RJ Hampshire’s Rockstar Husqvarna FC250
Husqvarna, KTM, and GASGAS have all new bikes in 2023. Husqvarna and KTM received their new bikes last year while GASGAS stayed back and raced one more season on the old platform. Husqvarna has had more time to test, figure out, and massage their FC250 heading into the 2023 season. Dirt Bike Magazine met up with mechanic Anthony Amos to go over all the trick parts, unique products, and custom pieces that makes up RJ Hampshire’s Factory Rockstar Energy Husqvarna FC250.
THE FRONT END
At the front of the bike you will find Pro Taper Fuzion race team handlebars. RJ is running the bars in a neutral position. Nothing too out of the ordinary here.
35mm bar mounts are used on the Rockstar Husqvarna for RJ Hampshire. Anthony Amos told us that these are more on the lower side of height options for the team. Pretty cool to see them easily labeled especially when you imagine how many options the team riders have at the shop in Southern California.
Last week when we did Dean’s bike we noticed how tight he keeps his steering stem. RJ Hampshire is on the other end of the spectrum with it being a tad bit on the looser side. A cool shot of the Pro Taper Race Team 795 handlebar engraved also.
The start & stop switches on the handlebars look a lot like the 2016-2022 buttons that the oem Husqvarna FC250 had before its update. The 2023 model has a large map suite button and the start button is all new as well. We have found in our own personal testing experiences that the start switch plastic is a little harsh when pushing it in. Teams like to simplify their handlebars as much as possible. The oem map suite is removed and the buttons are small. No need to have a map suite on the handlebars because the team has the mapping handled long before the gate drops. On both the start and stop switches you can see that the team has a 3D printed housing made to protect them. Riders will hit the handlebars with their chest or hands during racing. This is a preventative measure taken so the buttons aren’t bumped while RJ is on the bike.
The levers are in a neutral position much like the handlebars. They are just like the oem levers that you will find on the 2023 Husqvarna FC250.
On the clutch master cylinder you can see that Brembo has a carbon fiber guard that protects the housing. Teams go out of their way to protect crucial parts of the motorcycle so their rider can complete the race.
RJ’s bike has stock cables and a Nihilo billet throttle housing with billet throttle tube. Pro Taper grips and grip donuts are also used on the bike. Billet is much stronger than the plastic that the bike comes with stock.
Split triple clamps are used to achieve a particular flex characteristic RJ is looking for. We did notice that some of the riders on the team are running split and some are not. The choice is up to the rider and its based on feel. In testing we have found that a lot of our test riders like the split triple clamps on the Austrian models. Our test bikes also don’t have cone valve 52mm forks though.
WP XACT 52mm front forks are used on Hampshire’s bike. Anthony said that the fork height is fairly neutral but didn’t comment much more on the topic. It is kind of funny that the Yamaha teams are running air forks and the Austrian teams are running spring. Each of their respective oem base models have the opposite.
KITE provides the 1 button holeshot devic on the bike WP has an integrated hook for the button and its not a separate piece like you see on other factory bikes in the paddock. If you read our last story on Dean Wilson’s Honda CRF450R then you might recall us talking about the 180mm depth he has which is extreme. RJ is more in the normal range with 165mm at the one button mark. Each rider has a preference but all have gone deeper into the stroke since the metal grates have come along. Some of the other riders on Rockstar Husqvarna are much deeper.
A large majority of the teams are using Dunlop tires. Up front on RJ’s bike you can see it is a spec Dunlop that is provided to the team. It is an MC773F. This is a special tire that will probably end up being sold to consumers later on down the line. Dunlop likes to use the race side to test new products before they release to the general public.
Excel A60 rims, Hahn hubs, and beefed up spokes are done by Dubya wheels. In the image above you’ll see the wire ties that Anthony Amos is using on each pair of spokes. Tying the spokes together like this can save a bike from pulling off during the race. If they spoke breaks loose it will stay in place and won’t wrap itself around the hub or into the brake area.
A carbon fiber front rotor guard protects the front brake system. It’s a full coverage style and acts like a ski through ruts. Instead of getting hung up or snagged in a rut, the guard will slide across the rut and actually helps the rider get through it much easier. Surprisingly enough San Diego was rutty and tacky like some of the east coast rounds. In this instance a full coverage guard like the one shown can be an advantage on race day. That and it protects the system during starts where the riders run extremely close to each other. RJ Hampshire is also running a titanium front axle. This is also a choice that riders will make based on feel or a feeling they are searching for in the front end.
Above are the radiators on RJ’s bike. They are the oem model and polished to give that factory look. You can see that the radiator cap is a 2.0 rather than the 1.8 that comes stock on the FC250. There is a pin in the cap to prevent RJ spinning the cap loose during a race. This happens more than you think. The radiator cap gets bumped with their legs and spins right off causing a DNF. To keep the coolant as cool as possible during riding Anthony adds a 2nd heat wrap around the hoses. It also serves a second purpose by protecting the hoses from being damaged.
