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2014 KTM 300 + PowerParts Review at 19.9 Hours - Picture Heavy

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I thought it would be nice to do a review/update with pictures of my 2014 KTM 300 XC just to give any idea of how these bikes hold up.  Plus I had nothing else planned today…  This is my second KTM 300, the last being a 2006 XC-W.  A little background, I picked the bike up in December of 2013 and before the first ride I added the standard protection and preferred accessories to the bike.

  • KTM PowerParts Quick Release Skid Plate (548.03.190.100)
  • KTM PowerParts Aluminum Radiator Guards (777.35.936.144)
  • KTM PowerParts Hour Meter (SXS.12.450.600)
  • KTM PowerParts Pro Bend Hand Guards – Orange (U695.1375)
  • MSR Rear Disc Guard
  • Enduro Engineering Clutch Slave Cylinder Guard
  • KTM WP Fork Wrap Graphics
  • Motion Pro T3 Throttle Cable +4”

 

This is how the bike sat before the first ride after getting it ready for the woods. 0 hours!

 

IMG_20131216_214851_zps2245c567.jpg

 

 

Before the first ride I also went through and greased the wheel bearings, steering head bearings, and linkage bearings.  I also put dielectric grease on the electrical connections, routed the upper carb. vent lines, and put loc-tight on key bolts.  Below are a couple pictures from that process.

 

IMG_20131215_153958_zps6af2b09f.jpg

 

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Maiden voyage!

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Over the course of the last 19.9 hours I have added a few accessories and managed to destroy a few parts.  Overall the bike has held up very well and works amazing.  I was a little nervous at first taking a new bike out into the woods and thrashing on it… that feeling died after I dropped it on the last loop of the break in ride.

 

Since new I have changed the oil after every ride with Rotella and put in a clean air filter.  Also after every ride I give the bike a good cleaning and check the bike over.  I have only lost 1 bolt from the lower exhaust hanger while everything else has held tight.

 

Here is the stock pipe.  Besides the 3 large dents in various spots, it was also bent around the electric starter, all from 1 ride.

 

100_1154_zps6d79c2ea.jpg

 

 

Since busting up the stock pipe I have added an FMF Gnarly which added to the low end pull (it did not need! :smirk: ) and it is much more robust then the thin stock unit.  I have still managed to add some dents but it does not bend like thinner pipes.  I ran on of these on my last 300 and I see no other option for nasty terrain.

 

100_1136_zpsafd1a387.jpg

 

 

 

I have been running Castor 927 at 50:1 with 93 pump gas.  After the first 2 rides I added a JD jet kit that really woke the bike up and removed the mid-range bog.   I am getting a nice burn on the spark plug and I have only adjusted the air screw based on temperature.

 

 

The additional added accessories are as follows:

  • BRP Rubber Mount Scotts Sub Mount
  • Bridgestone 403/404 tires
  • Heavy Duty Tubes
  • Fastway Linkage Guard

The stock MX51 tires were complete garbage.  I have nothing nice to say about them.  After the first ride I ordered a set of the dependable Bridgestone 403/404 tires and just like always they worked!  I am not sure why KTM equips an off-road oriented bike with the MX51s, at the first sign of moisture/mud it was like riding on slicks.

 

I added the BRP Sub Mount with a Scotts stabilizer for 2 reasons.  The first is for the Scotts stabilizer as the front end tended to get twitchy at speed and in nasty rock/root sections.  This was a wonderful improvement and well worth every penny.  I had never used a stabilizer before and I will not have a bike without one again!  The second reason for choosing this assembly was to combat the vibration through the handlebars and absorb some of the sharp edged hits.  The BRP rubber mounts works pretty well but raises the bars almost a complete inch.

 

100_1151_zps68cce2bb.jpg

 

 

Most of the mods were completed around the 12 hour mark on the bike.  I have raced it twice since getting everything to my liking.  I am very pleased with my purchase and plan to keep the bike for some time.  My only complaint is the somewhat harsh forks but I did put in some time tweaking them last weekend.  They are not perfect but working better then the re-valved suspension on my previous 2006 KTM 300.  The next big purchase will be a full suspension rework from the guys at Ride PG/GDR/WP USA (whatever name they are going by now).

 

 

Below are some pictures of the bike as it sits today after a good power washing.

 

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Routing the upper carb lines to the air box.

