For the first time KTM UK have decided to bring the XC – that’s cross country – versions of their 250 and 300 two-stroke off-road racing weapons into this country as official models.
The XC models are built for off-road only riding and for KTM UK to bring in these models is a big step – it seems the people who work out the figures have obviously decided that it is very much worth their while importing these lightweight racing machines…
I gripped it and ripped it up to KTM UK HQ to pick up a 300 before turning tail and heading back to Marshfield where Sutt Dawg was waiting. While I was at Brackley the guys from KTM went through some of the bonus points of the XC models and obviously top of the tree is the styling of the models. The EXC range are running the same style as the last year or two but the XC models come dressed like the 2011 MXers. This separates them from the EXC models but you still get the smooth enduro style motor configurations as well as uprated suspension for the bigger hits found on the XC-type going.
Both the 250 and 300 come with electric start which will always amaze me. Two-strokes really shouldn’t be e-starters but I am very glad the technology is available and fitted to these vehicles as a leccy boot has gotten me out of the s**t on many occasions!
Lightness, electric start, uprated suspension, styling, enduro power delivery – what could go wrong? So I loaded up and went for a ride in some fine and dandy August downpours!
Rain, rocks, mud and roots. It was refreshing to get into some ‘proper’ conditions as most tests have been in 40 degree heat just lately and Marshfield was certainly a long way from the warmth of Spain or Italy. The XC duo is made for this stuff so it was off to the woods to blast about and watch Sutty drown.
The 300 instantly gets you going with its light feel and comfortable seating position. All the controls are solid and as usual with a KTM, the killer rear brake takes five minutes to get used to before you stop locking up everywhere. The new bodywork doesn’t catch up on anything and the bike is easy to move around on, therefore inspiring confidence. The standard tyres more suited to dry conditions so if you are getting into the moist stuff whip ’em off and fit your favoured rubber.
The power delivery is exactly what I expected with high levels of control. There is nothing scary with the delivery unless you choose to get buck wild with the throttle in which case you are quickly going to run out of grip, trail or luck – whichever comes first. The motor will try to help you out as much as possible but as with any two-stroke, it will let you know who’s boss if you lose respect.
The suspension and chassis are balanced but I feel that the forks are outweighing the shock in their workings. The forks feel sublime on the XC and the shock copes without too many problems in most situations. I just feel that the stock unit needs to step it up a little again as not much has changed for a while now.
The entire bike as a package feels light and flickable and I cannot wait to spend a lot more time on one and maybe take it for a race test as soon as possible.
Bore and stroke: 72mm x 72mm
Fuel tank capacity: 11.5 litres
Front suspension: WP USD 48mm (300mm travel)
Rear suspension: WP PDS (336mm travel)
Front brake: 260mm disc
Rear brake: 220mm disc
Seat height: 992mm
Ground clearance: 383mm
Dry weight: 101.1kg