Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1972 09 26

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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N '" ~ lJ) ~ w Z W -J U >- U Husqvarna 450CR I by John Huetter and the CN Staff The 450 Husqvarna, with both close and wide ratio gearboxes, is the top of the line of the uNew Generation" of 1972 Huskies. It was long anticipated and everybody, especially dedicated Husky aficionados, figured that this 450 would be the bike. Yet, surprisingly a fair number of big bore Husqvarna riders have stayed on or even gone back to their 400s. There is no inheren t reason fOT this in the machine, it is rather a combination of little things which constitute a racing bike's "personality". The 450 is, by almost any engineering standard, a masterpiece. The frame is well designed and looks more integral, without all the stray bars and gussets, than the previous 400. The engine is lightly larger externally and seems to be taller. In fact, the whole impression and reality of the 450 Husky is a tall motorcycle. You need pretty long legs to ,ide it comfortably. The biggest single problem encountered with the 450 is that it really doesn't want to turn. It likes to keep going in a straight line and, in fact, tltis is what it does best. You have to muscle it 'chrough corners and even experienced riders complained of oversteer problems. When you do into a corner, if you do it right, it gets right out again without any screwing around. The 450 seems to have emphasized the requirement for sharply squaring off all your corners that Huskies have traditionally presen ted. Part of the reason for its lack of zest for cornering is the high placemen t of the engine, relative to almost any other big two-stroke. It is placed farther forward in the frame but a good 2-3 inches above the CZ or Maico, for instance. The Husky does have scads of ground clearance, helped along with the upswept pipe. You still get a very hot leg from the pipe. The heat shield acts more like a heat conductor. Across uneven desert terrain, the 450 seems more in its element. Pick a straigh t line to where you wan t to go and the Husky goes righ t where you poin t it. The suspension is really excellent at absorbing the rough jolts of brush mounds and whoop-de-doos. At low speed, some riders complained of a' squirelly feeling. The faster you get going, the easier, smoother, and more controllable it gets. It's possible to cover great lengths of terrain in a very short time without feeling like you're going all that fast. Just dial on some throttle when the rear wheel is on the ground and you literally fly. While you're covering that chunk of desert, the big engine never seems to work that hard. It pulls well at the lower edge of the power band with slow barking strokes. There was good flat power and lots of it. The power band is very smooth and never seemed to "come on". I t was just always there. Traction isn't as good as it might be bUl this becomes important mainly in MX. Now in the desert it runs just about righ t. The exhaust note really is too loud with the stock silencer. You'd think with 450 cc's, they wouldn't be concerned about a possible power loss and put a good muffler on it. The now-traditional Husky bark is amplified. The shift lever is interchangeable, left or right side, but it tended to stick. It sometimes wouldn't ratchet back to pick up the next gear. It has a fairly long throw and shifting req uires a very positive approach. The starter lever is pretty ridiculous for a bike of this displacemen t. I t's very short and fouls on the foot peg. It was generally hard to slart, both because of the short travel and the reluctance of the engine. This difficulty varied from rider to rider, bUl was definiteh commented upon by all. . All of the componen ts are strictly first class on the 450, as riders have corpe to expect from Ilusqvarna. Akront rims are standard. Grips and levers are very good and come covered with the little leather protectors. The paper air filter element requires replacement in our opinion (and darn near everybody else~). Trelleborg tir s are mounted in 3.00 X 21 and 4.)) X 18 dimensions. The 36mm Bing carburetor drew mixed reactions. It was accused of being the culprit in the starting drilJ and defended as a basically good unit, which it probably is. The seat is very comfortable, even in extended desert riding, and well-padded enough for most riders. Husky continues its practice of the metal tank and the alloy fenders with the front mud flap. The brakes are some of the best in the business. The all fron t brake •• "'il" tK "el!m~ :.')1 • '11.ffH< p-".~ttjSt

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