MXA’S 2018 KTM
350SXF SETUP SPECS
This is how we set up our 2018 KTM 350SXF for
racing. We offer it as a guide to help you find your own
WP AER FORK SETTINGS
The 250SXF and 350SXF come with 154 psi, but the
majority of MXA test riders ignore the recommended
numbers and run pressure as low as 130 psi. As a
group, almost every test rider ran less than 154 psi in
the 350SXF forks. The best way to find the proper air
pressure is to put a zip-tie on one fork leg and go out
and ride. If the zip-tie is 3 inches short of bottoming,
lower the air pressure. Keep lowering it until you are
1-1/2 inches from bottoming. That is your air pressure.
From there on, use the compression clicker to control
the travel. Don’t be afraid to go wild with the clicker.
We have test riders who run it at 6 clicks out and test
riders who run it 25 clicks out. The only thing to watch
for is that the forks don’t drop excessively into their
For hardcore racing, we recommend this fork setup
for an average rider on the 2017 KTM 350SXF (stock
specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 140 psi ( 154 psi)
20 clicks out ( 12 clicks out)
Rebound: 15 clicks out ( 12 clicks out)
Fork-leg height: Third line
Notes: Slower or lighter riders might have to lower
the oil height in the damping leg by 10mm or more to
get full travel. Additionally, pay attention to extreme
temperature changes. You may have to change the
AER’s air pressure as it gets hotter later in the day. We
bleed the outer chambers constantly.
WP SHOCK SETTINGS
The 2017–2018 KTM 350SXF comes with a 45 N/m
shock spring. This is an excellent choice for the size and
weight of the riders most likely to race a 350. However,
if you are heavier than 180 pounds, you might want
to run the 2016’s 48 N/m spring. This is a very good
production shock. KTM’s bad shock reputation comes
from the old-school PDS system that was very touchy
to set up and from the less-than-stellar 4CS forks that
transferred all the load to the rear. With the excellent
AER forks holding up their end of the bargain, the WP
rear shock can shine.
For hardcore racing, we recommend this shock setup
for the 2017 KTM 350SXF (stock specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 45 N/m
Race sag: 105mm (110mm)
Hi-compression: 1-3/4 turns out ( 2 turns out)
Lo-compression: 15 clicks out
10 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Notes: We turned the high-speed compression damping in a little to lessen G-outs and ran a touch more
rebound than the recommended setting. Additionally, we
set the sag at 105mm instead of the WP-recommended
brakes, clutch, handling, airbox, shifting and power.
( 6) Sprocket bolts. Watch the sprocket bolts like a
hawk or the rear sprocket will break and take the hub
( 7) Spokes. Our spokes never took a set. Always use
the spoke next to the rim lock as a bellwether.
( 8) Front brake hose. Be very careful when hooking
tie-downs onto your handlebars that they don’t crimp the
L-bend tube coming out of the front brake’s master cylinder. We would prefer more room between the brake line
and the bars to lessen the chance of damage.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Handling. You don’t have to point it where you
want it to go; you just have to think it. The Suzuki may turn
sharper, but it doesn’t have the balanced, do-it-all capabilities of the KTM chassis.
( 2) Hydraulic clutch. This clutch is stout enough to
last a full race season without being touched. The 350SXF
uses a coil-spring clutch. The 450SXF, 250SX and 85SX use
the Belleville washer-activated diaphragm clutch.
( 3) Powerband. Even though the MXA wrecking crew
thinks that a 375cc, 380cc or 400cc displacement would
come closer to fulfilling the dream of a mid-size Open-class
bike, the 350SXF is the ultimate expression of a 250 on
( 4) Hour meter. Kudos to KTM for putting an hour
meter on its bikes at the factory—and saving us the trouble.
( 5) Weight. You have to be impressed by the 221-pound
weight. This is an impossible dream achieved with a battery and electric starter.
( 6) Cool stuff. If you are impressed by the weight, you
will be equally impressed by the hydraulic clutch, electric
starting, awesome airbox, superb shifting, mud-free footpegs, in-mold graphics, plastic frame guards and flawless
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: KTM improved the 350SXF for 2018 even though
we promised them that they would win “MXA’s 2018 350
Four-Stroke Shootout” whether they touched it or not. What
is most surprising about the 350SXF is that even though it
is an orphan size, it is probably the best professional practice rider, play bike or Vet race bike made.