OFF-ROAD TEST | KTM 300XC-W
AN OFF-ROAD MAINSTAY
KTM realized that the 300 had attained exalted status
in the off-road world over 10 years ago. When most other
manufacturers stopped production of two-strokes, the
300 was one of KTM’s biggest sellers. Since then the
bike hasn’t changed much for a number of reasons. First,
there’s very little competition. Only recently have Beta and
Sherco appeared on the radar with similar models. So,
most of KTM’s R&D budget was diverted to producing
one new four-stroke motor after another. As a result, KTM
two-strokes have the longest-serving motor platform in
the entire line. Only the 200, 250 and 300 two-strokes
were exempt from the company-wide redesign that swept
through the dirt lineup from 2015 to 2016.
The 300 motor has seen a few changes over the long
haul. It got electric start in 2008, which was a game-changer in the two-stroke world. It also got a new cylinder
and ignition that year. The next big motor change was the
move to a DDS clutch, which uses a diaphragm spring
rather than a coil spring. For 2016 there are a handful of
minor changes. The front axle has a reduced size (from
26mm to 22mm), and the front axle offset is shortened from
35mm to 33mm. Open-design fork protectors are used,
and there’s a new skid plate. There are also some cosmetic
changes, like an orange-anodized rear sprocket and a new
seat cover, but the bike that KTM sells today is exactly
what people expect it to be.
When a KTM model ends in W, that means it’s trail-oriented
and has the PDS no-linkage rear suspension.
The price of the 300XC-W is $8699, exactly $1000
less than a 350XC-W four-stroke.