Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2016 KTM
350SXF BETTER THAN THE 2015 350SXF?
A: Yes, by leaps and bounds.
Q: WHAT DID KTM CHANGE FROM THE 2015
MODEL TO THE 2016 MODEL?
A: Everything. The list of changes is so long that it’s
much easier to forget everything you know about the
2015 KTM 350SXF; however, since there was no 350SXF
Factory Edition, it’s an unknown quantity compared to the
telegraphed 250SXF and 450SXF.
Q: WHAT ARE THE 10 BIG CHANGES TO THE
2016 KTM 350SXF?
A: We are shortchanging the 2016 KTM 350SXF by
only listing 10 changes, but here are the big modifications.
(1) Engine. The new 2016 350 engine shares no parts
with the 2015 engine. We confess that the 88mm bore and
57. 3 stroke are unchanged from last year, but the main
cases are 20mm shorter and the crank 6mm higher (and
6mm shorter). The cams are lighter by 5 ounces. The cam
chain is shorter, and the finger-followers are DLC-coated.
The cylinder is shorter, and the CP piston is lighter. KTM’s
five-speed tranny has wider gears that are surface-treated
on second, third and fourth gears, while a gear position
sensor changes maps to mate the ECU to whatever gear
the bike is in. The number of clutch plates has been
reduced from eight to seven. The new smaller starter
motor is made by Mitsuba, while the LiFePO
battery is from Samsung (and both reduce overall
weight by 1 pound, 6 ounces).
( 2) Throttle body. Eliminating the double-pulley
system of previous Keihin throttle bodies, KTM’s new
Direct-Connect system attaches the cables directly to the
butterfly mechanism. This saves 3-1/2 ounces.
( 3) Frame. The new symmetrical chromoly steel frame
is 13 ounces lighter than in 2015. It is also 20 percent stiffer torsionally and 30 percent more resilient longitudinally.
The head angle is 0.4 degrees steeper, and the wheelbase
is 10mm shorter. KTM’s downsized aluminum subframe is
20 percent lighter than last year, and the swingarm is a
1/2-pound lighter. The seat height is lowered 10mm in the
center of the saddle and 20mm at the rear end. The frame
is powder-coated black instead of orange.
( 4) 4CS forks. The WP 4CS forks were re-valved to
make them softer. Instead of tuning them for Pro riders,
who rarely race with stock forks, WP designed the valving
for riders in the Intermediate and lower skill ranks.
( 5) WP shock. KTM’s rear suspension features a
larger nitrogen piggyback chamber, smaller shock shaft,
and longer linkage arms that allow the shock spring to
come down from 57 N/m to 48 N/m. The mid- and