2020 Factory Supercross Bikes—Dean Wilson’s Husqvarna FC 450

Third-year Husqvarna rider’s factory FC 450 Supercross weapon.

Dean Wilson has spent the majority of the past three years aboard factory Husqvarna machinery.
Dean Wilson has spent the majority of the past three years aboard factory Husqvarna machinery.Spencer Owens

Dean Wilson has lots of time aboard Austrian factory machinery. In addition to his 2015 and 2016 campaign with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team, Wilson has spent the last three years competing on a Husqvarna FC 450, nearly all of which has been with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team, with the exception of a short stint as a privateer early on in the 2019 Supercross season before rejoining the factory effort to fill in for the reigning 450SX champion Jason Anderson, who broke his arm in two places and fractured a rib.

The Scottish-born racer uses a surprising amount of stock components on his FC 450 racebike.
The Scottish-born racer uses a surprising amount of stock components on his FC 450 racebike.Spencer Owens

With Wilson’s plethora of time aboard a Husqvarna FC 450, we were curious to find out how he sets his bike up. To learn about the Scottish-born racer’s factory ride, we chatted with his mechanic Damon Conkright on press day at Anaheim 2.

Given the large obstacles found on Supercross tracks and being that Wilson is the largest rider on the team, it comes as no surprise that he prefers an aggressive power delivery.

“He likes to have a lot of bottom,” Conkright said. “The other guys [on the team] have something a little mellower, but since Dean is quite a bit heavier, he needs more power off the bottom.”

Wilson runs a shorter FMF Megabomb Plus header pipe than his two teammates, Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne, which helps make the power more responsive.
Wilson runs a shorter FMF Megabomb Plus header pipe than his two teammates, Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne, which helps make the power more responsive.Spencer Owens

Enhancing the engine’s power delivery is an FMF Factory 4.1 RCT titanium exhaust system, and Wilson opts for a Megabomb Plus header pipe that’s a different length than what his two teammates, Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne, prefer.

“Dean runs a shorter header pipe than the other guys because he likes it real responsive, basically because he’s about 20 to 30 pounds heavier than the other guys, so he’s going to need a little more bottom than [them],” Conkright explained.

Due to his size and aggressive riding style, Wilson prefers lots of bottom-end.
Due to his size and aggressive riding style, Wilson prefers lots of bottom-end.Spencer Owens

Rekluse provides the team with clutches, and Conkright told us Wilson runs a manual, nine-plate clutch and loves it. When asked how often he changes it, Conkright responded, “Hardly ever. I pull it out, measure it, take a look at it, and literally put it back in. The only time we go through [clutches] is when he does a lot of starts in a row in a week.”

The WP Xact Pro suspension components are tailored to fit Wilson’s size and riding style in that they are set up very stiff to keep the bike composed, especially when hitting bigger rhythm sections.
The WP Xact Pro suspension components are tailored to fit Wilson’s size and riding style in that they are set up very stiff to keep the bike composed, especially when hitting bigger rhythm sections.Spencer Owens

The WP Xact Pro fork on Wilson’s bike is a 52mm unit, which is 4mm larger in diameter than the WP Xact air fork that comes stock on the 2020 Husqvarna FC 450, while out back is a WP Xact Pro shock. According to Conkright, both components are set up very stiff to accommodate Wilson’s weight, riding style, and speed.

“Dean likes to do big jumps, like quads, in a lot of different areas, so we’ve got to run a real stiff hold-up feel so when he goes to do those bigger jumps, the bike doesn’t get too low in the stroke and get all squirrelly, so typically it’s a pretty stiff setup,” Conkright said. “Most of the guys have some stuff that is pretty close, but he’s got some heavy springs in his fork and [on the] shock.”

When asked if Wilson is picky about his suspension, Conkright offered, “Yeah, I think all guys are, especially in Supercross because if you go too soft, you can run into issues when you start doing those bigger rhythms. And then sometimes if the track gets really dry, you’ve got to go in a different direction.”

Factory brake calipers are found at the front and rear of Wilson’s bike. The same units are available for purchase through the KTM PowerParts catalog.
Factory brake calipers are found at the front and rear of Wilson’s bike. The same units are available for purchase through the KTM PowerParts catalog.Spencer Owens

Wilson runs a factory brake caliper in the front and rear, which Conkright informed us can be purchased from the KTM PowerParts catalog. The wheels feature Excel A60 rims that are laced to Talon hubs. Wilson prefers a ProTaper SX Race bend handlebar, and the grips and sprockets are also from ProTaper. RK provides the GB520MXU chain. The levers are stock, but are anodized black to better match with the red-colored gloves he always wears.

Wilson runs a ProTaper SX Race bend handlebar.
Wilson runs a ProTaper SX Race bend handlebar.Spencer Owens

When asked what Wilson’s desired handling feel is, Conkright replied, “You know, he’s never really said anything other than, ‘I want to be comfy.’ That’s what he’s always looking for; he wants to be comfortable on the bike.”

While many racers use different linkages, Wilson opts to leave the stock components in place.
While many racers use different linkages, Wilson opts to leave the stock components in place.Spencer Owens

While many racers opt for different engine mounts and linkages, Wilson keeps it simple, opting to leave the stock components in place. “[The bike has] stock motor mounts, a stock linkage; everything is stock except for the fork and shock,” Conkright noted. “It’s a pretty good bike out of the box. A couple of guys are running some different [engine mounts], but he and another [rider] are running the same thing, so it’s definitely good.”

You know you’ve made it when your gas cap has your last name on it.
You know you’ve made it when your gas cap has your last name on it.Spencer Owens

Carbon fiber items include an Akrapovič rear chain guide and skid plate. Wilson also runs Acerbis X-Grip frame protectors and a seat that is uniquely his own.

“Dean’s seat is tall, stiff, and it’s got this wide…it’s got extra foam sewn onto the sides of it that Guts [Racing] makes for him,” Conkright explained. “It’s for [additional] grip for [his] knees. You’ll see by the end of the night, all of the little diamonds will be just about rubbed off; that’s where he squeezes onto the bike.”