KTM’s biggest two-stroke XC motorcycles combine toughness with loads and loads of torque in order to keep on rolling towards the culmination of their careers. Power and handling are always key to bike’s successes and these two will stand by you at every speed range.
No matter the model you choose to go for, the Austrian bike will become a true work horse with the racing abilities of a motocross two-stroker. This is a benefic consequence of the fact that KTM produces a wide range of off-road motorcycles that perfectly blend in the qualities of a trail bike with the ones of a motocross bike. It can sometimes be confusing and it doesn’t quite help you to decide on a model, but once you’ve swing a leg over one, you’ll not only be Ready to Race, but never willing to get off of it at all. In this case, the 300 XC is more of a motocrosser, while the 300 XC-W (e) with its revolutionary electric starter manages to require less effort from the rider having fun with its pals.
The two models aren’t strange to KTM’s lineup as the simple XC was first introduced in 2004 to replace the 300 MXC two-stroke motorcycle. Since then, this KTM model started becoming more and more popular and the addition of the 300 XC-W (e) in 2006 was a great choice for riders who orientate towards the off-road instead of motocross and still remained hooked to products offered by the Austrian manufacturer.
As I was saying, by offering a whole bunch of motorcycles both two-and-four-stroke, KTM offers diversity and manages to position himself in front of its contenders which in comparison with these models seem to have the purpose of filling up a gap in the specific manufacturer’s lineup.
2008 Husqvarna WR250
Anyway, the Husqvarna WR250 is an Enduro bike featuring a 249.3cc two-stroke Liquid Cooled Single w/ HTS Power Valve engine mated to a five-speed gearbox and this is enough to position it against the 300 XC-W (e). The displacement difference though is very important as we are dealing with two-stroke engines and this sets the KTM apart from the average 250cc two-stroke motorcycles.
2008 Honda CR250
But when it comes to Japanese motocross bikes, you know that it is all about performance and only these bikes could be compared with the 300 XCs if KTM wouldn’t have offered the 250 XC and 250 XC-W (e) which are competing with the Husky and all the other Japanese bikes, setting the 300s apart from any other model on the market today.
2008 KTM 300 XC-W (e)
Another chapter were KTM does a little magic is Design. How come? For instance, there is no difference between a four-stroke’s exterior elements and a two-stroke’s ones.
The 300 XC is slightly different from the 300 XC-W (e) as the first features black mudguards, a shorter exhaust and leaned back front number panel and the last comes equipped with orange mudguards, a longer exhaust, as a result of slight different tuning, and a front number panel positioned parallel with the fork.
But those are just details. If you don’t have the bikes near to compare them, you won’t distinguish the one from the other as both machines feature motocross-like orange front fender, black fork, as well as side panels covered in the “KTM” writing. The thick exhaust pipe underneath the side panels betrays it as being a two-stroke motorcycle, the rest of it looking just like what you would find on the largest bike in the same lineup only that in this case, the exhaust muffler isn’t painted black on the XC, like of the four-stroke KTM’s.
As soon as you get on a 300 XC or 300 XC-W (e) motorcycle you are astonished by the amounts of low end torque delivered by the two-stroke engine and the fact that power delivery is linear all the way through the engine’s rev range. You will immediately accommodate to the quick-revving unit and soon try to find your way on a motocross track.
It is exactly what I did and had a great time exploiting the low-and-mid range of the motocrosser before making a big jump or when I cornered using the dirt gaps left from the organized competitions. Quickly opening the throttle won’t result into a sudden “hold on” situation as the engine doesn’t jerk at all.
But the bike is not only impressive when exiting corners or preparing for a tremendous jump. The straight section of the track really helped the engine’s power stand out and it is also where I felt that the 300 XC is more of a motocrosser than an off-roader.
Riders will also take it down the trails, have it escalade rocks, and climb the most abrupt hills so I had the 300 XC do just that. I must say that the bike impressed me as deeply as possible because I wasn’t expecting to encounter that much tractable power like on a four-stroke bike. This determined me to test both bikes as hard as I could and my attempts to find a down point were soon rubbish compared to the way they performed. I felt the XC light and easy to handle and this reflected on my face when I got off from one and got on the other.
On the KTM 300 XC-W (e) it is even easier to feel at home as you benefit of an electric starter and the same linear powerband. It is a very reliable trail companion and it can jump over lugs, pass through rivers, climb hills without even the small complain. KTM designed these bikes to be much a like and that also feels on the way they handle. Easy, that it!
Suspensions are excellent, with the WP USD fork being ideal for any kind of terrain. It stood up great on the motocross track and absorbed landings without too much stiffness while the woods proved a piece of cake for the new KTMs. The bikes become very fun to ride especially when you have the piece of mind that the thing can be stopped fast and without any emotions. It is all due to the Brembo brakes fitted on the bike. On front, they apply two piston calipers on a 260mm disc while the rear is fitted with a single caliper on a 220mm disc. It results in enough power to stop the bike in case of an emergency situation, but on the track and already wormed up, the Brembo brakes performed excellent.
The two bikes may look the same, but they are sure not marketed for the same price. More of motocross bike then a trail machine, the KTM 300 XC has an MSRP reaching $6,798 and making it the cheapest of the two. The electric starter equipped KTM 300 XC-W (e) is marketed for as much as $7,248.
Diversity is the key in all of KTM’s lineups and these two motorcycles offer not just that, but uniqueness two. You won’t find the machine that would beat them as the 300 XC’s reach the highest levels of performance and deliver loads of torque from down low while keeping the powerband linear and easy to exploit. The two bikes also look like winners thanks to the racing styling.