2019 Factory Off-Road Bikes—Devan Bolin’s KTM 350 XC-F

Privateer claimed third in the AMA WHS series on this lightly changed bike.

Devan Bolin hounds younger factory riders with this KTM 350 XC-F that’s remarkably stock. Graphics by Racer Decal are about the most bling you’ll find. Beyond that, he puts his efforts into making the bike handle just the way he wants with very little done to increase power.
Devan Bolin hounds younger factory riders with this KTM 350 XC-F that’s remarkably stock. Graphics by Racer Decal are about the most bling you’ll find. Beyond that, he puts his efforts into making the bike handle just the way he wants with very little done to increase power.Mark Kariya

Devan Bolin doesn’t let the privateer life prevent him from getting top results in the AMA Kenda SRT West Hare Scramble Regional Championship Series, presented by MojoMotorsport.com, having finished third in Pro/AA in both 2018 and 2019’s final standings.

At 31 years of age, he’s a full-time husband and father of two and his job with the railroads finds him logging long hours, preventing him from doing much practice or training. The one good thing about that is his 2019 KTM 350 XC-F has maybe 50-something hours on it!

In front, the WP Xact Pro Cone Valve fork gets the treatment from Dicks Racing to retain the stock springs, yet yield the supple action Bolin demands through plush valving. SRT supplies the wheels, and Bolin prefers Kenda’s Ibex front tire for most races.
In front, the WP Xact Pro Cone Valve fork gets the treatment from Dicks Racing to retain the stock springs, yet yield the supple action Bolin demands through plush valving. SRT supplies the wheels, and Bolin prefers Kenda’s Ibex front tire for most races.Mark Kariya

Thus, he needed to get its setup correct quickly, and with the more technical nature of hare scrambles courses, he focused most of his attention on dialed suspension and making sure his bike would survive the often abusive three-hour races.

Dicks Racing handles his suspension mods for the WP Xact Pro Cone Valve spring fork and WP Xplor Pro Trax shock, retaining the standard springs, but going substantially lighter on valving to soak up smaller irregularities since so much time is spent in second or third gear. “I’ve been working with [Dick Wilk] for a long time; he kind of knows what I want,” Bolin notes, “so I just send it to him and he does what’s best. It’s pretty much softer through the entire stroke. I think the suspension would break in half if I went to a motocross track! It’s really supple. It’s for the braking bumps and stuff like that. The stuff we do, we don’t really do that hard of hits. Living up here in the deep woods, it’s more of a woods setting.”

Bolin prefers to run 105mm of sag everywhere. “It seems to work best there,” he feels.

Xtrig ROCS triple clamps hold the fork legs which, he says, “soften the front end and take away the sharp, harsh feel.”

He continues, “I have the Xtrig PHDS [handlebar clamp] system on top that does the same thing just to give it a little softer feel. I use ODI Podium [Champ-bend handlebars] because they’re a really, really soft [feeling] bar and it helps take out some of that vibration and braking bump [harshness]. I’ve had way too many wrist and arm surgeries including the ones this year, so I’m trying to make it as easy as possible on them!”

Bolin runs 14/52 gearing and a non-O-ring SRT chain. For traction in the rear, he generally runs Kenda’s Washougal II or Millville II, though he’ll switch to Southwicks front and rear for deep mud and the Triple rear for hard-pack. The Akrapovič slip-on replaced the stock muffler simply because it can accept a spark arrestor, which is required on public lands.
Bolin runs 14/52 gearing and a non-O-ring SRT chain. For traction in the rear, he generally runs Kenda’s Washougal II or Millville II, though he’ll switch to Southwicks front and rear for deep mud and the Triple rear for hard-pack. The Akrapovič slip-on replaced the stock muffler simply because it can accept a spark arrestor, which is required on public lands.Mark Kariya

With that in mind, Bolin also employs an ODI Fusion Pro throttle tube with its cam and bearing for the lightest, smoothest pull. “My wrists are super weak,” he admits, “and I don’t want to be fighting those, plus I get really bad arm-pump. I’ve always fought that for some reason.”

Farther back, Bolin sits on a KTM Step Up seat straight out of the KTM PowerParts catalog.

SRT supplies the rear-wheel assembly including its rear rotor plus rotor guard. However, the rear brake carries Braketech’s vented pistons to better dissipate heat. Bolin says KTM’s stock pads front and rear will last him a full season—partly because of the low hours he puts on his bike.
SRT supplies the rear-wheel assembly including its rear rotor plus rotor guard. However, the rear brake carries Braketech’s vented pistons to better dissipate heat. Bolin says KTM’s stock pads front and rear will last him a full season—partly because of the low hours he puts on his bike.Mark Kariya

Bolin gets his Kenda tires from SRT as well, and they’re filled with SRT foam inserts; a rim lock is used only in back. Bolin generally runs an Ibex in front. “If it’s not muddy, I’m running the Ibex front and in the rear I change pretty often depending on the track. If it’s really deep mud, I run the Southwick on the rear; I run the Southwick front and rear in really deep mud. If it’s kind of not muddy but not hard-packed, I’ll run the Washougal II a lot of the time, and if it’s anything remotely hard-packed, I run the Triple—it’s their hard-pack and Arenacross tire is where I think it originated from.”

