RIDING THE 2019 KTM 350SX-F
With so many new bikes coming out at once, we didn’t get to really look carefully at the 2019 KTM 350SX-F until it had been out for a week. This year, the bike got a bunch of changes. Not that many of them are earth shattering, but the number of new part numbers should be a little overwhelming to the rank-and-file KTM parts guy. The biggest new part is the frame. The 350 got the same changes that the 2018 1/2 450SX Factory Edition got throughout the chassis. That means the dimensions of the frame haven’t changes, but the handling characteristics should be different because KTM is claiming a 10 percent increase in torsional rigidity. There’s also supposed to be a 2 percent increase in longitudinal stiffness. What most KTM guys will notice, however, is that the bike has new bodywork.
For me, the most important change was barely even mentioned in the press material. The 350SX-F, 250SX-F and the corresponding XC-F models all got the DDS clutch. For some reason, these bikes have been stuck with the old-school coil-spring clutch while virtually everything else in the KTM line went to a diaphragm spring. Easy clutches have made my arms into noodles over the years, so I just can’t deal with a stiff clutch pull any more. It was, in fact, my biggest complaint about the 350. It had a harder pull than the 450!
As minor as that one change seems, it might be enough to boost the 350 into the spot as my personal favorite. I know I’m not tough enough to hold on to a 450 for a full race, and I’m a little too fat for a 250F. The 350 still has what I think is the perfect powerband. There isn’t so much yank that my arms turn into mush, but it still moves along pretty good. The best part about the 350 is that it has an incredibly wide powerband. People who have never ridden one think you have to shift a lot. Not so. The 350 goes and goes and goes without a shift. It’s just that the powerband goes from the middle up, which is the opposite of a 450.
Last year I stayed on two-strokes for most of the year. This might be the year of the 350.
Mammoth is in full swing right now. The vets raced last weekend, which has been the most crowded part of Mammoth week for a long time. I love the list of guys who show up: Jeremy McGrath, Chuck Sun, Ty Davis Shaun Palmer. Adam Chatfield was the top vet of the weekend, using a 3-2 score to beat the likes of Gary Sutherlin (5-1), Jeremy McGrath, Benny Breck, Kevin Rookstool and Mike Sleeter. That’s a fast crowd. Ty Davis was second in the over 40 class behind Jeremy Chaussee, and he sent in these clips. For mammoth results, click here.
Vet Race Weekend +30/+40/+50/+60 Race Days
June 16-17 (Saturday-Sunday) 2018
Mini Race Days
June 19-20 (Tuesday-Wednesday) 2018
Open Racing, Schoolboy 1&2, 25 yrs +, 125 All-Star
June 22 (Friday) 2018
250 Day, FMF 2 Stroke Challenge/College Boy/125cc 12-17
June 23 (Saturday) 2018
450cc Race Day 450, 250B/C Open, Women’s 12yrs +, 250C Jr 12-16
June 24 (Sunday) 2018
JUST BECAUSE …
This is a photo of Ricky Carmichael’s 2003 CR250R two-stroke. It was the bike he used to start his record win streak of 27 MX Nationals. The bike is still at Honda in Torrance where it’s kept in an unassuming warehouse with other museum pieces. It’s fun to look at.
POLISPORT ISDE PLASTIC KIT
The Six Days Kit, France Edition, for the EXC and EXC-F models is available again in stock and will be the best way to celebrate the best of Enduro. The Six Days kit is also a Limited edition for the Enduro models. Click the link for the Polisport catalog.
That’s all for now