Jump to content

Confessions from a new 300 owner

Recommended Posts

Generally being new to dirt bikes I've learned a lot over the last few months... My background is primarily mountain bikes these days (pro level Enduro/DH racer) but I've been riding/racing sport bikes for 19 years (since I was 16) so I'm not new to motorcycles. Spent quite a bit of time doing stunt shows for awhile as well. 

IMG_0427.jpg.fd0dc50f0b67064f44240c5863660c16.jpg

Kawi 636 back in 2006-ish.

 

I recently had some back injuries that will probably keep me out of being competitive on a bicycle for awhile so I figured I'd pick up a dirt bike to do some trail riding. Luckily lowered pegs and 25mm risers get my back where it needs to be to stay happy.  

In mid-July I bought a 2020 TE300i.

FD326618-D419-4C4B-88B3-CF391BF2D2BA.thumb.jpg.1ce04014a2c4c957fe3e540a76600f9e.jpg

South Platte, Colorado

 

I always preferred a liter bike on the track, I was never a fan of excessive shifting or having to really ring the bikes neck to get power out of it. Tons of research and a few thousand dollars in accessories- some good, some probably not necessary: radiator guards, brush guards, swingarm guards, carbon side covers, high compression head, aftermarket pipe, fancy LED headlight, risers, footpegs, silencers, tires, bibs, tubliss, yada, yada. I definitely bit into the hype a little bit from the array of snake oil salesmen that seem to dominate the industry. "You need this or your bike will explode". "Don't ride your TPI bike until you do this", bla bla bla. Mostly all bullshit.    

I generally prefer unmarked single track and try to avoid jeep/4wd road at all costs. The more gnarly the better. Not having a note on the bike probably makes me throw it on the ground more than I should. It's not a mountain bike... 

867273402_ScreenShot2019-09-30at9_15_27AM.png.271d6f0a950a81d23806a87462b8b188.png

                                Carnage Canyon, Buena Vista Colorado. 

 

I'm in Colorado and ride anywhere from 4,000' to over 13k. The 300 is amazing. The bike is a monster.

The mods that made the biggest noticeable difference in order-

1. Comfortable ergonomics- 25mm risers and lowered footpegs. Eliminated knee pain allowing me to pinch the bike better, and letting me stretch out. I'm 6'1 200lb FWIW. Obviously user dependent.

2. Tires. The stock tires are horrible. A shinko cheater 505 in back and a bridgestone M59 in front are amazing for this type of riding.  I tried a Fatty in front and it's too big for our conditions, floats on top of the looseness instead of cutting through. This is obviously largely dependent on local conditions- if you have real dirt the stock tires are probably fine. Colorado is mostly some type of mixture of decomposing granite, sand, etc. I'm jealous of the PNW guys.

3. The Power Valve. 1/2-1 turn out made a huge difference in where the power came on and really woke the bike up down low. 

4. High Compression head. The RK Tek head also made a noticeable difference in power output. 

5. DEP pipe. As noticeable of difference in power as the head. 

Eliminating misconceptions- The bike doesn't run lean. The spark plug has looked perfect before and after all mods and its ran flawlessly for 30 hours. Even before the map update. 

Warranted Concerns- 

1. The bike idles low in technical terrain and the clutch drags. This can cause the bike to die and it's annoying. I've thought of purchasing a cheap tachometer to see what it really idles at and to turn up the idle a bit. At this point I'm assuming the warnings of turning up the idle and leaning the bike out are most likely just more snake oil to get you to try and buy some type of fuel tuner. 

2. The power valve leaked bad. Easy fix once identified. Grey RTV around the plastic "D" gasket, and about an hour worth of labor. 

 Would I buy a 300 again?

I'm not sure. My wife also recently got into dirt bikes (she rode MTB with me previously). She outgrew an old CRF230 in a few weeks and graduated to a 2019 KTM 150 XCW.

IMG_2719.jpeg.0bb8c9b9dff46cc7dd944affa62ee5d0.jpeg

 

After having some initial issues getting the Mikuni dialed in the bike is a lot of fun. The Mikuni is definitely very elevation sensitive. Adjusting it per the manual (but going a clip leaner on the needle) for 7500-10000' it was extremely rich between 10k-11k and would barely run at 12k. Maybe this is my inexperience with dirt bikes but I expected better. Luckily I had a friend who was getting rid of a Lectron HV 38 for a great price. 

I've talked to the various tuners that shit on Lectron, SmartCarb, Mikuni, Keihin, etc.

