350 Build


She’s for sale.  The love for pre-mix is too strong.  One (me) can not resist.  See here:

2013 KTM 350EXC-F For Sale

Winter of 2016 will see the 350 under the knife.  This is a decision I have not taken lightly.  I’ve been through quite a few different types of miles on my 350.  I’ve had the machine listed for sale a few times, and each time couldn’t really commit to making the sales go through.  I probably had 100 excuses…..upcoming rides, out of town, not in sellable condition.  Every time I went to take pictures of it I’d have rekindled emotions of trips taken, races won, and crashes….oh the crashes.  So really the question comes up of why did I want to sell it.


I find an added level of excitement when riding 2-Stroke bikes.  This is not to say that the 350 is not fun, but I’m finding that the extra peppiness of the 2T bikes is a whole different level of excitement.  Even more aggressive clutch work is required.  You gotta be more active on the bike to extract every last bit of performance out of the machine.  That input however nets incredible gains, and yet can be easier to ride in the gnarly stuff.  The 350 for me on similar terrain is lazy.  Its incredibly comfortable (to a fault?).  It is dare I say…..too easy to ride.  This may be due to me gelling with the bike 100%, knowing what it’s going to do in a given set of circumstances.  My confidence on it is beyond the moon.

Now why on earth a build on this bike?  If the machine is that good, why mess with perfection?  This is a multi-part answer.

  1. Electrical issues.  KTM poorly implemented the lighting electrics and wiring to this bike.  It has annoyed me since day one, and I haven’t spent the time to properly address this.  I intend to rewire most all of the bike.  Time consuming…yes.  Worthwhile knowing that wires aren’t bent at funny angles chafing on this or that, or connected with open Molex connectors.
  2. The 350 will be taken off of dedicated hard core off-road duty.  It’s not to say it won’t be capable of it, but for the gnarly stuff I like to ride, I’d rather be back on a 2-stroke.
  3. I’ve long since felt that modern scramblers are a wee bit bass ackwards.  Generally speaking, most modern scramblers are street bikes, slightly massaged to be able to handle light duty off-road work.  This is fine, but I’d like to go the opposite route.  The 350 is arguably one of the best all around off-road bikes.  Why not do a few things that pull the 350 into a category that I think is lacking.  A machine capable of gnarly stuff, but also with a bit of refinement to improve road manners.
  4. Gearing…..This is a “if time permits” situation.  I’ve been toying with making myself a proper wide range gearbox for the 350.  I struggle with this, as I feel that with 13/48 gearing, the bike still turns a decent RPM at 65mph.  That said, I’ve got the tools to make my own trans, so time permitting, I’ll copy the OEM trans and see what alternate gear ratios I can finagle in the cases.  The motors already got 200 hours on it….unopened, so I should take a little peak inside to make sure I’m not on the verge of catastrophic failure.

Now the #1 inspiration for me on this is the Roland Sands Caselli Bike.  There’s a few things I’m not a fan of, but as a whole, it’s the direction I want to take with the 350.

Lower seat height, reduced suspension, and a classic looking package.  Since I’ll be using this on the street too, I want to still work in some lights.  My initial sketches are along these lines:

These things strip down fast, so I can at least start with the easy things.  Cleaning the bike, and begin pulling apart suspension to lower the bike.  I think a 2″ drop will work nicely.

More to come…….Need to order some supplies, build some tools, and get back on the drawing board.