2017 tm en 300 fi review

Well, managed to sell the beta and picked up a new 2017 tm en 300 fi four stroke from a local dealer last weekend. Looking round the showroom, the tm looked the best quality of the brands, although the shercos and the new honda crf450 Dave thorpe editions did look rather good too. The heart went with the tm, I've never ridden an aluminium framed one, just went with what I really wanted to buy. 

I'll get a couple of gripes out the way first, mostly maintenance/ design related rather than anything to do with how the bike rides,

  • The kill switch is located on the front of the light cluster on the left side of the handlebar, seems a bit daft to me, would be better with a simpler design. 
  • The speedo doesn't measure hours, only mileage and a trip meter. Also the neutral light doesn't go off when the bike is in gear. 
  • The airbox looks like it is designed to funnel water into your filter, I'm planning on making a plastic cowl for the air filter so that any water will drain down into the drain hole. 
  • I took the airbox off to inspect the electrics underneath, it was awkward to get back on the bike, as was the seat (I've been spoiled by the beta push button seat) Some of the plastics don't line up perfectly either.
  • There is hardly any clearance between the rear shock and the frame, engine, exhaust and injector. The rear shock looks like it is rubbing on the exhaust. Not a lot of wriggle room there. 
  • The rear shock spring rubs on a cover on the inner part of the shock, never had this on a shock before this bike, seems a bit strange but have been told it is a common trait of tms. 
  • Plastic domino throttle grip has a lot of play, seems a bit naff on a bike this nice. 

Some likes about the design of the bike,

 

  • The choke is accessible on the handlebar, makes the bike real easy to start. Starter motor seems strong, looks easily accessible and the idle is super easy to adjust too.
  • Comes with some really nice stock bits, a power bomb style pipe, excel rims, galfer discs, nissan and brembo brake components, hydraulic clutch, kyb forks, pro grips, lithium battery etc.
  • Oil and filter change was painless and easy, not many bolts to undo. Also shares the same filters as a yz450f, which makes them fairly cheap to get. A lot of perishables are shared with other brands. 
  • Cleaning the bike, a lot less muck got into the airbox with it being so high. Really like the fuel tank being in the back, easy to fill, nice to have a clear tank and really seems to work from a handling perspective. 
  • All the controls feel nice, the bike is comfortable to stand or sit on. Perfect rider cockpit in my opinion, suits a variety of heights and builds. 
  • For the most part the fit and finish is really good, I have silicone greased any open electrical connectors I have found, thankfully it looks like all the fuel injection and ignition related plugs have proper connectors (not like beta ones)  
  • She comes with handguards and a sump plate standard, which is a nice thing to have on an enduro as standard. 

Had the first two rides on the bike on the weekend. Wired the grips, checked everything over. Went four clicks softer on the compression and seven on rebound from the stock position on the front forks, to help it free up during the break in period. Haven't touched the shock. Pretty much riding it stock, I'm 182lbs or 13 stone in gear, 5 foot 7 with longish legs being a lady lol, so I tihnk i'm in the range of the standard springs, info on this is hard to come by. In the past I have had a kdx220, beta 300rr, beta xtrainer 300 so used to 2 strokes, riding a 4 stroke took some adjustment. I'm at an average sort of level. I have also ridden friends 2017 ktm 350 xcws and the husky equivalent. My partner brought out his 2016 crf450x and a friend brought down his new 2018 husky 250 tpi, we swapped bikes over the weekend so I feel I can make some good comparisons. Our little practice enduro track was dry, fast and flowing, with a few tight wooded technical bits, jumps etc. stony and rough in places.  

First things first. I absolutely love the bike, no complaints about the suspension, never found the forks too harsh like a lot of the reviews say, and the bike is not a fire breathing pro only mega tool, it's actually a beautiful thing to ride for different abilities. A few close friends had a ride on it, all came away saying they were surprised how good it was! Now onto details,

Power

Not as powerful as the 450x or the 250 tpi, which isn't a bad thing. Bear in mind im not hammering the bike too much as the engine is still very tight. Very progressive power with smooth delivery, the top end is exciting, can't wait to break her in some more and really start revving her out. A lot easier to ride in the faster flowing stuff than a 2t in my opinion. It's not intimidating power, real easy to ride, I don't think I'll ever be wanting more power. The 450 had much more off idle, I prefer having less, gets you into less trouble! The 250 tpi was just super sharp, caught me out a bit over a jump, haha, too much bike for me. 