The takeaway I've found is this:

The lectron is more smooth than the Mikuni. This may either propogate an idea that it robs power, or isn't as "good". For our application ease of use across varying elevation profiles is more important than ringing its neck for every last drop of power. I can say that even when jetted appropriately the Lectron has a smoother power delivery and better initial throttle response. If I were purchasing new I probably would have bought a smartcarb just because the rod can be adjusted without taking the slide out. 

The 150's now coming in TPI make all of this a moot point. 

The 150 got a lot of similar mods to the 300 minus a little fluff- risers, footpegs, hand guards, rad. guards, etc. Riding the 150 is more fun than the 300. The weight difference, while only 20-30 pounds is EXTREMELY noticeable. Pivot turns on this bike compared to the 300 are laughable. It feels like a large mountain bike. It still pulls all 230lb (in gear) of me up steep hills in 2nd gear at 8000'. For slow speed gnarly terrain this bike is hard to beat. The one area where it lacks is very steep technical terrain. Momentum is key and makes this bike a little harder to ride than the 300, but it's also more challenging (fun) than just twisting your throttle hand. 

319648226_ScreenShot2019-09-30at10_02_07AM.thumb.png.247c2027482ae08d306a7d70526656c4.png

 

Other highlights of the KTM 150 over the Husky 300- The suspension sits higher and is generally more composed. My 300 is sprung for my weight and still suffers a lot of unwanted dive. The 150 with stock springs sits higher and remains more composed in higher speed whoops (25-35mph). Even with stock springs. I'm assuming some of this difference is PDS vs. Linkage. I've purchased reeds and a high compression head for this bike to see what it will do for adding low end power. I'll put them on next week. If it's not wide open terrain (think desert riding) I'm much faster on the 150 than the 300. The bike is just that much more maneuverable. 

I don't want to sell my 300 but if my wife gets sick of me constantly stealing her 150 I may have to work some overtime to afford a 3rd bike. It'll probably be a TPI model KTM, and it'll get ridden more than the 300. 

Also for what it's worth I have about 30 hours on the 300 and nearly 15 on the 150. 

Edited by StreetDoctor
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you backed out the power valve adjuster?  I've heard lots of rumors about this.  "leave it where it is or the bike will explode" to "it will mess up the ecu and not run right".  How did adjusting yours wake yours up in more detail?  You have me curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, mmc205 said:

So you backed out the power valve adjuster?  I've heard lots of rumors about this.  "leave it where it is or the bike will explode" to "it will mess up the ecu and not run right".  How did adjusting yours wake yours up in more detail?  You have me curious.

Ya man, I read the same thing and it took me about 15 hours to mess with it because I was scared it would explode. I went 1/2 out. The difference it made was it woke the bike's low end up and got rid of a bit of a flat spot. Previous to this it never really felt like what I envisioned a 300 would be. Comparatively my buddies 2018 TE300 with smartcarb and hi comp head felt like a 500. When we would swap bikes he said the same thing. For power mods I think it's the best thing you can do to these new 300s. As my bike sits right now my buddy with the 2018 thinks its too powerful. I've thought about putting the timing selector back on to run it in "soft" mode more just because I think it would make certain conditions a little easier to ride. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, StreetDoctor said:

Ya man, I read the same thing and it took me about 15 hours to mess with it because I was scared it would explode. I went 1/2 out. The difference it made was it woke the bike's low end up and got rid of a bit of a flat spot. Previous to this it never really felt like what I envisioned a 300 would be. Comparatively my buddies 2018 TE300 with smartcarb and hi comp head felt like a 500. When we would swap bikes he said the same thing. For power mods I think it's the best thing you can do to these new 300s. As my bike sits right now my buddy with the 2018 thinks its too powerful. I've thought about putting the timing selector back on to run it in "soft" mode more just because I think it would make certain conditions a little easier to ride. 

hmmm.  I may have to try this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 2020 te300i, live in Boulder and ride from home up to 10,000 ft. After about 20 hrs, I took my bike back to the dealer and they reflashed it with the latest software and adjusted the power valve. They turned the power valve out 3.5 turns (so it opened completely at 5000rpms). The difference is crazy.  It's an entirely new bike now. It had zero hit and felt gutless compared to how it feels now. The dealer also said that adjusting the power valve wont negatively affect the bike's durability.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tony T said:

I have a 2020 te300i, live in Boulder and ride from home up to 10,000 ft. After about 20 hrs, I took my bike back to the dealer and they reflashed it with the latest software and adjusted the power valve. They turned the power valve out 3.5 turns (so it opened completely at 5000rpms). The difference is crazy.  It's an entirely new bike now. It had zero hit and felt gutless compared to how it feels now. The dealer also said that adjusting the power valve wont negatively affect the bike's durability.

