2016 TM MX 300 Two-Stroke Review

We test TM's new 300 two-stroke motocross bike, check out our review of the Italian motorcycle here.

An exotic option for riders who crave something a little different than the norm, the TM MX 300 two-stroke has very distinctive, sharp lines on the bodywork, along with bright blue wheels that make the bike stand out in the pits. My first thought when I saw this bike was, “Wow, this thing looks super trick!” As I looked more closely at the 300, I noticed it was outfitted with Brembo brake calipers and a hydraulic clutch—clearly, the Italian engineers have a taste for fine components.

2016 TM MX 300
At $8,800, the TM is a boutique option for someone who craves an exotic two-stroke MXer. Here, Ricky Yorks throws a scrub aboard our stock test unit.Photo by Jeff Allen

"This machine is perfect for any rider that has spent time riding an open class bike (500 two-stroke) and likes to ride down in the revs, short-shifting and chugging while also carryings speed."

- —Ricky Yorks, 6'1", 190 lb., PRO

With one kick, the motor fired up pretty effortlessly. I warmed it up for a minute and took a few mellow laps around the track; immediately, I noticed that the motor characteristics resemble a 500 much more than a 250. The 300 didn’t like to be revved out; it was much happier being ridden in the bottom and mid-range of the torque curve. Just when the big two-stroke really started to build steam, the motor seemed to go flat and run out of power. Of course, this could be avoided if you timed your shifts a little sooner and kept the engine lower in the rpm, rather than trying to rev it as you typically would on a 250 two-stroke. As I logged more laps on the bike, I started to feel out the chassis and controls. Ralf Schmidt, the TM USA importer, had told us during the presentation that the frame of the TM 300 MXer closely resembled that of a 2012 Honda CRF250R. I could feel this as the bike took to inside lines very easily, yet it lacked high-speed stability on the faster parts of the track (I think part of the problem was the excessively high handlebar that comes stock on the bike.)

TM MX 300 - Left Side Static
We definitely feel that the TM 300 is one of the coolest looking stock two-strokes in the pits; like most Italians, the bike just oozes style!Photo by Jeff Allen

After a second session of riding, Ralf insisted that I try his personal bike (which was also a TM 300), which he had spent considerable time fine-tuning. The bike had a lower bend Renthal bar and ran an aftermarket steering damper. Instantly, the bike felt more comfortable and more stable then the stocker that I had been riding all morning. I also felt that his suspension was quite a bit different than the stock bike I had ridden. The KYB forks were very soft on the stock bike; Ralf had mentioned that he added stiffer front fork springs to help balance the feel of his bike and make it feel “less European” with the typical soft fork setting from the factory.

TM MX 300 - Pipe Shot
True to most big two-strokes, the MX 300 likes to be ridden in the low and mid-ranges. The bike is much happier when lugging than it is when being revved.Photo by Jeff Allen

My overall thoughts on the bike were that with a little more time and setup, the TM 300 could be fine-tuned exactly to my liking. This machine is perfect for any rider that has spent time riding an open class bike (500 two-stroke) and likes to ride down in the revs, short-shifting and chugging while also carryings speed. Yes, the TM is a little different then your typical Japanese two-stroke, but it’s a good platform with tons of potential. Once you get this machine dialed, you will definitely stick out at your local track and draw a crowd wherever you go riding.

TM MX 300 Mod - Corner Action
The stock suspension on the TM 300 is fairly soft, but we were able to experience added hold-up with this slightly-tuned version bike.Photo by Jeff Allen

Check out www.tmracing-usa.com for more info!

TM MX 300 - Corner Shot
Sure, the TM is hugely different than your standard Japanese model, but it’s a unique bike that is loaded with potential. Ricky Yorks blazes yet another turn aboard the big two-stroke for our cameras.Photo by Jeff Allen