2020 KTM 350 EXC-F Review (12 Highlights): Dirty Dual Sport




In a seemingly never-ending quest for continuous improvement, the 2020 KTM 350 EXC-F is an almost all-new motorcycle this year with a new chassis and significant engine upgrades. With the loss of the 250 EXC-F, the 350 is now KTM’s “entry-level” dual-sport motorcycle. While you might not think of a KTM EXC-F in those terms, the 2020 KTM 350 EXC-F makes itself available to a wide range of riders looking for a dirt bike that happens to be street legal. the street. Let’s dive into it.2020 KTM 350 EXC-F Review - MSRP1. Taken from KTM’s off-road competition motorcycles, the new frame of the 2020 KTM 350 EXC-F offers flawless handling. KTM increased the stability of the 350 and managed to do it without hitting the rider. As the junior member of KTM’s dual-sport lineup, when it comes to displacement and horsepower, the 350 will be the least demanding on the chassis. The result is a precise ride without being edgy. Getting the bike where it needs to be on the track is entirely intuitive, and it’s about the most important thing a chassis can accomplish. The extra stability is welcome when the engine is allowed to sing, and it’s a happy short-stroke revver.

  1. KTM has made countless small tweaks to the chassis, all of which contribute to an easier-to-ride bike. For example, new crankcases bring the crankshaft closer to the center of gravity. This helps with handling, but it’s a specific change that’s hard to tell apart. A new lithium-ion battery reduces the high weight. Cylinder head weight is also high, and KTM responded by updating the design, dropping seven ounces in the process, as well as improving port flow. Forward weight has been reduced by dropping the new, more efficient radiators by almost half an inch. Again, I can’t say I feel this particular change, but the cumulative effects of the chassis upgrades are undeniable. The exhaust system is more compact, which improves mass centralization, increases performance and facilitates maintenance.
  1. The new body, seat and tank make the 2020 KTM 350 EXC-F easier than ever to move. For me, the big change in the bodywork is that my Sidi X-3 Enduro straight boot no longer snags in the plastic. Otherwise, the 350 EXC-F looks exactly like a competition bike. The seat is excellent for trail running, as long as you don’t sit too long. During a freeway drone return from a driving area, the seat eventually became unbearable. However, when you’re on a single lane dodging branches and rocks, you can move around the 350 at will.

2020 KTM 350 EXC-F Review - Price

  1. While the engine changes on the 350 EXC-F aren’t revolutionary, they do conspire to create a better dual-sport bike. Improved flow was the focus, along with the aforementioned porting upgrade, which works in concert with the new airbox, velocity stack and exhaust. A new piston works with a shorter cylinder to increase compression while maintaining a wide power band.
  1. The powerband is vast, and the 350 engine is particularly non-threatening. If you’re looking for absolute power, you’ve come to the wrong place: head to the 500 EXC-F. Instead, the DOHC 350 fires controllably from low and has wonderful overrev. Even with Continental TKC 80 tires in blocks, not knobby—used for bureaucrat-friendly silence rather than off-road traction—the 350 engine never revs up without warning. There’s no hit in the smooth power, and the torque curve is lovingly smooth. Although the 350 engine is clogged for emissions and sound, KTM has taken it as an opportunity to produce an engine that is undeniably user-friendly. It’s not a race engine, it’s a formidable dual-sport powerhouse.
  1. On single-track trails, you’ll sing the praises of the 2020 KTM 350 EXC-F. At 251 pounds with the semi-transparent 2.2-gallon tank filled with high test, the 350 EXC-F is at your beck and call. Tell the chassis where you want it to be, and it obliges without delay. This makes it possible to enjoy long off-road trips, as fatigue is kept under control. The tires never do anything unexpectedly negative, and they find traction where you think they shouldn’t. The confidence transmitted to the pilot by the 350 EXC-F is impressive. Be sure to remove bulky mirrors, they will immediately hammer. Plus, a rear subframe extension helps keep the license plate and lights where they belong.

2020 KTM 350 EXC-F Review - For Sale

  1. Although the WP Xplor suspension has been massaged to run higher in the stroke this year, it still feels great on technical trails and doesn’t get sidetracked by rocks. More importantly, the WP suspension does not draw attention to itself. It fades away and lets you do whatever you want on the 350 EXC-F. Many tweaks are available, so they can be tailored to the preferences of all but the widest outliers. Some will be unhappy with the lack of linkage, but the progressive damping system takes care of business while reducing maintenance and increasing ground clearance.
  1. You never fight the 350 EXC-F, so you can ride as smooth as the engine. The Brembo clutch feel is light and the front end can be lifted and placed as needed. Racer types will turn their noses up at the lack of low kick, and KTM has the 500 EXC-F there to keep them satisfied. The 350 EXC-F satisfies those who want to go to a good clip with confidence, but don’t try to ride like they’re in a competitive environment.

