Justin Dawes spent many a year as an editor here at MotoUSA, riding everything with two wheels, both on the asphalt and in the dirt. Justin is now the Product Marketing Manager at KTM North America. Of course, his love for two-wheels didn’t stay in the offices of MotoUSA, it burns deep in his heart and when the all-new 2016 KTM 350 XC was announced, he had to own one. As journalists we are spoiled by opportunity to ride and experience the latest and greatest machines, so when it came to riding a stock bike for Justin, it wasn’t even an option.
The first step to convert Justin’s 2016 KTM 350 XC-F into an all-around dirt bike was setting up the suspension for his size and ability. In stock trim the 350 XC-F was too soft, so the WP equipment traveled from Justin’s office at KTM to the WP Factory Services building down the street for a valving update. The stock springs were retained, with the valving set up for WORCS/GP style riding and racing, with a little single track and some moto in mind as well.
The KTM PowerParts catalog floats freely around the KTM offices, so Justin upgraded his 350 XC-F exclusively from the pages within. (We are guessing he gets a nice employee discount.) Visually the 350 XC-F is stunning and looks ready for serious off-road abuse. As a former MotoUSA editor, Justin knows that just looking at a bike is nice, but getting out and twisting the throttle is much more important.
The Wild West
I’ve always been a fan of KTM’s 350cc engine, feeling it’s almost the perfect displacement for a majority of my riding needs, as well as my physical size. Then KTM came out with the all-new 2016 350 SX-F and 350 XC-F and any reservations I had about lack of power roosted away. The 2016 KTM 350s are very fast and more powerful than ever before, so I was more than ready to go get Justin’s new 350 dirty. We spent an afternoon blazing two-track, single track, rock hopping and play riding the PowerParts 350 XC-F.
Justin outweighs me by 40 pounds, so the suspension was valved a little stiff in the slower terrain but the spring rate and valving was perfect for third- and fourth-gear whoops and bigger hits, especially when landing from drop offs. The FMF exhaust system added boost throughout the rpm range. A map selector from a 2016 SX-F was also added, making it easy to switch to a mellower engine map on the fly, for example taming the 350’s off-idle hit in technical sections. The new 2016 350 engine is pretty gnarly when needed but also has the ability to lug down low, providing smooth torque that equals usable traction.
I’m pretty jealous of Justin’s 350 XC-F, as it’s an awesome all-around dirt bike. Short of top level motocross racing, the 350 XC-F can go from single track to the motocross track without anything more than some suspension clicker adjustments. The 350 engine feels much lighter than a 450 out on the trails and provides great power when needed. Justin, when are we going riding, and can I try your bike again?
WP Factory Services Suspension
Fork – Oil changes and Service – $140
Fork – Revalve and setting change – $275
Shock – Oil change and sevice – $140
Shock – Revalve and setting change – $275
Stock springs were used. Oil height was changed on forks. Valving was changed for weight, skill level and racing discipline (WORCS)
Stock Parts KTM Spare Parts
Selle Dalla Valle Seat from 2015 Factory Edition – $152.59
Map Switch Map from 2016 SX-F – $145.00
Map Selector from 2016 SX-F – $66.59
Skid Plate – $129.99
FMF MX Team Edition Titanium 4.1 Muffler – $499.99
FMF Titanium Head and Mid-Pipe – $499.99
KTM Flex Clutch Lever – $84.99
KTM Flex Brake Lever – $84.99
Renthal FatBar Orange – $94.99 – 2015 SX-F stock height, taller than 16
Hour Meter – $39.99
CNC Clutch Perch Clamp w/Slide Insert – $19.99
Brake and Clutch Master Cylinder Cover – $23.99 X2
Orange Brigade Team Replica Graphics – $119.99
Orange MX Chain (non o-ring) – $83.80
Orange Renthal Rear Sprocket – $71.99
Orange Chain Slider – $16.99
Chainguide – $59.99
CNC Brake Caliper Support with Disc Guard – $159.99
GRAND TOTAL – $3209.83
- The 2016 KTM 350 XC-F PowerParts Project works well at speed in the desert or on a motocross track.
- The KTM 350 XC-F provides plenty of power down low to find traction and crawl over rocks.
- A highlight of the 2016 KTM 350 XC-F PowerParts Project is the outstanding versatility of the bike. It can be ridden anywhere.
- The skid plate provides plenty of protection.