Old guy, slowing down

I'm now a ripe old 56 and slowing down. My current ride is an '08 300 XC. Prior to that I had a KLX450R and before that a KX500. I really love the 300 XC but it's just not the bike I want to ride. As much as I hate to admit it, the tractable 4 stroke power delivery was wonderful but the KLX was WAY top heavy. Actually, just too heavy all around. I've never really been a competition rider, just fast trails and hill climbs. One last item: At 5'8" and a short 29" inseam, I HATE TALL BIKES. I usually cut the seat foam, drop the clamps down the fork tubes and change links on the rear.

My youngest son has a KX250F. It feels nice and nimble, certainly not over powered either. For most of my riding, the power level would be acceptable but as you may have noticed, I like big motors. I would consider a 450 but it would have to be very light. What I MUST HAVE is an electric start. I refuse to kick a 4 stroke.

I've been looking around at Yammy WR250s, the Honda 250X, and KTM XCFs. Here are my hot buttons:

-Light weight
-Electric start 4 stroke
-Carbs over FI (unless tuning the FI is dirt easy)
-Street registerable is a plus but not mandatory

That's all I can think of. What say yunz?

Never slow down.... rock gardens are harder going slow :)

Also don't prefer the carbs over injection, they don't flood if you drop the bike end you'll never have to clean another pilot jet again

Beta 350 or 390.  Betas have the lowest seat height in a full sized bike.  I'm seeing a ton of them here in Michigan because, like the KTMs, they just work really well in the woods.  I probably saw 3x new 2017 Betas last year than I saw new 2017 Honda's, Kawasaki's or Suzuki's.  Only KTM/Husky and Yamaha had more new 2017 bikes out on the trails (that I saw).

I haven't ridden the Beta 350 or 390 but I know a guy that owns both.  From talking to him, the 350 and 390 have similar displacement but different character.  Like the KTM 350s, the Beta 350's engine character is like a a 250 that's stronger everywhere.  They have very wide useable RPM range.  The torque is mild.  They like to rev.  The 390 has the engine character of a mild 450.  The RPM range is smaller, there's more torque off the bottom and the power feels more abrupt.


The Betas are nice bikes but there aren't many available near me.

Right now I'm looking at KTM 350s.  Seems like a perfect bike, other than the seat height and that can be fixed.

2 minutes ago, gwcrim said:

The Betas are nice bikes but there aren't many available near me.

Right now I'm looking at KTM 350s.  Seems like a perfect bike, other than the seat height and that can be fixed.

I have a '16 350 XCF-W and it's a great bike.  It's about the tallest bike you can find though.

Also keep in mind they no longer make the XCF-W, but the EXC-F is the street legal version of it.  The XC-F has the motocross engine and a semi-close ratio gear box.  The XCF-W / EXC-F have a completely different engines than the XC-F.  If you like lugging the bike through slow technical stuff the EXC-F engine is the better choice.  However the EXC-F is street legal and subject to EPA emissions regulations.  So if you go that route you'll need to desmog it and shell out money for the Vortex ECU.

I wouldn't recommend the XC-F unless you are doing all fast terrain.  While it's a brilliant motor and really fast, it is not designed to lug down low at all.  You'll stall a lot if you ride slower more technical stuff.  It also doesn't have a fan like the EXC-F / XCF-W.  Which is another reason it doesn't like the slow technical stuff.  In past years the XC-F suspension didn't eat up the rocks and roots as well as the XCF-W / EXC-F but was better on whoops, jumps, etc.  I have heard the new air forks are more flexible and can be made quite soft for dealing with the roots and rocks or firmed up for faster whoops, jumps, etc.w

Good luck!


I'm a ripe old 58 and trying to go faster, but  getting there "easier"...that's one reason why I bought a 300 XC-W and selling my 15' 350 XC-F...With the little time I have on the XC-W, it seems to be proving me right..the lighter weight, the less stress getting through technical, and just the awesome throttle response has made me a believer..

If I was you, I would take a good hard look at a newer 250 XC-F..It would definitely be my 1st choice if I was gonna double up and get another 4T...

Plus, watching Kailub Russell racing on one is very impressive..

Interesting info on the XCF.  Certainly not the story you get at KTMTalk for sure.

Why not tune your 300 for more low end torque? Plenty of things you can do to it to make it even more of a tractor, and get it to do just what you want.

1 hour ago, gwcrim said:

Interesting info on the XCF.  Certainly not the story you get at KTMTalk for sure.

What part?  

As you probably know Husky's are made by KTM.  Graham Jarvis is running the Husky FE250 which is the equivalent of the KTM 250 EXC-F.  The reason he's not running the FX250 (the KTM equivalent of the 250 XC-F) is because for the slower technical stuff the XC-F isn't the best choice.  

I'm not saying one is better than the other.  It just depends on your terrain and how you ride.   If you are riding fast stuff the XC-F is amazing.  If you are riding slow and technical the XC-F would not be my first choice.  Especially if you are used to being able to tractor around on a 300 two-stroke.


I duplicated this post at KTMTalk and so far the 350 XCF seems to be highly recommended.  Actually, I think a Freeride would be da shizz but they're hard to find second hand as well.

My main gripes about my 300 is the seat height (and I've lowered it as much as possible w/out getting into the suspension) and the loss of traction when the power comes on.  The 4 strokes don't break the tire loose as easily.

Last weekend my 15 yr old son rode the 300 and seems to like it more than he thought he would.  I may spend some saddle time on the KX before I make a purchase.  I do recall that I hate how the 4 strokes stall so quick.  Maybe it's just the winter blues and I'm looking around for no good reason at all.  That 300 XC is one nice monster.















A year older than you and I took the leap from a  300 down to a XCW-F 250 and I like it.  

57 years old here. I have been on the KLX450R since 2011. Seems the perfect woods bike to me, but I am tall enough to love the seat height. I am still strong enough to flick it around easily even though it is 273 lbs all armored up.

My friend had the 2014 KTM Freeride 250 2T and it sucked big time for us.  No backup kick and the e-start never worked right. I was always towing him out of the woods.  Whatever you get, make sure it has a kick starter as well as e-start.  I don't think that 350 does.

Beta x trainer 300?

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