shock are softer feeling than the suspension on the Yamaha and Honda. The components work well on slower to medium-speed areas with smaller-sized bumps and obstacles. However, in faster-paced sections with larger-sized rollers and bigger impacts such as G-outs and jump landings, the suspension lacked some comfort and predictability in comparison to the Yamaha YZ450FX and Honda CRF450RX.

Husqvarna FX 450 riding over boulders.
A usable, linear powerband makes the Husqvarna easy to ride, especially in more technical areas of the trail.Jeff Allen

The fork rides higher in the stroke than the two Japanese bikes, and even with its softer overall feel, it offered good bottoming resistance. Test riders were happy with the fork’s stock 10.1-bar air pressure setting, but went in on rebound to alleviate its somewhat bouncy feel and to try to get the 2019 Husqvarna FX 450 to ride deeper in the stroke. The shock felt especially soft. Going in on the high-speed compression and slowing down the rebound helped it hold up better and added more control when it got too low in the stroke.

2019 Husqvarna FX 450 Chassis/Handling

The 2019 FX 450 tied the KTM as the lightest bike in the test, weighing in at 240 pounds on our automotive scales. Despite that, neither Austrian machine feels quite as light as you would expect judging by its low reading on the scale, some of which has to do with the engine’s mellow bottom-end and ultra-smooth power delivery. Aside from the weight feel, the Husqvarna FX 450 is a neutral-handling bike with impressive cornering ability and good straight-line stability. However, it doesn’t corner as sharp as the Honda and is not as stable as the Yamaha. The chassis feels longer than the Japanese bikes as well.

Husqvarna FX 450 riding on dirt track.
The FX 450’s power delivery is slightly less aggressive and slower revving than the KTM 450 XC-F.Jeff Allen

The 2019 FX 450 has a neutral stance with 105mm of shock sag and is easy to move around on with its roomy ergonomics. The radiator shroud area is slim. The flat seat might be easy to move around on, but it’s firmer and slightly less comfortable than the KTM’s. The 2019 FX 450’s side number plates also feel a touch wider than the 450 XC-F’s. The ProTaper handlebar has more rise than the Neken bar on the KTM too. The additional rise makes the bar position more sensitive—a little too far back and they feel like they’ve dropped low in your lap, and if you roll them forward, they begin to feel tall.

The Magura brakes offer very good stopping power, but have a softer bite than the Brembo units on the KTM. The ODI lock-on grips are a test rider favorite as well. The 2019 Husqvarna FX 450 comes stock with hand guards; it and the 2019 KTM 450 XC-F are the only two bikes to come with them in stock trim, which test riders appreciated on bush-filled trails. We would like to see it come stock with a skid plate too, especially considering there are three brackets on the lower part of the frame to accommodate one.

Husqvarna FX 450 jumping.
The WP AER 48 fork rides high in the stroke and the WP shock is fairly soft, especially on the motocross track.Jeff Allen

Why It Should Have Won

It has an ultra smooth yet powerful engine that makes it easy to ride, good overall handling, strong brakes, a hydraulic clutch, and is tied for the lightest bike in the test. It’s also the quietest.

Why It Didn’t Win

The WP AER 48 fork falls short of the performance of the stock suspension components on the Yamaha and Honda. The engine vibrates more than it should, and is slightly less aggressive and slower revving than the KTM 450 XC-F. The ergonomics are a touch less comfortable than the KTM’s too.

Husqvarna FX 450 riding through bushes.
The Husqvarna is a neutral-handling bike with impressive cornering ability and good straight-line stability.Jeff Allen