2011 KTM 350 XC-F Review and Video

Getting Dialed in on the 2011 KTM 350 XC-F

Paul and son Brandon Krause

This is the “First Ride” story published at MotorcycleUSA

There really is no doubt that the KTM 350 XC-F and its sibling the 350 SX-F are the hottest news in the dirt bike world this year. I got my first look at the motocross bikes earlier this year at the USGP where Mike Alessi and Tony Carioli made impressive debuts. Now the XC-F off road version quietly arrives just as the year comes to a close.

The concept of building the ultimate mid size bike is not a new one. In fact it is almost a staple of the motorcycle industry to bring the concept back around every decade or so. The goal of course is to take the handling of a small bike and mate it to a motor that performs like an open class bike.

Perhaps the most successful example would be the Honda XR400 that went on to have a very successful career.

The real difference here is that these current generation 350’s were really designed from the ground up as new technology bikes. Nothing borrowed and everything new. It is probably more correct in this case to say that the 250 and 450 were designed around the 350.

So will it really bring us the best of both worlds or will it be another victim of too many compromises?

The rumor mill had been talking about the XC-F versions for a while and everyone seemed convinced that they would feature a PDS shock. As it turns out this is only for the EXC versions that will not come to the States. For the US market these bikes are just lightly reworked versions of the motocross models.

That means they get the latest KTM reinvention: linkage.

Essentially the chassis for all new KTM SX-F and XC-F models is the same. The engine cradle for the 450 is slightly different but everything else front to back is identical. Up front the 48mm WP closed chamber forks receive the same valving updates as the rest of the line and get specific off road settings.

The .48 N/m is the same as the SX-F model.

KTM 350 XC-F
KTM 350 XC-F

The KTM linkage is quite an eyeful for the orange bike lovers. The shock is long and the linkage hangs quite low. The WP shock has the full range of clickers and uses a .54 N/m spring, again the same as the moto version.

The XC-F conversion to cross country race bike is minimal. The fuel tank capacity is up to 2.5 gallons. The 19” rear wheel is replaced by an 18” that runs a 110 series tire.

A kickstand and moto style handguards finish off the list of off road specific parts. The XC-F models are not intended to run lights and have no other amenities such as spark arrestor or odometer.

Like the chassis, the fuel injected motor is nearly identical to the SX-F model. The entire top end, including the cam and piston are the same. Ignition mapping is unique to this bike and features a standard map, plus two optional settings. These require the KTM hard equipment accessory switch to change maps.

  The 42mm Keihin EFI throttle body is the same for all the 250/350 line up.

Also new is the addition of a kickstarter to backup the electric starter. KTM claims the racers wanted this feature for dead engine start races. It is nice to have the security of the backup starting.

Also new is the transmission with an added cog and all new ratios for the off road model. As you can see in the graphic the ratio changes are pretty significant, giving the XC-F much longer legs.

KTM 350 XC-F
KTM 350 XC-F
KTM 350 XC-F

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