INSIDE LOOKING OUT
For 2014, KTM has made a myriad of changes to all
aspects of the machine. Only two years into its reign, the
new model has been fit with a lighter frame, updated bottom triple clamp, all-new plastic and ergos (harking back
to identical changes to last year’s SX-F line), a new headlight, suspension modifications and, finally, motor mods
that target the one area where the 350 XC-F was a little
weak: bottom power.
The frame has lighter tubes at strategic points to help
with flex. The swingarm is still a cast-aluminum unit and is
lighter and fit with a stronger chainguide design.
The WP fork is an open-cartridge design (as opposed to
the SX-F’s closed cartridge), and its goal is to offer
increased suppleness over the closed unit yet retain good
bottoming characteristics. Valving has been modified
slightly in an effort to keep the suspension up higher in its
We race-tested a
stone stock 350 at the
Pennsylvania round of
the National Enduro
series. This machine
makes ideal power for
the woods-minded and
has inherent handling
traits that crave tight
and tough terrain.
stroke, to resist decell dive, and to enhance performance
on the hacky terrain where the machine will most likely be
ridden. The WP shock’s PDS unit works sans linkage, and,
in the off-road climate, provides a superb ride via the simple design. It has dual-damping adjustability, along with
preload via the easy-to-mangle plastic adjuster.
KTM retrofitted the airbox with a change in manufacturing (for better fitment), retained the excellent Twin Air filter,
and improved the latching system for security. It is still
accessible through the left-side plate. The fuel tank totes
2.4 gallons and has a new cap-release mechanism for
In the cockpit zone, KTM fits a very strong Neken bar
that has an acceptable bend, along with excellent perch-mount handguards, Renthal grips and one of the best and
most adjustable top triple clamps on the market. The saddle is still a one-bolt design (under the rear fender), but it
has newer foam that won’t sack out as easily.
Both the wheels and brakes remain relatively
unchanged, other than the black-coated spokes (for corrosion resistance) and Giant rims (stronger and more stable).
The Brembo brakes have always been strong, and the
new front master cylinder has a new smaller piston that
translates into stronger, more controlled power. This is
helped by new front brake pads that enhance the feel.
In the motor department, lots of small changes add up
to big news. KTM has added a cooling fan to the machine,
and this is a big plus. The dreaded Stanley steamer problem is virtually gone now that KTM has added the cooling
fan. The exhaust system stays the same, though we can
tell you that the rear can is superb, quiet and spark-legal.
With the electrics, the harness has improved waterproof-