What dealer? I completely agree with you about it waking the bike up! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, StreetDoctor said:

What dealer? I completely agree with you about it waking the bike up! 

Elite in loveland. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Tony T said:

Elite in loveland. 

That's where we got the 150 from. Good group of guys and the best price I could find. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, 2strokenut said:

Were you the one who had issues with the SEP fitting well?

Yep. The DEP fitment was a real pain in the ass. Ended up using about 3/8” of rubber washers to get the stinger off the shock spring. Also took a solid 30 minutes of sanding to fit into the silencer. The power difference was very noticeable though. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, StreetDoctor said:

Yep. The DEP fitment was a real pain in the ass. Ended up using about 3/8” of rubber washers to get the stinger off the shock spring. Also took a solid 30 minutes of sanding to fit into the silencer. The power difference was very noticeable though. 

Damn. I loved my dep on my 19 300. Not sure I want to deal with this. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2019 at 10:05 AM, StreetDoctor said:

Generally being new to dirt bikes I've learned a lot over the last few months... My background is primarily mountain bikes these days (pro level Enduro/DH racer) but I've been riding/racing sport bikes for 19 years (since I was 16) so I'm not new to motorcycles. Spent quite a bit of time doing stunt shows for awhile as well. 

IMG_0427.jpg.fd0dc50f0b67064f44240c5863660c16.jpg

Kawi 636 back in 2006-ish.

 

I recently had some back injuries that will probably keep me out of being competitive on a bicycle for awhile so I figured I'd pick up a dirt bike to do some trail riding. Luckily lowered pegs and 25mm risers get my back where it needs to be to stay happy.  

In mid-July I bought a 2020 TE300i.

FD326618-D419-4C4B-88B3-CF391BF2D2BA.thumb.jpg.1ce04014a2c4c957fe3e540a76600f9e.jpg

South Platte, Colorado

 

I always preferred a liter bike on the track, I was never a fan of excessive shifting or having to really ring the bikes neck to get power out of it. Tons of research and a few thousand dollars in accessories- some good, some probably not necessary: radiator guards, brush guards, swingarm guards, carbon side covers, high compression head, aftermarket pipe, fancy LED headlight, risers, footpegs, silencers, tires, bibs, tubliss, yada, yada. I definitely bit into the hype a little bit from the array of snake oil salesmen that seem to dominate the industry. "You need this or your bike will explode". "Don't ride your TPI bike until you do this", bla bla bla. Mostly all bullshit.    

I generally prefer unmarked single track and try to avoid jeep/4wd road at all costs. The more gnarly the better. Not having a note on the bike probably makes me throw it on the ground more than I should. It's not a mountain bike... 

867273402_ScreenShot2019-09-30at9_15_27AM.png.271d6f0a950a81d23806a87462b8b188.png

                                Carnage Canyon, Buena Vista Colorado. 

 

I'm in Colorado and ride anywhere from 4,000' to over 13k. The 300 is amazing. The bike is a monster.

The mods that made the biggest noticeable difference in order-

1. Comfortable ergonomics- 25mm risers and lowered footpegs. Eliminated knee pain allowing me to pinch the bike better, and letting me stretch out. I'm 6'1 200lb FWIW. Obviously user dependent.

2. Tires. The stock tires are horrible. A shinko cheater 505 in back and a bridgestone M59 in front are amazing for this type of riding.  I tried a Fatty in front and it's too big for our conditions, floats on top of the looseness instead of cutting through. This is obviously largely dependent on local conditions- if you have real dirt the stock tires are probably fine. Colorado is mostly some type of mixture of decomposing granite, sand, etc. I'm jealous of the PNW guys.

3. The Power Valve. 1/2-1 turn out made a huge difference in where the power came on and really woke the bike up down low. 

4. High Compression head. The RK Tek head also made a noticeable difference in power output. 

5. DEP pipe. As noticeable of difference in power as the head. 

Eliminating misconceptions- The bike doesn't run lean. The spark plug has looked perfect before and after all mods and its ran flawlessly for 30 hours. Even before the map update. 

Warranted Concerns- 

1. The bike idles low in technical terrain and the clutch drags. This can cause the bike to die and it's annoying. I've thought of purchasing a cheap tachometer to see what it really idles at and to turn up the idle a bit. At this point I'm assuming the warnings of turning up the idle and leaning the bike out are most likely just more snake oil to get you to try and buy some type of fuel tuner. 

