2012 KTM Freeride 350 First Look

October 18, 2011
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
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Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA’s Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn’t matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

2012 KTM Freeride 350
KTM says the 2012 KTM Freeride 350 will be available in spring of 2012, but it is unclear if it will come to America.

KTM is unveiling a brand new enduro bike that will blow away the traditional concept of orange dirt bikes. The 2012 KTM Freeride 350 is a fuel-injected enduro model designed for maximum weight savings and rider-friendly power. The new Austrian dirt bike looks to be a blend of the KTM Freeride electric motorcycle, which debuted at the 2010 Tokyo Motorcycle Show, and a traditional internal combustion engine. The Freeride 350 will be formally introduced at the Milan, Italy EICMA Motorcycle Fair in November, 2011, and should be available to consumers in spring of 2012.

The idea of a 350cc dirt bike weighing only 218 pounds is intriguing to say the least. More accurately, the idea is salivating! However, KTM claims the single-cylinder engine will produce only 24 horsepower. By comparison, the KTM 350 SX-F (246 pounds curb weight) put out 45.2 hp on the dyno during our 2011 450 Motocross Shootout. KTM is positioning the Freeride as an entry machine, calling it “an invitation to all those who have until now had no contact with this fascinating sport.”

2012 KTM Freeride 350
All told the claimed weight of the 2010 KTM Freeride Enduro is 198.4 lbs  90 kg .
KTM’s Freeride 350 (top) is aimed at entry
enduro riders. The KTM Freeride electric
motorcycle (above) looks to provide the
rolling chassis for the new bike.

Despite the company slogan, Ready to Race, this machine is targeted at off-road fun, not winning races. The Freeride 350 uses a composite frame with aluminum and steel components which look similar to the electric Freeride chassis. An inverted WP fork and monoshock handle suspension. Judging from photos, spoked wheels with Excel A60 rims will be shod in tires with tightly spaced, small-block treads, likely a dual sport tread or non-competition trials tire such as the Pirelli MT43 trials tire. The Freeride 350 has a headlight and license plate holder, but we cannot see any turn signals and the available info says nothing about on-road licensing.

The swingarm is aluminum, but it’s difficult to tell if the rear shock employs a linkage or not. The electric version does not. Many of the components look similar to full-size KTM dirt bikes with wave rotor, dual-piston caliper front brake, electric start, hydraulic clutch (indicating a manual transmission), angular bodywork (white), Domino hand grips and oversized, crossbar-less aluminum handlebars.

KTM is fairly adamant about this bike not being intended as a serious trophy collector. It’s “a playful and feather light Enduro to really enjoy and no extreme competition machine.” Regardless, this could be a big step for KTM. If the bike does make it to production for 2012 (and hopefully into America), it has implications of potential future machines such as motard and dual sport versions. Watch for more information when KTM releases details next month.