1997 KTM 300 EXC First Ride (and vs XR650R) — KTM 2-Stroke — ThumperTalk

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1997 KTM 300 EXC First Ride vs XR650R)

Posted 30 June — 11:04 PM

TLDR KTM 300 is awesome, but not a big thumper (good and

I have been looking for lighter in addition to my XR650R or to it. I have been reading all these KTM 300s for awhile and I finally decided I needed to try one or I won’t be able to decide bike is truly right for me. were a lot of 300s for sale in my ranging from ’93-’11, and Since I wasn’t sure if it was I wanted, I decided I wanted at the lower end of the spectrum.

I found ’97ish for sale in the area, but I was trouble finding any current regarding the vintage. Thus, I am my experience for the next person if they should buy that ’97 for sale the next over, or spend 3 times on something newer.

First a background. I grew up riding all of bikes from 2 strokes 4 strokes. 50s-250s. My last 19 years ago was a ’89 CR250R.

The was amazing, but I remember the power me into a lot of trouble at times. But at the 2t was where the best suspension, and power was at. We rode a lot in the desert, and Northern CA trails. Fast 17 years and the pristine ’02 collecting dust at the local just had to be mine. I have wanted one, and I thought I loved riding in the desert so it was perfect.

Well, I’ve only in the desert twice in 2 years, and the has been single track, or to it. I was doing great on the Pig, it around as hard as I could to up with everyone else on lighter bikes, but a few weeks ago I my brothers WR450. I had ridden smaller bikes (CRF450X, KTM 450 exc) a few times and wasn’t — the 650s power makes everything else at least initially.

But this was the time I rode a 450 for a significant of time. We were riding windy, loose two track in NV, and I was fighting the 650, plowing turns, and having trouble in one track vs. the other on off camber the WR450 just went ever it was pointed, or stayed it was. I never had to fight it, and was completely effortless. And for the first I really felt a 450s I couldn’t keep the front on the ground.

That’s when the for something lighter began and why not go as as possible and still have is claimed to be the best, torquiest engine ever?

Well the ended with a ’97 KTM 300 EXC I up for -1000. Top and bottom had been a new clutch installed, but the clutch engage, and suspension had be done my pro for nearly my weight (+ or — 30 I put the old clutch parts back in, a new KTM clutch cable and the thing was in no time. The XR650R is 330 pounds full tank of gas (4.5

The 300 weighs 257 with a full (3.5). When I first the bike over, I thought the was empty it was so much easier to up, but the tank was actually full. The weight came in extremely at one point today during my ride.

So, enough intro get to the comparison.

Power: XR650R

If is one thing the XR650R has going for it, it is It is everywhere. It is instant. It makes it to get away with A LOT on such a big

On a 2T you are mostly clutching to get TO the power. On the I was often clutching to get out of it. On single stick it in second and CHUG. the trail gets too tight each PUT of the engine wants to you off course, just slip the a little and keep going. You can almost any hill climb at a stop, and just let the clutch out in gear and roll on the throttle and the PIG just climb and climb and

The only thing that stop it is lack of traction there is never a lack of or control of it. Obviously, I love the power. The 300 had it’s work cut out for it.

Honestly, the first time the 300 to life, some guttural from 20 years ago suddenly from my subconscious. The quickness which is revved reminded me how I got into trouble on the old CR250R. the 300 truly is very smooth and well down low. for a

Where I was clutching the 650 to moderate the I was clutching the 300 to keep from Granted, a shift to first have negated the clutch, but put me right into the meat of the a that was not where I wanted to be. the 300 can lug like crazy down there was one big difference between it and the Even when the 650 was barely and about to … between twist the throttle and it just off.

No if, ands, or buts. You say go, it hang-on. I noticed on the 300, its was totally dependent on RPMs. low it was very sluggish, almost to accelerate. Get the RPMs up a little, and it was to chug and pick up the pace.

Any above that, and you were along for the ride, and hoping to the front tire pointed you wanted to go. Proper use of the clutch was both high and low RPM to achieve the result. To be fair, I don’t how it is jetted, and how much it can be improved at point, but it flat out rips before the power valve opening, Lifting the front was effortless at times when I the motor was lugging and down on

Just a slight twist of the and I instantly knew how much this thing has even the PV closed ( or only JUST Steep climbs were not as as on the Pig. The 650 gives complete of how much power you want, the 300 was out of the power, or wheeling up the hill. I need to learn to ride it It did load up after slow for awhile, which I understand is common in these older and better in the newer ones.

It is geared 14-48. It is in need of and chain, so I think I will go and see what happens.

Suspension: 300

The I rode today is covered in cobbles, gravel, step-ups, downs, baby heads. It is no fun to ride, but the 300 was like butter. It was to go faster across the gravel and heads.

It was simply amazing. It was a harsh mid … on some of the edge bumps, but I won’t it for that until after I the oil changed. A couple turns on the helped a little.


The XR650R is actually very good for what it is. It has never been as as the 300 was. I am also 40 pounds too for the springs but it still does well in most situations. It a little in the larger rocks, and in the loose stuff, but it just works adequately whatever the

One thing that has always me about the 650’s suspension is I have never had arm pump it. Up long steep hills, miles of whoops, on tight braking bumps on single It just soaks it all up. I couldn’t say the for the KTM.

It was wearing me out in the rougher, stuff, and the clutch pull is hard at the moment.

Handling: 300

The KTM great. Not once did it tell me we were going as so often the 650 Anywhere I asked it to go it just without a single slip of the On the narrowest line between it would just run along and not Riding it was effortless.

Of then 650 just fall in the rut, or through turns — not the It also took zero and felt weightless.

Weight: 300

I mentioned the lower weight of the 300 in handy today? About 30 into my ride today, I the throttle cable (or so I thought). the was just turning freely zero resistance and no spring So I got to push the bike back a half mile to a mile.

That would have me with the 650. It was actually and easy on the 300. Other the 100 degree weather it was quite

One big thing I have discovered for parts the last week is while MANY parts are by other KTMs at least ’05, many others are not and you need to cross reference the diagrams.

CONCLUSION: I LOVE the way the handles and the weight. I would a little more torque low, and mid range power is Even the slightest twist of the at the wrong time could get me in

After riding the WR and now the 300, I think I can go back to the PIG for the tight But I can’t help but think is the 350 exc the perfect combination.

The XR650R may around since it is plated and has a setup as well.

Edited by 30 June 2012 — PM.


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