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KTM PowerParts radiator guards.  They sit in front of the radiators and work extremely well.  They are very lightweight and allow you to keep the stock louvers.

100_1141_zpsd5f75aac.jpg

 

 

When adding the Gnarly pipe I had to grind some material off the radiator guard for additional clearance.

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The Fastway linkage guard has taken a beating and should be considered a must have for rock or log infested terrain.

100_1134_zps40e592d8.jpg

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100_1139_zps676a06d4.jpg

 

 

Love these grips and they are showing no signs of wear.

100_1159_zps116ebc41.jpg

 

 

 

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The quick release skid plate is awesome but shows wear.  Seems to take a beating.

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If you have any question let me know.  I hope to update this as I get more time on the bike and see what holds up and what needs help.

 

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I see the throttle cable is mounted around the front of the numberplate. Is that a aftermarket cable? Also have you wire the cable to the carb if not?

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Why did you route upper carb lines to air box? What is the idea, something to do with riding deep mud and water? :/

Edited by KTMfinrider

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I see the throttle cable is mounted around the front of the numberplate. Is that a aftermarket cable? Also have you wire the cable to the carb if not?

 

Yes it is the newer Motion Pro T3 cable.  I bought it before I even picked the bike up after reading the horror stories of stuck throttles on previous model years.  The cable is offered in the stock length or +4" which I have.  It threads into the throttle housing and carb eliminating the need to safety wire it, it cannot pull out of either end.  The stock 2014 cable was the same way but I wasn't taking the chance.  This Motion Pro T3 cable is much more robust and sealed with grease making the pull very light, it is still preforming as new.

 

 

Why did you route upper carb lines to air box? What is the idea, something to do with riding deep mud and water? :/

 

Yep, I keep 2 overflow lines + the bowl line running down under the bike.  The other 2 lines are routed to the airbox as shown in the picture.  This keeps the bike from having all the lines submerged going through deep water and developing a vacuum on the carb.

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I just bought a 2014 KTM 300XC two weeks ago. Unfortunately I have only been able to ride it for 1 hour total.

 

I have not stripped the bike down to re-grease any bearings. The dealership told me it wasn't really needed since KTM greases them well from the factory. What were your findings? I think i'll buy some dielectric grease and do the electrical connections for sure. I'll consider the bearings as well if you think its necessary? 

 

So far I love the bike! it feels very light and nimble almost like my 05 YZ250 did. First thing I noticed when riding is that the front tire wanted to wash out in the wet leaves/ mud. I'm guessing that is due to the crappy stock front tire like you mentioned. Bike felt like a dog too until it got broken in a little bit. Still feels rather tame compared to my YZ. I think a JD jet kit is in order. What oil ratio are you running? I'm considering 40:1 since I often ride sand and tend to be on the main jet quite a bit. I also ride trails though so I hope its not too much when i'm putting around in the tight stuff.

 

Really enjoyed the write up you did. Thanks!

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I just bought a 2014 KTM 300XC two weeks ago. Unfortunately I have only been able to ride it for 1 hour total.

 

I have not stripped the bike down to re-grease any bearings. The dealership told me it wasn't really needed since KTM greases them well from the factory. What were your findings? I think i'll buy some dielectric grease and do the electrical connections for sure. I'll consider the bearings as well if you think its necessary? 

 

So far I love the bike! it feels very light and nimble almost like my 05 YZ250 did. First thing I noticed when riding is that the front tire wanted to wash out in the wet leaves/ mud. I'm guessing that is due to the crappy stock front tire like you mentioned. Bike felt like a dog too until it got broken in a little bit. Still feels rather tame compared to my YZ. I think a JD jet kit is in order. What oil ratio are you running? I'm considering 40:1 since I often ride sand and tend to be on the main jet quite a bit. I also ride trails though so I hope its not too much when i'm putting around in the tight stuff.

 

Really enjoyed the write up you did. Thanks!

 

I would highly recommend taking the time to grease all the chassis bearings.  I found the wheel bearings to be ok but was able to pack more grease in them.  The linkage and swing arm had traces of grease but not enough for me.  My steering head bearings were pretty much dry.  Also when going through the bike check over the cable and wire routing, I had some out of place.

 

I am running 50:1 with the recommended JD jetting.  Proper jetting made the power much smoother with a noticeable hit higher in the RPMs. In stock trim it was ok on the bottom, transitioned into a mid range bog, then to a top end scream.

