2016 Husky FC350 Part 1
I sold the 2016 Yamaha YX450FX I had. Yeah I know why would I do that? Sell a perfectly good bike that I had just gotten set up. Well I finally figured it out, it’s just who I am, this is my hobby my release if you will and yes it does cost some money to do this. I don’t know anybody that makes money on their hobby, if they do it’s a business.
So I’m on to the next thing, which happens to be a 2016 Husky FC350. So why this bike, well I wanted a light weight four stroke and nobody currently builds them any lighter than KTM/Husky. I also wanted to try a 350 again. I had a 2011 KTM 350SXF, the first year they built that model. I did lots to it and wrote many articles on it that appeared here in mx43.com. I rode the bike for three plus years and had virtually no trouble with it. The increase in low to mid torque, improved handling and light weight is what intrigued me about the new KTM’s.
So why not a 2017 instead of the 2016, first of all there’s a huge difference in the cost between a new/used 2016 and a brand new 2017. Thousands of dollars, in the case of the 350 I didn’t see a lot of differences in the two bikes other than the air forks. Three plus pounds lighter and something other than the 4CS forks is certainly worth considering but for the difference in cost I decided to take a chance on being able to make the 4CS forks work for me.
So why the Husky, well a friend of mine bought this one and has at times thought it was great and at other times didn’t. It was always about the suspension. To a point he even thought there could be something wrong with it, like parts. I even rode it a couple of times and I couldn’t get along with it. So why buy it, well he sold it to me at a price I couldn’t pass up. And I’m just dumb enough to think I could figure out why it wasn’t working the way I thought it should and fix it.
The first thing I did was reset all the suspension components. I’ve been guilty of turning the clickers here and there and the next thing I know it’s not working right and end up resetting everything. The settings and sag were way off and the bike was not balanced between the front and rear suspension. The front suspension had a very expensive after market kit installed that basically turns the forks back into open cartridge units. I know some people who have had great success with this set up. After resetting everything I rode the bike at Mammoth Bar, which if you remember has a small MX track and a very gnarly up and down cross country trail section. The first thing I noticed was the bike was now rideable, it was better balanced and wanted to turn but the front forks were a bit harsh over the small to medium stuff for me. A familiar complaint with these forks, but it was rideable. Next I went up on the trails and the whole suspension beat the crap out of me. It was one and done, normally on my Yamaha YZ250/290FX I do two to three loops,each loop is about 10 miles. On top of that the next few days I was really sore.
I decided to send the suspension to a company that has lots of experience working with KTM 4CS forks. While I’m waiting for the suspension I decided to take the bike apart, not the motor and clean and inspect everything. I talked the friend I bought the bike from into including the all titanium FMF exhaust system, about $800 worth. I’m going to take it off and put the stock system back on. With my old 2011 KTM 350SXF I had the opportunity to try a number of exhaust systems and I liked the stock one the best. After all it is made by Akrapovic. I’m going to put it on Craigslist at some point, but I’m talking with my friend,the guy I bought the Husky from who will probably buy a 2017 KTM 350 or Husky primarily because of the air forks. So I says to him, hey I’ll sell the FMF exhaust back to you and he says that’s a great idea, hang on to it for me. Hey, sometimes the gods just smile right down on you.
The other thing I did while waiting was change the bars and grips for ones I like. The stock gearing is 14/50 and feels way too high in low gear for me. For a five speed it has lots of top end. I changed the gearing to a 14/52 we’ll see how that feels. I can see changing the seat cover at some point maybe sooner than later, the stock seat is very, very grippe and I’ve heard it will chap your ass.
Well it’s been a few weeks now and quite frankly I’ve been struggling with the suspension, a lot in fact. I’m spoiled, the suspension on my 2015 Yamaha YZ250FX is so good that it’s making the Husky look and feel really bad, no sense talking about it until I figure it out.
Well obviously the suspension I sent out did not work for me. The same problem I had before I sent it out was still there, namely the forks were too harsh in the beginning of the stroke and again the shock felt dead and the bike wasn’t balanced. I was very frustrated, the time lost sending them back and forth plus eating the freight so instead of sending them back knowing they would be willing to work with me, I decided to give the suspension to Bucky at SBB because he’s local and I knew he would work with me to get it right.
Which he did, first he revalved the forks and that greatly improved the front end but it still wasn’t right. Next he revalved the shock and that balanced everything out. I next went to the Hangtown track, the track was a super busy very technical track with much faster riders on it. I went out and rode the piece of shit rock strewn trails that make up a lot of Prairie City and the bike worked very well. If your bike works well in that stuff it will pretty much work anywhere. When I did get on the track it worked well. I did clank the forks a few times which had more to do with me landing wrong on the technical track than the forks. I’m going to ride it for awhile and continue to play with the set up.
But that ride proved to me the bike will work for me. So I went down to Roseville Yamaha and ordered, a Rekluse, Scots steering damper mounting kit and a set of FastWay foot pegs that I can mount in the back and down position. These are things I’ve gotten used to on all my other bikes, that make me feel comfortable.
I’m going to a family reunion so by the time I get back all my parts should be here. I’ll stick them on and ride and report back.