one is soft, number two is hot, and number three is stock.
Changes make a significant difference in the motor characteristics. The switch retards or advances the timing 1
degree. In the mild mode, position 1 on the OEM switch,
the motor is a bit slower to respond and easier to manage.
With less hit, the rear tire doesn’t light up, and you gain a
little bit of control down low. You also lose a good chunk of
top hit. In the hot mode, you actually lose bottom, but the
mid-to-top hit is enhanced and very noticeable, especially
on top! We pretty much stayed in the stock mode, as it
gave enough bottom, a healthy hit and more than enough
wicked top end to make our eyes bleed.
THE 4CS BOINGERS AND LINKAGE
KTM came pretty close to hitting the suspension numbers with the XC-F. The fork is sprung decently stiff, so
wallowing and front dive are not a worry. The valving is
light, lets the front wheel follow decently ugly terrain and
takes high-speed hits quite nicely. It does fall through the
stroke on slow-speed G-loads and can be a handful on
jumpy motocross tracks. When you try to dial in the left-side compression clicker (nicely located on top), it really
only effects high-speed hits. When you fall in a big hole or
land in a G-load, you’ll blow through the stroke. Yet, if you
crank in on the compression setting, it will get hacky and
violent in chatter bumps and slap hits. But, in the desert
and on faster, more open trails, the fork is surprisingly
supple. As with nearly every fork on the planet, perfect settings are personal and always a compromise. Having it all
has yet to happen, at least in our world.
In the backyard, we really liked the linkage and shock
valving. The back end holds a line better than the PDS
non-linkage shock, reacts better in hack and high-speed
hits, and on big, nasty downhills we actually had better
control. Some of this is because the rear braking feel and
response are more controlled and less sticky (the PDS rear
brake tends to lock up and lose feel on long downhills).
Normal desert hack, whoops and rocks get chewed on
quite well, and on moto tracks only the big G-load hurts
the action since it will blow through the stroke. The rear
spring rate is good for riders up to 185 pounds; over that
number and you should up it from 5. 6 to a 5. 8 or 6.0 unit.
NICE, NASTY AND YAHOO
Love the KTM cockpit. It has excellent machined triple
clamps with super adjustability through the bars and bar
perches. Renthal grips give good grip; the Neken bars
are a little low but a nice bend. Sweet hand deflectors do
a good job of warding off some cold and roost, but they
don’t like to kiss the earth. They’ll yank out of their moor-
ings, which plug into perch mounts.
KTM fit the XC-F with an 18-inch rear wheel and Dunlop
The stock muffler is obnoxiously loud and
lacks a spark arrestor. We slipped on an
older (we used it all last year on our test
machine) FMF 4. 1, and it helped smooth
the power out, plus gave it a legal arrestor.
The fuel tank is 2. 4 gallons, just about
a half-gallon larger than the motocross
A flexible rubber sleeve covers the dial,
and the numbers are small and hard to
read: #1 is mild, #2 hot and #3 is stock.
The mapping switch is located under
the seat and is a dial device with three
possible settings: soft, aggressive and
stock. We stayed between stock and
soft the majority of the time.
Once you hit the track, you’ll realize that the suspension is
valved too soft for a normal motocross circuit.