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58 yr old thinking of buying an ‘18 300 XCW..never ridden a 2 stroke.

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So that’s right, I have 65 hrs on my 2015 KTM 350 XCF and thinking of taking the plunge into jetting headaches, reed changes, mixing gas, and a lot of other things I have to learn about. I ride twisty, turny, roots and rocks trails on the east coast and just not liking the weight of the 350, my main complaint.. It is far from nimble and just having to lift it off the ground is killing me. Better to not crash, I know....my concern about the 2 strokes are that you have to be “on” them all the time, constant focus, unforgiving, and just plain twitchy..can they be finessed and “lugged” a little if you don’t want to ride like a madman sometimes? Especially on the technical stuff? Can you pick your way through sections with some thought?

 

I realize there’s a lot more to consider, but I have to make the decision to buy one before ever riding one..or stick with a new 350 4t, which I know are lighter also..a plus for me.

 

At 58, I wonder if I’m too “old” for a 2 stroke. I’m a lean 170lbs, good shape, and raced Mt bikes for years, so I’ve had quite a bit of single track experience pedaling a bike..I’m even considering trying a hare scramble or two someday!

 

I like my 350..it’s a blast to ride. So if it “ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Any thoughts out there? I love reading in this forum. Thanks..

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From what I’ve seen the 300 is just the opposite of what you thing. It’s smooth, luggable, and tracks pretty damn good. These new ones have counterbalances and stuff, the engine literally purrs like a kitten. The type of terrain you’re describing sounds like the ideal place for the 300. You’re never too old for a two stroke nowadays, they’ve gotten WAY better.

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it isn't a mythical beast.... bike is great and will suit you well.

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Oddly enough, a riding buddy of mine had a '14 350xc and sold it for a '15 250xc and absolutely loves it (and he's dam fast on that 250).  That 300 will feel just as strong as your 350 only lighter and it will be able to lug lower than your 350.  Jetting solutions can be had on this forum, in your manual, from your dealership or with a JD kit ~ your choice.

In the end you will only own so many bikes, so why not try the 2t dark side ~ we have cookies!

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You won't need to ride it on the pipe to get good power, the new motors are nothing like the old days of 2 stroke power bands acting like a light switch.  I bought a TE150 for the lowest weight and it has plenty of low end for picking through the tight single track in the PNW, the 300 should have more than enough.  Admittedly I'm 61 and not going as fast as I used to but the 150 is perfect for me at this point.

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I went from a '09 450 xcf to a '16 250 XC and couldn't be happier. I lug around tight and twisty trails in 3rd gear all day, rarely ride on the pipe unless I'm on a wide open trail or on a track somewhere. 

I think you will love the 300 over the 350 from the sounds of it. 

 

I also come from a mountain bike background (still race both XC and DH). Usually weigh in around 175-180 on average. 

I'm also trying to get my wife into dirtbiking, she's ridden my 450, she for a short time owned a heavy wr250f, and has ridden my 250, tried out a 125 this weekend, and even my son's 85 on big wheels. To date, the bike she feels most comfortable with is my 250 due to it's luggability and linear power delivery and light weight feel (she said it felt lighter/less top heavy than the yz125 she tried this weekend). She's a total novice and can barely use a clutch. (Though she's a hell of a mountain bike racer)

 

Edited by kickstand_ktm
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not too old for a 2 stroke.  I ride with a 58 year old on a '17 KTM 300 XCW.  Rode the '13 version before that.  I'm 55 and ride a '12 KTM 300 XC-W.  You will like the light weight (although a KTM 350 seems pretty light).  The older I get the more I am favoring going back to two strokes. 

Jetting really isnt that challenging.  Follow what is in the KTM owners manual and make slight tweaks from there.  Powervalve is tuneable but doesnt need constant adjustment.

