Our initial plans back in August of last year was to round up two 2016 KTM 450 XC-F bikes to use as our duo of Snow Bike World project bikes for the winter. Like probably 12,000 other people, we were told that it would be no problem to get a couple of those bikes by October–maybe early November. Turns out, for whatever reason, KTM didn't deliver nearly enough 2016 4-strokes to meet the high demand in the states.
With a commitment to build the two bikes at the Idaho Snowmoble Show in mid-November, we were left scrambling for bikes when the first of November rolled around. Nate found a 450 SX-F, and we thought for sure there was a 450 XC-F on its way to our dealer in Idaho. But with just three days remaining before the snow show, no bike.
We searched every neighboring state, but couldn't find a 450 XC-F that was available. Our dealer called and said he had a 350 XC-F show up. We had been riding a pair of 2015 KTM 350 XC-Fs all summer previously, so we figured why not give it a shot. We didn't have much of a choice anyway. We loaded it up and drove to Boise. Three days later, we had a snow bike ready to roll.
Suprisingly, there aren't any images of the 2016 KTM 350 XC-F in KTM's media library––just the SX-F. Close enough? Also, does everybody else think these bikes look funny with tires instead of a track and ski? Just us? Ok.
Here's what our 350 XC-F looked like just three days before we had to be in Boise with it. The techs at the dealership were putting way to much thought into un-crating and assembling a bike that was just going to get torn back apart. "A" for effort, though. Oh, and 45psi in both tires as usual.
As we mentioned, we wanted to build two twin KTM 450 XC-F snow bikes this year, mainly so we could isolate the differences in mods and setups between the two for comparison sake. But we wound up with a 350 XC-F (left) and a 450 SX-F. So much for the twins.
Timbersled has been outstanding to work with on project bike builds. Since we ran the Mountain Horse LT kits last year, we went with the shorter ST kits this year wtih the new convex track and other updates. Plus the TSS fit kit.
We don't know where you like to build your bikes, but we like to build them in large buildings with lots of people walking around constantly asking you questions and picking up your parts and moving your tools. It's loads of fun. Brockstar Suspension & Tuning's Brock Buttars enjoys the snow show setting anyway.
Just a few hours into the process and it looked like a KTM bomb went off. Parts everywhere. Being on a tight schedule for completing two bikes will do that. But Brock and his crew did a great job.
By the end of the first of two half days at the show, we had a snow bike. Well, sans brakes anyway. Who needs those.