KTM 350 EXC F
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“A dirt bike with lights,” you’ve probably heard. When it comes to a street-legal dual sport, that phrase is usually an exaggeration. I used the word typically because it applies to the majority of the time.
The KTM 350 EXC-F is a nighttime dirt bike. Yes, it is street legal, has met emissions and sound standards, and is legal to drive on US highways. It also weighs approximately 240 pounds with all fluids except gasoline and has approximately 12 inches of suspension travel at each end. Between my legs, it feels narrower than the motocross bikes I used to race. It made me think of a bicycle, to be honest.
With the possible exception of its 500cc sibling, this is likely the most serious dual sport available in the United States. Serious in the sense that it is dedicated to high-level dirt riding.
The 350 EXC-F is a large motorcycle. Unless you have an inseam of more than 33 inches, you’ll be standing on tiptoes. Unfortunately, with 12 inches of suspension travel and the kind of ground clearance offered by serious dirt bikes, this is necessary.
This motorcycle is extremely quiet, both when idling and at full throttle. It’s not like a motocross bike or a dirt-only enduro in this regard. The engine performance of the 349cc single is extremely impressive, despite the carefully muffled sound.
Throttle response is excellent, even at low rpm levels, and power builds linearly to a powerful top end. Trying to keep up with an expert rider on a KTM 500 during trail riding, the 350 pulled well out of corners, allowing our test rider to stay close enough to close-up on the brakes entering the next turn.
Overall, the engine in this bike is exceptional. If you’ve never ridden a modern KTM dual sport, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its wide powerband and the sensation of twisting the throttle on a larger displacement motorcycle.
A very narrow seat, ideal for dirt riding, is one of the slim ergonomics. That seat is also flat enough to allow you to shift your weight fore and aft to accommodate different traction conditions. Of course, that narrow seat was not made for long distance comfort on the road.
The 350 EXC-F is not a dual sport designed for long distances. A Kawasaki KLR 650, for example, is capable of off-roading but can also cover long distances on the street while keeping the rider comfortable. Again, the 350 EXC-F is a dual sport for dirt bikers. It can easily transport you from your home to your off-road riding location and back, assuming it is within 50 miles. That is its purpose.
The six-speed transmission has a gear for every situation, from crawling over rocks to tearing down a fire road. Shifts are crisp and positive, with or without the clutch.
The 260 mm single-disc Brembo front brake provides just enough power while maintaining good off-road feel. The front brake can be taxed a little more at higher speeds on the street, but it is generally adequate. The single disc brake in the rear does a good job in general.
The front fork is a WP XPLOR 48 mm fully adjustable unit, as is the rear shock. The suspension is very plush, and it is generally set up correctly for aggressive trail riding, but it is a little soft for hard core motocross. The fuel tank only holds 2.25 gallons, but it’s designed to get you where you need to go off-road. Nothing more.
If you enjoy riding in the dirt but prefer the convenience of an electric-start, street-legal dual sport to get you there, the KTM 350 EXC-F could be the ideal companion. It has the agility of a 250 but the power to compete with 450s and 500s on the trails. Despite the fact that we tested a 2021 model, KTM has announced the 2022 350 EXC-F, which features no changes other than suspension tweaks and new graphics.
Engine and transmission
|349.7 ccm (21.34 cubic inches)
|Single cylinder, four-stroke
|Bore x stroke
|88.0 x 57.5 mm (3.5 x 2.3 inches)
|Double Overhead Cams/Twin Cam (DOHC)
|Chain (final drive)
|Wet, DDS multi-disc clutch, Brembo hydraulics
|X-ring 5/8 x 1/4Â´ chain
|3.83 litres/100 km (26.1 km/l or 61.42 mpg)
|88.9 CO2 g/km. (CO2 – Carbon dioxide emission)
Chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels
|25CrMo4 steel central-tube
|Rake (fork angle)
|WP XPLOR-USD, Ã˜ 48 mm
|Front wheel travel
|300 mm (11.8 inches)
|WP Xplor PDS shock absorber
|Rear wheel travel
|310 mm (12.2 inches)
|Single disc. Brake calipers on floating bearings
|260 mm (10.2 inches)
|Single disc. Brake calipers on floating bearings
|220 mm (8.7 inches)
Physical measures and capacities
|103.8 kg (228.8 pounds)
|960 mm (37.8 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting.
|355 mm (14.0 inches)
|9.20 litres (2.43 US gallons)
4. Rental Price
|KTM 350 EXCF
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