2020 KTM 350 EXC-F Review - Dual-Sport Motorcycle

  1. Fire roads are great fun too, as you can leave the 350cc engine running as needed. Once you get used to the pull limitations of the TKC 80s, you can settle into a good rhythm. Feel free to steer with the rear as you see fit and adjust a turn if necessary, keeping the traction capabilities of the front tire in mind. When the road straightens, acceleration is insistent until about 60 mph or so. Just as it shines on technical terrain, the Pankl six-speed transmission is flawless.
  1. Desert riders and long-distance dual-sport riders will want to opt for the 500 EXC-F, or the equivalent open-class model from other brands. Despite going over 70 mph, the 350 EXC-F isn’t so happy about it. The smooth motor gets buzzy and tiring. Minimize highway trips and remember that the seat works best when you stand up frequently.

  1. Dual-sport motorcycles have specific braking needs, and the KTM 350 EXC-F satisfies them. Braking on pavement at highway speeds is quite different from slowing down on a smooth off-road descent. Brembo hydraulics and Wave rotors make it possible with a light initial touch to maintain traction, but enough grip to stay safe at high speeds. The braking system has never drawn negative attention to itself, and the rear brake works well in concert with the engine’s compression braking. ABS is nowhere to be found, about the 350’s almost exclusively off-road orientation.
  1. As long as a new rider is comfortable with the 37.8-inch seat height, the 2020 KTM 350 EXC-F is a fantastic first step into the dirt-focused dual-sport world. The engine, handling, suspension and ergonomics couldn’t be friendlier. It will hook any new rider in the dirt-bike-with-lights genre. Street legality is all about connecting trails, rather than the ability to use the 350 EXC-F as a commuter motorcycle—you don’t want to do the latter. The secret bonus is that with the infusion of a little silver, the engine can squeeze a lot more power out of it. This makes the 350 EXC-F a great first dual-sport motorcycle, as well as your upgrade path. Sure, the KTM 350 EXC-F is a premium entry-level motorcycle at $10,999, but its vast potential makes sense for a buyer willing to cut to the chase.

Photograph by Don WilliamsDRIVING STYLE2020 KTM 350 EXC-F SpecificationsMOTOR

  • Type: single cylinder
  • Displacement: 350cc
  • Bore x stroke: 88 x 57.5mm
  • Compression ratio: 13.5:1
  • Valvetrain: DOHC, 4 valves
  • Starting: Electric with 12-volt 2 Ah lithium-ion battery
  • Lubrication: Pressure lubrication with 2 pumps
  • Fueling: Keihin EFI with 42mm throttle body
  • Transmission: 6 speed
  • Clutch: DDS wet multi-disc clutch with Brembo hydraulics
  • Final drive: 5/8″ x ¼” chain

FRAME

  • Frame: Chromoly steel with double central cradle
  • Subframe: Aluminum
  • Handlebar: Aluminum Neken
  • Front suspension: 48mm fully adjustable WP Xplor inverted fork; 11.8 inches
  • Rear suspension: Fully adjustable WP Xplor shock absorber without linkage with PDS; 12.2 inches
  • Wheels: giant
  • Front wheel: 21 x 1.60
  • Rear wheel: 18 x 2.15
  • Tyres: Continental TKC 80
  • Front tire: 90/90 x 21
  • Rear tire: 120/90 x 18
  • Front brake: 260mm Wave disc with Brembo caliper
  • Rear brake: 220mm Wave disc with Brembo caliper
  • ABS: None

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

  • Wheelbase: 58.3 inches (± 0.4 in)
  • Rake: 26.5 degrees
  • Triple clamp offset: 22mm
  • Seat height: 37.8 degrees
  • Ground clearance: 14 inches
  • Fuel capacity: 2.2 gallons
  • Curb weight: 251 lbs.

    2020 KTM 350 EXC-F Price: $10,999

2020 KTM 350 EXC-F Test Photo Gallery






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With 50 years of riding experience, Don Williams is a fan of all kinds of motorcycles. He likes sport bikes, cruisers, dirt bikes, touring bikes, adventure bikes, dual sport bikes and custom bikes. Ask Don what his favorite bike is and he’ll say, “Whatever bike I ride.


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