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Old 05-08-2012, 12:07 PM   #16
cross-country
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Location: Grand Junction, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesusgatos View Post
Understand that ergonomics will dictate geometry to a certain extent, but there's no reason why it has to look like a piece of cut liver. Takes a bit of work/skill to shape something with nice, crisp lines though, and maybe that's why they're so cheap?

Have you tried one? I know for some it's all about looks, I would assume for this rider it was about comfort and ergonomics.

I have one of the stock height seats and it is a huge improvement in comfort, and looks for that matter.
The seat in picture is tall but I would assume the rider is too. IMO it is better to have good ergs than to look cool for your bros. YMMV.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:16 PM   #17
Pantah
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My son just completed the Mexican 1000 aboard his new KTM 350 EXc-F. He teamed with a road racing buddy. Neither had ever ridden the desert. They finished 4th bike and 1st in class.




Rider 1 said it topped out at 96mph. It eventually melted off the rear blinker leaving bare wires. Could have been altered air flow with the giant loop spares bag. Rider 2 said he topped in low 90's and he was there a lot of the time.

The bike was crashed a few times during the event. Actual all out race miles were about 900. The other 300 were transits between stages. The bike handled great and the stock suspension was excellent. They bend a couple of rims, but had spare wheels so no problem. They did shred one rear tire during a dry lakebed section that was pinned. Apparently the tire balls they used can melt at high speeds. Might not have been lubed enough. Neither had experience with tire balls before either.

They'll probably try again next year, but they want more top speed. The big bikes were in the 105 mph range and made it hard to be competitive on the fastest sections. The 350 ate them up in the technical parts, though.

The overall winner was a Honda 450 Dakar rally bike/rider, followed by a 1983 Husky WR 430 that won the BK1 in that year. She was raced by Malcolm Smith's son. #3 was inmate Mike Gilkey aboard his KTM 950 Enduro.

In sum, the little KTM is real stout and a friendly bike to ride.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:20 PM   #18
GravityDT OP
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Well, brought home my first new bike yesterday afternoon. Got it out for the initial ride on my home from the dealer and it was nothing but SMILES. Feel real good about my decision (other than the $$, but oh well, you only live once...). Went ahead and got the XCF-W instead of the EXC. Pretty easy with a turn signal kit to plate a bike here and it'll end up being cheaper than an EXC and not have to worry about emissions BS and Mapping, and the XCW gearing is perfect for what I'll be riding here - I like the silver rims of the XCF-W better too

Let the mods begin. 1st up Flatland skid plate and some real hand guards
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #19
buelless
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Location: Evans, GA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailCruiser View Post
This bike makes a lot of sense to me, dvwalker thanks for the review and insight. No question it would work on the trails and dirt, but how bad is it on the roads? I see you live in the NW, me too. I'm in Yakima and need to ride 20-60 miles to get to the FS roads and trails. BTW, I'm planning on the Blackdog too with my KLR unless I can figure out how to upgrade before then -- not much time though.
+1 on the quote above. Really interested in the streetability of this bike, i don't doubt its off road ability. I too ride a wrr and am seriously looking at the 350 or 500 exc, the only downside i see is their street creds. Anyone care to add their impressions on the street such as vibrations, mpg, stability, or any other issues??
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:18 PM   #20
dvwalker
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Wicked

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailCruiser View Post
how bad is it on the roads? I see you live in the NW, me too. I'm in Yakima and need to ride 20-60 miles to get to the FS roads and trails. BTW, I'm planning on the Blackdog too with my KLR unless I can figure out how to upgrade before then -- not much time though.
I'm still evaluating this question as well, so curious to hear reports from any others with pavement miles. In my limited speed runs on pavement, I can certainly feel the extra engine vids and out of balance wheels. I would expect about 2 to 3 oz of well placed lead would counteract the rim locks and smooth out that bit. I already purchased another set of tires (m404,m403), so will be scarifying the factory Metzler's on more mixed routes to help answer the question.

See you at the blackdog (#33). Stop by camp that Sat evening if you feel like a pit ride on my 350, that is if you still haven't picked up your bike .
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:34 PM   #21
guns_equal_freedom
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I have had a chance to ride both the EXC350 and EXC500.

Rode the 350 first, Rekluse and LHRB.
That bike is just fun to ride.
It felt and handled just like my 07 XCFW 250, but the power was like the old XCW400.
Nice and mellow down low, get the rpm's up and it moves.

