The KTM 350 XC-F is arguably their most successful off-road bike. This motorbike is a favourite among the test riders for its excellent handling and reliability. From the time of its launch, the KTM 350 XC-F has consistently remained the top contender in both categories- professional racing and the occasional amateur racing.
A bike can be an awesome riding machine, but the serious racers will also try to get the best edge possible. No wonder a bike is subjected to innumerable modifications. These changes make a bike more suitable for racing than a leisure bike. For a weekend enthusiast, there is no need to modify the bike.
The internal engine modifications were done mainly for maintenance purposes. Only a few were done for improving the performance. The OEM quality level vertex piston got installed. The compression ratio was increased from the earlier 14:1 to the new 15:1. This was done by retaining equal levels of durability like OEM CP piston. The compression increase was done to provide the motorcycle with an improved throttle response. There is also a much better, improved hit in low, quite similar to 450. Springs and stock clutch plates were substituted with OEM specification kit sold by Hinson. The race-ready performance was achieved by programmable Vertex ignition. This is designed to better power delivery, with a controllable and smoother output.
The ignition provides two maps- smooth and aggressive. A rider can toggle between the two to adjust to changing trail conditions. The aggressive map can be selected for loamy conditions when extra power is required. Smooth ignition is ideal when there is a hard pack trail. It should be employed when it is difficult to put one’s feet on the ground. The stainless or aluminium FMF RCT 4.1 system of the exhaust is bolted to enhance power characteristics by widening power curve in both the ignition positions. This will provide the motorcycle with a superb top-end over rev and a better low-end hit.
KTM engineers rebuilt and re-valved the suspension so that it holds true at times of high-speed races. It will be sufficiently supple for trail riding. Other than the valve changes, engineers substituted 4CS fork parts for a standard internal kit. This arrangement places rebound clicker on top and the compression on each fork’s bottom making the clicker adjustments much easier. The changes were done to better the initial fork action and also for bottoming the resistance. This is as any better trial bike is supposed to be supple, and in contrast, an excellent race bike must endure high speed and hard hits without any bottoming. The bike’s extra aspects were modified with the bolt-on accessories from a number of companies like Cycra, Tusk Off-Road, IMS, Renthal and Works Connection.
The KTM 350 XC-F bike offers only smiles. It is hard to engineer a bike which is a star performer both in leisure and also in competition. The KTM 350 XC-F, with the correct modifications, can do both. In short, the bike is capable of doing anything.