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I think that the 300 xcw is the perfect “old man” bike. I am 55 and grew up riding 2 strokes. Due to family, work and other obligations I stopped riding for about 25 years or so. I started riding again on a DRZ 400, then a YZ 426 then a WR 450 and was never quite satisfied. I purchase a 2009 300 xcw and I loved that bike. In March my wife bought me a ‘17 300 xcw as an anniversary gift. After some suspension work, I go about 250 with gear, and the JD jetting kit it is the bet bike I have ever ridden.

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I’m a 56 year old who’s always loved his big bore 4-strokes. Had a 530-EXC then a 500-EXC before taking the plunge on my first 2-stroke in decades. I went for a ‘15 300-EXC 6 Days & loved it, very light & flickable & doesn’t tire you out like the 500. Thought I would miss the engine braking but the 300 has some but has excellent brakes. I did fit a gnarley pipe which made it even more torquey. Now on my 2nd 300 which is a ‘17 & also loving it. Won’t be going away from one for a while if ever. 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

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One of the best features of the ktm 2ts is the almost infinitely adjustable powervalve. My 300xc has the soft powervalve spring and a gnarly pipe and my bike almost doesn’t have a “hit”, just smooth easy to control power. It will lug down to very low rpm without stalling.

I honestly rarely even use 1/2 throttle, it’s all 1/8-1/4 throttle in 2nd/3rd gear through some fairly tough technical single track and the bike is easy to control. The traction you get riding at low rpm like this is incredible, you can literally crawl up steep climbs and not even spin, just get traction and pulls you up the hill with minimal drama. No digging huge holes and going nowhere.

The ktm 350s are more of a racers bike, if you are fast they are a great bike, a few fast locals ride them, but when the riding gets slow and tech, the 2ts are far better for the average guy.

 

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5 hours ago, mallai said:

my concern about the 2 strokes are that you have to be “on” them all the time, constant focus, unforgiving, and just plain twitchy..can they be finessed and “lugged” a little if you don’t want to ride like a madman sometimes? Especially on the technical stuff? Can you pick your way through sections with some thought?

I like my 350..it’s a blast to ride. So if it “ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Any thoughts out there? I love reading in this forum. Thanks..

With a 300, to make them smooth and forgiving you just ride 1 or 2 gears higher than you think you should. They can get mean too if you rev and get on the pipe but they really don't like to rev. 300 is happy in the lower half of the powerband... all torque. You can ride them REALLY lazy if you want.

If we're just talking deadlift weight, the new 4-stroke and 2-strokes really aren't that far apart anymore.

For racing and going fast, I'll take a 350 all day. For gnarly, slow, technical riding nothing is better than a 300. They're mountain goats!

 

 

Edited by Kosmic
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I have been riding 2 stokes all my life, 61 now and 50 years of riding. I got a 07 525 4 stroke in 09 and never picked it over my 2 stroke except for dual sport riding. I still have the 525 but have a 2013 300 xcw that is street legal and find I almost never ride the 4 stroke. As others have said the 300 is so friendly it is amazing and the best bike I have ever rode. Also this is the easiest bike to change the tune of I have ever played with and just a power valve spring change will show you how simple it is to go from mellow to fast but it likes what ever you choose. This 300 will probably be my last bike and that suits me just fine as I am very happy with it and know it will be there for me.

You will be glad you went with the 2 stroke and won't look back IMHO

Ed

 

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I went from a 250 4 stroke to the 150sx 2 stroke and it was the best move I have ever made. I haven't rode a 300 2 stroke but I have a new 250 2 stroke and it had crazy power. You will be happy with the move. Good luck.

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Not sure why guys say the 300 isn't a rev happy motor....it's a 300 2-stroke motor so when you're revving and in the upper end of the powerband,  it's too much power for most....including myself. 

I have an 07 300 and have it set up with the stiffer powervalve which equates to a more mellow delivery. I have played with the powervalve screw and I like it at a flush setting. My gearing is low compared to others at 13/52. With this setup, my bike is almost a one gear (3rd) bike for where I ride and that's what I was going for. 1st gear is too low for any usable riding except low speed wheelies and popping the front end over low speed obstacles, but that's really all i can do around my house anyways. 5th gear is plenty for around here unless I'm on a paved road and my bike isn't plated anyways. 

