The Paloma: Deus ex Machina’s Husqvarna FE 450 Baja 1000 race bike

Husqvarna FE 450 Baja 1000 race bike by Deus ex Machina
Held on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula since 1962, the Baja 1000 is a desert race like no other. As mythical as it is grueling, finishing it requires skill, willpower, and a little luck; finishing on the podium, even more so.

You’re looking at the motorcycle that took second place in last year’s running of the Baja 1000. Built and fielded by a team from Deus ex Machina’s American operation, it’s a well-prepped Husqvarna FE 450 with a livery that’s all fun—and a parts-spec that’s all business. Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Paloma,’ the bike not only boasts a second-place finish in the Pro Moto Unlimited class of the Baja 1000, but it also bagged second overall in the 2023 World Desert Championship.

Husqvarna FE 450 Baja 1000 race bike by Deus ex Machina
The man responsible for the build was Ciaran Naran, who shared race duties with Forrest Minchinton, Nick Lapaglia, and Derek Asserbauer. A previous Baja 1000 winner, Ciaran’s been racing dirt bikes since he was eight years old—and he’s figured out how to make them faster along the way. Working out of Deus’ Venice Beach workshop, Ciaran put countless late nights into turning the 2023-model Husqvarna FE 450 Heritage Edition into this wily, silver medal-winning desert sled.

Even in stock form, the Husqvarna FE 450 is a beast. Thanks to its chromoly frame and carbon fiber subframe, it weighs a paltry 108.3 kilos [238.8 lbs] dry—which is no match for its punchy four-stroke motor. Add a smorgasbord of high-end parts, and you have the beginnings of a race-winning machine.

Husqvarna FE 450 Baja 1000 race bike by Deus ex Machina
Deus’ Husky is galaxies away from its stock trim though, with a build sheet that would make any aspiring desert racer jealous. The mods are not as much about making the bike go faster, as they are about making it go fast for longer. Ciaran and his teammates piloted the Husky to a finishing time of 26 hours and 50 minutes—that’s a lot of punishment for both man and machine.

The engine benefits from a 44 mm Keihin throttle body and a Vortex ignition, plus hours of dyno testing. There’s also a Husqvarna factory carbon fiber air filter intake boot, and a transmission prepped by the gearbox specialists at Xtrac. Other add-ons include Dirt Tricks sprockets, a DID chain, and an FMF exhaust muffler.

Husqvarna FE 450 Baja 1000 race bike by Deus ex Machina
The cockpit features Renthal Twinwall handlebars with a Motion Pro throttle tube, ODI grips, and KTM hand guards. The brake and clutch perches are Brembo parts, upgraded with CNC-machined levers. Elsewhere, Ciaran installed a Rekluse clutch cover and hydraulic actuator.

The stock Husqvarna headlight nacelle sits in front of the bars, fitted with a MotoMinded headlight housing, and a Baja Designs XL80 headlight. When the sun goes down, that setup gets swapped for a custom-built twin-light arrangement.

Husqvarna FE 450 Baja 1000 race bike by Deus ex Machina
AHM Factory Services overhauled and upgraded the Husky’s WP Suspension forks and shock, and Ciaran added an Öhlins steering damper to the mix. The yokes are WP factory 24 mm offset units, and the swingarm comes from a KTM 450 SX-F.

Moving to the wheels, Deus built a new set with DID DirtStar rims (although it’s pictured with an alternate set of Excel wheels in some of these photos). Custom-made wheel spacers and a modified Honda rear axle enable speedy wheel changes. The tires are Dunlop AT81s, with Nitromouse foam inner tubes inside.

Husqvarna FE 450 Baja 1000 race bike by Deus ex Machina
Brembo brake calipers grip Dirt Tricks brake discs, with a Hunt Racing Products ‘shark fin’ to keep rocks away from the rear brake. Other protective parts include Acerbis frame guards and an Akrapovič skid plate. In between all the bolt-ons, you’ll find a handful of clever custom 3D-printed parts.

A larger-than-stock IMS fuel tank maximizes the FE 450’s range, while a modified Machine Works dry break filler enables faster pit stops. The seat uses a factory carbon-reinforced seat pan, Guts Racing foam, and a white suede cover from Thrill Seekers. Ultra-sharp foot pegs from IMS keep the riders’ feet where they need to be.

Husqvarna FE 450 Baja 1000 race bike by Deus ex Machina
The Husqvarna FE 450 Heritage Edition comes with a fetching white frame, and a white, yellow, and blue livery that tips its hat to Husqvarna’s vintage colors. It’s an attractive design, but Deus is Deus, and the Baja 1000 is the Baja 1000—so something special was in order.

Deus tapped the legendary Nicolai Sclater, better known as Ornamental Conifer, to create a one-of-a-kind livery for their desert racer. As usual, he knocked it way out of the park.

Husqvarna FE 450 Baja 1000 race bike by Deus ex Machina
Now that the Husky has done its job—and done it well—Deus is letting it go to the highest bidder. Ciaran has refreshed it with a new chain, tires, grips, and hand guards, and put it up for auction on Iconic Motorbikes. You’d better be quick though—the auction’s almost over.

We’d bid, but we’re pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to unleash its full potential.

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