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from stroker to smoker or not

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ARE THE 300 SMOKERS AS GOOD AS THEY SAY, I have an 04 and 05 450exc now and love them, I also have 2 adult sons that ride, I will be getting a new bike soon, it is very easy to find people that ride 300's that say it is like cheating, I also have ran into a couple of riders my age that said I probably would not like it. I am a mechanic so understand the differences in maintenance. Have any of you guys ridden the smokers and went back to a stroker? I am a moderate trail rider 6ft 170lbs 49yr old. don't race but can hold my own on the trail. From what I can find there is only 15lbs difference between them, just not sure I would like the smoker seems like they would be harder to ride (clutch work, brake work, getting traction)

ANY INSIGHT WOULD BE APPRECIATED Thanks,

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I have a 2015 husky fe350s. It's been seriously tricked out, but still, it's an awesome trail bike and very smooth.

I rode a friends ktm 300 two stroke on the same trails. That bike tried to yank my arms off all day! I'm 6' 1" and 215lbs and in pretty good shape.

My friend works on my bike and another just like it. He just traded the 300 for the 500ktm four stroke because he liked the 4 strokes much better. He cursed me for making him do it...

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Lot's of different variables. For uglier technical terrain, the 300 is hard to beat. Once it opens up more, the big bore 4 strokes are more at home. With a 250/300 it might not have as much torque as a 450, but will rev down to practically nothing without stalling. 4 strokes have a tendency to stall at those speeds. I don't see the weight as a huge dissadvantage on the 4 strokes, if anything it helps keep them in a straight line at higher speeds. 

 

I actually find my 450 harder to ride because of the surge of power and then deceleration when you chop the throttle... makes it kinda herky-jerky at low speeds.

 

The only time my 300's need more clutch work than the 450 is if I'm in the wrong gear. The 450 I can just pick a gear and leave it. 

 

The 450 has more traction at faster speeds, the back doesn't want to slide out in slick conditions. I actually prefer the traction of the 2 strokes on low speed obstacles as the 4 strokes feel kinda throbby at low rpms. Either way, throttle control is most important on the 2 stroke.

 

A lot of it depends on what style of rider you are and what characteristics you prefer. I'm a dyed in the wool 2 stroke guy, so I have never been at home on a 4 stroke. One of my best friends has always rode 4 strokes and has never been too impressed with my 300's. The best bet is too try one out.

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I prefer 4 stroke 350 over the 300. The 300 can be a bit unpredictable at times and gets away from you.

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I am 45 and tried two different 450's. I had an 03 crf450r and then tried a wr450. the crf was agreat bike in the open, but i hated it in the woods. the wr was a little better in the woods, but was very top heavy feeling to me. I gave up for a while, just didn't think that there was a bike out there for me. Then I started researching and read a ton of good things about the 300's. I had also tried a couple of different mx style 250 2t's, but wouled not even try them in the tight woods. I started looking for a KTM 300 and came across an awesome deal on a 2015 Beta 300rr. I have been very pleased with the bike. The thing with the 300's is they are easy to tune to your liking. My Beta has no noticeable "hit". I can lug it around all day without stalling or much clutch input. You can tune it to rip your arms off if you so desire, I just prefer a more tractor like approach for climbing and slower stuff. This is definitely the easiest bike out there to ride that I have been on. I have had no flame outs or stalling issues and the starter is awesome. I too have never raced, just trail ride. I will have to say though that I have not been on one of the 350's, so I can't compare there.

