The 2015 KTM SX-F 350 and 2014 KTM SX-F 450 are designed for winning Motorcross and Supercross championships but they are not so different to their offroad cousins the XC-F so we thought it would be interesting to see how the bikes faired on the enduro loop at dirtpark as well as on the motocross track.
Both bikes have loads of torque. The 350 likes to be revved more than the 450 which you can just be mega lazy with. Hillclimbs on both bikes are a joy and it is really easy to keep momentum and tractor up the steepest inclines without much trouble at all. Being setup for motocross obviously the suspension was a little harsh when you hit tree roots, but both bikes coped surprisingly well. You could drive over small logs without being bucked around and they were both great at finding traction.
Yann on the 2015 350 SX-F
Yann Berger. 42 years old ultra Veteran, bike of choice: 2015 350 SX-F. “Maybe the clutch is a little stiff for long enduro rides but there are plenty of opportunities with this bike. It’s good at everything. With a bit of tuning it could actually become a really good enduro bike. Easier to make it into a great enduro bike than it is to make an enduro bike into a great motocrosser. ”
I found the 350 a lot easier to ride when the trails got really tight, and when railing ruts, but on the hillclimbs the 450 just edged ahead for me. In tight turns the 450 is quite violent though and you really have to be super smooth and easy on the throttle. As Yann said above, the clutch on the 2015 350 feels quite stiff for some reason, stiffer than the 2014 450, but maybe thats just because it’s newer. I think I would be tempted by a rekluse if I was using the 350 only for enduro.
The 450 is surprisingly nimble. I liked it just as much as the 350 most of the time. We had some excellent MotoMaster brake discs on both bikes which give loads of progressive stopping feel, especially with the oversized ones we had on the 350.
My buddy Zacher was charging around with us on his 250 EXC so here are some shots of him too. I rode his 250 EXC back to back with the 2015 300 EXC and far preferred the 300, but he had 40 hours on his piston so the power was maybe a little down. After riding the 300 EXC he also preferred it over his 250. Just to make it even more confusing, he also preferred the 450 over the 350!
This is a bit of a ragtag review, but if there is one thing I have found during this 5 day trip at dirtpark it’s that all of these new bikes are so good, once you get comfortable on them you really cant make a bad choice. It’s so easy to get caught up in anxiety of which bike is best and did I make the right choice or not, I go through the same thing, but at the end of the day they are all super fun to ride, especially somewhere as epic as dirtpark. For my friend Yann, his choice offroad is the 350.
For myself I would take a 300 exc if I was riding really tight trails, the 450 if I was riding faster, longer distances and the 350 if I was riding everything.
My advice would be, get the best bike you can afford, don’t worry if you have made the right decision or not and go and ride, you are guaranteed to have fun on any of them!
Photos by PSP and LSPphoto.