A few weeks later I rode the EXC500.
No Rekluse or LHRB though.
Now that's a bike I would like to own.
It makes my 530 feel like a pig.
I myself don't think that it's too much for tight single track trails.
I like the fact that there is not a lot of 4-stroke engine braking with it.
The owner put a one tooth smaller countershaft sprocket on it, with the addition of a Rekluse that bike would chug anywhere in third gear.
As it is without the Rekluse it had a habit of stalling out when going slow and whacking the throttle on in third gear.
Never had it happen if first or second gear.
The power is so mellow down low in the rpm's.
It has a lot more grunt that the 350 does.

I am amazed by how KTM has made these bikes ride so nice!
Now if I could find someone to buy my 530....
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:02 AM   #22
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Yesterday, I did a test ride around the local dealership. First impressions was very good with smooth power from the bottom on up. I love my 530 and 300, but they may end up as a 2 for 1 exchange. The one drawback is after market items; larger fuel tank, skid plate, and pipe for starters.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:49 PM   #23
FechFech
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Location: Confoederatio Helvetica
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10 days in Morocco on my 350 EXC-F

Hi,

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.

Cheers,

FechFech








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Old 05-11-2012, 04:18 PM   #24
VxZeroKnots
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That is a classy build FechFech, good looking sled for sure and seems to be laid out quite intelligently.
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:41 PM   #25
dvwalker
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thanks for the write-up FechFech, good looking build.

Any problem with over heating pushing the little bike in those big dunes?
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:50 AM   #26
FechFech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvwalker View Post
thanks for the write-up FechFech, good looking build.

Any problem with over heating pushing the little bike in those big dunes?
No problems with overheating. I forgot to mention that I added a radiator fan ;-) Of course I checked oil and water every day, the bike didn't use any. No problems with the tires either, I used Michelin Deserts and Bib-Mousse's, so no need to worry about punctures. Ah, and I added a Scott steering damper, too, which helped a lot on pistes with long and deep sand ruts.

FechFech
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:16 AM   #27
Big Augie
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Finally got a chance to ride mine yesterday, it is a complete blast to ride!
Rode my 450(03) last weekend so I could maybe tell the differences, it's alot closer power wise than I
thought it would be. Plenty of bottom end for me, and handles great. It's been de-smoged, regeared,
remapped, and resprung. Poor 450 may be relegated to spare bike, or asked to leave:-)
No I still like the 450 to much, for now.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:42 PM   #28
dvwalker
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Finally, with good weather and snow melt I was able to run my first 200 hundred mile mix route today on the 350. All in all very impressed with the bike. Ran her up to 90mph with the 14/48 gearing then backed off, she still had legs, so plenty of get up and go...Mostly running jeep type roads and no single track, the gas mileage was about 55 mpg (24km/liter), not too bad.

Noticed the vib harmonics kick in at about 65mph (105km) on the black top. As such the mirrors distort to the point of being worthless. I added 2 oz of weight on the front to counter rim lock but front tire still has the wobble.

Like others have reported the spark arrestor blew out and lost in the first 100 miles. The sound signature definitely has more growl without the screen. Curious what others have done to secure the screen? The first thing that comes to my mind is add a little RTV.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:46 PM   #29
guns_equal_freedom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvwalker View Post
I'll add that choosing the 350 over the 500 was the right choice for me. I owed a crf450x for many years, which has similar raw power to the 500. For my style of riding, the 500 has to much throttle for a full day of riding the tight trails. I can ride much longer, smoother and safer on the smaller hp bike.
I prefer the EXC 500 over the 350 in the tight stuff.
It's a blast to ride.
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:23 PM   #30
Big Augie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvwalker View Post
Finally, with good weather and snow melt I was able to run my first 200 hundred mile mix route today on the 350. All in all very impressed with the bike. Ran her up to 90mph with the 14/48 gearing then backed off, she still had legs, so plenty of get up and go...Mostly running jeep type roads and no single track, the gas mileage was about 55 mpg (24km/liter), not too bad.

Noticed the vib harmonics kick in at about 65mph (105km) on the black top. As such the mirrors distort to the point of being worthless. I added 2 oz of weight on the front to counter rim lock but front tire still has the wobble.

Like others have reported the spark arrestor blew out and lost in the first 100 miles. The sound signature definitely has more growl without the screen. Curious what others have done to secure the screen? The first thing that comes to my mind is add a little RTV.
I was told by the dealer that the screen in the end of the pipe is a restricture, the spark arrestor is in the muffler.
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