NOVEMBER 2014 / DIRT BIKE 37
Brembo brakes make us smile.
KTM now has the 4CS fork on all its dirt bikes.
It works best for the XC’s type of riding.
WHY IT’S SO GOOD
We assume that everyone already knows this, but we’re
going to repeat it anyway. The KTM 300 is the greatest off-
road bike there is. Beginners love it. Pros love it. The only
people who don’t love it are those who have never ridden
one. It’s all about the power delivery. The 300 motor can
go all the way down to idle speed, pick up and go with
perfect controllability. It doesn’t stall, even if you jab the
rear brake with no clutch at all. It seems like the engine
will just relight on its own. That’s why it appeals to riders
of any level. The mistakes that beginners typically make
are forgiven, and experts can push the boundaries of more
and more extreme rides. It’s safe to say that the whole
sport of extreme enduros would suffer a tremendous set-
back if the KTM 300 ceased to exist. Erzberg, the Tough
One and the Romaniacs would probably have to soften
their obstacles so other bikes could finish.
Compared to 450 four-strokes, the 300 only comes
up lacking in sheer horsepower. The two-stroke engine
doesn’t rev as high as a modern four-stroke, which is still
a hard concept for old-timers to grasp. The 300 peaks
around 8000 rpm and is completely done a short time
afterward. Most four-strokes rev to 12,000 rpm, making
more and more power all the way. That isn’t to say that
you can’t keep up with a 450 on the track, but you have to
shift early and ride hard. The 300 isn’t made for terrain that
is flat and easy, and to take it there is missing the point.
Having said that, the 300XC is actually a very fun motocross bike. It’s lighter than any 450, and the quick, responsive feel of the motor makes it feel lighter still. When you
ride the 300 against a 450, you feel like you’re on a jet ski,
zigzagging around battleships. But in the end, the battleships have bigger guns.
We think the 300XC has the best, most versatile suspension in the KTM line. Even the motocross bikes have
the 4CS fork now, but those are set up stiffer. The XC
isn’t really made to deal with big jumps, and the softer