2022 FC 350 Review

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6/9/2021 4:43 PM

Since there isn't a lot of info on this bike (other than previous years which would probably be close), I figured I would type up my first impressions. I've been riding / racing motocross for roughly 35 years and lucky enough to experience all brands and sizes. I've owned 350's in the past, like most VET riders, but most recently have been riding 250/450 YZ's. Before I get to my first impressions (NON-Magazine influenced, BTW) I thought it made sense to talk about delivery / pre-ride notables. In short, please go over your new bike BEFORE you ride it! While going through the bike, here is what I found:
1. Oil drip on the floor. (Oil drain bolt wasn't even finger tight... this could have been bad)
2. Lock on grips overtightened and allen was stripped (completely rounded off). Had to cut bars in order to slide off the map switch.
3. Map Switch screw overtightened and somewhat stripped, but, usable I guess.
4. Lower and Upper fork clamps under torqued. (I guess the dealer way under torqued to offset the factory over torque). They should be 12 and 17nm... they were 8 and 10nm respectively.
5. The wire (lamp) that plugs into the FI indicator was just hanging behind the front number plate. Not a big deal but......
6. Very loose steering stem bearing. (Found this out after 1st long straight)

First Ride
After break in period, I was able to get a good feel for the bike. (Yes, I know that the chassis needs a few more hours to settle in) I am a 5'10 180 VET racer, so what may feel good or bad to me will not be the case for a fast pro or a beginner. I'm just fast enough to be detrimental to my own health. On Motor, map switch 2, the bike seemed to hook up really well, but was uninspiring down low. I thought, maybe I was getting lazy given the torque on the 450, but, then I realized it was very similar down low to the YZ250f. Mid was much more usable and top had plenty. I think a pipe will really help this bike especially if it can add low end while maintaining mid to top. I didn't try traction control but will next ride. I did, however, switch to map 1 for a session and honestly felt that it was more powerful. This is very weird since 1 is supposed to be more tame. I'll chalk it up to either the factory mixed up the maps (since there were other issues) or this is just how it felt because the track was getting dry by the end of the day and the metered delivery gave me the sensation that it had more grunt compared to the previous session. All in all, the power definitely promotes flow and swagger as opposed to stop and grunt. Key here is don't be lazy on the bike, be aggressive and flow. On Suspension, I set the SAG at 105, 10.6 BAR for air pressure, and started with all clickers stock. In the very first choppy corner after a long straight the front end was super nervous and I immediately thought, man I already miss the stability of the SSS forks on YZ. Then I thought, wait, did I check the steering stem bearing? Since there were other issues, why wouldn't this be loose as well. Sure enough, pulled in and put the bike on the stand and it was as loose as.....(place your own joke here)...... Tightened steering stem bearing properly and headed back out. Back to first choppy corner after long straight and it was night and day. It didn't pack and seemed to work really well. Straight line stability was pretty good, but, seemed to push / understeer in corners. Increasing rebound a bit helped. May try to play with air pressure as well. One area that shined was its hold up in whoops / rollers. Basically forks were great on the busy stuff, but, less great on the one-off hits, especially slap landers. I'm sure that a plush / balanced package is in the clickers once you find a good base on air pressure. On handling, the bike felt so much lighter than both YZ 250 and 450. Some because of the actual weight, some because of the difference in inertia, and some because of its ergonomics compared to the YZ. It is very easy to get your weight back on this bike. At the end of the day, I noticed that power delivery in stock form is less tiresome which may likely result in a safer / faster last lap of a race ...... So maybe don't throw on that pipe to move more power down low. (I know this contradicts what I felt at the beginning of the day.) Front brake was just OK. Husky's new clutch is as good as it gets.... smooth pull, consistent and predictable! I really look forward to putting more time on this bike as I expect it to get better with age (hours). Out of the box, 7.5 out of 10. Its potential after personal adjustments and chassis break-in, 9 out of 10. Does a 10 out of 10 even exist?

