10 key points you need to know about the new 2018 KTM

10 key points you need to know about the new 2018 KTM

2018 KTM 250SXF and 350SXF tips

Picked up a new 2018 KTM 250 / 350 or 450 SXF ?  Here are some key points worth noting and are simply interesting on the new bike straight out of the crate. We tested the 250SXF and 350SXF ourselves at a B grade level.  



10 key points you need to know about the new 2018 KTM

Read the manual

Easily available online through KTM and is stacked full of all the info you need to know plus a whole lot that you probably wont. Google ‘KTM manuals’ you will find it.

Engine oil filter change

KTM recommend laying the bike on its side and filling the ‘already drained /cleaned’ oil filter housing 1/3rd full of new oil then fitting the new oil filter , then topping up more.  This makes sense. On start up the oil system is near primed ready to go. Read the manual for the correct procedure.  We were about to just put a new filter in. Clearly not an engine guy.

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Chassis Balance

After testing initially we quickly learned not to lower the rear end of this bike. Stick to the recommended KTM setup of 105mm rider sag (rider including gear) / 35mm static sag to keep the fork and shock working together.

If you don’t, this KTM will be a wild bucking machine. We changed to the optional hard rear spring (45nm) to achieve this on the 350SXF with a rider weight of 88 kg+ gear.  Not only did it hold the rear up and improve drive through the bumps we had great results on corner entry with a more positive fork and shock action.

Testing on the 250SXF we went the other way with our test rider running a softer spring to achieve the correct 105mm rider sag with a 65 kg rider. KTM recommend a 75-85kg rider for their stock settings. Outside of this window including gear and you will need to change the spring/air setup.

Fork Height

After riding the bike stock on a square edged baked track we quickly experienced headshake and fork chatter at high breaking speeds. This unnerving action is due to the hard fork ‘valving’ setting, not chassis in-balance.  We counter intuitively slid the forks up to 3 lines thru the top clamp to get more weight onto the front wheel, softened the comp clicker 3-4 clicks and loosened the rebound clicker out 2 clicks. Problem improved.

We lowered the Air pressure to help here also, but found if we moved it too much and we were bottoming on the landings plus we experienced a divey feel in the front end under braking. Nothing unusual here. The fix, revalve the fork to a plusher setting.   Deep Sand tracks will handle the hard and high running AER fork much better. Test back at the stock 2 lines thru fork height in this case.

10 key points you need to know about the new 2018 KTM

AER AIR pressure

Recommended 155 psi is hard. It feels high and hard.  It Runs high in the stroke especially when we tested it matched to the stock 42nm rear spring.  May be ok with a faster rider, way too firm for us B level riders. We settled on 150 psi to match our 45nm on the 350SXF and 145 psi for a firm setting on the 250SXF with a fast-iish rider.  The bikes felt flat and super stable through rough braking at this spring rate and Air pressure balance.


They come loose every ride initially. It seems to have settled after 4 hrs. Check your spokes and while you’re at it, check the rear sprocket bolts.


10 key points you need to know about the new 2018 KTM


The 350SXF is fast, very fast and it feels geared spot on straight out of the box for us. The 250SXF needs attention as it seems too setup for high-speed tracks. We changed to a 13T front but it made us shift too much out of the tight corners. Somewhere in the middle will be where it’s at on this machine.  Track testing and a few sprockets will greatly improve this bike out of the turns.

10 key points you need to know about the new 2018 KTM

Electric Start

Simply the best.  Don’t be that guy and crank the battery over and over until it starts. KTM recommend warming the battery with a short run of the starter motor then waiting 30 secs or so. Re try and the engine will crank harder and start the bike easily.  It’s in the manual

Shock removal

Krooztune’s Owen Chadwick can remove this shock from the bike well under 10 minutes.  It is faster to drop the shock thru the bottom than battling with the one piece header pipe and subframe trying to get it out the side or the top of these bikes. Remove a few linkage bolts, take swingarm bolt completely out, drop the chain or remove the rear wheel and pull the swingarm back a touch. It drops straight out the bottom.  Seems hard but not really that bad once done a few times.

Images from KTM press photos by Mitterbauer H.

Plastic Spring Shock Collar

This plastic collar jams up with dirt and is hard to turn when adjusting the rear rider sag.  Buy the genuine KTM C spanner and this nightmare job is a dream.  We will have an upgrade collet system available soon that will much better handle ‘at the track style tooling’.

We are testing Settings and our own parts throughout the next few weeks with these new 2018 KTM’s. Stay tuned for results!

Some of the Krooztune parts and settings to test asap

  • Complete Linkage system and matching spring rates
  • Shock piston and valving settings
  • AER fork piston and valving settings
  • Gas Bladder system in rear shock (similar to a KYB / Showa unit)
  • Shock lock ring/collet
  • Fork Air to Spring conversion kit

See our KTM range

10 key points you need to know about the new 2018 KTM

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