A stand out factory part on RJ Hampshire’s bike is this really cool back up start button that is located on the frame. We have never seen something quite like this before. Look how low profile it is. Typically the teams run a 2nd button but its usually similar to the main button on the handlebars and much larger. If RJ damages the start button on top of the handlebars he has a 2nd chance at getting going again with this back up button. It is easily accessible too with it being right by the gas tank.
The team is using ETS fuel in all their bikes. ETS makes a fuel that compliments the factory engines that Husqvarna is using. This is a factory fuel tank. It holds the same capacity but this is actually the Europe fuel tank that the MXGP riders use. On the OEM FC250 the threads are internal where the threads on this fuel tank are external. It also has a billet gas cap with each riders name engraved on them.
The Rockstar Husqvarna engines are done all in house in Southern, California. The team has several engine packages to choose from. Anthony didn’t want to give us any more specifics on the engine. Husqvarna likes to keep some of the mystery alive when we talk with them about their race bikes.
You can see that the outer cases on both sides of the bike are coated. This helps with durability and keeping the engine temperature down.
A full coverage carbon skid plate is used on Hampshire’s bike. This protects both sides and the under carriage of the motorcycle.
In the top left of the image above you will see another carbon protection piece for the electronics of the motorcycle. A Kite slave cylinder is also used for durability purposed. You can also get an up close look at the front counter sprocket that is wire tied so the lock nut has no way of spinning off during a race.
A standard shifter is used but polished in comparison to stock. The tip isn’t stock. It is a different style and more gnarled than oem.
These are the standard frame guards that you would get on a brand new Husqvarna motorcycle. The team drills a hole where the swing arm pivot is to make it easier to access while they work on the bike.
The foot-pegs are 3d printed and titanium. Most of the Husqvarna, KTM, and GASGAS athletes are using these foot-pegs. Look how sharp they are! They are one solid piece also but have a similar shape to the OEM versions. The foot-peg pins are titanium and placed in backwards. The vibration actually shakes the pin out upwards so the team re-positioned them this way instead and it makes it way easier to get the pegs out if the mechanic needs to swap them out.
RJ’s entire bike is littered with titanium hardware. Mechanics can drop up to 4 pounds just on that alone. The engine mounts are the standard material and design. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
THE REAR END
GUTS supplies the seat covers to RJ Hampshire. He he has a lot of pleats in the seat and a massive bump that they make in house for him! This is too keep him locked into the motorcycle especially off the start. RJ is really hard on seats so the team keeps several back up covers in the truck if it starts to wear down while they are traveling. They don’t change the seat foam every race.
Going with the bump in the seat and ultra sharp foot-pegs is the grip tape on the side panels. Another way to keep RJ locked into the motorcycle. This keeps his body in one spot and prevents him sliding around too much.
The team is running a supercross specific Twin Air air filter. These are usually thinner in design in comparison to the motocross version this is a lot more robust. The team is running the optional vented air box cover that is available to use when you buy a new 2023 Husqvarna FC250. More air=more power.
Out back you can see the team is using a carbon fiber chain block. The chain sliders are stock and the RK chain is press linked as opposed to a generic master link most weekend warriors use. RJ likes to run the wheel just a pinch forward. Riders can manipulate the way a bike turns by placing the rear wheel further forward or back.
Dunlop provides the rear spec tire to the team. This is a 110 rear. Sometimes we will see a 250 rider run a 120. 120 can have a bigger foot plant but they may have to sacrifice some power by going to this size. This is called the MC784A tire. It is a factory tire designation.
The rear brake master cylinder is a factory component. When the Brembo masters are coming off the line, they will be taken off before the window is cut out and given to the team. The mechanics are so precise with their bikes they don’t need a window to let them know how much fluid is in there. Not having the window beefs up the brake system and keeps it from getting blasted out by rocks or debris.
An FMF factory 4.1 exhaust is used on the motorcycle. Because the racing situations are so intense, FMF adds this guard on the side of the canister to protect it from being crushed in. Malcolm Stewart squeezes his bike so hard with his legs that he can actually crush the pipe in with his own strength.
We weren’t able to obtain much information on the rear suspension of the bike. Factory Husqvarna is very hush hush about this area of the bike, especially the linkage. The WP Xact Pro shock will remain a mystery. RJ does like to run a higher sag than some of the riders.
You can see the Rekluse clutch the team is running. More importantly, the rear brake pedal is polished for the factory lok. The tip is titanium and removable. It is much larger than the standard model as well. Look how sharp the teeth are. The team also has the capabilities to move it forward or back if the rider wants to.
A titanium rear axle is used on the Husqvarna FC250. On the flip side of the rear axle it is a closed cap instead of open. The team likes to have a cleaner design and it to be capped off so mud can’t pack in.
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