Handling

The best handling bike i've ever ridden by far. Feels light but very stable. Corners so well. Even for an average joe like me, it's so confidence inspiring to have a bike that handles so well at speed. It just wants to make you go faster.

Suspension

Again, best i've ridden out of the box. Does have a firm feel, but tracks well over rough terrain. Excellent front end on it. Rear end got sideways a few times on jumps, I put it down to my riding technique, could play with the clickers down the line though. No deflection off rocks on the front, felt at home in all conditions. Was pleasantly surprised, much better than what the online reviews let on. The new husky tpi had good suspension too, very soft, pillowly sort of feeling with a good resistance to bottoming. I still preferred the tm, you have more of a feel of the ground and feel less disconnected than the new huskys and ktms I have ridden. 

The seat height is fairly tall, but the bike is narrow. I'm on my tip toes at 5 foot 7. I don't feel as comfortable in technical terrain on it, it is easy to stall at the moment and not as maneuverable as a 300 2t. I'm going to have to get used to using more clutch and revs at slow speed, as i'm used to the luggability of a 300 2t. This area I feel it is not as strong as the betas, but it out shines the other machines i've had on the track and in faster, flowing terrain.

Brakes are excellent, gearbox seems strong, shifts well.

My friend had a 350 four stroke husky before the 250 tpi, he said he didn't understand why I went with a tm until he rode it. In his opinion it is far better than a ktm or husky four stroke out of the box. 

I'll try and update sometime with some videos and more pics. It's a fantastic bike, I was doubting my choice a little before I rode it, wondering if I should have gone with a yam, but now feel totally stoked about the bike! I hope you found this review helpful if you're thinking about buying one. 

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Bike looks great, the switch gear isn't the greatest for sure, mine has a racing harness on it, eliminating all that stuff including the speedo. You may find that the petrol cap is difficult to open some times (sm project make a after market one along with some other trick goodies). Keep a eye on the side stand bolts, they tend to rattle loose and are easily stripped out of the frame, I use a piece of rubber tube to keep it tied up wen riding so it doesn't bounce like the ktm.huskys use. Rear shock is a pain to setup the pre load as I don't like using a hammer and punch so it needs to be removed to adjust. Rear brake disc tend to wear quickly, i've replaced mine with a solid one which has been on my 2012 250, 2014 300 and now on my 16 250, it just doesn't seem to wear at all. The rear chain guides are horrible, the bend easy and de rail the chain and also plastic wears quickly and you don't notice it and the chain will cut it in half. I put a plastic racetech one on mine, its off a crf450 and fits with minimal modification. Clutch pull is quite light but if you like a super light pull then swap out the lever for a midwest racing lever, makes them super light and its a bit shorter so works well with a 2 finger pull and won't smash your other fingers between lever and bar. Handle bars a quite tall, closest to them are cr high bend bars. 

On 01/05/2018 at 10:02 PM, doctorchopper said:

Bike looks great, the switch gear isn't the greatest for sure, mine has a racing harness on it, eliminating all that stuff including the speedo. You may find that the petrol cap is difficult to open some times (sm project make a after market one along with some other trick goodies). Keep a eye on the side stand bolts, they tend to rattle loose and are easily stripped out of the frame, I use a piece of rubber tube to keep it tied up wen riding so it doesn't bounce like the ktm.huskys use. Rear shock is a pain to setup the pre load as I don't like using a hammer and punch so it needs to be removed to adjust. Rear brake disc tend to wear quickly, i've replaced mine with a solid one which has been on my 2012 250, 2014 300 and now on my 16 250, it just doesn't seem to wear at all. The rear chain guides are horrible, the bend easy and de rail the chain and also plastic wears quickly and you don't notice it and the chain will cut it in half. I put a plastic racetech one on mine, its off a crf450 and fits with minimal modification. Clutch pull is quite light but if you like a super light pull then swap out the lever for a midwest racing lever, makes them super light and its a bit shorter so works well with a 2 finger pull and won't smash your other fingers between lever and bar. Handle bars a quite tall, closest to them are cr high bend bars. 

