Real world KTM 350 EXC impressions?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by GravityDT, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. GravityDT

    GravityDT Adventurer

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    Anyone on one of the new 2012 KTM 350 EXC or XCW-F yet? Curious how it'll shape up as a lightweight DS/Adv rig vs something like a WRR... Not looking to load it up for week plus adventures. Max would be a GiantLoop bag for the lightweight overnighter

    Currently own a 640 Adv which really hasn't been getting used they way it was meant for. With 2 small kids and a busy work schedule my riding has been much more local with 60-80 mile FS road daytours. With a ton of tight/twisty high Alpine single track only 4-5 miles from the house my 200 XCW has been seeing a large amount of my limited ride time.

    If I sold off the herd and replaced the 2 bikes with a single bike would the 350 be the one? I'm looking for more of a single track friendly DS bike that'll still do OK on the slab for the occasional 50-100miles max speed 60-65. I know the larger 500 would be more suited for that but I'm concerned the 500 might be a bit much on the tight/technical singletrack. Am I on the right track by looking at either the 350 EXC or XCW(would plate it)

    Thoughts?
    #1
  2. techno boy

    techno boy Adventurer

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    just did a 500 mile tx hill country ride on the 350 exc this past wk end.Can say the bike is the best ive tried on that ride,which includes a 950 se,a wr250r and a 1200gs.Exc cruses 65 very smoothly, will go on up to 80 easily.The only complaint is it popes on decel which tells me its super lean.other than that its a light weight dream.
    #2
  3. DocRogers

    DocRogers Been here awhile

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    Haven't tried one - afraid I'll like it too much. :evil
    #3
  4. Mifune

    Mifune Been here awhile

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    I know it is way too early to have any significant data, but I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what sort of maintenance experience we hear about from people who are using this bike as dual sport/trailbike.
    #4
  5. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    I road my 350 about 40-50 miles of single track, and same mileage on FS type roads last weekend. Same blackdog DS route I road with my wrr last year. The 350 power and suspension jump right out as the biggest advantages. Felt a lot more solid and stable at speed on the rutted and rocky sections. The bike can just flat out blast on technical terrain. It wants to go faster as the conditions get worse. Although the wrr does well, there really is no comparison when riding the real nasty stuff. Also nice to be able to blip the throttle and loft the front wheel over a tree or water filled hole, etc. I geared mine at 14/48 w/116 link chain (stock is 15/45, 114 links), which still felt a bit tall for the tight single track. Found myself going into 1st in some sections, would prefer to stay in 2nd. But this gearing felt about right for the FS roads. This is compromise gearing...

    Comfort? Like all previous years with KTM, a seat upgrade is a must do mod. I installed the seatconcepts kit with carbon fiber fabric top and sides, it's much more comfortable (and cheaper) than the Renazco on my wrr. Although, looks wise the Renazco really is a work of art. Also the engine vibs are more noticeable on the 350 as your riding roads, so comfort wise not as good as the wrr.

    For now, I'm still keeping my little wrr as a reliable, no fuss, long mileage bike. Different mission statement than the 350. I will not hesitate taking the wrr on a 7+ day multi-state off-road tour. The jury is still out as to the reliability of 350. Soon as the snow melts off in the north cascades, I'm going to put the 350 to a test with a 1000mi wbdr ride. It's close to home so much less risky than a TAT ride thru NV. I did this same route last year on wrr so will be interesting to compare.

    Here's some pics to ponder w/many adv type mods. Acerbis just released their 5.1gal tank, but I may wait till the Safari 15L comes out this summer to install the bigger tank.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    all hdb and sicass in the cockpit, with scotts submount
    [​IMG]

    installed bright 5w led headlight bulb into factory receiver to save on stator output
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    I'll add that choosing the 350 over the 500 was the right choice for me. I owed a crf450x for many years, which has similar raw power to the 500. For my style of riding, the 500 has to much throttle for a full day of riding the tight trails. I can ride much longer, smoother and safer on the smaller hp bike.
    #6
  7. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Jeezus, that is one of the worst looking seats I've ever seen. It's... just... so... poorly shaped.
    #7
  8. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    No kidding, the thing looks like an afterthought! Still, I've never ridden a KTM that I could stand the stock seat on anyway. Too bad you can't just get the bikes with a bare seat pan. :lol3:lol3
    #8
  9. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Only thing worse than a stock KTM seat is an Acerbix X-Seat. It's super rugged and is fine for aggressive trailriding, but is absolutely b-b-b-b-b-brutal if you spend much (any) time actually sitting down. Having Renazco build a new seat for me right now.
    #9
  10. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    Can't say enough about the Renazco's. Got them on both my KTM's and had em on my DRZ and WR450 as well. I've done a 500 mile day on my 690 and my butt didn't bother me at all. :clap
    #10
  11. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    BTW, what kind of prices are people seeing for the 350's?
    #11
  12. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    that's the KTM seat pan basically with more foam and a new cover. Agree it's a bit on the fugly side, I needed a tall but it's very functional. I also love my Renazco seat on my other bike, like I said a work of art. But the seatconcepts is definitely more comfortable, third the cost and available within a week after order.
    #12
  13. mxbundy

