WE BUILD AN EXACT CHAD REED REPLICA 2018 HUSQVARNA FC450 — PLUS VIDEO
If the MXA wrecking crew wants to test a famous rider’s race bike, we just ask him to give it to us. In the vast majority of cases, the riders agree. Why wouldn’t they? They have a host of sponsors who are paying them to generate publicity. Sponsors want their products, decals or name to be seen—and that doesn’t happen very often on TV or when the bike is on the track.
THIS BUILD WAS A BANK BUSTER. STILL, IT IS NOT OUT OF REACH FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS AN IDENTICAL BIKE TO THE ONE CHAD
RACED IN THE AMA SUPERCROSS SERIES.
When Motocross Action tests a factory bike, every decal, no matter how small, can be seen. For that reason, if we called KTM and asked to test Marvin Musquin’s bike—or Husky for Jason Anderson’s bike, or JGR for Weston Peick’s bike, or Kawasaki for Eli Tomac’s bike or Yamaha for Cooper Webb’s bike—there would be a good chance that it would happen.
But, when we get a factory bike, there is a downside. We have to fit into the rider’s, team’s and engineer’s schedule. We give them a time frame, and they juggle the potential days. There are also limits on how much time we can spend on the bike. For example, a Pro Circuit Kawasaki KX250F engine has a two-hour time limit before it must be rebuilt. Therefore, the most track time we could spend on Austin Forkner’s or Adam Cianciarulo’s bikes would be 120 minutes (and there is a mechanic with a stopwatch making sure we don’t exceed the TBO).
OUR PLAN WAS NOT TO TEST CHAD’S RACE BIKE BUT TO BUILD
AN EXACT REPLICA WITH OUR STOCK 2018 HUSQVARNA FC450.
When we elected to test Chad Reed’s 2018 Husqvarna FC450, we went to Reed’s crew chief Mike Gosselaar and had him list every single part on Chad’s bike. Then we said, “Thank you,” and went back to the MXA offices and ordered every part. “Goose” told us that there were a couple works parts that we wouldn’t be able to get, but he underestimated us. Our plan was not to test Chad’s race bike but to build an exact replica with our stock 2018 Husqvarna FC450.
Mike Gosselaar was our first stop. Mitch Payton was next. We asked Mitch if he could build us the exact same engine that he built for Chad’s 2018 AMA Supercross bike. He readily agreed, but mentioned that Chad had a works KTM cam and a special ECU unit that we probably couldn’t get. We told him not to worry. He said he would make our engine the spitting image of Chad’s, including a special Pro Circuit high-compression piston and Ti-6 Pro exhaust system. He promised us that before he took it apart, he would dyno our stock engine and then dyno it again after it was built up—and also give us Reed’s dyno chart.
With Gosselaar’s list and Mitch’s engine locked down, our next call was to KTM. Yes, we know that Reed races a Husqvarna, but the works cam and black box come from the KTM Factory Services’ engine department. Factory Services handles the engine needs of the KTM and Husqvarna factory riders and the fully sponsored support teams (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC and Troy Lee Designs), and, on occasion, the engines of the MXA wrecking crew. We asked politely for the works cam and factory ignition. They sent them to us the next day.
Goose and Mitch were amazed that KTM would hand over the special cam, but we weren’t. First, we had tested Factory Services engines in the past, and Factory Services had always been open about its special parts. Plus, the kicker was that the KTM cam requires special machining that is beyond the scope of the best-known camshaft companies. It is a complex design and requires very special CNC machines to handle the job. Those kind of machines are in great demand, cost massive amounts of money and, if you had one, you wouldn’t be wasting your time making a handful of motocross camshafts. Thus, KTM wasn’t afraid to give MXA the cam, even though they knew we would hand it to Mitch Payton, who makes his own cams. They knew it couldn’t be copied—and they had already given one to Goose, who gave it to Mitch for Chad’s race bike.
WE DIDN’T GET A HINSON CLUTCH BASKET TO GO WITH THE INNER
HUB AND PRESSURE PLATE BECAUSE HINSON DOESN’T
MAKE A BASKET FOR KTM’S DIAPHRAGM CLUTCH.