He mounts these to SRT replacement wheels which he feels are more durable than stock as well as being more affordable. The rear sports a 52-tooth SRT sprocket instead of a 50-tooth standard unit. Bolin says, “I [like to] raise the gear ratio a little bit so I can lug it [in a higher gear]. I tend to ride my bikes in a lower rpm and [this] helps me pull that next gear.”

In front is a 14-tooth countershaft sprocket, Bolin bucking the norm by using a non-O-ring chain, his provided by SRT, “so it glides a little better.”

Up top, there are Xtrig’s ROCS triple clamps and PHDS handlebar mounts that hold an ODI Podium handlebar. All are chosen to reduce harshness even more than the Dicks Racing-modified suspension can provide.
Up top, there are Xtrig’s ROCS triple clamps and PHDS handlebar mounts that hold an ODI Podium handlebar. All are chosen to reduce harshness even more than the Dicks Racing-modified suspension can provide.Mark Kariya

A Braketech oversize floating disc setup replaces the standard front brake, though he uses KTM pads front and rear. “I get a full year out of a set of brake pads,” he claims. “That’s a good and bad thing, right? The good part of it is I don’t spend any money on it. The bad part is I’m not riding half as much as those guys! I’ll be lucky if I get 50 hours a year [on my bikes].”

An SRT brake guard reduces the likelihood of damage to the SRT rear rotor, and he uses Braketech’s stainless steel ventilated pistons in the rear caliper. “It helps keep the brakes cool and helps my pad life and [brake fluid] life,” he observes. “I don’t get those factory calipers that hold more, so I have to run this Braketech vented puck.”

As for engine mods, Bolin feels the stock 350 provides plenty of power for hare scrambles, so he’s limited changes to an Akrapovič slip-on replacement muffler—mostly because it’ll accept a spark arrestor, which is required for use on public lands and not because of any power increase. EFI mapping remains standard, though he’s one of several riders who’ve converted to a 24-volt starting system by utilizing a pair of smaller-than-stock 12-volt batteries for quicker starts that can be so crucial with dead-engine starts, something he credits Beta’s Joe Wasson with introducing him to.

“I was having trouble with [starts]; they were smoking me off the line and I was asking what his start procedure was. He told me about that, so we threw that in and it helps a lot!,” Bolin recalls.

Note that Bolin retains the standard KTM fuel tank and even its locking gas cap. Half the time, he says, he can complete an entire hare scramble on just one tank, eliminating the necessity to stop for gas, though he might come in for a drink or goggles. What you can’t see here is the dual-battery, 24-volt system he’s adapted in order to enhance dead-engine start capability.
Note that Bolin retains the standard KTM fuel tank and even its locking gas cap. Half the time, he says, he can complete an entire hare scramble on just one tank, eliminating the necessity to stop for gas, though he might come in for a drink or goggles. What you can’t see here is the dual-battery, 24-volt system he’s adapted in order to enhance dead-engine start capability.Mark Kariya

In Bolin’s case, he runs a pair of Antigravity AG-401 12-volt, four-cell batteries boasting 120 cranking amps each that he buys from batterystuff.com. “They’re about half the size of a stocker,” he says, adding, “The 24-volt system batteries fit right into the stock battery cage.

“The only downfall is the only battery getting charged throughout the race is the circuit battery, so like for the EFI and stuff. Your actual starting battery to spin your starter doesn’t get charged, so you only get about eight starts before you have to charge it.”

Thus, it’s imperative that he puts that battery on a charger the night before or morning before a race.

“Pretty much 100 percent of the time I run a Twin Air air filter with an outer dust cover on it,” he says. “It helps keep water and dust off [the main filter], and I run a two-stroke [filter] cage, [the one] without the [four-stroke model] backfire screen in it to let a little more [air] flow. I run Bel-Ray air filter oil [on it].”

For engine oil, Blud Lubricants products get the bill, but for chain lube, he goes the econo route: “I work for the railroads so I get unlimited cases of gear oil, so that’s what I use for chain lube—80/90-weight gear oil,” he laughs. “I’m on a budget, man!”

Interestingly, Bolin leaves the standard KTM fuel tank in place, its 2.25 gallons deemed sufficient. “About 50 percent of the time I can finish a full hare scramble on one tank,” he insists. “My low-rpm riding and the fuel efficiency in this littler-bore bike compared to those 450s, I can about half the time finish a whole race [on one tank].

“Sometimes I come in for a drink, even if I don’t need gas or goggles. I don’t have near the sprint speed of some of these younger kids, so once I get in a groove, I like to just keep motoring and try to wear the young guys down and kind of go that route. I’ve got to use all my advantages.”

Finishing the series third behind only two factory-backed racers indicates he’s exploited those advantages to their fullest.