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The 2023 KTM SX-F lineup has a different feel to it when comparing it to the older 2022 version. Most of the different feeling comes from the stiffer chassis and how that correlates to the track when it gets rough. Yes, the 2023 KTM 250/350/450 SX-Fs do corner slightly slower initially, feel stiffer from the swingarm pivot bolt back and the off idle rpm response is actually a little jerky when rolling corners at lower rpms. With all this being said is the 2023 KTM a better machine than the 2022? In some areas yes, in some areas no. Out on the east coast side of things the chassis feels more planted, but on the west coast (harder dirt,etc.) the bike can be a little “edgy” or firm feeling. In this article we are going to be breaking down the 2023 KTM 350 SX-F and what you can do to get the most comfort out of your new orange machine. Follow these simple steps to get the most out of your 350 SX-F in stock form as well as some suggestions/mods that can help you get more comfort and easier to use power.
Suspension: Try these settings if you’re anywhere near the 175-200 pound mark. This setting, along with the other chassis mods here (after an 8 hour break in period) should help the KTM feel less harsh and settle more.
Air Pressure: 10.8 bar
C: 14 out
R: 16 out
LSC: 12 out
HSC: 1.5 out
R: 16 out
Torque Specs: Even though some engineers say that torque spec doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of “feel” on the bike, my body says different. The KTM chassis feels slightly rigid from the swingarm pivot bolt back as I get a lot of deflection (side to side) movement out west on braking bumps as well as acceleration bumps. Lowering the torque spec to 95 Nm helps settle the rear end slightly as well as helps the rear of the bike keep straight during off throttle situations. This will not give you added comfort, but will help settle the chassis with less side to side movement (mostly on-throttle type situations).
Aftermarket Muffler System: I have NOT tried all of the mufflers available for the KTM 350 SX-F but if you can get your hands on a FMF system for the 2023 KTM 350 SX-F, you will be getting more mid range and top end pull without sacrificing too much low end. In fact, you will be getting slightly less rpm response but a better torque feel out of corners. I remove the insert from the muffler on the 350 unlike the 450 where I keep it in. Oh and you will also lose almost two more pounds towards the rear of the machine.
Handlebars/bends/grips: Going to a Pro Taper Husqvarna Stock EVO bend will help with vibration as well as give the rider more comfort through his/her hands. Another option for riders is going with the FASST Co. FLEXX 12* Moto handlebar that offers the most flex for the rider, but this bar does take sometime to get used to visually. Both of these bends are adequate for 5’8 to 6’0 riders.
Gearing: I am still running a 14/52 set up and so far this is working out. I might try a 14/53 just to be able to run third gear more in corners.The 23 KTM 350 will recover much quicker if the rider is in the wrong gear through corners (compared to the 22 version).
Chain Slack Measurement: 68mm-70mm may look like a lot of chain slack when your bike is on the stand but KTM assures me/and you that this is the proper amount of slack. This spec allows your suspension to move freely and not bind when under load. This also will help keep from your chain snapping because of a too tight tension spec.
Triple Clamps: Because the 2023 KTM chassis is a little more nervous/twitchy out west on straight line than the 2022 a set of 23.5mm offset clamps really helps calm the orange bike chassis as well as gives the rider more front end feel/positivity. Going into this 23.5mm offset test I thought I may feel an even slower cornering KTM, but this actually helps the KTM turn into ruts better with more front end feel/traction. Ride Engineering is making 23.5mm split clamps for this model and to me this is a noticeable improvement with this 2023 chassis. This offset calms the bike off throttle (de-cel bumps) and allows the rider to set up better for the corners without having the chassis deflect off of braking bumps. To me, it made the new chassis feel less firm on braking bumps. By no means do you NEED a Ride Engineering specific clamp, but if you can find another offset similar (23.5/24mm), I feel like this chassis will like this on most tracks. Yes, even east coast, soft tracks (experienced this in the mid west with soft farm dirt).