2017 KTM 300 XC Review | First Impression

Check out our First Impression review of the 2017 KTM 300 XC two-stroke off-road machine.

After riding the KTM 250 SX, and feeling how smooth the new engine was, we were excited to learn that the new engine design incorporating a counter balancer would be shared across the KTM 2-stroke lineup. In the past, the 300 has always made strong power, and been our first choice when conditions got nasty, but there was always a noticeable vibration felt through the bars and foot pegs.

2017 KTM 300 XC
2017 KTM 300 XCDR Staff

The 2017 KTM 300 XC was designed for closed course racing, and comes with a lighter weight AER air for, and linked rear suspension. Out on the trail the air fork holds up well and has a progressive feeling when landing or going through g-outs. The linkage works in unison with the progressive feeling of the front suspension, handling larger obstacles well at speed. When the trails slow down it becomes clear that this bikes wasn’t made to crawl through rock gardens and extreme obstacles as much as it was made to race on more open courses. That’s not to say it can’t be done, just that it has more of a tendency to bounce from rock to rock rather than drive straight through the obstacle.

2017 KTM 300 XC
2017 KTM 300 XCDR Staff

In the engine department everything is smooth as silk. The lack of vibration is impressive and well received by everyone who rode the bike. From the second that the bike fires up with the push of a button, it’s clear that the old vibration traits are gone, as the front fender hardly shakes anymore. Throughout he rpm range the engine remains smooth, making the majority of its power down low and tapering off when revved, it doesn’t completely fall off, but it lets the rider know it’s time to shift by making more noise than power. The part of the engine that really shines is its ability to be lugged one or two gears high. The engine can be lugged incredibly low without fear of stalling, this gives you the ability to minimize wheel spin and maximize traction. Although the engine makes great power, we did notice that the new Mikuni carburetor is sensitive to elevation change, and even going from 2,000 feet to 4,500 feet made the bike seem rich with a need to be cleaned out after lugging for long periods of time.

2017 KTM 300 XC
2017 KTM 300 XCDR Staff

The 2017 300 XC comes standard with great quality ODI grips, as well as handguards that are quite sturdy. It would be nice considering that the bike was built for off-road, if it came standard with a skid plate, even if it were a minimal glide plate. Also the bike doesn’t come with a spark arrestor, which is lame considering that most off-road riding areas require spark arrestors. From the looks of things, and after our initial ride on the new 300 XC, it seems as if KTM has hit the mark on what they set out to do, which was create a smooth, go-fast 300cc two stroke. Make sure to keep an eye out for an upcoming issue of Dirt Rider where we will be doing a comparison test between KTM’S 2017 300 XC and the 300 XC-W, to help our readers decide which bike meets their demands.

2017 KTM 300 XC
2017 KTM 300 XCDR Staff
ADVERTISEMENT