2019 Factory Off-Road Bikes—Kailub Russell’s KTM 350 XC-F

The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro series championship-winning racebike.

KTM 350 XC-F
Kailub Russell races a KTM 350 XC-F in the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro and Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series, but uses different ignition mapping and suspension settings for the two series.Shan Moore

Kailub Russell has dominated East Coast off-road racing for several years and 2019 is no different. Last month, the FMF KTM Factory Racing rider wrapped up the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro series championship and is leading the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series standings by a comfortable margin with just two rounds remaining.

We checked in with Russell’s factory mechanic, John Mitcheff, at the Chestnut Corner Full Gas Sprint Enduro in Laurens, South Carolina, where Russell’s bike was set up for the short sprint races, which require 100 percent out of a rider for seven to 10 minutes at a time. Before the race, Mitcheff gave us an exclusive look at Russell’s factory KTM 350 XC-F, and where it applied, he gave us the optional settings Russell would run at a three-hour GNCC race.

As far as the ignition mapping, Mitcheff told us Russell has access to two maps. “Kailub has a different map that he runs for GNCC, and then this map here for Sprint Enduros is a little bit more aggressive,” he explained. “It’s a little bit more motocross-style mapping [with] a lot of snap off the bottom for all of these tight corners. For GNCC, it’s a little bit more forgiving and mellow because they’re racing for three hours.”

milder one
Russell’s two ignition maps include a milder one for the three-hour GNCC races and a more aggressive one for the Sprint Enduros, which are around 10 minutes each.Shan Moore

The radiators are stock with a higher-pressure 2.0 cap. The auxiliary fan mounted on the right radiator is from the KTM PowerParts catalog and it has a switch so it can be turned on and off by the rider. Russell runs a Hinson Racing clutch, which Mitcheff says is a little bit stronger than stock. The FMF Factory 4.1 RCT full exhaust system is made specially for the team and slightly different than an off-the-shelf unit. “We run a little bit shorter muffler to give a little bit more low-end,” Mitcheff noted.

The entire FMF KTM Factory Racing team runs a WP Cone Valve fork and a WP Trax shock. The assembly of the components are handled by a WP technician at the race team’s shop in Murrieta, California. According to Mitcheff, Russell runs a softer suspension setting at the GNCCs for more comfort during the three-hour races, whereas for the Sprint Enduros, he’ll run it a little bit stiffer being that they are much shorter in duration compared to a GNCC.

FMF Factory 4.1 RCT full exhaust system
The FMF Factory 4.1 RCT full exhaust system is made specially for the team after rigorous off-season testing; it’s slightly different than an off-the-shelf unit.Shan Moore

The triple clamps are Xtrig with a 22mm offset. Mitcheff told us the team tested both 22mm and 24mm offsets, but settled on 22mm because of the cornering traits it gives the bike. “We run the 22mm offset in cases where we have a lot of tight turns, like at these Sprint Enduro rounds,” he explained. “It makes the bike a little bit shorter, which helps it turn better.”

As far as the controls, the handlebar and grips are provided by Renthal; Russell prefers the soft, half-waffle grips. Acerbis hand guards are mounted to protect his hands and ensure vegetation doesn’t catch the ARC levers. A Nihilo Concepts billet aluminum throttle housing with a Motion Pro throttle tube ensure smooth and consistent throttle action.

WP Cone Valve fork
The WP Cone Valve fork is set up in-house by KTM’s own WP technician. The triple clamps are provided by Xtrig and have an offset of 22mm.Shan Moore

For the drivetrain, Renthal sprockets with a final drive ratio of 14/50 are used along with an RK O-ring chain for durability purposes. For tires, Russell runs a Dunlop MX3S front with a standard Dunlop mousse, and at the rear is a Dunlop AT81 with a Dunlop soft mousse. Moto-Master provides the brake rotors with a standard front and a solid rear, while Galfer supplies a pressure-tested rear brake line.

“Kailub is pretty hard on brakes, so we run a solid rear rotor,” Mitcheff said. “It dissipates heat better than a vented rotor. He steers a lot with the rear, so he gets it pretty hot. Also, we’ve had problems with the [stock rear] brake line busting from getting hot. [The Galfer unit] is stronger and more durable.