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KTM 350 EXC-F trail riding setup

The KTM 350 EXC-F is a very exciting bike.  Cogent have been getting the orange machine setup for the way it will be used.  Most all of the modifications also apply to the 2017-2018 500 EXC-F and the 250 EXC-F.  The setup choices presented here are options chosen to best fit a Dual-Sport bike which sees closer to 90% of its time off the pavement but remains street legal and capable. Prioritizing upgrades on such an advanced bike dictated that the tires be replaced. Stock the KTM EXC-F come with Continental TKC 80 tires, which is a very good 50%-50% Dual-Sport tire. For 90% off-road use the combination of Pirelli’s XCMS front and MT-43 hybrid rear tires mounted on Nuetech’s TUbliss system is preferred.  To take advantage of the MT43 on slippery and root covered single-track trails, pressures below 8 psi are what works. Please note: the Tubliss system is not approved for use on public roads.  Due to the fairly prolific smattering of sharp rocks in Western North Carolina, the front XCMH needs to be kept up in the 10-12.5 psi range to avoid puncturing the tire carcass.

Fitting a Dual-Sport bike to an individual rider is a key factor in providing confidence and competence. In tight woods use, the new KTM has great suspension travel and ground clearance. On this 350 EXC-F the choice was made to lower the seat height from the factory 38” by about 1”.  In this case, the suspension lowering also took tire sizes into consideration. Suspension spring rates and valving is stock at this time.  Preliminary testing indicates a nice, plush feel for a 200 lb rider.  More aggressive setups for open terrain or faster paced riders would indicate the need for higher spring rates and possibly shock and fork revalving.  The suspension on the new EXC will be evaluated and further addressed as determined by the bikes use.

An important step in the upgrade process is providing protection to the bike for riding in a true off-road environment. Solid loop hand guards are a standard when riding amongst the trees and brush this bike will enjoy. Enduro Engineering hand guards and brush deflectors are a great match and fit the KTM excellent Neken handlebars perfectly.

To help ensure a bulletproof hand guard to bar fit solid, threaded bar inserts were machined in place of the typical expanding split-nut. The custom machined bar inserts are press-fit with a very high strength retaining compound.

The new “Bark Buster” type Enduro Engineering  handguards help to ensure levers or hands are not damaged when that occasional tree gets in the way of the bars!

Another very important piece of protective equipment that needed to be added to this bike was a good solid skid plate which will help protect the lower frame rails and engine cases.  Picking through the options led back to Enduro Engineering  for their excellent aluminum skid plate which not only provides the sought after protection that includes generous side “wings” but also allows for access to the oil changing plugs and covers.  Importantly, the EE skid plate mounts using the OEM provided threaded frame points.

Based on experienced feedback from long time Enduro riders, an Enduro Engineering clutch slave protector and chain guide was also fit to the EXC-F.

Besides custom tuning of the suspension, modifications to improve the comfort of the rider were added.  P3 carbon provided the exhaust header heat shield which is a must for saving both your riding gear and your leg from the hot and exposed exhaust.

The stock seat while quite good for the pure woods riding mission, any kind of road riding (even short stints on forest service roads) proved to be quite uncomfortable to the rider’s posterior.  Our friends at Seat Concepts custom built us a beautiful, full seat which is a perfect fitting replacement for the stock seat.  The Seat Concepts custom seat starts with a new seat pan which comes fit with the superior foam, shape and materials for which they have become famous.  The Seat Concepts people are true artists, combining craftsmanship and fantastic materials with their knowledge and experience to make a seat that manages to provide a lot of extra comfort without impeding the rider’s position on the bike.  The photo below shows the somewhat wider seating surface which exists just aft of where leg clearance and knee grip is most important.

The KTM 350 EXC-f has shown to provide a solid 75+ miles of range from the stock 2.2 gallon tank under woods type single track riding which becomes greatly extended when any road sections are included.  The ergonomics of the EXC-F are excellent for a 200 lb. 6 ft. tall rider.  Check with us at Cogent Dynamics if you are looking to make similar modifications to your KTM and WP suspension.

Watch this space for additional upgrades which are in the works including suspension upgrades and more off-road modifications.

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