Posted: 10 Nov 2012
KTM has built a solid reputation for building the best bikes in all off-road classes. This is not surprising since the KTM range is huge – the orange of KTM can be seen in every capacity group within every class, be it MX or enduro.
Most desirable to anyone with biking in their blood is the KTM 300 EXC, a full-blown pukka enduro tool that regularly takes wins across the globe. Make no mistake, this is a serious machine from tyres to suspension to engine.
Two-strokes are still big business in competition. This is highlighted by the 300’s engine which is light and powerful – KTM claim the bike has the best power to weight ratio in class. This is believable because the 300 accelerates in the most fearsome way you could think possible. Granted, it is also a tractable beast but that power, which KTM don’t quote but feels to be around the 56bhp mark, is available as and when you need to rip up a steep section or clear the woods.
In the right hands the 300 is a slayer of off-road sections. In the hands of the inexperienced it can be galling to be astride a lofty 960mm seat height and feel a snappy engine below you, but whatever your experience the 300 can make you look good because it was designed to be abused and still come up looking like a champion.
It’s the chassis and components that make light work of the sort of terrain enduro experts regard as training fodder. WP front forks were also part of the big revision the 300 went through for 2012 and can’t be faulted. Those 48mm outer tubes hold a new range of adjustments and a standard setting, which for most of us part-time riders is perfectly acceptable. It’s the same story at the rear.
Light steering means it doesn’t take a lot of effort to jink left-right through greenery and the feel from the forks and frame telegraphs info about the hard rocky stuff. You point it in the right direction and it goes there. Practice and practice some more to get the most from the 300 and it will reward you.
Although it’s nice to have such a thing in the garage to show off the Excel rims, CNC hubs and all the other tasty touches that KTM weave into their bikes, the 300 EXC is designed to be ridden – so make the most of it.
+ points – stunning quality, built to win
- points – it’s better at enduro than most owners will ever be
Weight: 104kg (without petrol)
Seat height: 960mm
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