Real world KTM 350 EXC impressions?

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

  1. guns_equal_freedom

    guns_equal_freedom Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,629
    I have had a chance to ride both the EXC350 and EXC500.

    Rode the 350 first, Rekluse and LHRB.
    That bike is just fun to ride.
    It felt and handled just like my 07 XCFW 250, but the power was like the old XCW400.
    Nice and mellow down low, get the rpm's up and it moves.

    A few weeks later I rode the EXC500.
    No Rekluse or LHRB though.
    Now that's a bike I would like to own.
    It makes my 530 feel like a pig.
    I myself don't think that it's too much for tight single track trails.
    I like the fact that there is not a lot of 4-stroke engine braking with it.
    The owner put a one tooth smaller countershaft sprocket on it, with the addition of a Rekluse that bike would chug anywhere in third gear.
    As it is without the Rekluse it had a habit of stalling out when going slow and whacking the throttle on in third gear.
    Never had it happen if first or second gear.
    The power is so mellow down low in the rpm's.
    It has a lot more grunt that the 350 does.

    I am amazed by how KTM has made these bikes ride so nice!
    Now if I could find someone to buy my 530....:lol3
    #21
  2. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Yesterday, I did a test ride around the local dealership. First impressions was very good with smooth power from the bottom on up. I love my 530 and 300, but they may end up as a 2 for 1 exchange. The one drawback is after market items; larger fuel tank, skid plate, and pipe for starters.
    #22
  3. FechFech

    FechFech Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    68
    Location:
    Confoederatio Helvetica
    Hi,

    I'm just back from a 10 day / 2'500 km ride in Morocco on my 2012 350 EXC-F. Of the 2'500 km about 20% were tarmac, 70% desert- and mountain pistes, and 10% off road (riverbeds, sand dunes, dry lakes). The bike worked perfectly, no issues at all. The only maintenance I did was cleaning the air filter every other day. It is very easy to ride, especially in more tricky stuff like riverbeds or rocky terrain. Power was never an issue for me, there was always enough of it. In deep sand more torque would be a plus. The lack of low end torque needs to be compensated with quite high RPM in deep sand. Fuel consumption was about 5 liters per 100 km, giving it a range of about 250 km with the 13 liter tank from KTM.

    I made these modifications to the bike:

    - 13 liter tank from KTM powerparts
    - Aluminum handguards
    - Protector for clutch slave cylinder
    - Protector for rear disk brake
    - Changed gearing to Z14 / Z50
    - Plastic skid plate
    - Handlebar risers from Rallye-Raid Products
    - Added navigation gear (MD roadbook roller, ICO tripmaster)
    - Replaced springs in the fork and on the rear shock to match my weight (60 kg + riding gear)

    Last year I did a similar tour in Morocco on a KTM 690 Enduro. I found the 350 EXC-F a lot easier to ride than the 690. The reasons are less weight, better steering angle and better suspension. I was able to go faster on the 350 and at the same time felt safer on it and got less tired. On tarmac and smooth gravel roads the 690 is more comfortable, of course. Everything else is a lot easier on the 350.

    If I wanted just a lightweight "adventure" bike I would go for the 450 or 500 EXC. The reason I bought a 350 is that I want to use the bike for "adventure" tours (such as the one in Morocco) AND for shorter rides in rough terrain, where it handles better than a 450 or 500.

    Cheers,

    FechFech


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    #23
  4. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    That is a classy build FechFech, good looking sled for sure and seems to be laid out quite intelligently.
    #24
  5. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    Oregon
    thanks for the write-up FechFech, good looking build.

    Any problem with over heating pushing the little bike in those big dunes?
    #25
  6. FechFech

    FechFech Adventurer

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    No problems with overheating. I forgot to mention that I added a radiator fan ;-) Of course I checked oil and water every day, the bike didn't use any. No problems with the tires either, I used Michelin Deserts and Bib-Mousse's, so no need to worry about punctures. Ah, and I added a Scott steering damper, too, which helped a lot on pistes with long and deep sand ruts.

