The KTM 350SXF gives up low-to-mid thrust for mid-and-up rev.
be agile, but it definitely isn’t light. KTM shaved over a pound off for
2015, but they need to lose at least eight more to fit in the prom gown.
( 4) Shift lever. The shift lever is either too high or too low.
( 5) Frame guards. Putting black frame guards on the new
orange frame kind of defeats the purpose of painting the frame in
the first place.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Clutch. This is the way a clutch should work. Good feel,
hydraulic power, self-adjusting and long-lasting reliability—even in
the hands of an abuser.
( 2) Electric start. The greatest idea in offroad riding.
( 3) Brakes. KTM’s 260mm Brembo front brake is still the best
in the biz.
( 4) Handling. Once you get the suspension balanced, this bike
carves like a Ginsu knife. Do they have those in Austria?
( 5) 4CS forks. They said it couldn’t be done, but KTM proved
that it could.
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: The 2015 KTM 350SXF isn’t for everyone. It is an acquired
taste. It is the perfect bike for the connoisseur looking for a bike that
is more powerful than a 250 but not as brutish as a 450, a bike with a
dash of panache instead of being overpowering, and a bike that is
easier to ride on the difficult parts of the track—even if that means
you have to ride it harder on the easy parts.
It’s not a great Pro bike, which means we are ignoring Tony Cairoli’s
supposed 350cc engine, but it is a very good machine for Novices,
Intermediates (especially those coming off of a 250) and Vets. And,
of course, it will remain the number one choice in the Professional
Practice Riders Hall of Fame.
This is how we set up our KTM
350SXF for racing. We offer it as a
guide to help you find your own sweet
4CS FORK SETTINGS
One of the nice things about the
WP 4CS fork over the previous bladder
fork is that the clickers actually make
a difference. This enabled the MXA
test riders to make small clicker adjustments that made noticeable differences
on the racetrack. When you can feel a
damping change, you can zero in on the
right direction and amount of change
you want much quicker. As a bonus, oil
height and fork springs can be changed
with half the drama of the bladder forks.
For hardcore racing, we recommend
this fork setup on the 2015 KTM 350SXF
(stock specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 0.48 Nm
Oil height: 100mm
Compression: 17 clicks out ( 15 out)
Rebound: 14 clicks out ( 15 out)
Fork leg height: 5mm up
Notes: As always, our AMA National
test riders wanted the suspension stiffer,
but everyone else went out on the
WP SHOCK SETTINGS
The rear suspension feels stiffer,
which it is. Thanks to the more
progressive rising rate in the first part
of the stroke and firmer internal valving,
the KTM 350SXF doesn’t wallow under
acceleration. The new shock is 4mm
longer than before, but the rear wheel
travel doesn’t change because the new
shock linkage allows the shock to hang
lower. Don’t fiddle too much with the
shock until you get the forks dialed in,
then move on to the rear of the KTM.
For hardcore racing, we recommend
this shock setup for the 2015 KTM
350SXF (stock specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 5. 7 kg/mm
Race sag: 100mm
Hi-compression: 2 turns out
Lo-compression: 15 clicks out
Rebound: 15 clicks out
Notes: As a rule of thumb, faster test
riders stayed near the standard settings,
give or take a click or two, while slower
test riders clicked the compression and
rebound out around four clicks. The
spring rate from last year is unchanged,
and we don’t think that the average
350SXF rider will need a stiffer shock
spring—unless he is very heavy or very