MotoOnline.com.au reviews the new 2023 KTM 350 SX-F.
Words: Caleb Tennant
Striking the balance between power and agility, the 2023 KTM 350 SX-F takes the all-round motocross platform to the next level with a revamped engine, ultra-stable chassis and an updated appearance that we Tested in this latest review. Detailed provides more information about its specifications.
With a previous generation 350 SX-F being the bike that I currently own, I was eager to test the improvements made to the 2023 model. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly stable it is, the chassis inspires comfort and confidence and is very well balanced, making control that bit easier at speed especially.
KTM did an impressive job to optimize the power and its delivery on the new 350 SX-F, since weighing in at just 60.6lbs, the engine hits just right as I wasn’t left begging for more power – like on a 250 at times – and there wasn’t any surplus of torque – which you can get on a 450 – that compromised ride-ability.
The standard gear ratio compliments the stock engine well, particularly compared to older models where I had to change the gearing to get second to feel right. With the 2023 KTM 350 SX-F, second gear was not too short and third didn’t feel too long, making it stronger when accelerating off the turns.
With two selectable engine maps – easily adjusted by the press of the button on the handlebar map switch – the softer, smoother map felt feel great in the first few laps as I learned the bike. Once comfortable, I changed to the more aggressive map and stuck to that, loving how well the enhanced gearing, gear ratio and frame made the bike handle, even with stronger power delivery.
Adding to the electronics on the 2023 KTM 350 SX-F are launch and traction control, along with the quickshifter. Like with the other SX-F models in the 2023 range, launch control is activated easily by pressing both the quickshifter and traction control buttons simultaneously. And they all definitely work, even if I personally prefer to have them off at this point.
The WP suspension compliments the balance of the chassis to provide a good feeling, especially charging hard into the turns over the bumps. The stock settings were not as soft as the 250 SX-F, meaning I did not bottom out and make use of the new hydro stopper – that is integrated into the Xact Forks for 2023 – as often.
The front-end coupled with the Xact rear shock enabled me to charge through the rough sections and still get the bike to turn easily when pushing my limit into turns. The Brembo braking system helped with this further, provided a solid feel and modulation of the lever to aid the bike to pitch smoothly into turns.
Making the 2023 KTM 350 SX-F even more comfortable are the new plastics and ergonomics. Not only do they provide a striking visual, with a hint of purple, and increase airflow into the engine, they also make it much easier to grip and maneuver on the bike. Details such as Dunlop GeoMax MX33 tyres and Excel rims add to the impressive step forward.
It is tough to fault the 2023 KTM 350 SX-F. The revised chassis and gear ratio make handling a treat and the power delivery is just right – adequate to where you are not left seeking more, yet able to ride in control. I would highly recommend anyone that is in two minds between choosing between a 250 and 450 to give this motorcycle a test before making a decision, as it truly hits just right in between.
Engine type: 349.7cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke
Clutch: Brembo hydraulic
Traction control: Yes
Launch control: Yes
Front suspension: WP Xact 48mm
Rear suspension: WP Xact shock
Front brake: Brembo 260mm disc
Rear brake: Brembo 220mm disc
Tyres: Dunlop Geomax MX33
Weight: 101.9kg (without fuel)
Availability: August 2022
Further information: www.ktm.com