With the parts list in hand, engine builder lined up and works parts procured, our fourth call was to Kayaba’s Technical Touch suspension company. Technical Touch is the arm of Kayaba that handles works parts, including the AOSS Factory Kit spring fork, which is exactly what we needed (not to mention the works shock that came with it and the Xtrig triple clamps that Goose had on the list). We love the Kayaba AOSS Factory Kit forks, but even though Technical Touch was willing to give us the exact valving spec that Chad uses, we declined. Instead, we asked for the valving that we used when we built our Dean Wilson Yamaha YZ450F replica back in early 2017. We’ve tested enough Supercross forks to know that we don’t want to take that kind of beating voluntarily. Technical Touch sent our AOSS Factory Kit forks to TBT Racing for the re-valve, along with the specs we requested, and we had them back in a week.
Next on Mike Gosselaar’s list of parts was a Hinson clutch. We love Hinson because the company has always been super responsive to our needs. We asked for the KTM/Husqvarna inner hub, pressure plate, diaphragm spring and engraved CR22 clutch cover. You might wonder why we didn’t ask Hinson to give us its CNC-machined billet-aluminum clutch basket, but you will understand when we explain how the stock KTM/Husqvarna clutch is designed.
Hydraulics. The KTM/Husky clutch is hydraulically operated by a Magura slave unit on the Husqvarna FC450 and Brembo slave unit on the KTM 450SXF. The only change we made to the Husqvarna hydraulic system was to run a Brembo slave piston kit inside the Magura, and, if you own a Husky FC450, you should too.
Steel basket. The KTM Husqvarna clutch basket is machined from a solid billet of steel, but it is even more complex than that. The primary gear, which is riveted to the back of all Japanese-built clutches, is machined into the Austrian-made steel clutch basket. This kills two birds with one stone—and the reason that we didn’t get a Hinson clutch basket to go with the inner hub and pressure plate is because Hinson doesn’t make a basket for KTM’s diaphragm, Belleville washer-operated clutch. There is no point; the KTM basket is that good.
Belleville washer. The stock KTM/Husqvarna Belleville-cupped washer clutch spring is 250 N/m. Hinson makes a 280 N/m accessory clutch spring that guarantees a more secure bite than the softer stock Belleville washer. We ran the 280 N/m washer.
With Goose’s list, Mitch’s engine, Technical Touch’s Kayaba suspension and Hinson’s clutch, we turned our attention to the brakes. Chad runs a 270mm Braking front rotor and a Braking rear rotor. We expected a works brake master cylinder, but Chad had a stock part and stock levers. The bigger front rotor boosted the pucker power considerably, which is probably why Chad didn’t feel the need for Brembo’s aftermarket works brake, which can be ordered via the KTM or Husqvarna Power Parts catalogs.
Chad used Nihilo titanium footpegs. We had never considered Nihilo as a footpeg player, because it has made its bones with KTM and Husky minicycle products. But, these were the lightest footpegs we have ever felt, and the workmanship was jewel-like on these one-piece, billet, 6AL-4V, titanium footpegs. They are 12mm wider than stock and weigh 160 grams (5.6 ounces). No surprise; they cost twice as much as the more common Raptor pegs. Nihilo also sent us an CR22-engraved, CNC-machined, billet ignition cover and lightweight chain adjusters.
As we got near the end of building our Chad Reed Replica, we were torn between running MXA graphics and running Chad Reed’s distinctive white/gray color combination. We asked Mike Gosselaar about it, and he thought it would be cool if our Chad Reed bike had true-to-life Chad Reed graphics. We called Factory Effex, who makes Chad’s graphics, and ordered an identical set. We even added matching numbers and a black seat cover with white stripes.
IT’S NO SECRET THAT THE AUSTRIANS SEE NO NEED TO SUPPORT A KTM OR HUSQVARNA RIDER WHO DOESN’T RUN WP FORKS.
WHY? THEY OWN WP.
The final pieces of the puzzle were ODI Flight handlebars, ODI clamp-on Podium grips, Sunstar sprockets, a Pro Circuit shock link, high-pressure 2.0 radiator cap and a No-Toil air filter. We did skip a few things along the way—the Akrapovic carbon fiber skid plate, the Dubya USA-built Talon hubs and D.I.D DirtStar rims. We chose to forgo these mods because we didn’t feel the need for the skid plate, and the stock Husqvarna wheels look identical to Chad’s silver Talon hubs and black DirtStar rims.
