Vital MX First Impressions: 2018 KTM 350 SX-F

KTM’s expansive model line has had a star standout for a few years now, the 350 SX-F. Albeit, a somewhat controversial one. Honestly, the 350 has really come into its own, as KTM moves more of these bikes than any Japanese manufacturer moves 450 motocross models. Still, people ask if they actually are competitive against the larger 450 machine. So is it?


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  • How come KTM can make they’re 4 strokes look lean and small like a 2stroke 125, just looks like an MX bike while the Japs look like Sumo bikes! The 350 is an awesome bike, if not a pro people should be on a 350, leave the ego check with that 450 that your body can’t cash at the door, 350s for us Joes! Be great if there actually became a 350 class!

    Btw great review guys🤙

    • blomgren182 yeah mate, I have a KTM250exc 17, agree with all your points, but it’s always been that way re other focus, they did dominate and nearly destroyed the Euro brands completely, KTM hung on and while the Japanese dropped the ball esp in off road market not MX, talking Enduro KTM bounced back and filled a gap the Japs have always ignored, yes they made XRs, Suzuki came out with the RMX but again refused to keep developing, off road and MX requires constant development to stay ahead in competition and sales, something I hope the Euros have learned from the near extinction by the Japanese 2 stroke era, now as you say they dominate MX esp in Europe and Asia and are grabbing a strong hold in the US, I’m glad u mention Roger as he imo is the most influential person in MX in history and under valued in America, again the Japanese manafactuers made big mistakes letting him go esp Honda! Suzuki just has been poor management for decades, how they dropped that ball is anyone’s guess! I made the comment about how slim and sleek the KTM looks is because they are smart and understood the market, not just marketing, they don’t rely on road technology they develop from ground up off road, steel is real, alloy was about marketing esp to the US.

      KTM because made they’re comeback in 2strokes that filled massive hole left by the Japanese and other Euro brands that they stamped out, why Ill be loyal to the Euros for making the 2ts, KTM single handley have rejuvenated the Euro Industry, Sherco, Beta, Husky/KTMs lol and hopefully GasGas can sort themselves out, another example though the off road market won’t accept poor or old technology lagging behind others, GasGas nearly buried themselves, new model should help! It may not be as big as road markets, cars etc but it’s more brutal to keep pace and develop than any other market! Kato has always made decent four strokes. They just now happen and have for awhile made as good and recently better 4t too. Offfoad/MX innovate or die!

      Glad I’m not alone in my perceptions, cheers dude👍

    • I’d say the 350 is pretty damn competitive seeing that Tony Cairoli just won another world championship on one. I’ve got around 16 hrs on my 2017 ktm xcf 350 and It’s the an amazing bike. I didn’t ride for nearly 6 years after crushing my heel and I felt right at home on it in a few minutes….so damn good to be back riding!

    • John hasn’t he been on the 450 the last couple of years?

      But either way it’s definitely competitive in the right hands and better bet for non pro racers easily, I’d even argue it’s a better bike for SX racing, not in terms of power, but as a spectacle and better racing tighter more competitive!

      I seriously believe that 450s are hurting the sport, essentially this is like riding 500cc bikes from the past in SX, ( sure totally different in terms of handling tech and power nowadays but they still bite and have spread the field further apart) top riders are having less focus especially in the US on MX which is bad for the sport overall and long term!

      Careers are much shorter esp at the top ( think RC, Villiopto, Dungey and Tomac not even wanting to race MXDN.

      And the number of top riders constantly injured each year is on the increase!

      So the 350 would make sense in fact it would be good to get back to the old days of 3 prem classes, a 250f/350f MX and SX class, and 450 big bore class for outdoors only!

      Problem is the Japanese won’t do that, they are cutting back on programs not increasing them yet Euros are growing market share, new markets and loyalty by providing options and leading technologies in both 4t and 2t, it’s a win win, just finished watching the Sea to Sky race omg what an event!
      Dominated by 2ts! Husqvarna first, (Jarvis in his 40s) Romain, Sherco 2nd and Young, Sherco 3rd.
      300 2ts ftw

      I have ridden the XcF it is a good bike, I’m a 2t guy but that would be my pick anyway for the 4t as well, good to hear you are back on the bike dude, enjoy.

    • MaverickDH the 350 actually makes more hp then the Suzuki and the kx standard plus having a lighter engine and also being lighter than every 450 AND also lighter than every 250 other then the ktm of course makes it super competitive… the 450 will stay because the torque is needed for supercross for the big rhythms these days but for motocross it’s the perfect bike (cairoli just won on the 350 and he switched because it was easier to ride)

    • MaverickDH just read your 2nd comment I agree that 450’s are starting to ruin the sport! It’s all the ego and sense of achievement to get to the top class when if you look at the results… Eli Tomac, Ryan Villopoto, Justin barcia and a few more consistently put down faster lap times on the 250’s than the whole 450 field! In the amateur classes Austin forkner used to race his 250 in the 450 a class and would win almost every time! You can push a 250 harder literally everywhere in motocross

      450’s are fun don’t get me wrong I race the 250 and 450 classes here in Australia and over here apart from the top 5 in the nationals the 250’s almost always are running a faster pace than the 450’s

  • Man I just started riding and the first dude explained my 450 exactly im every way. From revving it out in 2nd wildly off jump faces and getting pulled into corners 😱

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