Thanks for the reply. I can live with the stock switch gear, starting to get used to the layout. Petrol cap seems ok to open, easier to fill which is quite cool, and definitely can tell the weight is lower in the bike than a standard layout. Ive set the sag to 30mm free sag, 110mm race sag. The spring has been rubbing on the exhaust unfortunately, the dealership I bought the bike from did not check the clearance, we moved the exhaust ourselves so it wouldn't rub on the water pump cover, but unfortunately it has worn into the spring. I had to turn the collar 8 times round to get the correct sag, it seems strange the bike has sagged so much as it has only done 5 hours, it's been 15+ hours on other bikes I've had to start to break in the suspension. Im happy with the stock bars, low bars on trials bikes and enduro bikes give me a bad lower back.

 

Slowly getting used to the bike, stalls easy at low revs, just learning to rev it more and use the clutch. Feel like the gearing could do with being a bit lower in 1st for technical terrain. Forks feel pretty good, experiencing a bit of deflection at speed on rocks/ roots. Works well on Motorcross style tracks and going slow too. I've adjusted them 4 clicks out from stock rebound and compression. Still the best forks I've had on a bike hands down. Hopefully will take a vid soon, so far really like the bike riding wise, just a few design faults such as the clearance with the exhaust and rear shock im not so happy with. Something to check if you buy one. 

Is that aluminum shavings on the chain?? Chain wearing into the frame??

On 17/05/2018 at 1:32 PM, weantright said:

Is that aluminum shavings on the chain?? Chain wearing into the frame??

No no, the chain came greased with a white sort of grease, plus I'd been cleaning the rest of the bike with blue roll, looks like a fragment of that has landed on the chain. 

👍

Stickers started to peel off already, so bought a new set of rad graphics from motocal. I damaged both the clutch and brake levers already, so trying some stronger UFO brush guards instead, colour doesn't match the rest of the plastics, but I'm not too fussed. Got some rad braces on the bike now too, had to modify them on the clutch side of the bike as they were going to press up against the engine, used a lathe to machine down one of the pins, they look strong, seem to be working well so far.

Forks seem a bit harsh, especially hitting logs/ rocks. I'll drain some fork oil out and see if it makes a difference. Getting better at not stalling, but the bike doesn't like going along at low revs, seems to cough and splutter, wanting to stall. Is this just how fi four strokes are? Requires loads of clutching and revs. Riding it back to back with my old TM 125, the 125 was a lot easier to ride at lower revs in tech terrain.

Will try to update soon with some ride vids, got to get some good footage first! 

 

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Every 4t in my garage and past could lug down low so it's the bike. Either not broke in, fueling or design. My dealer that sold TM in the past always mention no low-end compared to other brands.

my tm 250fi en never stalled but my friends 2017 did stall a lot, so might be a 300 problem. Bump the idle up a bit and that should help. Thats un lucky with the levers, I've never broke one in 9 years. Had to modify my clutch side one as well. My friend sold his 300 on as he just couldn't get on with the harshness of the forks, coming from a ktm 300. Amped graphics make some excellent layouts, I got a set that Josh Gotts designed for his race bike http://www.thisisamped.com/shop/mx-graphics/

Plenty of knowledge on KYB's to get you a perfect ride. Also cheap to do it.

On 01/06/2018 at 1:40 PM, weantright said:

Every 4t in my garage and past could lug down low so it's the bike. Either not broke in, fueling or design. My dealer that sold TM in the past always mention no low-end compared to other brands.

It does seem to be getting better, or maybe I'm getting better at using the clutch.

On 01/06/2018 at 4:34 PM, doctorchopper said:

my tm 250fi en never stalled but my friends 2017 did stall a lot, so might be a 300 problem. Bump the idle up a bit and that should help. Thats un lucky with the levers, I've never broke one in 9 years. Had to modify my clutch side one as well. My friend sold his 300 on as he just couldn't get on with the harshness of the forks, coming from a ktm 300. Amped graphics make some excellent layouts, I got a set that Josh Gotts designed for his race bike http://www.thisisamped.com/shop/mx-graphics/

Thanks, bumping up the idle has helped. The forks are fixable and much better quality stuff than oc WPs, I'll stick with it and probably end up getting them revalve for the riding I do. For now I'm playing with the clickers. I've got the sag set to 107mm, 32mm static which seems about right. Mike from tmuk said a lot of thier sponsored riders run the sag between 110-115mm, around 30mm static. 

On 01/06/2018 at 4:38 PM, weantright said:

Plenty of knowledge on KYB's to get you a perfect ride. Also cheap to do it.

A revalve by a shop round here is around £120, which is not bad. I'll probably keep playing with the clickers first, then if that doesn't work oil height, last resort a revalve. 

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