 

The biggest thing that took time to break in was the suspension.  I would say by the 8 hour point it was feeling much better and more consistent.

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I just bought a 2014 KTM 300XC two weeks ago. Unfortunately I have only been able to ride it for 1 hour total.

 

I have not stripped the bike down to re-grease any bearings. The dealership told me it wasn't really needed since KTM greases them well from the factory. What were your findings? I think i'll buy some dielectric grease and do the electrical connections for sure. I'll consider the bearings as well if you think its necessary? 

 

So far I love the bike! it feels very light and nimble almost like my 05 YZ250 did. First thing I noticed when riding is that the front tire wanted to wash out in the wet leaves/ mud. I'm guessing that is due to the crappy stock front tire like you mentioned. Bike felt like a dog too until it got broken in a little bit. Still feels rather tame compared to my YZ. I think a JD jet kit is in order. What oil ratio are you running? I'm considering 40:1 since I often ride sand and tend to be on the main jet quite a bit. I also ride trails though so I hope its not too much when i'm putting around in the tight stuff.

 

Really enjoyed the write up you did. Thanks!

Don't believe your dealer, here is a pic of my upper steering stem bearing, doesn't seem like enough grease to me. Bike is a 13 150 sx, pics are from February 2013. At this point it had 2 hrs on it.

683e2ecf2d724be6d77a400eb2437fc7.jpg

9e6b48a61c0f317e09343641fc0f315c.jpg

The linkage wasn't any better.

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Yep, I keep 2 overflow lines + the bowl line running down under the bike.  The other 2 lines are routed to the airbox as shown in the picture.  This keeps the bike from having all the lines submerged going through deep water and developing a vacuum on the carb.

 

Which two lines are those exactly? I've attached a photo of my carb from my 150 for guidance.

 

After reading and seeing this post, I realized that having the hoses routed beneath the bike may have been the cause of my motor taking in water last year. I was riding on a particularly sloggy day with deep ruts, some of which had 12+ inches of water in them. Upon finishing a moto, I heard a "whirling" noise coming from the bottom end and my motor buddies immediately suggested it was coming from my lower bearings. Upon tearing open the motor we found what had to be at least a couple of table spoons of water in the bottom end and the evidence of water damage was found throughout the motor i.e. bottom bearing we're shot and the cylinder and piston severely scoured with deep seize marks all over. Up until today after reading this post, I never thought of a plausible way the water was digested. We didn't find evidence of water passing through the filter, nor was the air boot compromised. Not once did any of us, or anyone on the TT suggest it could be taken digested through the carb hoses. While I'm not sure which hoses "suck" inwards, this now seems to be obvious and a likely scenario as to how this happened.

 

I left the case open, and it seems you may have solved the caper for me. Please advise which lines to move.

 

13963927104_e6120c3aba_c.jpgphoto 2

Edited by tk2stroke

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How much of a job is it to strip the bike down to re-grease the steering head and linkage bearings? I have never done it before but i'm going to give it a whirl.

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How much of a job is it to strip the bike down to re-grease the steering head and linkage bearings? I have never done it before but i'm going to give it a whirl.

Mine took a couple hours, I took my time since it was winter when I did it.

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How much of a job is it to strip the bike down to re-grease the steering head and linkage bearings? I have never done it before but i'm going to give it a whirl.

 

Neither are too bad, and the owner's manual that comes with the bike covers all the torque specs and some of the dis-assembly and re-assembly.

 

For the steering head I recommend removing the front wheel, forks, and removing the front brake at the handlebar.  See page 45 of the manual, section 11.11, for how to assemble the triple clamps.  There is even a nice diagram showing how it all goes together.  Get the grease well cycled into the (2) bearings and it doesn't hurt to pack in extra.  Bolt it back together.  I would recommend looking up videos or instructions for aligning the front wheel and fork correctly, a lot of people miss this step.

 

For the linkage I suggest removing the rear wheel to make life a little easier.  See section 11.20 from the manual covering removal of the rear shock.  You do not need to remove the stock at the top mount, but this section shows how the linkage is assembled under the swing-arm.  You have the (3) bolts to remove the "angle" lever as KTM calls it and (1) bolt connecting the "dog bone" link to the frame. You do need to remove the rear brake lever to access this bolt.  Be very careful removing the bolt from the frame mount.  On the shifter side you will see a gold colored round nut that is kept from spinning with a flat on the nut and frame.  As you loosen the bolt the nut can slip away from the flat and spin freely, simply apply a little pressure to the nut so it stays against the frame as the bolt is loosened.

