Huskyyama....Say What?

2016 Husky FC350 part 2 and the birth of the Huskyyama

Since I installed the Rekluse, FastWay back and down pegs and the Scotts steering Damper, I’ve changed the handle bars and the mounting position all in an effort to make me feel more comfortable on the bike. Changing the bars and the bar position and height were done to help with my right hand cramping and forearm pumping up, mixed results so far. One thing I did notice after changing the bars the bike felt as though it was easier to turn with the flatter stock bars maybe it’s just a leverage thing.

I’ve also raced in two International Old Timer Moto Cross events, one Idaho and the other in Glen Helen. After struggling with the suspension set up I was able to concentrate more on how to ride the bike. It’s a lot different than the last two bikes I’ve used for moto cross. The first one was a 2012.5 KTM 450SX-FE and the second was a 2016 Yamaha YZ450FX. The Husky is different in more than just a few ways; it’s probably at least fifteen pounds lighter than the KTM and over twenty pounds lighter than the Yamaha. (And that’s after I was able to take 11.5 pounds off the Yamaha) Couple that with a high reving 350 that makes 450 power on the high end, the Husky is light enough that it dances around and acts more like a two stroke in that way. When you’ve ridden two very stable bikes (Especially the Yamaha) it takes a while to adjust to that trait. The 350 doesn’t pull on you like a 450 and the difference between the engine vibes is a lot. As they say in all the magazines you have to ride more aggressively, something I’m actually enjoying learning to do. The bike does all the positive things the magazines write about.

But, I’m still not completely happy with the suspension set up and have found myself researching alternatives to the 4CS forks. At Glen Helen I spoke with a couple of riders who had their 4CS forks converted to KYBA internals from the Yamaha SSS forks and they raved about how well they worked. The other alternative is using Yamaha front forks. Having the forks converted is the easiest way but is rather expensive, about seventeen hundred bucks I’ve heard. With the Yamaha you need to find a set of SSS forks (2010and newer)

One rainy weekend I took the front end off my YZ250FX and put it on the Husky rode it around my house then took it off. What I found is it certainly would work, my only real concern was the fork tube of the Yamaha was like a few thousand’s of an inch smaller than the 4CS at the bottom triple clamp and required just a little bit more snugging up to remove that initial clearance. (They tell me either a piece of graphic’s material or strip from a soda can will take care of that) Since I didn’t ride it on a track I can’t tell if that would have any effect on the flex chararstics needed in that area. The easiest way to make this change is use the entire front end off the Yamaha, brakes and all. Some will say that you will lose the better braking offered by the Brembo brakes; I’d say this is true. (Actually I’ve been a little disappointed in the front brake on the Husky; I am going to bleed them first and if that doesn’t help then try different pads) What I found was if you just wanted to use the Yamaha forks and use the stock Husky wheel and brakes is the Husky brake caliper’s attachment plate has a bolt pattern of 3 1/2 “apart and the Yamaha is 3 1/4” and the Husky wheel is wider than the Yamaha’s. If I wanted to use the stock brakes and wheel I would have to overcome those issues, which I think can be done but not easily.

I decided to go for the complete front end and started searching for the individual parts or a complete front end. I lucked out and found a complete front end off a 2013 Yamaha YZ250F for three hundred dollars; yeah that’s right, I had to drive to So Cal to get it however. I took my wife’s Hybrid Ford that gets terrific millage.

Turned out getting the complete front was a good thing. While the 2010 and on forks have the same lug offset and length in 2014 they changed the diameter of the axle and the front wheel is larger to accommodate the larger axle. So you have to make sure you have the correct wheel. (I think you can change the bearings out)

I gave the forks to Bucky at SBB to cleanup and re valve, got all the new parts and pieces, oversized OEM rotor, new brake pads and new tire.

Installing the forks required a shim the bottom triple clamp, as I said the Yamaha fork tubes are slightly smaller than the 4CS forks. I used some graphics material around the tube and that took care of the clearance. (My question will be will that have any effect on the fork tube flex required) I bled the front brake and finished installing the wheel; all that’s left is to go ride it.

First ride was at Est at the Sierra Old Timers MC toy drive and ride day. I went out on the smooth vet track first and immediately felt in secure. The front end was very twitchy and wanted to knife in the corners, so my first impression was oh no. I had set the fork height at what I thought were the same as the 4CS forks but the bike acted as if I had pushed them way up in the clamps. I dropped the forks and went out again, this time it was much better. I dropped the forks a little more adjusted the clickers a little and with that spent the rest of the day feeling more and more comfortable. A couple of things by the end of the day became apparent I had much more confidence in the front end and was jumping farther than I was with the 4CS forks. And the other thing the forks were not transmitting any harshness back into my hands (Typical of well setup KYB SSS forks) and was my primary reason for installing them. Also I didn’t notice any flexing or anything unusual in the forks, although I’m not sure if I’m good enough to detect if they were flexing other than something obvious. Earlier in this article I had talked about changing the bars etc. trying to find something that would help the cramping and pumping up of my right hand. Well changing the forks seems to have solved that problem. I was not expecting that and points out the harshness of the 4CS’s must have been contributing to that.

Once I got a setting I felt comfortable with I just rode, but I still have more tuning to do. Clickers, height and in particular the bottom triple clamp, I’m not sure how tight they need to be and I say that only because of the graphics material I used as a shim, as you know they typically are barely tight. (I’ve installed a couple of pieces from a soda can to try next time I ride) The front brake with a Yamaha OEM oversized rotor worked very well and I didn’t feel like I gave away much in the braking department.

Had the opportunity to ride my bike a few days after my initial ride. As a tinker I couldn’t help myself and made some small changes but immediately discovered the first time on the track they didn’t help. I quickly changed them back and once again enjoyed the rest of my ride. Ran a whole tank of fuel through it, so at this point I’d say I have a pretty good base to work from.

Stay tuned for part 3 after I’ve spent more time on the Huskyyama.

Doug 21J

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