KTM 350 : Review
Kevin Vandermark : Riding Level – Int : Bike – Kawasaki 450
When I started driving out to ACP I had no idea I was going to get the chance to test ride the new 2011 KTM350SX. I was so stoked to find out I would get this opportunity. It was the first time I have ever ridden the 350 and I was very surprised. This bike was unlike anything I had ever ridden before.
Motor/Engine: 4.5 out of 5
Don’t be fooled by the size of the motor, this little package packs a big punch. The power delivery is very good through the whole powerband on this bike. It has no hesitation due to the fuel injection system and has a lot more bottom end than I was expecting. I was able to hit all of the big jumps with little effort. It felt like I was riding a 450 with the way this thing delivered power. I have no complaints here I was very happy with this motor and I believe this could compete with the 450s on the track.
Suspension/Chassis Stock bike: 3 out of 5
The suspension and the feel of the stock bike didn’t quite feel right to me. The suspension felt really spongy and I felt like I would bottom out the suspension more than I should have. The bike also felt really hard to make it corner and scrub off the jumps.
I also felt like my knees were very high up like the foot pegs were too close to the seat. This made the bike somewhat uncomfortable at first but after awhile I got used to it and I was able to put in some good hard laps.
This bike also only has electric start which was a little hard to get used to. I would find myself reaching for the kick starter a few times, which makes for some god laughs.
Suspension/Chassis MX Tech Suspension: 4.5 out of 5
The changes to the suspension made all of my complaints about the stock bike disappear. The bike handled great and I had no problems bottoming out whatsoever. This bike felt light and fast and is deffenantly a fun bike to ride.
Overall: 4 out of 5
I gave this bike a 4 only because with the stock bike I felt very uncomfortable and would have to make several changes to make the bike feel good for myself. This bike is an amazing bike though and felt great to ride. I like the fuel injection delivery and how light the bike feels with the amount of power it produces. Basically the only thing I wasn’t happy with was the suspension and handling but as we saw that is easily changed and makes this bike great.
Austin White : Riding Level – Pro : Bike – Honda 450
Since first news of the KTM 350 I have wanted to ride the bike and see if this bike could be the next big thing. Well when Moto City KTM offered up a chance to try out the bike along side MX Tech’s KTM 350, I knew I would be having a good time. The first two test riders started out with stock KTM 350 to MX Tech 350, I went reverse roll and started with the MX Tech 350 which had the suspension all the way done up with no expensed spared and a little gearing change thrown in to give the KTM 350 everything you would need to ride the bike hard.
Motor/Engine: 3 out of 5
I’m going to have to give it a 3 out of 5, I was very unhappy with the Motor on both bikes. I would slam a corner hard and it would lower the RPM much like a 250F and when it came to straight aways I felt that there was no way I would be pulling a 450. This probably wouldn’t be an issue for anyone else, but for someone in the Pro class where we are already using most of the power of the 450 it would be hard in my mind to downgrade on power and try to compete at that level. It would only make the race tougher on yourself.
Suspension/Chassis Stock bike: 3.5 out of 5
The stock bike felt pretty similar to the a stock Honda, where it stuck it’t butt up to high in the air and the front end to soft to take hard corners. The bike probably cornered just as good or better than any Honda I have owned, the tight stuff with big ruts wouldn’t give me any problems as the front end would just guide me through. I really liked the way the bike felt between my legs, there was nice grip and a good seat. It wasn’t like its something that would turn me off from the bike, but it sure felt like it needed a few more components that would make it feel better.
I loved the electric start, made life easy; even though I kept reaching for the kick started.
Suspension/Chassis MX Tech Suspension: 4.5 out of 5
Wow! I was very impressed with what MX Tech did with the suspension on the bike. It dropped the rear end and brought the front end in perfect height, which made coming into corners a lot easier to charge and straights seemed easier to handle. What impressed me the most about the MX Tech Suspension was the Huck Value, it made over jumping and slamming large breaking bumps into a very comfortable feel. When your looking ahead and see that one large hole or bump coming up I would usually tense up, but with this set up I was very confident in slamming away at large holes and bumps.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
Im going to have to give this bike a 3 and half, just because I really feel that I couldn’t compete with a 450 pro race conditions. This is my opinion and I think that a vet rider would love this bike and anyone who thinks they can’t fully handle a 450. I loved the feel the bike, it was similar to how a honda would feel and made me feel right at home after a couple of laps around the track.