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6/9/2021 5:10 PM

I did a video review on mine at my YouTube channel. I also liked map 1, at least for the tracks I have been on so far, dry and hard pack. I'm taking it to Club this weekend, will be a little deeper amd I'm interested to see if I like map 2 better in that. I'm coming off a KTM 450 and sort of went back and forth on the map depending on soil.
Shock is outstanding, I set the sag and haven't touched a clicker. I went a hair softer on the forks, I'm 165 lb. That may also change as they break in or when I'm on rougher tracks.
Love the feeling of that bike at turn in and also how forgiving it is and responsive to small corrections in turns.
This bike is very confidence inspiring for me- I'm at 1.7 hours now. Cant wait for more time in different conditions!!

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6/9/2021 5:11 PM

31 wrote:

Since there isn't a lot of info on this bike (other than previous years which would probably be close), I figured I would type ...more

I don't know how they are gearing these, but I had a 2018 350 and found that dropping a tooth on the drive sprocket allowed me to get to all that power way up on the curve. I like to rev and not lug and this may gearing be too low for a really wide open track, but it sure helped to pull out of the hole.

Enjoy the new bike, looking forward to more feedback!

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6/9/2021 5:52 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/9/2021 5:53 PM

I have the 21 and leave it on setting 1 and traction control all the time. Awesome bikes stock

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6/9/2021 6:02 PM

Sounds like the dealer has a real hack for a build/prep kid. I've seen shops hire someone with zero experience.
But what's odd is some of that stuff is done at the factory. Very wise man to do your own PDI.

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6/9/2021 7:49 PM

Great review. Tell us more as the bike breaks in a little.

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6/9/2021 7:57 PM

- Suspension will loosen up noticeably at 5 hrs and you'll notice even more around 10hrs. Don't get too set in stone on your impressions until then. At your size/weight you'll likely end up around 10.7 - 10.8 BAR (156-158 psi) and wanting to go to a 45N/mm shock spring. Be sure to experiment with combinations of sag, HSC, and fork height. You will be amazed at the difference in handling from small tweaks on these.

- Map 1 is much smoother and less tiring. I only run Map 2 for thick dirt or big jumps right out of corners where you need the revs to spool quicker. I tend to like smooth power better. Seems most people like 2 better.

- If you want more bottom snap/grunt, try the 2018 airboot, 2-stroke filter cage, and a remap.

- Pay attention for the infamous cam chain noise on startup. It's pretty universal to these bikes due to the dumb hydraulic cam chain tensioner. Replace with the Dirt Tricks tensioner or the Gen-2 manual one from Nihilo. I have the Nihilo one and the bike is actually a little faster with it.

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Powerband in every gear !

6/9/2021 8:35 PM

FGR01 wrote:

- Suspension will loosen up noticeably at 5 hrs and you'll notice even more around 10hrs. Don't get too set in stone on your ...more

Excellent review OP(31), detailed as well. I'm on a 2020 FC350. The bike is fun as fun can be, and very forgiving! Currently have 43hrs on mine. I just kept missing the low end grunt/pull. I put on an FMF slip on, Vortex ignition, 2018 airboot as (FGR01) suggest, and am still wanting more low end pull/torque. My riding style is to lug it, but wanted to give the 350 a go...

I just bought a 22 Husky FC450. Hopefully get my first ride this coming weekend.

Will likely keep both 350/450, best of both worlds I guesscool

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6/9/2021 8:42 PM

31, please provide a video of you back-handing the living shit outta the so-called "mechanic" that sorta... well... ...supposedly prepped your bike....

grin

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Nobody ever told me, I found out for myself. You've got to believe in foolish miracles. It's not how you play the game, it's if you win or lose. You can choose. Don't confuse. Win or lose. It's up to you!

6/9/2021 9:19 PM

Funny you mention the drain bolt...had the same issue on my 21 FE 450 SXF. Literally finger-tight.

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