Originally Posted by Tarheel Wheeler
Question...Since you're using this bike as a single track - woods scalpel, was wondering if you looked at the 350 XCF-W when you considered new bikes?
I did, I actually got to ride a 13 for a full day guiding at the CO 600.
First, the 350 rips. It lacks torque, but even at 8k feet, it would usefully accelerate above 70mph, which I was amazed by. But, you have to really spin for it- not much torque down low, and while it's darn fast up top, you better be on your game and tap dancing on the shifter.
In the woods, it handles great, but it took a higher level of commitment than I enjoy. I've always been a big-bore guy, meaning I ride best when I'm not shifting all the time and rely on the torque of the engine. The 350 doesn't do that, it has plenty of go, but you will shift 3x more than on the 450 or 500 to go the same speed down the trail.
Finally, the bike felt physically small to me- I dragged the pegs in places I didn't expect to, and the length of the cockpit seems a bit shorter than the 450/500.
What that boils down to is 100% personal preference. I prefer the bigger bore/ bigger bike, and that isn't really a knock on the 350 at all. I think the only place it came up short is for real dualsporting- gearing and revs would be an issue if you were doing lots of pavement/ boring dirt.