2. The power valve leaked bad. Easy fix once identified. Grey RTV around the plastic "D" gasket, and about an hour worth of labor. 

 Would I buy a 300 again?

I'm not sure. My wife also recently got into dirt bikes (she rode MTB with me previously). She outgrew an old CRF230 in a few weeks and graduated to a 2019 KTM 150 XCW.

IMG_2719.jpeg.0bb8c9b9dff46cc7dd944affa62ee5d0.jpeg

 

After having some initial issues getting the Mikuni dialed in the bike is a lot of fun. The Mikuni is definitely very elevation sensitive. Adjusting it per the manual (but going a clip leaner on the needle) for 7500-10000' it was extremely rich between 10k-11k and would barely run at 12k. Maybe this is my inexperience with dirt bikes but I expected better. Luckily I had a friend who was getting rid of a Lectron HV 38 for a great price. 

I've talked to the various tuners that shit on Lectron, SmartCarb, Mikuni, Keihin, etc.

The takeaway I've found is this:

The lectron is more smooth than the Mikuni. This may either propogate an idea that it robs power, or isn't as "good". For our application ease of use across varying elevation profiles is more important than ringing its neck for every last drop of power. I can say that even when jetted appropriately the Lectron has a smoother power delivery and better initial throttle response. If I were purchasing new I probably would have bought a smartcarb just because the rod can be adjusted without taking the slide out. 

The 150's now coming in TPI make all of this a moot point. 

The 150 got a lot of similar mods to the 300 minus a little fluff- risers, footpegs, hand guards, rad. guards, etc. Riding the 150 is more fun than the 300. The weight difference, while only 20-30 pounds is EXTREMELY noticeable. Pivot turns on this bike compared to the 300 are laughable. It feels like a large mountain bike. It still pulls all 230lb (in gear) of me up steep hills in 2nd gear at 8000'. For slow speed gnarly terrain this bike is hard to beat. The one area where it lacks is very steep technical terrain. Momentum is key and makes this bike a little harder to ride than the 300, but it's also more challenging (fun) than just twisting your throttle hand. 

319648226_ScreenShot2019-09-30at10_02_07AM.thumb.png.247c2027482ae08d306a7d70526656c4.png

 

Other highlights of the KTM 150 over the Husky 300- The suspension sits higher and is generally more composed. My 300 is sprung for my weight and still suffers a lot of unwanted dive. The 150 with stock springs sits higher and remains more composed in higher speed whoops (25-35mph). Even with stock springs. I'm assuming some of this difference is PDS vs. Linkage. I've purchased reeds and a high compression head for this bike to see what it will do for adding low end power. I'll put them on next week. If it's not wide open terrain (think desert riding) I'm much faster on the 150 than the 300. The bike is just that much more maneuverable. 

I don't want to sell my 300 but if my wife gets sick of me constantly stealing her 150 I may have to work some overtime to afford a 3rd bike. It'll probably be a TPI model KTM, and it'll get ridden more than the 300. 

Also for what it's worth I have about 30 hours on the 300 and nearly 15 on the 150. 

So yer sayin I need to buy my wife a 150......wink wink

  • Helpful 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 150s have a major grin factor when you are wringing their neck, but for me, the effort required to keep one ripping is too much trouble for racing and in technical areas with steep hills. But I'm either Racing or racing everyone I'm riding with, and I like power. After riding 450s, the 300 already feels like a 150 to me weight wise. I ride with several guys that swear by them and know a few guys that went back to 300s. It's all personal preference, that's why there are so many different bikes.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, 69fastback said:

The ‘20 TE300 really is a magnificent machine. 

Demo's available?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Piney Woods said:

Demo's available?

Sure! Come on out to north Texas and ride it all you want. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice.  I'm in CO as well and probably riding the same places.  150s are awesome! I love my 300 though and wouldn't give it up.  Try to get a ride on a tx if you can, I think you'd love the suspension differences. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/3/2019 at 3:15 PM, Piney Woods said:

Demo's available?

Been talking to some buddies and there’s going to be a couple of riding days in October and then I’m gone to training for 3 months. If you want to make it up here I’ll use a buddy pass to get you into RRMT since we ride on weekdays. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have both the 19 XCW 150 and the 20 300. Just like with my women I love them both for different reasons ;)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, 69fastback said:

Been talking to some buddies and there’s going to be a couple of riding days in October and then I’m gone to training for 3 months. If you want to make it up here I’ll use a buddy pass to get you into RRMT since we ride on weekdays. 

Very nice offer, thank you. 👍

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:


×
×
  • Create New...