Full Test Of The 2017 TM EN 300 FI

Other than being super rare and pretty much handmade, the EN 300 Fi is also unique

2017 TM EN 300 Fi
2017 TM EN 300 FiSean Klinger

This article was originally featured in the August 2017 print edition of Dirt Rider

Put the number 300 in the same sentence as "off-road dirt bike" and the general riding public would assume you are talking about a two-stroke machine. Yet those Italians like to follow their own pasta-lined path that led them to deciding on a 292.3cc dual-cam, four-titanium-valved four-stroke engine.

Other than being super rare and pretty much handmade, the EN 300 Fi is also unique in that the tank and airbox are swapped, yet the exhaust and intake are in the typical locations. To fill the bike with fuel, you take your gas can to the gas cap on the left number plate rather than behind the handlebar. There are six speeds to help you crawl through the tightest of the tight and blast down open trail at warp speed (just an approximation). Suspension duties are taken care of by a KYB 48 dual-spring fork (not the same as Yamaha's) and a shock made in-house by TM. The EN also has the magic button with kickstart backup, and it is fuel injected yet still has a choke (and a horn, which can be fun).

Engine

Maybe it’s us picturing mustached artisan blacksmiths building this motor in the Italian countryside, but this motor has an old-timey, retro four-stroke feel, which isn’t a bad thing. There is a lot of character, and it lets you know it isn’t a Japanese or Austrian machine. The throttle response is very good, but it is a slower-revving motor. Not like a 650 single, but it doesn’t have that free-feeling, instant snap that modern small-bore four-strokes have. The bottom-end is healthy, yet we wouldn’t go as far as calling it a torque monster. That being said, we were happy to short-shift the bike and the 300 Fi wouldn’t fall on its face or beg for a stab of the clutch. The midrange is ho-hum, almost like a transition point between the smooth bottom and the top-end.

Speaking of, for a slower-revving bike, its top-end is awesome and it just keeps pulling. Our testers noted that the TM’s power character had them blipping the throttle and staying in the lower rpm for the tight stuff and revving it out for every­thing else. The gearing seems pretty wide—we could get away with staying in second (if we felt like revving) or third (if we felt like lugging) for a long time. One blaring downside to this engine is its intake noise. Even more so than Yamaha’s, the intake noise is pretty obnoxious and loud but only to the rider—the overall noise output of the EN is actually pretty responsible.

Suspension

According to TM’s media representative, there are no specified stock settings when it comes to the fork’s and shock’s clickers. Meaning, the factory sets them in the middle of their adjustment ranges and lets the customer adjust from there.

Initially, we found the shock adjustment was close, but the fork was not. The EN 300 Fi has a more performance-oriented setup overall rather than a comfort-oriented one like many Euro trail machines have. Without messing with the clickers, the fork was much too stiff, not wanting to move up or down much at all, while the shock didn’t feel too soft—just that we could use less sag than the 107mm that we set it at initially. Once we got the sag around 100mm, went two clicks softer on the fork compression and four clicks softer on the fork rebound, and went two clicks softer on the shock rebound, those became our best settings.

Even with these adjustments, the fork has an overall firm feeling, which is great for racers and trail riders who need hold-up on hard hits and are going too fast to be bothered with any lack of comfort. The shock works really well and wasn’t as stiff as the fork.

2017 TM EN 300 Fi
2017 TM EN 300 FiSean Klinger

Handling

With our suspension adjustments made, the 300 Fi handles well. The bike is balanced and, perhaps because the rear gas tank keeps that fuel weight lower, it can carve a tight line through the trees and be stable at a decent clip. Even with a firm-feeling fork, the bike didn’t want to push and would lay into a corner without complaint. Overall the bike doesn’t feel heavy on the trail, but it doesn’t feel excessively light either. For such a unique Euro bike, the ergos are spot-on—the rider compartment feels very familiar, almost 2000’s Honda-like.

Fit And Finish

There’s no denying the TM EN 300 Fi has style. From the light blue and white plastics to the TM-only nine-bolt-patterned rear sprocket, to the gold-colored accents, bolts, and fasteners, this machine is exotic. Also, the motor and the chassis feel tight and fresh and have the feeling of quality. We can’t talk about durability or parts availability because we haven’t had a TM in our stable long enough to test either. Overall, this bike is a more capable machine than we were expecting, and for those who want to have something different, it could satisfy both the gnarly off-roader and casual rider alike.

2017 TM EB 300 FI
MSRP: $10,995
Seat Height: 37.5 in.
Ground Clearance: 13.6 in.
Fuel Capacity: 2 gal.
Weight, Tank Full: 247 lb.
tmracing-usa.com

What’s Hot

  • Turns like a champ and is stable too
  • Very usable power, suits a variety of riders
  • Suspension wants to be ridden hard

What’s Not

  • Fork is too firm for mellow riding
  • Bottom-end isn't impressive
  • Expensive

Opinions

Andrew Oldar
Age 25, 5'10", 130 lb., Off-Road Intermediate

The meat of the powerband is found on the top-end, while the midrange is somewhat lacking. The bottom-end power is good, but it would be nice to have a little more for tight trails and stop-and-go scenarios.

The fork is on the stiff side for an off-road bike. Having primarily ridden motocross over the past five years, I enjoyed this, as I am used to riding with a stiffer fork setup. I didn’t have to worry about bottoming it out since it stayed up in the stroke on large impacts. The downside to this setup is the front end sometimes wandered in loose and rocky terrain. The rear shock absorbed all of the big impacts well, but I would opt for a softer spring rate if this were my personal bike, seeing as I weigh only 130 pounds. The biggest downside to the rear shock is that setting the sag is difficult due to the special lock ring.

Overall, I enjoyed riding the TM on tight and technical trails as well as high-speed off-road loops. Because of the stiff fork and strong top-end power, I feel I could comfortably ride this bike on a motocross track too.

Ryan Orr
Age 34, 5'10", 160 lb., Off-Road Expert

This bike fits my 5-foot-10 stature really well. The open cockpit and fairly flat seat make it easy to get up on the “tank” (airbox) for corners. It has an average width at the shrouds as well as the “airbox” (gas tank), making it easy to maneuver with your legs. The motor feels really good at a 300cc displacement. It has decent throttle response with a smooth, usable bottom-end that pulls into a long linear power curve. The engine has plenty of torque and revs to the moon. The only problem is that high into the revs, the noise from the airbox is almost ear piercing. Earplugs are a must!

The bike handles pretty good. It’s balanced and maneuverable through the tight stuff as well as stable in high-speed sections. It settles into corners, holds tight, and tracks well out of corners, even in chop. The main complaint I have with the handling is the fork. The front was deflecting off small bumps and rocks and even when I was going through the stroke on braking bumps. The front tire didn’t track through, feeling like there was no rebound. I softened the fork’s clickers but feel it needs to be re-valved. I also went out two clicks on the shock rebound to free up the rear end. That gave it a little more control on some of the bigger bumps.