I'm just back from a 10 day / 2'500 km ride in Morocco on my 2012 350 EXC-F. Of the 2'500 km about 20% were tarmac, 70% desert- and mountain pistes, and 10% off road (riverbeds, sand dunes, dry lakes). The bike worked perfectly, no issues at all. The only maintenance I did was cleaning the air filter every other day. It is very easy to ride, especially in more tricky stuff like riverbeds or rocky terrain. Power was never an issue for me, there was always enough of it. In deep sand more torque would be a plus. The lack of low end torque needs to be compensated with quite high RPM in deep sand. Fuel consumption was about 5 liters per 100 km, giving it a range of about 250 km with the 13 liter tank from KTM.
I made these modifications to the bike:
- 13 liter tank from KTM powerparts
- Aluminum handguards
- Protector for clutch slave cylinder
- Protector for rear disk brake
- Changed gearing to Z14 / Z50
- Plastic skid plate
- Handlebar risers from Rallye-Raid Products
- Added navigation gear (MD roadbook roller, ICO tripmaster)
- Replaced springs in the fork and on the rear shock to match my weight (60 kg + riding gear)
Last year I did a similar tour in Morocco on a KTM 690 Enduro. I found the 350 EXC-F a lot easier to ride than the 690. The reasons are less weight, better steering angle and better suspension. I was able to go faster on the 350 and at the same time felt safer on it and got less tired. On tarmac and smooth gravel roads the 690 is more comfortable, of course. Everything else is a lot easier on the 350.
If I wanted just a lightweight "adventure" bike I would go for the 450 or 500 EXC. The reason I bought a 350 is that I want to use the bike for "adventure" tours (such as the one in Morocco) AND for shorter rides in rough terrain, where it handles better than a 450 or 500.