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KTM 350 EXC-F Long Term Update #4 | Back End | Bike Reviews

The fourth update for the ADB KTM 350 EXC-F long term test bike as printed in issue #452 - May 2017.

Hours: 25
Mods this month: Bridgestone Battlecross X30 tyres
Mods next month: None

THE LAST FEW weeks waiting for Jake Stapleton to return the KTM 350EXC-F and piss off back to Canada have dragged on forever. It’s funny how that works, not having it in the shed had me thinking about it non-stop and everywhere I was going to go and ride it when I got it back.

In fact I was so keen to ride it that when we met up for the hand over before Jake jetted out I threw a leg over and took it for a spin right then and there. After a few hours of trailriding around some private property, I loaded the KTM and took it home for a wash.

After going over it with a fine-tooth comb and listing all the scratches that I’m going to tell Jake about the next time we catch up, I took it for a nice ride for a few hours around Gwandalan. It turned out to be one of those rides were we say “honey, I’ll be home in an hour” but it turned out to be closer to four hours.

We’ve all done it and we all know the consequences. I’ve got a book full of excuses I go to every time I’m late home from a ride just to try and avoid having to cook my own dinner or cop the cold shoulder for the rest of the evening.

I’ve used every one of them, from a flat tyre to “I hit a goanna”. But honey, if you’re reading this, all of them are true and I’ve never lied to you in my life, I promise. The ride however was one of those rides we all dream about.

It had only recently rained and just enough to make the dirt tacky but not muddy. The Bridgestone Battlecross X30 tyres I had fitted the day before were working well and I was just cruising around finding hill climbs, logs and new obstacles to play around on.

I’d found a singletrack loop through a fern forest that dropped up and down through some gullies and was carving through when I noticed a dirty, big huntsman spider sitting on my goggle lense. I had ridden straight through its web and it had stuck straight on my goggles.

It was big enough to take up the whole lense and all I can remember thinking is it’s going to crawl into the back of my helmet. I pulled up as gently as possible and clapped my hands together with the spider in the middle while twisting and mushing it hoping to god I killed it before it bit me. Anyhow, I didn’t die and I spent the next two hours riding with spider guts all over my Shot gloves.

I have used X30s before [his dad fitted them on the pram] but never on an enduro bike or out in the bush so it will be interesting to see how they hold up on a trailbike. First impressions are that they are working well and the KTM is a dream to ride now that I finally have some traction.

Jake gave the Kato an oil change before I got it back but after five hours of riding it is due for another one. Mechanically, the bike is as good as the day we got it. Nothing has failed and the bike has been performing well. See you guys next month for another update.

Technical Editor Mat Boyd