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I had a CRF450X for a few years then went to a KTM 300 XCW. I ride a couple hare scrambles a year in the desert and search for the ugliest hills, washes and rock piles on "trail" rides because we don't have a lot of established riding areas. The 450X felt way heavy when I had it, but with that weight and a smooth powerband it felt very grounded. The weight would simply wear you out during a race if you don't have time for a lot lot lot of seat time. I went to the 300 and loved it. I could lug it in the nasty rock wash and pin it up to 90MPH+ on the two-track sections. The 300 doesn't require the clutch work a 250 MX'er does because of the heavier flywheel and adjustable powervalve, completely different feeling than the on/off light switch powerband of the old 250's when setup correctly (setup is a cake walk)

Then A buddy bought a KTM 500 XC-W and we swapped bikes for a day. The smooth powerband of the SOHC motor is too easy to ride making it possible to clutch up a hill slowly without breaking the rear end loose, but also has the torque if you wanna pin it up the hill in 3rd and jump off the top, roosting all the way up. The motor was smooth on the two-track sections at high speed compared to the 300 where it felt tapped. It was a little more to muscle in the tight sections, but hardly noticeable with the right form and balance.

I also have a Trials bike so I like to find obstacles to practice trials type moves on my enduro bikes. The smooth chug motor of the 4-stroke feels a lot more like a my 2-stroke trials bike to me.

Reluctantly I sold my 300 and bought a KTM 530. It's all setup for my riding now with revalved suspension off of a 505 XC-F, GPR stabalizer, Flexx Bars, regeared, etc. I love the open class KTM because the same reasons I mentioned above for the 500, but also it is truly an amazing all around bike, better yet it has a plate so I am planning on buying some SM wheels this spring for some fun on my commute.

Bottom line: I needed a "do everything bike" (race, trail ride, commute and go fast) and the big bore stroker fit the bill. I wish I could have a 300 also, but it's not in the budget. If you are riding strictly woods and single track, get the 300 and you will definitely not regret it. Guaranteed.

Hope this helps

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Open terrain favors the four strokes more. I had a 525 the same year as your 450. I enjoyed it for the plate but was so happy to go with a lighter bike.

You need to ride one, or 5. The problem is 2 strokes are very sensitive to jetting. One guys bike can be a p@ssy cat and the next is a lion.

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Thanks all, I have not had a chance to ride the 300 as of yet but still considering it and a new 450,

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I am 53, 5' 11" 170 lbs, been riding in Colorado since I was 12.  Rode two strokes for years.  Finally moved to the 450 4 stroke.  Took me the longest time to get used to the 4 stroke but came to love the "lazy mans bike" since you just twist the throttle and it goes nearly anywhere.  As you already realize, you dont have to constantly monitor what gear you are riding, anticipate steep hills, etc.  Last June, I had an opportunity to trade my '10 Husaberg FE450 for a '12 KTM 300 XC-W.  My first impressions were that the KTM 300 vibrated the shit out of my hands and feet.  I especially felt it on the footpegs.  It also has a steering stabilizer which is nice, but the KTM absolutely needs one.  Seemed like the steering stabilizer saved me on many different occasions, because it is so squirrely handling. 

 

Everytime that I rode the KTM this past summer, while I liked that it feels lighter (i think it is about 25 lbs lighter wet weight than my WR450F), i missed the lowend power and torque from the 450 4 stroke.  For me, the WR450F just has a greater thrill factor for me when it opens up.  If I know that I am riding tight stuff all day, I would probably pick the KTM 300 to ride but that is not a typical day of riding in Colorado.

 

The other thing that I did with the WR450F was I added a used Rekluse Z-Start Pro after getting to ride a buddy's bike that had one.  Makes the hard single track stuff even easier than the KTM 300, but the heavier bike is a bit more tiring after a long day. 

 

All that being said, if I had to have only one bike now, it would be the 450 4 stroke.  One other consideration is that in Colorado at high altitude there is no substitute for cubic inches/torque.  250/300 cc two strokes can be a little weak above 11K.  Back in the day, my dad rode an IT465.  Everytime we were above treeline, I would have to keep the revs up on my CR250 and work it hard to keep it from stalling on the steep stuff.  He would just tractor right on by me most of the time barely having to twist the throttle.  The 450 4T is very similar in that aspect.

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