WHAT’S YOUR OVER/UNDER?
Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
If you get a chance, can you check with the guys and
see if they know what gearing works well on a KTM
350EXC-F (dual sport)? I picked up a used 2014 (356
miles), and it is stone stock. I was out at the high desert
and really struggled on a couple of gnarly canyons. The
bike has no snap—pretty doggy throttle response. Any
suggestions on any good mods to add some pep would
be really appreciated.
I also had a tip-over—all the way over. Darn short legs
and waterfalls. Fell on the left side. Picked up the bike. No
electric start (right side). Pretty much dead bike. Do you
know if these bikes have some kind of reset that kills the
power when you bail? I don’t think so, but it was really
odd. I ended up jacking around with the on/off kill button,
and it finally fired up, but it made me think there was some
kind of shut-off because it is injected.
Via the internet
Dear Shorty, as far as the gearing goes, your standard
14/45 spec makes first gear tap out around 50 mph! I’ve
found that 13/50 is the “golden number.” It gives you a very
usable first and second gear for real off-road trails and has
enough zip on top to let you cruise the highway without
over-revving the very adept 350 powerplant. You’ll need to
get a new chain—a 120-linker—and then cut it to 116 links.
With the performance there are many options, though
keeping the machine “tarmac legal” is primary. The exhaust
is very restrictive, and there is room to keep it quiet, and
help the power out simply by fitting on a less-restrictive
end cap. You can purchase a stock XC-W cap or get an
aftermarket unit. Best Dual Sport Bikes has one, as does
Pro Moto Billet, and both offer good gains. The BDSB unit
is more off-road-friendly, and the PMB unit is more power-oriented.
There are many other upgrades that you can make to
your 350, though rifling through what works and what hurts
takes effort. Go on Thumper Talk. Check with companies
that specialize in the EXC/XCW line, and enter a dual-sport
ride and talk to other riders about their machines. There are
ways to increase the pep without sacrificing the machine’s
targeted fuel-injection specs. Helping the fuel flow, setting
the Throttle Position Sensor correctly and getting more air
into the system are all legal mods for your 350.
Now, concerning the starting drama after going upside
down. Yes, your machine is equipped with a sensor that
kills the motor if its normal gait has been upended or
you’re upside down in a canyon. It’s a safety feature, since
a fuel-injected machine will keep running, unlike a normally
aspirated machine with a float bowl, which will not stay
alive when the bike is in the wheels-up position. Once you
get your machine rubber side down, turn off the key. I have
found that this seems to reset the throttle body and its
brains. Then, hit the button. It may take a few prods, but
your bike will start right up. The switch only engages when
the bike’s lean angle is too close to 90 degrees, but then
it shifts itself back off right away when the bike returns to
Compiled, researched and answered by our
own Mr. Wizard, Dave Simon.
WHICH OIL TO RUN AND WHY?
Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
I’ve got a simple question: Since KTM makes both its
engines and those on the Husqvarna line of machines, why
does KTM recommend only Motorex oil and Husky Bel-
Well, Vern, there is no doubt that marketing partnerships
make the world go around, so my answer is a firm, “Good
question.” I believe that choosing a quality lube is not only
critical, it needs to be caboosed by diligent maintenance
that is scheduled based on the amount of track/trail time
your machine is subjected to. I can honestly say that I’ve
used both Motorex and Bel-Ray products on my KTMs
and Huskys with grand results. But, I can also say that I’ve
used Maxima and Motul with equally good outcomes. Now,
how’s that for a non-answer? I say, do your homework.
Find what works for you and stick with it. All of the oil companies I mentioned rate highly with us here at Dirt Bike.