Following its motocross brother’s initial hype and then the subsequent MX1 title the 350 had enduro riders around the world talking.
The bike has been the catalyst that helped bring the whole KTM range forward once again.
It was the bike that saw the development of a new, smaller clutch, as well as a host of other new changes.
A new balancer shaft has been used to ‘balance the oscillating masses’ that doubles up as the water pump and
the drive gear for the camshaft.
It makes an impressively small lump visually.
Jumping on the bike for the ﬁrst time, I was expecting to be blown away by this bike.
KTM place it as the ﬂagship machine, the one they put the most effort into and are proudest of.
The engine is good – very good. It is a little strange at ﬁrst, I was unsure how to ride it and for the ﬁrst hour riding I struggled to get to grips with the bike.
On the going the engine is plenty strong enough to pull tall gears and skip along at a good pace in a 450-esque manner.
I found this to be somewhat deceptive as I spent the session riding it like a sleeved down 450. It isn’t – and this
was where I went totally wrong.
I had struggled to make the bike turn, to carry any corner speed, I was a little lost on the thing.
The next session came after spending an hour on the 250 EXC-F and enlightenment suddenly came with a bang.
Being in the mindset to ride a 250 brought the best out of this bike. It works best when it’s revving hard and
The more aggressively you ride, the more it gives back.
The engine is truly awesome in my eyes, it can pull tall gears, has a plentiful, smooth bottom end that was a
dream in the difﬁcult rock sections.
It doesn’t have so much power that it’s hard to ride when it’s difﬁcult, or have too little when it’s big and fast.
It’s a beautiful balance.
The handling was a strange point. On the going it was superb, it ﬂicked around well, was very stable on the
rocky terrain and held its line well.
I felt like I could carry more speed on the tricky downhills better than any other bike in the range and the more
aggressive you push the front into a rut, the better it holds.
The 350 is a strange bike, it never feels incredible, you don’t feel like you’re riding the perfect bike.
But it performs so very well in every situation.
The 250 handles a little better, the 450 is better in the faster going but on the 350 you can guarantee that if
it’s throwing rain in a Welsh forest or you’re ripping a ﬁeld somewhere the 350 will be almost perfect, it’s an awesome all-rounder.