suspension. The design was never well received by the
motocross world, but off-roaders loved it, and the 300
began to reach its stride. The next year brought the
hydraulic clutch, and the 300 was unofficially elected as
America’s off-road bike.
KTM realized that the 300 was becoming “the bike” and
began investing more time and development resources in
the motor. The 2000 version came with a new cylinder that
was substantially improved. In 2004, the motor got upgraded again with a different bore and stroke; oddly enough,
the 250 and 300 would once again share the same stroke,
but this time it worked better for both bikes. From here on,
the KTM 250 would absolutely dominate the dyno in two-stroke comparisons, and the 300 was just a smoother-run-ning, torquier version of the same thing. In ’08 electric start
came and revolutionized the two-stroke world. It also got a
small cylinder and a new processor.
THE USED-BIKE SHUFFLE
If you get any used 300 from ’04 and later, you just hit
the jackpot. Of all the used two-strokes on the market, the
KTM 300 holds its value the best. The 2000, 2002 and
2003 models are pretty good too. Prior to that, we’re talking about 12 years of rust, wear and tear, so it’s anyone’s
guess. Those bikes were good in their day, but condition
plays a much bigger part when it comes to old metal. You
have to resign yourself to having a few jetting problems
with the earlier models. We complained in those years that
no two 300s took the same jetting. The truth is that most
riders dropped the needle and the main jet and just ran
race gas if detonation was too bad.
Regardless of the year, the 300 did well with a change in
silencer to either FMF or PC. An aftermarket pipe did won-
KTM crushed convention by offering electric start on a two-stroke. That opened up a new chapter for the already successful 300.
Mike Lafferty occasionally rode the 300 in select events, but mostly rode the 250 in enduros, and in later years was the first top
rider to go four-stroke in the GNCCs.
ders for the power output, but sometimes the detonation
issue would get worse.
Of course, you could play it safe and get a brand-new
KTM 300. Lots of people do. The 300 has carried KTM
through good times and bad times. Since its introduction
21 years ago, it ranks as the number-one-selling KTM
model—and there’s still no safer investment in the off-road world. ;