What’s better than getting out in the woods with your friends? Beautiful weekends deserve to be spent with friends and family. True “quality time” on our dual sport bikes. The new Cogent / KTM 350 EXC-F has seen some good suspension testing and tweaks since my last post. Anyone who has been around me lately know how enamored I am with the new bike, it really is an upgrade from the Husqvarna TE449. The KTM EXC-F runs as well as any bike I have ever owned. Yea, I guess there are some more horses hidden in the bike with it meeting all the strict noise and emissions regulations compliance for all 50 states (including the California CARB) still, I am really satisfied with the bikes power for my uses. Forest service roads, woods single track with rocks and roots and the occasional bit of tar covered road, this KTM 350 hits the mark! The ergonomics are something that have surpassed my expectations, it is amazing how well I can lock into the bike while standing and how comfortable I am operating the clutch, throttle and brakes from that “attack” position. On long rides where we spend most of the day on the bike, I do tend to sit a lot, more than I should to be sure. The Seat Concepts seat has added a fantastic level of comfort without hurting (in fact, likely improving) my stand-up ergo’s!
I found that the stock suspension is pretty compliant and controlled for my kind of riding. I did find that the bike is sensitive to sag settings and quite soft for my 200Lb butt. We fit firmer springs and dialed the suspension adjusters to a point where I am comfortable pushing this bike, perhaps a bit quicker than my 62 year young body should go. As they say, speed and throttle helps, right up to the point it doesn’t!
As a suspension setup tip on these KTM EXC’s with Xplor forks and shock, I would recommend riders start by getting the spring rates matched to your needs, set your sag and try some adjuster changes. The “sport” setting for compression and “standard” or “comfort” setting on the rebound is a good place to look for eastern single track. The unique Xplor fork compression adjuster pushes a lot of oil through the left forks base valve and too firm a setting causes some harshness and bouncing off bigger rocks. Overall, I find the action much to my liking yet I am wanting for some additional low speed compression damping control (I think). Those modifications are likely to be experimented with soon with the installation of the Dal Saggio XP1 kit.
My ride this past weekend included my 33 year old son and 2 close friends who all ride at a very similar level, pushing each other a little enjoying hanging out together a lot! We had the awesome opportunity to see a young bull Elk in the woods, an impressive animal the size of a horse which just looked at us from about 100 feet away!
I did have the small misfortune of hitting a sharp rock a bit too hard, puncturing my front knobby when it got squished to the rim lock on the Tubliss system inner bladder. For the most part, my log crossing confidence is way up but not up to the same level as my friend on his KTM 400EXC. I might get there or not. It sure is fun trying.
I can’t wait to get out there with you guys again!