We've had a KTM 350 EXC-F for four months of fun. Here is Pommie's Quick Test... Review: Tony Wilding Photography: Heather Ware
A five hour ride in the saddle on a full on enduro bike, riding some great single and open trails with a great bunch of mates is a fantastic way to test any dirt bike, but on our long term KTM 350 EXC-F it’s a real treat.
Riding the KTM 350 EXC-F is special, a lot of people would go right past the 350 and head for the big-boy – the 500, but not giving the 350 a chance would be a mistake.
We had an older KTM 450 and a Husky 450 with us on the ride and at no time did I find the KTM 350 EXC-F ever lacking, in fact the super smooth fuel injected motor is a ripper and has loads of smooth predictable power, which is available right through the rev-range.
One of the advantages of a smooth power delivery is that grip is more readily available, especially when getting on the throttle quickly when launching over rocks or logs, even more so when the surface is loose or slippery, initial drive is critical.
My biggest surprise was how easy the KTM was to ride and how light the bike felt, not only in weight but in the steering also and not in a vague way either. The WP suspension was set-up perfect, I thought it may be a bit hard in the rear, as the preload had been wound down all the way.
This was probably because Mark who had previously had the bike weighs a bit more than me, but I didn’t touch it, it was pretty spot-on, with a great initial stroke that eliminated most of the small annoying hits.
I would have liked to get some better footage of me riding the bike from my mate Phil following me, but with the blinding dust this proved to be unsafe and impossible to get, but it would have been fun chasing each other closer than we were.
In the rough and tight stuff, a light clutch is a blessing, as I found myself feathering it constantly, this can be extremely tiring on some bikes, but that is not the case with the KTM 350 EXC-F, it’s really light and can be adjusted for travel feel.
The bike had recently been fitted with a sump guard, anti-vibration handlebar mounts, thermo fan and traction control. I can’t really comment too much on the reduced vibration through the ‘bars as I didn’t ride the bike beforehand, but there was hardly any ‘bar vibration.
As for the traction control, well to be honest, I played with each of the settings on my first ride and couldn’t tell if it was working or not.
People look at these modern enduro bikes and wonder if they are worth the high cost and there is no denying that $14,000 for a dirt bike is a lot of money, but you have to realise that you are getting the best equipment, WP suspension, Brembo brakes and a state of the art fuel injected engine.
My only real negatives on this bike would be the low sixth gear, it should really be more of an overdrive gear, but on transport sections it is screaming at 90km/h.
I’ve really enjoyed my time on the KTM and I’ll be keen to get back on one so I can do some more exploring and have some more fun with my mates.
2017 KTM 350 EXC-F Specifications
Price: $13,995 + ORC
Claimed power: N/A
Claimed torque: N/A
Dry weight: 106.8kg
Fuel capacity: 8.5L
Engine: Single-cylinder DOHC, four-valve four-stroke, Keihin EMS and EFI.
Clutch: DDS wet multi-plate.
Frame: Central Double Cradle ChroMo steel.
Rake: 63.5°, Offset: 22mm.
Suspension: WP Xplor 48mm forks, fully adjustable, 300mm travel, WP monoshock, fully adjustable, 330mm travel
Brakes: 260mm/220mm rotors, Brembo calipers and master-cylinder
Wheels & Tyres: D.I.D 1.60 x 21in, 2.15 x 18in, Maxxis 90/90-21, 140/80-18
Seat height: 970mm.
Ground clearance: 370mm.
2017 KTM 350 EXC-F Gallery
The Verdict | Quick Test: 2017 KTM 350 EXC-F Long Termer
KTM’s 350 EXC-F offers the ideal mid-capacity option with top spec suspension and brakes and a flexible powerplant, all backed by traction control.