    FechFech
    #26
  7. Big Augie

    Big Augie Transient

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
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    Central Cheese State
    Finally got a chance to ride mine yesterday, it is a complete blast to ride!
    Rode my 450(03) last weekend so I could maybe tell the differences, it's alot closer power wise than I
    thought it would be. Plenty of bottom end for me, and handles great. It's been de-smoged, regeared,
    remapped, and resprung. Poor 450 may be relegated to spare bike, or asked to leave:-)
    No I still like the 450 to much, for now.
    #27
  8. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    Finally, with good weather and snow melt I was able to run my first 200 hundred mile mix route today on the 350. All in all very impressed with the bike. Ran her up to 90mph with the 14/48 gearing then backed off, she still had legs, so plenty of get up and go...Mostly running jeep type roads and no single track, the gas mileage was about 55 mpg (24km/liter), not too bad.

    Noticed the vib harmonics kick in at about 65mph (105km) on the black top. As such the mirrors distort to the point of being worthless. I added 2 oz of weight on the front to counter rim lock but front tire still has the wobble.

    Like others have reported the spark arrestor blew out and lost in the first 100 miles. The sound signature definitely has more growl without the screen. Curious what others have done to secure the screen? The first thing that comes to my mind is add a little RTV.
    #28
  9. guns_equal_freedom

    guns_equal_freedom Long timer

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    I prefer the EXC 500 over the 350 in the tight stuff.
    It's a blast to ride.
    #29
  10. Big Augie

    Big Augie Transient

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    I was told by the dealer that the screen in the end of the pipe is a restricture, the spark arrestor is in the muffler.
    #30
  11. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    Looks like ktm calls the screen bit that blows off a "sil element" #77005081055.

    [​IMG]
    #31
  12. Big Augie

    Big Augie Transient

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    Mine fell off too, when I used the wrench in the tool kit to remove it, oop's:)
    #32
  13. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    mine is staying off as well. I'm not aware of any state or fed law requiring the screen (aka sil element)
    #33
  14. Kristobal K

    Kristobal K Been here awhile

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    No, but the law of too-lean-to-begin-with will catch up to you.
    #34
  15. Big Augie

    Big Augie Transient

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    Re-map
    #35
  16. Kristobal K

    Kristobal K Been here awhile

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    SoCal
    That would be sweet: When you figure out the unlock code, please share.
    #36
  17. Happy Seal

    Happy Seal Long timer

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    CT.
    Sorry dude, but he's right! :eek1
    #37
  18. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    Just completed a quick 200 mile ride w/the seatconcepts seat, it by far exceeded my expectations for comfort, most comfortable seat I've owned in the past 30+ years. If you're a day tripper you may get by with the stocker, but since I typically ride multi-day, my priorities were function and extra comfort. Some of the other after market seat brands really are too nice, and have the wrong material for a get dirty dirt bike.

    Enough off OP topic talk, anyone with actual 350 impressions? :ear
    #38
  19. cross-country

    cross-country .

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    I have 25 hours on my 350 XC-fW and had yet to have any kind of problem. Valves are in good nick and oil has been coming out clean. No flame-outs or any other weirdness. The bikes are a little hard to start cold. Of course if you use the "choke" they fire right up.

    I picked up a second bike for this years Baja 500 and have been prepping it with mostly the same parts as my personal bike.
    I installed HDB stuff on both bike, of course.
    [​IMG]

    On the first bike I used the Unabiker rad guards but decided to go with the Bulletproof on the race bike. Much easier to install and alot beefier. They cost almost double but after 1 crash destroyed a radiator and the Unabiker guard I was wishing I had spent the extra money on the BP stuff.
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    Took it out to the desert this weekend to set up the suspension and ergs.
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    And finally added the all important decals!
    I leave Friday, I hope I remembered everything....
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    #39
  20. techno boy

    techno boy Adventurer

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    kingwood tx
    10,500 with no fore play.
    #40