TM is the only
build a 350cc
motocross bike, thus
they own this segment
of the market. But, don’t
be fooled into thinking
that the 350 market is
a small segment of dirt
bike sales. According
to KTM, they sell more
350cc dirt bikes than any
other engine size (and
they produce 50, 65, 85, 125, 150, 250, 300, 350, 450 and
If you ride at your local spot, rarely race and just go
out to have fun, the 350SXF is the perfect size bike.
Faster than a 250 but not as brutish as a 450, the
KTM 350SXF demands a high-rpm attack profile but
can be ridden slowly without as much penalty as a
Power. Although it gives up about 10 horsepower in
the midrange to a 450, the 350SXF makes good overall
power—with the caveat that its best power output is
found from 11,000 rpm to 13,400 rpm. If you don’t rev it,
you might as well not ride it.
Electric start. Why kick if you don’t have to?
Brakes. Awesome Brembo brakes.
Clutch. The 350SXF does not use the exotic
diaphragm clutch that comes on the 450SXF, but it does
have a durable steel clutch basket. Plus, it is hydraulic.
Suspension. The 2014 KTM 350SXF suspension is
okay—not great for anybody, but especially mediocre for
Rims. KTM’s Excel rims aren’t the same Excel rims
that they sell in local dealerships. They are inexpensive
Preload ring. KTM admonishes owners not to hit the
nylon preload ring with a hammer. Good advice, because
even dynamite would have a hard time moving it.
Gearing. Add one tooth to the rear sprocket to get
full use out of the high-rpm powerband. Invest in a
51-tooth rear sprocket
BEST SUSPENSION SETTINGS?
Forks. These are MXA’s recommended 2014 KTM
350SXF fork settings (stock settings are in parentheses).
Spring rate: 0.48 kg/mm
Oil height: 390cc
Compression: 15 clicks out
Rebound: 18 clicks out
Fork-leg height: 5mm up
Notes: We lessened the rebound damping to
compensate for damping that was designed to work with
the 450SXF’s 5.0 kg/mm fork springs. Only small riders
will find the KTM forks too stiff. Fast riders will think
they are too soft.
Shock. These are MXA’s recommended 2014 KTM
350SXF shock settings (stock settings are in parentheses).
Spring rate: 5. 7 kg/mm
Race sag: 100mm (105mm)
Hi-compression: 1-1/2 turns out ( 2 turns out)
Lo-compression: 12 clicks out
Rebound: 15 clicks out
Notes: We don’t think that the average 350SXF rider
will need a stiffer shock spring (unless he is over 200
pounds). Smaller riders (those under 150 pounds) might
opt to return to the previous, softer, 5. 4 kg/mm rear
WHAT DID WE CHANGE?
Here is the short list of things the MXA wrecking
crew changed on the 2014 KTM 350SXF.
(1) We sent our suspension out to have it re-valved.
We have had good luck with MX1, Pro Circuit and
MX-Tech. While the shock is in the shop, switch to an
aftermarket preload ring or X-Trig.
( 2) We re-laced the stock hubs with D.I.D. ST-X or
Excel A60 rims.
( 3) We added a 1.50mm-longer link.
( 4) We bent our shift lever upward in a hydraulic press
to raise the tip to make it easier to get our boot under it.
WHAT DO WE THINK?
If you’d prefer to race a 250 four-stroke but don’t think
it is powerful enough, then the KTM 350SXF is perfect
for you. It is an oversized 250, not an undersized 450.
MXA RODE TEST