Point is, the 300 is extremely adjustable and a very versatile dirt bike. Lightweight, easy to ride, can lug or rev if needed. I came off a KTM 200 and couldn't be happier with the 300.

 

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19 hours ago, mallai said:

I ride twisty, turny, roots and rocks trails

That's what I ride, and my '17 300 XC is 1000x better bike for that environment than my '15 350 XC-F was.  On the 300 2T I'm lugging in 3rd gear in sections that the 350 couldn't get out of 1st.

The 300 is very smooth off idle / bottom end, and feels much lighter as well.

Edited by redrider144
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If all these positive and informative replies don't get me to buy one, I should just give up the passion all together..Thanks..

I'll get one.

I've learned the new TPI's are "soft" on the low end and that the XC-W's have the added light bling and that the wider gearing is more suitable?

So I'll get an XC-W..

1st thoughts on immediate mods for me are:

  • G2 Dirt tamer throttle
  • Installing my Scott's steering damper from my 350
  • Skid plate, disc guards, pipe guard and flange protector?.. (heard they break easy and big money to fix)
  • Tubliss tire system
  • My Tusk Impact wheels from my 350
  • And of course, some brand of jetting kit that everybody talks about ( I need to read up more on 2 stroke carburetion/tuning)  

 

Anything else I desperately need besides the standard maintenance stuff and 2 stroke engine oil? :) 

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1 hour ago, mallai said:

If all these positive and informative replies don't get me to buy one, I should just give up the passion all together..Thanks..

I'll get one.

I've learned the new TPI's are "soft" on the low end and that the XC-W's have the added light bling and that the wider gearing is more suitable?

So I'll get an XC-W..

1st thoughts on immediate mods for me are:

  • G2 Dirt tamer throttle
  • Installing my Scott's steering damper from my 350
  • Skid plate, disc guards, pipe guard and flange protector?.. (heard they break easy and big money to fix)
  • Tubliss tire system
  • My Tusk Impact wheels from my 350
  • And of course, some brand of jetting kit that everybody talks about ( I need to read up more on 2 stroke carburetion/tuning)  

 

Anything else I desperately need besides the standard maintenance stuff and 2 stroke engine oil? :) 

I would ride the bike some before the G2 Throttle Tamer as I had considered one but now am glad I didn't install it. IMO, the Midwest Mountain Engineering Clever Lever is a better mod.

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2 hours ago, mallai said:

If all these positive and informative replies don't get me to buy one, I should just give up the passion all together..Thanks..

I'll get one.

I've learned the new TPI's are "soft" on the low end and that the XC-W's have the added light bling and that the wider gearing is more suitable?

So I'll get an XC-W..

1st thoughts on immediate mods for me are:

  • G2 Dirt tamer throttle
  • Installing my Scott's steering damper from my 350
  • Skid plate, disc guards, pipe guard and flange protector?.. (heard they break easy and big money to fix)
  • Tubliss tire system
  • My Tusk Impact wheels from my 350
  • And of course, some brand of jetting kit that everybody talks about ( I need to read up more on 2 stroke carburetion/tuning)  

 

Anything else I desperately need besides the standard maintenance stuff and 2 stroke engine oil? :) 

I think that your toughest task will be finding a new one. They sell very quickly once dealerships get them.

 

Joe

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The 300s are a fantastic bike to ride technical on. Very hard to stall and light as you should ever need a Enduro bike to be.

The lower fuel range should be considered over the 350 though as this caught me out when I had my 2 stroke, it was way less miles to a tank.

I missed engine braking too much in the end and brought a 2017 fe 350 which I wouldn’t swap for any other bike, 2 or 4 stroke as it truly is perfect but you do notice the weight increase.

Hey, if you don’t like the 2 stroke, at least it will be easy to sell!

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