The Torture Test - Pro-Action / TJ's Cycle 2009 KTM 300 XC - Dirt Rider Magazine

Lots of flavors to satisfy plenty of tastes.

Editor's Note
_This year's Dirt Rider Torture Test was set up like a screening for a reality TV show: Bring what you have and prepare for whatever happens. The idea was to show up at the Torture Test with the best all-around, one-bike-does-it-all off-road dirt bike, with no guidelines or requirements from our side. It was wide open, but everyone knew going in that it would be tough to make the cut to get into the final group of bikes you see in the magazine. Of course, they didn't all make it to the pages of Dirt Rider. Some missed out ever so slightly, some by a longer ways. This is a full test of one of the bikes that made the final cut. The competition was tough but lurking in this field of bikes you can likely find an example of the perfect bike that fits your needs, or learn what other riders or people in the industry think is the best bike in the whole world. For the people and companies that built each of these bikes, it was the best bike they could deliver. -Jimmy Lewis, Editor Dirt Rider Magazine_The Pro-Action/TJ's Cycle 2009 KTM 300 XC was built to be one of the best all around motorcycles in today's market. Pro-Action took the already good KTM and set out to make it even better. The stock suspension was revalved to make it plush enough to soak up the small bumps while being aggressive enough to attack even the most miserable rough sections. The motor was ported to take the stock power spread and make it more usable for the rider and increase overall horsepower. This in conjunction with the help of some of our industry friends, we have put together what we feel is the best all around off road motorcycle.www.pro-action.com www.tjsktm.comPro-Action Suspension and Motors - www.pro-action.com - 724-846-9055
Fork Revalve with Pro-Action valve body $225.00
Pro-Action sub tank assemblies $275.00
Fork springs $110.00
Shock revalve $225.00
Pro-Action bladder kit $140.00
Shock spring $110.00
Cylinder and head modifications $300.00
Vortex carb mod $90.00KTM Hard Equipment - www.tjsktm.com - 800-470-5079
Radiator guards $99.99
Hour meter $45.99
Works gas cap $54.99
Soft seat $99.99Dunlop Tires - www.dunlopmotorcycle.com
Front 80/100-21 756 $105.99
Rear 110/100-18 756 $110.99FMF Racing - www.fmfracing.com - 310-631-4fmfFatty pipe $229.99
Turbine Core silencer $149.99Cycra - www.cycraracing.com - 740-929-0188
Power Flo plastic kit $139.99
Stealth hand guards $35.99MSR HP - www.msracing.com
Ironman front sprocket 14t $33.99
Ironman rear sprocket 50t $108.99
Axle pull front $ 19.99
Axle pull rear $19.99
Brake Snake $4.99Repsol Oils - www.repsol.com
2t premix $12.99
2t gear lube $10.99Powersport Graphix - www.ridepg.com - 800-903-6764
Complete custom graphix kit $199.99Rekluse Clutch - www.rekluse.com
Z-start Pro clutch $750.00Pro-Taper - www.protaper.com
EVO bars $89.99
Soft white grips $8.99Pro Clean 1000 - www.proclean1000.com
Plastic Shine $8.95
Bike cleaner $8.99Engine Ice - www.engineice.com
Coolant $19.99Wiseco Pistons - www.wiseco.com- 800-321-1364
Pro-Lite piston kit $167.13

Careful modification allow the XC to work better on the trail and on the track.