 

There are faster ways to do this and little tricks to skip steps, however I recommend taking your time and paying close attention.  Once you get it apart putting it back together should be easy.  The KTM owner's manual that comes with the bike is not a shop manual but can be very helpful.

Edited by MotoX178

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Which two lines are those exactly? I've attached a photo of my carb from my 150 for guidance.

 

After reading and seeing this post, I realized that having the hoses routed beneath the bike may have been the cause of my motor taking in water last year. I was riding on a particularly sloggy day with deep ruts, some of which had 12+ inches of water in them. Upon finishing a moto, I heard a "whirling" noise coming from the bottom end and my motor buddies immediately suggested it was coming from my lower bearings. Upon tearing open the motor we found what had to be at least a couple of table spoons of water in the bottom end and the evidence of water damage was found throughout the motor i.e. bottom bearing we're shot and the cylinder and piston severely scoured with deep seize marks all over. Up until today after reading this post, I never thought of a plausible way the water was digested. We didn't find evidence of water passing through the filter, nor was the air boot compromised. Not once did any of us, or anyone on the TT suggest it could be taken digested through the carb hoses. While I'm not sure which hoses "suck" inwards, this now seems to be obvious and a likely scenario as to how this happened.

 

I left the case open, and it seems you may have solved the caper for me. Please advise which lines to move.

 

13963927104_e6120c3aba_c.jpgphoto 2

 

 

 

I routed the two vertical lines coming out of the carburetor.  The stock lines actually had enough slack to stay in the bundle and still make it to the air box.  Below is a picture of how it looks on my bike.  I left the (3) other lines running under the bike and used new zip ties.

 

 

carb1_zpse22eb0da.jpg

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Thanks for the snapshot. Have you verified that those two hoses pull air inwards?

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Thanks for the snapshot. Have you verified that those two hoses pull air inwards?

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Thanks for the snapshot. Have you verified that those two hoses pull air inwards?

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Neither are too bad, and the owner's manual that comes with the bike covers all the torque specs and some of the dis-assembly and re-assembly.

 

For the steering head I recommend removing the front wheel, forks, and removing the front brake at the handlebar.  See page 45 of the manual, section 11.11, for how to assemble the triple clamps.  There is even a nice diagram showing how it all goes together.  Get the grease well cycled into the (2) bearings and it doesn't hurt to pack in extra.  Bolt it back together.  I would recommend looking up videos or instructions for aligning the front wheel and fork correctly, a lot of people miss this step.

 

For the linkage I suggest removing the rear wheel to make life a little easier.  See section 11.20 from the manual covering removal of the rear shock.  You do not need to remove the stock at the top mount, but this section shows how the linkage is assembled under the swing-arm.  You have the (3) bolts to remove the "angle" lever as KTM calls it and (1) bolt connecting the "dog bone" link to the frame. You do need to remove the rear brake lever to access this bolt.  Be very careful removing the bolt from the frame mount.  On the shifter side you will see a gold colored round nut that is kept from spinning with a flat on the nut and frame.  As you loosen the bolt the nut can slip away from the flat and spin freely, simply apply a little pressure to the nut so it stays against the frame as the bolt is loosened.

 

There are faster ways to do this and little tricks to skip steps, however I recommend taking your time and paying close attention.  Once you get it apart putting it back together should be easy.  The KTM owner's manual that comes with the bike is not a shop manual but can be very helpful.

thanks for the info. I'm a little nervous since its a brand new bike but i'm going to tackle the job. I'll go out and invest in a nice toque wrench first I think. 

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Thanks for the snapshot. Have you verified that those two hoses pull air inwards?

 

These lines are meant to vent the carburetor, I have not experience water being pulled in through them.  The problem with having all the lines routed under the bike is if they become submerged the carburetor can no longer breathe.  This will starve the bike for fuel causing it to stall, probably in the creek you are trying to cross.  

 

The advantage to routing (2) lines up is the carburetor can still vent with the lower lines submerged.  Some people route them to the air box like I did or you can route them under the gas tank and get them even higher.  When you do dump the bike on the side the lower/horizontal lines will act as the overflow and the vertical lines should avoid overflow.

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