During the time that we were building our Chad Reed Replica, Chad made a few changes. He showed up with WP forks after the midway point in the Supercross series, although word on the street was that they had Kayaba internals in the WP legs. We assumed that Chad made the change to WP forks in order to get more support from KTM/Husky. It’s no secret that the Austrians see no need to support a KTM or Husqvarna rider who doesn’t run WP forks. Why? Because they own WP, and to have a bike they support racing with Showa or Kayaba forks does not support the brand.
Oh, yeah, what was it like to race? We loved the engine. Its dyno curve traced the exact same arc as the stock engine but with 4.5 horsepower more at 6000 rpm, 7.0 horses more at 7000 rpm, 7.0 horses more at 9000 rpm and 63.20 horsepower at peak. Torque was up 3.5 foot-pounds and was just shy of 40 foot-pounds. Was it a fire-breathing monster to race? Yes and no. One thing we have noted about engines that follow the exact power curve of the stock powerband is that they remain easy to ride—even though they are pumping out beaucoup horses. It wasn’t until the upper midrange that Chad’s engine got scary fast. The added power and over-rev shocked some test riders, but the more race hours they put on it, the more comfortable they got with the turbo-boost top-end hook.
Mike Gosselaar runs VP Fuel Pro-6 with the works ignition mapping, but Mitch said that we could run pump gas if we used the stock ignition map. We split our time between the two and elected, for the sake of sanity, to run the stock black box most of the time.
As for the Kayaba coil-spring suspension, we loved it. No surprise. We loved it on our YZ125 project bike, Dean Wilson Replica YZ450F and Chad’s bike. Technical Touch has our preferred settings written down, and we have never gone wrong by skipping the ultra-stiff setting of factory racers and using our own numbers. When Technical Touch was busy during the Supercross season, it had TBT Racing do the touch-ups on our forks. We thank them.
We were never concerned about the handling of the Husqvarna FC450 chassis. This is a classic chromoly steel chassis with almost perfect geometry. You put it where you want it, and it gets you there with minimal input. The added horses didn’t upset the apple cart, largely because the extra ponies gave the MXA test riders more latitude to do things without fear of the power letting us down.
WE DON’T EXPECT YOU TO BUY EVERY PART WE LISTED—FOR
HEAVEN’S SAKE, THE KAYABA WORKS FORKS, SHOCK AND
XTRIG TRIPLE CLAMPS EASILY TOP $8000.
MXA’s goal was to show you how to build a factory bike using readily available parts (save for the works cam). We ordered all the parts and built the bike in one month. It was easy to do, and it was obscenely expensive. But money is no object for Chad Reed (Chad actually bought his FC450 at a Florida dealership), and money was no object for the MXA wrecking crew. But even with readily available aftermarket parts, this build was a bank-buster. Still, it is not out of reach for someone who wants an identical bike to the one Chad Reed raced in the AMA Supercross series. We don’t expect you to buy every part we listed—for heaven’s sake, the Kayaba works forks, shock and Xtrig triple clamps easily top $8000. The Nihilo Concepts footpegs were $700. So, we leave the decision up to your desires and wallet.
Chad Reed is a controversial person. His foibles are all too often displayed in public to his detriment, but he doesn’t seem to care. Although he often switches back and forth between the “Good Chad” and the “Bad Chad” from year to year, he is his own man. And, without a doubt, he is a great motorcycle racer. We chose to build a Chad Reed Replica to honor his accomplishments without any concern for how well he did in the 2018 AMA Supercross season. At 36 years old, with a phenomenally long career and his best days behind him, we admire that Chad still wanted to go to the starting line.
MXA’S CHAD REED REPLICA HUSQVARNA FC450 VIDEO
CHAD REED REPLICA SUPPLIER LIST
Pro Circuit: www.procircuit.com
Technical Touch: www.technical-touch.com
Nihilo Concepts: www.nihiloconcepts.com
Factory Effex: www.factoryeffex.com
No Toil Filters: www.notoil.com
Dubya USA: www.dubyausa.com
Akrapovic USA: www.akrapovic.com
TBT Racing: www.tbtracing.com