Dirt Rider Post Torture Evaluation: The best all-around bike because: It actually, by virtue of all the collective test rider opinions, is the best do-all motorcycle in Dirt Rider's 2009 Torture Test. This is the best all around bike, plain and simple. The formula was easy to comprehend, hard to execute. Start with a great bike, make it better without screwing it up (or focusing it too narrowly).Not the best all-around bike because: You are a KTM hater, don't like black bikes, need to argue with us for no good reason, are confused, think we take bribes, ride only mini bikes, don't like two-strokes, it isn't a 500cc two-stroke, wasn't built by the members of the DR-Z forum at Thumpertalk or the KTM 300 forum at KTM Talk (they have better settings and bikes, trust them, they'll tell you!), or because it isn't a Honda.Dirt Rider Says:I don't even know where to start with this bike. You know how close it is to winning in just a very stock form (see the test on the KTM 250XC) and that is what this bike began life as. Then with very purposeful modifications made the proper steps and transformed the 250 XC into a bike that almost every rider hopped on and felt the mods, and appreciated them.Coming from a suspension-based company, whoever developed this motor configuration knows how to make a great bike. Starting with the 250cc KTM they kept the feel and peppy bottom end response, but in making the bike it gained a ton of 300cc torque feel as well. More than a stock 300, yet not as lazy. Then as the power builds it clearly starts to blow away the 250cc engine at every RPM and the whole while stays rideable and smooth. Firing into the top end the transformed 300cc plant again acts like a 250 with rev, weight feel and response but makes all kinds of 300cc power. A brilliant Frankenstein melding of two motors that takes all of the good characters and none of the bad. It has something to do with the 250cc ignition curve, the porting they do to the 300 cylinder and the magic of all the parts coming together, including the right jetting, the FMF pipe and muffler and whatever other small tricks and secrets they did. It plain works and it was a standout in every way.The Rekluse clutch was a bit of a wash. Especially as it was first set up. The engagement RPM was too high and it freewheeled too easily. Luckily we were familiar with the setup and quickly requested that it be altered, a 15-minute job, done by the Rekluse guys on-site at the test. Then it exploited the power of the bike, especially the torque on the bottom and never broke free on deceleration unless the rider wanted it to. Some riders loved it and others never got to grips with it. We ruled it personal preference but it actually passes the muster of the haters, a tough task in this crowd.Then there was the suspension. It was set up in a way that it worked better on the track for most of our guys since it was better on the bottoming side of the stroke. On the trail the bike acted a lot plusher than stock, which was again also better. But the plushness did not hurt the bike on the track or make it wallowly and the bottoming didn't make it too stiff. All-in-all a pretty remarkable setup considering we had riders spanning the weight scale, from 160 to 225+ all coming away impressed.So there you have the recipe for a winner. No, it isn't a better endurocross bike for Damon Huffman or Ricky Dietrich than the KXF280, nor a better WORCS racer for an up-and-coming racer than the LA Sleeve CRF450R. It didn't hold a candle to the FMF RM250 in the budget segment and this bike could not replace the advantages the Husky 450 has in the wide-open or either of the Christini bikes held in technical situations. But when you look at an all-around, do-all kind of bike that has no limits or boundaries, from a great trail ride to a GNCC, this bike was an easy first choice.-Jimmy Lewis

These tricky parts of the extreme enduro test showed the only "flaw" in the power delivery. Here the engine seemed to have a bit too much snap.

OPINIONS:Great torque / pretty mellow down low, but had a little too much hit in the mid range which made it difficult to be smooth in the tight stuff; felt great in the faster sections though. Had one of the best feeling recluse clutches that I have used.-Chris Barrett at Extreme EnduroWinner! This bike does everything the KTM 250 XCW does just a little bit better. The torque at low to mid throttle is enhanced by the Rekluse clutch which makes every trail bike better, especially with unbelievable torque. The brakes are strong and progressive and the suspension was dialed for moto or trail which is hard to do. Having electric start up's the level even more all while keeping a really light flickable feel. So super comfortable.-Dave DonatoniMy second choice of bikes of the five two-strokes was the KTM 300 XCW. The bike felt similar to the 250 but slightly heavier. I liked the suspension. It also had great power and with the Rekluse clutch, it made riding through the twisty trails somewhat easier by never having to worry about pulling in the clutch. -Sean Crowley, NoviceThis highly modified KTM 300 was hard to get a good rating once I got used the stock bike. Why switch things around when stock is even better, but somehow things start to show up with a little time. At first the suspension never felt the smoothness stock bike. I had an uneven feel to it, but I got used to it. I also had mixed feelings on the Rekluse clutch. It engaged too late, but once they adjusted the bike, I really liked it. Great add-on for technical trail riding.The KTM 300 motor is as good as it gets. Why make a 250 when you can have this! Not because it is faster, but because it has more torque and is easier to ride!-- Alfredo MacklisWow, what a difference a few mods make. This is the first auto clutch bike I've ever liked....but....I would only pick this bike over the stock 250 XC for harder trails. For moto or race use the auto clutch is a deal breaker for me. Because of it I felt weird trying to ride this bike aggressively. The suspension worked great, and the whole package was amazingly easy to ride, it hit when I wanted and would also pull from a very low rpm when the trail got really ugly. -Scott DenisonThis 300 felt like it needed to be short-shifted too much. I rode the bike in the morning before the Rekluse was adjusted to come in at a lower rpm, so the auto-clutch took some getting used to. But you could definitely get along well with it on tight trails. On our fast terrain test the suspension felt little soft for me under heavy braking, and it was too divvy.--Kris Keefer on Terrain TestThis bike felt like it was built for a very specialized type of racing and riding: the type of off-road/woods events found in the wetter parts of Texas. In the tight it was amazing, and proof that a good hop-up company can elevate even a superlative machine.--Karel Kramer: 6'1"/225 lb./ B riderThis bike felt good. I didn't like the auto-clutch too much because the shifting felt a little funny in tighter sections when I was trying to go through the gears. Other than that, the bike felt good and I liked the power. The front end felt a little squirrely to me, but that's probably because it didn't have a damper on it. -Alexander Smith/ 6'1"/ 155 lbs./ Expert