    mxbundy Been here awhile

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    So what would you change?

    Bundy
    #13
  14. TrailCruiser

    TrailCruiser Been here awhile

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    This bike makes a lot of sense to me, dvwalker thanks for the review and insight. No question it would work on the trails and dirt, but how bad is it on the roads? I see you live in the NW, me too. I'm in Yakima and need to ride 20-60 miles to get to the FS roads and trails. BTW, I'm planning on the Blackdog too with my KLR unless I can figure out how to upgrade before then -- not much time though.
    #14
  15. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Understand that ergonomics will dictate geometry to a certain extent, but there's no reason why it has to look like a piece of cut liver. Takes a bit of work/skill to shape something with nice, crisp lines though, and maybe that's why they're so cheap?
    #15
  16. cross-country

    cross-country .

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    Have you tried one? I know for some it's all about looks, I would assume for this rider it was about comfort and ergonomics.

    I have one of the stock height seats and it is a huge improvement in comfort, and looks for that matter.
    The seat in picture is tall but I would assume the rider is too. IMO it is better to have good ergs than to look cool for your bros. YMMV.
    #16
  17. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    My son just completed the Mexican 1000 aboard his new KTM 350 EXc-F. He teamed with a road racing buddy. Neither had ever ridden the desert. They finished 4th bike and 1st in class.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Rider 1 said it topped out at 96mph. It eventually melted off the rear blinker leaving bare wires. Could have been altered air flow with the giant loop spares bag. Rider 2 said he topped in low 90's and he was there a lot of the time.

    The bike was crashed a few times during the event. Actual all out race miles were about 900. The other 300 were transits between stages. The bike handled great and the stock suspension was excellent. They bend a couple of rims, but had spare wheels so no problem. They did shred one rear tire during a dry lakebed section that was pinned. Apparently the tire balls they used can melt at high speeds. Might not have been lubed enough. Neither had experience with tire balls before either.

    They'll probably try again next year, but they want more top speed. The big bikes were in the 105 mph range and made it hard to be competitive on the fastest sections. The 350 ate them up in the technical parts, though.

    The overall winner was a Honda 450 Dakar rally bike/rider, followed by a 1983 Husky WR 430 that won the BK1 in that year. She was raced by Malcolm Smith's son. #3 was inmate Mike Gilkey aboard his KTM 950 Enduro.

    In sum, the little KTM is real stout and a friendly bike to ride.
    #17
  18. GravityDT

    GravityDT Adventurer

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    Well, brought home my first new bike yesterday afternoon. Got it out for the initial ride on my home from the dealer and it was nothing but SMILES. Feel real good about my decision (other than the $$, but oh well, you only live once...). Went ahead and got the XCF-W instead of the EXC. Pretty easy with a turn signal kit to plate a bike here and it'll end up being cheaper than an EXC and not have to worry about emissions BS and Mapping, and the XCW gearing is perfect for what I'll be riding here - I like the silver rims of the XCF-W better too

    Let the mods begin. 1st up Flatland skid plate and some real hand guards
    #18
  19. buelless

    buelless Been here awhile

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    +1 on the quote above. Really interested in the streetability of this bike, i don't doubt its off road ability. I too ride a wrr and am seriously looking at the 350 or 500 exc, the only downside i see is their street creds. Anyone care to add their impressions on the street such as vibrations, mpg, stability, or any other issues??:ear
    #19
  20. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    I'm still evaluating this question as well, so curious to hear reports from any others with pavement miles. In my limited speed runs on pavement, I can certainly feel the extra engine vids and out of balance wheels. I would expect about 2 to 3 oz of well placed lead would counteract the rim locks and smooth out that bit. I already purchased another set of tires (m404,m403), so will be scarifying the factory Metzler's on more mixed routes to help answer the question.

    See you at the blackdog (#33). Stop by camp that Sat evening if you feel like a pit ride on my 350, that is if you still haven't picked up your bike :wink:.
    #20