I really like my 2014 KTM 350 XCF-W. It is a fun bike to ride. In order to do some dual-sport rides and possibly some small adventure multi-day trips, I wanted to make the bike street legal. You might wonder why not just buy the 350 EXC that comes street legal. That may be a good option for some, but I wanted to start with a pure dirt bike and add the extras myself. The EXC is geared higher, it has anti-smog stuff, and the blinkers and mirrors stick out too far. I felt that for my needs, it would be better to plate an XCF-W.
To learn more about the basic mods I previous did to the bike, check out my previous report.
The biggest challenge to getting a dirt bike plated for street use is the need for DOT approved tires. I only had 336 miles on my stock tires, so it was a little frustrating to replace them already. Hopefully I can sell the stock tires and recoup some of my investment. I had a hard time deciding what front DOT to use. After a fair amount of research, I decided to stick with the Pirelli MT21 Rally Cross tire that I have on my Husaberg. I would say it is slightly better than the frequently used Dunlop D606.
I have been using a Pirelli MT43 trials rear tire on my other plated bikes, but I decided for this bike I wanted to stick with a knobby. The trials tire is really good in many situations, but to get really good traction you need to run them below 10 psi. That is great in the dirt, but not so good on pavement. I figured that with a knobby I could run at 10-12 psi for both dirt and pavement. I read a lot of good reviews on the Kenda K760 Trak Master, so I thought I would give it a try. I like the tread design, but I haven’t yet tested it on the trail.
Update: I liked the Trak Master until I got a flat. The sidewall seemed to be kind of soft. But for the price, it is a very good tire. I then tried a MotoZ Tractionator Enduro I/T. It looks like a great tire, but at first it doesn’t give very good traction. I was constantly surprised how poorly it performed until it got broken in for a few hundred miles. Maybe it was just me getting used to it, but now I really like the tire. If I am smooth with throttle control it works really well, and if I want to practice drifting and power slides, I just hit the gas. My next tire will probably be the MotoZ Tractionator Desert H/T, which is now DOT approved.
The second hardest challenge is installing hydraulic brake switches for the brake light since you have to bleed the brakes. I was really nervous the first time I did this, but it really isn’t all that hard. Since I knew I was going to eventually get the bike plated, I installed the switches at the same time I installed the left hand rear brake.
I needed to tap into a 12 volt line to power the brake light, blinkers, and horn. I found out which fuse was used to drive those circuits in the EXC and tapped into the line after the fuse. This power line is only active when the bike is running since it is controlled by the power relay. Here is a photo of the battery compartment under the seat:
Notice the red wire in the upper left hand corner. That is my 12 volt line. Here is a closeup:
You can see that I tapped into the yellow/blue wire coming from the fuse. This is the wire to use to source the 12 volts. After I cut the wire and spliced into it, I found out that there was not a wire coming out of the other side of the connector. So a better solution is to just insert a pin into the connector. Radio Shack’s interlocking connector (274-222) has compatible pins for this connector and the tail light connector. It was pretty easy to wire up the brake light. The rear tail light assembly has an LED brake light, but the wiring harness does not drive the brake pin. I bought a connector from Radio Shack and inserted one of the pins into the stock connector (the yellow wire in this photo).
I followed the main wiring harness to get wires from the battery compartment up to the headlight area. You need to be careful so the wires don’t get pinched by the fuel tank.
I have been pretty happy with SicAss Racing blinkers and components, although they are slightly more expensive than some other brands. Being a KTM, I went with orange rear blinkers.
I also installed an FMF 4.1 Titanium exhaust with a turn-down nozzle so it wouldn’t melt my blinkers. I bought the exhaust from “BestDualSportBikes.com” because they offer the turn-down nozzle. I wasn’t after more power, but I wanted to shave a little weight and let the motor breathe a little better. This exhaust is louder than stock, but not too obnoxious. The end cap includes a quiet insert and a spark arrestor.
The front blinkers are a little too short so they are partially obscured by the headlight mask. I need to find some 1/4″ spaces to move them out a little more.
Update: I liked the larger front blinkers I installed on my Husaberg, but these new shorter ones are not very good. My tie down straps hit the blinkers when I load the bike in my trailer and the blinker just pops off. I decided to try a much more durable blinker, so I switched to the EDS Tuff Lites. They are expensive, but so far they seem worth it.
The stock headlight bulb is a dual-beam bulb, so I just needed to wire up the high beam. I removed the stock headlight switch and connected all of the lights to the control switch on the handlebar. Since it is so crowded behind the headlight, I mounted the horn on the side of my radiator. This has worked well on my Husaberg, so I thought I would stick with that mounting location.
The SicAss switches are quite a bit more expensive than Tusk, so I opted to use the Tusk control switch.
It was a challenge to get everything to fit. From the outside moving in, I have; the control switch, my left hand rear brake lever, the clutch lever, and then a mirror mount with my radio push-to-talk (PTT) button. I really like the Double Take mirror, so I stuck with that solution. I had to move my kill switch over to the right handlebar, so I used the extra button on my ignition map switch. I dabbed a little red paint on the button to make it more obvious, but you can’t really see it while riding because of the throttle cables. I had to rotate the throttle rearward to gain enough slack with my raised handlebars.
The next step was to increase the range of the bike. The stock tank holds 2.25 gallons, which probably gives me a range of around 90-110 miles. I decided to install an Acerbis 3.0 gallon tank, extending that range to 120-150 miles without seriously altering the look or feel of the bike. The Acerbis tank has pretty good reviews, and I was pretty happy with the install.
The final step was to install the new “Gardiner Family Adventures” logos that my wife made with her Silhouette vinyl cutting machine. They turned out really nice. I just hope they last.
I have a smaller logo on the rear fender. Note that the logo includes are three primary family activities; dirt biking, mountain biking, and river running.
Here is a look at the finished product.
Now to wait for warmer weather so I can get the bike inspected, insured, and make the trip to the DMV for a license plate.
Update: I didn’t like the position of the kill switch. It was too far to reach. When I tried to hit the button, I would sometimes turn the throttle, which wasn’t safe. So, I ordered a SicAss Racing start/kill switch like I have on my Husaberg. But to get this to work, I had to buy longer throttle cables since I have raised the handlebars.