If KTM had kept the same WP bladder forks as last year, this
would have been a different test. The 4CS fork is a blessing.
Of course you don’t need electric start—until you get used to
using it, and then you can’t live without it.
old WP bladder fork, which will still be OEM equipment
on European models, and a totally unique design.
( 2) Fork guards. The 2015 fork guards are now an
open design and do not wrap around like previous KTM
fork guards (and the old-style fork guards will not fit on
the 4CS forks).
( 3) Fork offset. The front-axle offset has been
changed at the fork lugs by moving the axle 2mm rearward (from 35mm in front of the fork center line to
33mm in front). This change required a switch from last
year’s 25mm front axle to a smaller 20mm axle (saving
40 grams) to fit in the reduced space of the axle lug.
( 4) Rear suspension. The rising rate has been
changed via an all-new bell crank and 2.5mm-longer
pull rod. The rising-rate curve is stiffer initially, and
then flattens out to provide a less progressive curve at
the end of the stroke.
( 5) Frame cross tube. The cross tube that the shock
linkage mounts to has been changed from a tube with
welded-on brackets to a one-piece forged cross tube for
( 6) Frame color. The frame is now powdercoated
orange to mimic the factory race bikes (and the Factory
Edition III). If you want to paint your 2014 KTM frame
orange, the correct powdercoat color code is RAL2009.
( 7) Oil-pump O-rings. The oil-pump suction screen
gets new O-rings to help it seal better against impurities.
( 8) Triple clamp. The black-anodized triple clamps
remain unchanged, but get a new O-ring support for the
bottom steering-stem bearing. The steering-stem bolt
now has a 17mm hex head instead of the previous
27mm hex. Between the new steering-stem bolt and
O-ring bearing support, the triple clamps are
approximately 1 ounce lighter.
( 9) Wheels. The suspect rims of the last four years
have been replaced by what KTM promises are true-to-life black-anodized Excel rims. The spokes are silver;
they were black in the past. Every KTM will be equipped
with Dunlop Geomax MX52 tires front and rear.
( 10) Grips. The dual-compound grips have a softer
density for a more comfortable feel.
Q: WHAT DID KTM CHANGE ON THE 2015
A: Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip. Squat. With the
exception of some new clutch springs and an oil seal, the
2015 350SXF engine is the same as the 2014 engine.
Q: HOW GOOD IS THE 2015 KTM 350SXF’S
A: Good overall power and unlimited revs make the
KTM 350SXF very easy to ride. Because it doesn’t make
much horsepower in the lower and middle ranges of the
powerband, it is very pleasant to ride. But, if you want
to go fast, you aren’t going to achieve this by riding
around at 10,000 rpm. No siree! Going fast means holding
it wide open. The best power is found between 11,000
rpm and 13,400 rpm (with peak power neatly located at
12,600 rpm). That is way up there.
If you don’t rev it, you might as well not ride it.
Q: HOW MUCH HORSEPOWER DOES IT
A: How much power is kind of a moot point if
you aren’t willing to resist shifting long enough to get
to where it is. The 2015 KTM 350SXF makes 54. 18
horsepower at 12,600 rpm.
Don’t get too enamored by the 54. 18 horsepower. Yes,
it exists, but on the way to making that horsepower, a
450SXF KTM will make 7 more horsepower at 6000 rpm,
8 more horsepower at 7000 rpm, 8 more horsepower at
8000 rpm, 5-1/2 more horsepower at 9000 rpm and 3
horsepower more at 10,000 rpm.
It isn’t until the 450SXF signs off at 11,000 rpm