MXA’S KTM 350SXF
This is how we set up our 2016 KTM 350SXF for
racing. We offer it as a guide to help you find your
own sweet spot.
4CS FORK SETTINGS
For faster test riders and bigger jumps, we turned
the compression to eight clicks out. The typical Vet
setting was around 12 clicks out. We think that Pro
riders or fast Intermediates can still live with the stock
valving by adding 10cc to the fork oil height. This will
stiffen up the second half of the stroke and lessen
bottoming. For hard-core racing, we recommend this
fork setup on the 2016 KTM 350SXF (stock specs are
Spring rate: 4. 8 N/m
Oil height: 100mm
Compression: 8 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Rebound: 15 clicks out
Fork leg height: 5mm up
Notes: Even our slowest test riders actually turned
the clickers in on the 2016 WP 4CS forks. That’s a
first. The faster the test rider, the more he was able
to bottom the forks (and the farther he turned the
compression clicker in). Our best settings were
12 clicks out for Novices, eight clicks out for
Intermediates and one click out for Pros.
WP SHOCK SETTINGS
KTM actually embossed a sag-scale line onto the
rear fender to make sure that riders measure their race
sag in the right place. We ran the race sag at 105mm
as long as we could keep the free sag in the 30mm
to 40mm range. If we dropped out of that window,
we raised the race sag to 100mm. If you run KTM’s
recommended 110mm of sag, you are very likely to
encounter either free sag or spring preload issues.
We increased the high-speed compression by a
quarter-turn and slowed down the rebound. For hard-core racing, we recommend this shock setup for the
Spring rate: 48 N/m
Race sag: 105mm
Hi-compression: 1-3/4 turns out ( 2 turns out)
Lo-compression: 15 clicks out
Rebound: 10 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Notes: We use the high-speed compression
damping to lessen G-outs in conjunction with more
rebound than the recommended setting. We set the
sag at 105mm instead of the more traditional 100mm
or recommended 110mm. ;
( 7) Sprocket bolts. Watch them—and the spoke next
to the rear rim lock. They can come loose.
( 8) Neutral. The KTM shifts perfectly, except when
it comes to selecting neutral. We appreciate the thought
behind a hard-to-find neutral on the track, but we don’t
like it in the pits.
( 9) Bike stand. When the 350SXF is sitting on a bike
stand, the front wheel is sitting on the ground. This
makes simple maintenance a hassle.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Clutch. Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki
took 10 years to catch up to KTM’s braking power. How
long until they build a self-adjusting, long-lasting, reliable
( 2) Electric start. Your great-grandpa used to
hand-crank his car to get it started back in 1914.
( 3) Handling. Once you balance the front and rear,
you can go anywhere and do anything…without trying.
Part of the KTM 350’s charm is its handling. Thanks to its
2016 diet, electric powerband and improved suspension,
this bike can be steered with your knees.
( 4) 4CS forks. WP finally valved its forks for average
people. Before 2016, they were valved for someone who
didn’t reside on this planet.
( 5) Weight. It’s thin, light and agile.
( 6) Powerband. Imagine a powerband that is as
smooth as silk but 2 horsepower better than last year’s
350SXF on every part of the curve.
( 7) Radiator design. KTM has designed the radiators,
gas tank and radiator shrouds to enhance airflow instead
of impeding it. Plus, the radiator guards double as
( 8) Air filter. The plug-and-play air filter is a very
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: As hard as it is to believe—considering the cutthroat world of corporations—KTM cares. KTM isn’t
waiting for four years to pass before making significant
improvements to its machines. KTM has kicked out the
jams and changed the face of American motocross. Need
proof? KTM built five totally new models for 2016. The
2016 bikes are equipped with electric starters, and
they are still the lightest bikes on the track. KTM’s
horsepower numbers are off the chart, yet the
powerbands are smooth, flexible and totally hooked up.
Dialing it in: There
are three available
maps built into
the ECU. Don’t be
confused by the
10 choices on the
map dial. KTM 350SXF
Everywhere you look, you can see where KTM spent the
money—from the billet hubs to the easy-access air filter
to the quick-release fuel line to the chromoly frame to the
ODI bolt-on grips to the hydraulic clutch and the adjust-able-reach levers. KTM wants you to ride their bikes so
much that they even went to the trouble to build a 350cc,
mid-size, Open bike to fill a gap in motocross riders’ wish
lists. Good fun, great bike and an excellent company.