Real world KTM 350 EXC impressions?

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

  1. RyanR

    RyanR Been here awhile

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    Looking forward to it.
    #61
  2. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    Oregon
    Kelso, you mentioned starting hard, just curious if you have desmogged your bike? Reason I ask is after my desmog removal, the idle screw on my bike needed to be increased, a lot....and that fixed my starting issue.
    #62
  3. dcredman

    dcredman n00b

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    Hello Everyone, I am new to this ADVrider page. I found it while I was google'n this KTM 350. I wanted to hear other opinions on this bike. Last March I picked up a '12 350 EXC. The bike I retired was a 2002 WR250f. Over all I LOVE this new bike. The braking front and rear is amazing, the instant throttle, the delivery of the power , the clutch (frig'n AWESOME) , just over all it was a well put together bike. I now have 750 miles on this machine. Although it is street legal only about 30 of those miles were on the road. Everything else has been single or double track trails in the woods and 70miles for the Desert 100 in Odesa Washington. My biggest complaint is the suspension. Im hoping to hear some thoughts on this to help me out because its been an on going battle for me. The very first thing I did to this bike was change the gearing to a 14/50. After that I learned the gearing was perfect but I fumble around ALOT on the trails. I tinkered with the HighSpeed, compression , rebound, set the static sag....Pretty much entroduced myself to every click that this bike has to offer and still didnt get much luck. What I was looking for was the PERFECT set up which I had on my WR. So I then took the bike to DEVOL suspension which is the same company who turned me into what I believe is a Ninja on the trails after they dialed in my WR. After taking it for the first spin from the shop I still hated it...worse than stock at this point. They installed stiffer springs, just one notch up on both front and back and im all over the place on the trails. So I took it back, had them tinker with it more...Still no luck....Today I took it back again and Im hoping for the best. I can set it all up to feel pretty comfortable on the trails but holy F##K god forbid if I have to go through a section of whoops. Every time I hit these bumps that I had once had mastered on a blue bike I either fall behind my friends by 5 or 10 seconds or I crash. If I change the adjustments a little bit I can fly through these whoops but Im very washy in the front on the rest of the trails. I weigh 180 lbs and 200lbs with my pack and riding gear. Maybe I should try another Suspension shop? Not sure at this point but now that im 700 miles in to being insecure on this machine Im almost wondering if I should cut the loss and revisit Team Blue. Back on the WR not only was every turn sexy but I was able to HAUL ass which is what I like. Since I have gotten the bike I have also put on the Scotts dampner and Flex Bars. These didnt help any matters as far as the suspension goes but are both a well spent investment that I will enjoy once I figure out this suspension problem. Any thoughts?????
    #63
  4. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    I'm definitely not a suspension expert, others I'm sure will jump in, but I'm about the same weight and went with a 4.4n/mm up front and 76n/mm in the rear on my 350exc. Figure after adding up all the extras; hdb cockpit setup, tools, tire changing items, other stuff, that I needed the stiffer springs. I use a giantloop mojavi attached in the rear to carry my tools and other items, weight is carried low.
    All my adjustments are set in the middle.

    So far I've been very impressed with the suspension and have gained confidence with the setup. Although I haven't found a lot of whoops yet, so stay tuned.
    #64
  5. Kristobal K

    Kristobal K Been here awhile

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    Definitely, go back.
    #65
  6. mtntrails

    mtntrails Been here awhile

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    There are 2 pretty active threads for the 500 EXC, but there has been no activity on the 350 EXC threads since early June. I'm thinking about one of these as both a lightweight dualsport and primary woods bike. I'd like to hear more about the 350.

    Many years ago, I swithched from a 525 EXC to a 400 EXC and found the 400 to be much easier to ride on single track and more than adequate for dualsport / street duty. As much as I enjoyed the big power of the 525 in more open conditions, it was too much for long days of single track riding. With this expreience, I'm leaning more toward the 350.
    #66
  7. calltrex

    calltrex Adventurer

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    The 350 rocks. Lots of power. Have no need for more power

    I put 48 springs in front and 76 for rear

    Having a blast on this thing. Off and on road

    I put a 48 sprocket on
    #67
  8. mtntrails

    mtntrails Been here awhile

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    Thanks calltrex

    Relative to the spring upgrades, how much do you weigh?

    15/48 gearing or 14/48?

    Is yours primarily set up for single track / woods riding or dual-sport? If dual-sport, how does it do on the street? What additional mods are you thinking about?
    #68
  9. Bofaxrunner

    Bofaxrunner Adventurer

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    More throttle?

    I have a 350 EXC and love it. I have not quite gotten the suspension to match the Honda CRF450R I replaced. But that suspension got built pro.

    I found the Stock rear too soft at 69 and upped to a 72 spring. I weigh 175lbs without gear. I find most KTM's are pretty high in the compression damping. I usually turn the Compression down immediately.

    I have found with the more miles I put on the bike, the suspension gets smoother. I guess that can be said for most bikes.
    I find most KTM's steer way different than the Japanese bikes. Do you feel that you need to be farther forward to get the front end to not push? Can you describe how the bike feels in the whoops? Are you having trouble staying on top of the whoops or is the back end tossing about?

    Once again, More throttle needed? j/k
    #69
  10. calltrex

    calltrex Adventurer

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    205 lbs

    14/48

    Setup for trails

    I bought a extra set of wheels and put K60 tires and use these for street or backroads. Work awesome


    For the trail I put my other wheels on with maxxis desert ITs. Work awesome


    Best thing I did was get an extra set. Can switch my wheels in 5 minutes depending what I'm going to ride
    #70
  11. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    Good to see a few 350 owners starting to lurk about again. I was starting to think everyone bought the 500.

