After riding the all-new and vastly improved 2016 KTM 350 SX-F there wasn’t a doubt in our mind it had to be included the MotoUSA 450 shootout. If you haven’t swung a leg over a 2016 KTM 350 or Husky FC 350, erase any preconceived ideas of what 350 power is all about. This 350 destroys any big-bore 250F, and it can hang with the big 450s when ridden aggressively and kept wound up in the heart of its power. If you’re a big rider and always searching for more power out of a 450, the KTM 350 SX-F probably isn’t even on the radar and you can skip the following info – unless, of course, you’re curious on what you might be missing.
Being the lightest bike in the shootout on the scale is nice, but then you get out on the track where the 238-pound KTM 350 SX-F actually feels 20 pounds lighter than the YZ (249 pounds), KX (241 pounds), RM-Z (248 pounds) and CRF (244 pounds). It feels about 10 pounds lighter on track than the two next lightest bikes in the shootout, the KTM 450 SX-F (239 pounds) and Husqvarna FC 450 (241 pounds), models that it shares a chassis with. That light feel helps it drop into corners effortlessly, and the KTM 350 SX-F is an incredible handling bike. It’s hard to believe a bike that corners so well can also be so stable and fun to ride.
Big riders and the faster testers found the suspension slightly on the soft side, but for the average rider, the improved WP 4CS fork works very well. This is the best all-around setting for the 4CS fork yet and overall the WP suspension shines as the track gets rough. The WP 4CS fork is also a spring fork, so the previously mentioned hassle of an air fork doesn’t come into play. Unload the 350, check your tire air pressure, bleed the forks for excessive air, add gas and go ride. Hitting the track is made even easier via the KTM’s electric start!
While we didn’t have a Husqvarna FC 350 to compare, the bikes only differ in slight changes to the airbox and the material of the subframe, with the Husqvarnas also fitted with Dunlop MX52s while KTMs use MX32s. If you like the 2016 KTM 350 SX-F, you’ll like the 2016 Husqvarna FC 350, as it is essentially a set of MX32 tires from being a KTM.
Landing in the fifth-place position isn’t a bad showing for the 2016 KTM 350 SX-F, as it’s bold statement on how fast and how well the 350 handles compared to the bigger 450s. The KTM wasn’t far off from finishing fourth, and our lightest pro rider chose the 350 SX-F as the overall winner of the 450 shootout! Riders of almost every skill level and size loved the KTM 350 SX-F and its stock features like electric start, hydraulic clutch, adjustable reach levers and Dunlop MX32 tires stock sweetens the deal. Not everyone wants or can handle all the power that a 450 offers, but at the same time want more from a 250F. Consider that problem solved thanks to KTM.
• Super light weight
• Awesome top end power
• Fun to ride
• Electric start!
• Not as much torque as a 450
• Suspension a tad soft for big riders
KTM 350 SX-F Suspension Settings
Low-Speed Compression: 15
High-Speed Compression: 2 out