Whereas helping Cycle World with its 2019 450 dual-sport shootout in Moab, Utah, we had the chance to journey the 2019 KTM 350 EXC-F and 2019 KTM 500 EXC-F again to again for a comparability take a look at. Each of those bikes obtained only some modifications for 2019 with a stiffer fork setting, up to date essential piston and revised settings within the shock, new lithium-ion starter battery, new seat cowl, new graphics, and the body colour being switched from black to orange.
Earlier than leaving for Moab, we mounted a avenue tire on the rear wheels and ran each KTMs on our in-house dyno. The 350 EXC-F produced 34.74 hp at eight,840 rpm and 22.43 pound-feet of torque at 7,250 rpm, whereas the 500 EXC-F cranked out 41 hp at 7,800 rpm and 29.51 pound-feet of torque at 6,690 rpm. We then mounted a recent set of Metzeler 6 Days Excessive tires for higher filth manners and to make sure consistency in traction between the 2 bikes via the length of the take a look at.
The 350 EXC-F has minimal bottom-end, first rate midrange, and plentiful top-end and over-rev. The 500 EXC-F engine makes broader and extra usable energy with average bottom-end, good midrange, and spectacular top-end. In technical areas of the path, the 350 EXC-F requires extra clutch work, whereas the 500 EXC-F engine fares higher within the tighter areas resulting from its potential to be lugged decrease within the rpm. The 350 EXC-F engine revs faster and continues to drag increased within the rpm vary than the 500. Because of this, the smaller-displacement engine feels extra at residence in areas which are extra large open the place it may be revved out. With the meat of the powerband being increased within the rpm, the 350 EXC-F is a little more enjoyable to journey, particularly within the palms of an aggressive rider.
The Brembo hydraulic clutches work flawlessly with a clean engagement, straightforward pull, and no-tools adjustment. The six-speed transmissions on each bikes are very usable and the gears are effectively spaced. First gear may be very low and nearly acts as a “granny gear.” We encountered loads of technical trails on the crimson rocks of Moab, and first gear gave us the sensation we had been using a trials bike via these difficult areas. Second gear remains to be low sufficient for tighter areas whereas third gear works nice in barely quicker, flowing sections. Fourth, fifth, and sixth gear serve their goal on fireplace roads and when cruising at freeway speeds.
Each EXC-Fs are outfitted with a WP Xplor 48 fork and WP Xplor PDS shock. The forks excel at low speeds, providing loads of consolation and absorbing small path obstacles similar to rocks, logs, and bumps effectively. Being that the forks are arrange for dual-sport and relatively softer than a motocross or off-road bike, we had been impressed with their first rate bottoming resistance on higher-speed trails with whoops and G-outs. The forks remained plush via the whole thing of the stroke as effectively. The PDS shocks preserve traction remarkably effectively. On trails affected by obstacles, the rear wheel stays glued to the bottom and doesn’t have the tendency to bounce or deflect, making it straightforward to carry your line in technical terrain.
Benefitting from years of motocross and off-road bike growth, the KTM dual-sport bikes deal with exceptionally effectively. There’s a Three-pound weight distinction between them, with the 350 EXC-F weighing 255 kilos and the 500 EXC-F coming in at 258 kilos. When using the 2 bikes again to again, the 350 EXC-F feels only a bit lighter than the 500 EXC-F and is barely simpler to maneuver and put the place you need it, particularly in slower-going areas. Because the speeds enhance, the 2 bikes really feel extra comparable so far as weight really feel. The EXC-Fs react rapidly, but predictably to rider enter, making route modifications almost easy. So far as straight-line stability, the 2 Austrian machines are predictable and confidence inspiring. The Brembo brakes are phenomenal with glorious stopping energy and predictable modulation. The ergonomics are snug and straightforward to get used to. The EXC-Fs are pretty skinny from entrance to rear, however not fairly as slim within the radiator shrouds and quantity plate space because the 2019 SX-F and XC-F fashions. The rider triangle is nice and the seats are snug, making lengthy days within the saddle that rather more pleasing.
The 2019 KTM 350 EXC-F and 500 EXC-F are glorious dual-sport bikes. Selecting which orange machine is finest for you is dependent upon rider choice and what you propose to make use of the bike for. The 350 EXC-F’s lighter really feel and quicker-revving engine make it a bit extra enjoyable to journey. Nevertheless, it requires extra clutch work in tighter, slower-going areas. For the dual-sport rider who spends a good period of time on the road, the 500 EXC-F is a perfect selection as its larger-displacement engine is extra snug cruising at freeway speeds than the 350 EXC-F. The 500 EXC-F is a barely higher all-around possibility for almost all of dual-sport riders because it gives additional energy with a extra linear supply and requires much less clutch work than the 350 EXC-F. By way of pure enjoyable issue, the 350 EXC-F is tough to beat and can put smiles on many dual-sport riders’ faces. It certain did for us.