    I'm also happily running 14/48 (116 links). It's a tad tall for tight trails, but good compromise for mixed trail and road. So far after 40hrs, there's normal wear on the chainguard with this gearing.

    Finally, talked my dealer into loading the AUS EXC FI map into my US EXC. Believe it's the same map loaded in XCW-F's. With the richer map, no more popping on decel and engine is definitely running smoother. Also removed the exhaust blockage (screen), much better hit now in all RPMs without spending any dollars.
    #71
  12. mtntrails

    mtntrails Been here awhile

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    dvwalker - thanks - I was not aware that a spark arrestor would make any significant difference unless it was clogged. Sounds like the AUS map is the way to go.

    calltrex - yes, a second set of wheels is an excellent investment. I have 2 sets of wheels for my 400EXC. My "woods" wheels have rimlocks / Pirelli MT16 rear / Pirelli Scorpion Pro front. I'm running Dunlop D606s w/ no rimlocks on my second set for 50/50 dual-sport.
    #72
  13. calltrex

    calltrex Adventurer

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    if you want to make it even easier to switch wheels like i did is to get these axle blocks. near top of page

    http://www.dirttricks.com/motorcycle_hardware.htm
    #73
  14. FechFech

    FechFech Adventurer

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    Hi,

    I posted earlier in this thread on a 2'500 km roadbook rally I did on my 350 EXC-F in Morocco. In the meantime I wrote a ride report with more details on the trip and how the bike performed. See http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=794731.

    In a nutshell: no issues at all with the bike, suspension worked perfectly for me, would do the same rally on this bike any time.

    Cheers,

    FechFech
    #74
  15. CT DUAL-SPORT

    CT DUAL-SPORT Adventurer

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    Central CT
    Last year I purchased a leftover 2010 690R. After dropping an humping a few too many times in the CT woods, I realized I bought the wrong bike (that sucked!). The answer...the new 2012 350 EXCF. When I purchased the 350 in February, I tested rode both the 500 and the 350 at the dealer. The 500 was simply insane. The power was basically overwhelming and I found myself thinking how would I tame this thing on single track in the woods. The answer was the 350. Trust me...it has plenty of power. I geared the front sprocket down to a 14 and added the 2 position, thumb adjusted, mapping switch. For the riding I am doing here it is manageable and just excellent in the wood. Shedding the 60 lbs compared to the 690 has made a world of difference! Seriously, it feels like the RM125 I had as a kid... flickable and just much easier in the woods with all the juice I could want for hillclimbs, burms, whoops and all the woods riding I can handle.

    I guess if your real power hungry and live out west where the riding is big... the 500 might be for you. It was just too snappy for me to handle in the woods.

    Good luck.
    #75
  16. FechFech

    FechFech Adventurer

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    I totally agree with CT DUAL-SPORT. I bought a 690E in 2009, which I still have. The 690E is perfect for for mixed tarmac / dirtroad riding. I used the 690E for a roadbook rally in Morocco in April 2011. The bike worked flawlessly, but it was too heavy for me, especially in rocky riverbeds and in sand dunes. I did the same rally this year with a 350 EXC-F, which was perfect for me. I kept the 690E as my "adventure" bike, i.e. I'm basically using it for what other people do with their 990 Adventures.

    Cheers,

    FechFech
    #76
  17. vladg

    vladg Adventurer

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    Ukraine
    As I'm thinking to get new KTM and I have a question.

    I any one using stock gearing 15/45?
    More frequently gearing is 14/50 and 14/48.

    Please tell me your gearing and what was you maximum comfortable cruising speed and top speed?

    I do race rally sometimes (500-700kms) and can't decide between 350 and 450 EXC. I like that 350 lighter and at the end of racing day I will still have some energy. I'm just 75 kg and race 04 WR450F and its realy top heavy bike for me with all rally parts on it. I know new 450EXC much lighter then WR450 but guess 450 will exhaust you more then 350 in multy days events.
    Correct me if I'm wrong.
    #77
  18. calltrex

    calltrex Adventurer

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    25
    Stock is 14/45
    #78
  19. FechFech

    FechFech Adventurer

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    Vladg,

    I used 14 / 50 gearing on my 350 EXC-F for a roadbook rally in Morocco. Topspeed of the bike was about 140 km/h. What is a "comfortable" cruising speed depends. I had no wind protection on the bike (no rally fairing) and was standing on the bike most of the time. I found that I can ride 70 - 80 km/h for a long time, everything faster was tiring because of wind drag. The bike could handle more than that, easily. So I guess if you sit on the bike or have decent wind protection, you should be able to cruise at 110 km/h or more.

    If you want a bike only for rallies, I'd go for the 450 EXC and kit it out with parts from Alberto Dottori (www.albertodottori.net). The 450 has more torque, which helps in sand and mud. It is only about 6 kgs more than the 350. The reason I bought a 350 and not a 450 is because I want to use the bike not only for rallies, but also for technical riding.

    Either way, both the 350 EXC or 450 EXC are excellent bikes, you can't go wrong with them.

    Cheers,

    FechFech
    #79
  20. vladg

    vladg Adventurer

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    FechFech I will use my new KTM mostly for trail riding (sandy woods, single and jeep trails) but sometimes (once or twice a year I'm racing rally (mostly for pleasure). We usually ride trails all day long (150-300 km a day) so 450 will really shine for me few times a year. Its only 6kg but engine's rotations masses is heavier and its make engine more smooth but heavier filling as well. KTM said they reduce rotations masses for 2012 450EXC for 15% and its a good thing.
    Wish I can try both bikes before to buy it.
    Thanks for reply.
    Vlad.
    #80