The yellow knob is the choke, you push
it up intead of pulling it down.
PUSH ME, PULL ME
I need help with my new 2016
KTM 350SXF. It will not start with
the choke on; it only starts when
the choke is off. I pull it out and the
bike grinds away, but it doesn’t start
until I push the choke off.
KTM didn’t just jump right into orange,
the flirted with all the colors.
THE COLOR WARS
Will KTMs ever not be orange?
As a rule of thumb, every motorcycle manufacturer has a corporate
color scheme, although they often
deviate from it for marketing reasons. Honda’s official color scheme
is silver, which was the color of the
original 1973–’ 75 Honda CR125s
and CR250s, but Honda switched to
fire engine red in 1976, which was
Maico’s color of choice at the time.
Yamaha’s corporate color scheme
is, wait for it…red and white. If
you thought we were going to
say yellow and black, you were
mistaken. Yellow and black are
the official colors of the American
arm of Yamaha. Yamaha went blue
in 1996 after dabbling in almost
every color, including silver in the
early 1970s, yellow for a brief time
in the early 1980s and then white
(with either red, blue or magenta
highlights) from 1987 until 1995.
Kawasaki has been green since
1969, but before that Kawasaki
favored red. Suzuki has been yellow
since 1971, but it was possible in
the early years to get an orange
TM400 or silver TM250. As for
KTMs, prior to 1978 they were pre-
dominantly red with the occasional
blue model. From 1978 to 1995,
every KTM was white. Then, in
1996, KTM came out with its first
orange design. For the last 20 years,
every KTM motocross bike has
been orange, although the original
butterscotch hue was dropped in
the late 1990s. Will KTM ever
abandon orange? Inevitably.
The simplest explanation is that
the choke on the KTM throttle body
does not work like the conventional
choke on a Keihin FCR carb or
typical EFI throttle body. On a Keihin
FCR, you pull the choke out to start
the bike and push it in to unchoke
it. Not so on a new KTM. When
you pull the choke out on the 2016
KTM 250, 350 or 450, the choke is
off. To engage the choke, you have
to push the choke knob in. In fact,
it is spring-loaded and can even be
pushed in a little farther to choke the
bike a little more. You aren’t the only
rider who has gone the wrong way
on the KTM choke. And even though
it is supposed to pop off when the
engine is revved, it doesn’t always
unchoke itself. That means that you
could be riding your KTM 350SXF
with the choke on. As a rule of
thumb, push the choke knob inward
to choke the KTM and pull it out to
disengage the choke.
If you want power out of your engine,
you have to get air into it.
I owned a 2014 Husky FC450,
and I had to drill the airbox cover
to get more air into the airbox. So,
when the 2016 model came out,
I bought one, assuming that the
new carbon fiber airbox would
be better ventilated. I love the
bike, but I can’t find where the air
comes into the filter. Help?
The air enters through the
hand-holds by the rear fender. If
you look inside the hand-holds,
you will discover that they have
slits that open up into the cavity
beneath the top of the rear
fender and bottom of the seat
base. The air then flows under the
seat bridge of the plastic subframe
to enter the airbox from behind.
No air enters from above because
the battery box closes that area
off. And, no air enters from the
side panel because it has a lip
that seals against the curve of
the airbox shape.
Minor oil exploration.
KTM OIL-DRAIN BOLTS
When I went to drain the oil on
my new KTM, I noticed that there
were two drain bolts on the left side
of the bike (below the shift lever).
Which one actually drains the oil?
The two bolts below the shift lever
are both oil-drain bolts, but if you are
in a hurry you can just remove the
rear bolt and drain the oil for a quick
oil change. If you want to be more
thorough, the front drain bolt is the
one with the oil-strainer screen in it.
And, if you want to do the job right,
there is an oil filter behind the cover
on the left side of the engine in front
of the ignition cover.