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GlennR 08-03-2012 10:02 AM

KTM300 info ?
I've always wanted to try a KTM300 2-stroke. I recently saw a 97' for sale nearby and am wondering what changes were made between then & now on the 300's. The bike's only $1000, but I don't know if it's too dated to mess with. I don't "need" another bike, and I definitely don't need an old money pit of a project. But, if they haven't changed much over the years and this one isn't abused & worn out it might be worth looking at.

Anybody have any advice, opinions, tips, or good links to share?


stainlesscycle 08-03-2012 12:54 PM

lots of suspension changes between then and now. if you're just trail riding, and the bike is in good shape, i'm sure it will be fine.

markjenn 08-03-2012 01:39 PM

I'm sure it is a fine bike (I owned a 99 for a few years), but it has been incrementally updated, both chassis and engine, over the years, so don't expect that your $1K bike is going to be the remotely the same as a new $8K one.

I liked my 99 for the most part, but the suspension was pretty harsh and the motor was not the smoothest. I also had to really fiddle around to get the jetting reasonable - it was filthy rich across the board stock. I seemed to be to be more a race bike than a play bike. But that's probably because I'm not much of a hard-core dirt rider. The DRZ I have now seems much more my style.

- Mark

dlrides 08-03-2012 01:41 PM


Originally Posted by stainlesscycle (Post 19278805)
lots of suspension changes between then and now. if you're just trail riding, and the bike is in good shape, i'm sure it will be fine.


05-07 will get you a very good generation bike.

GlennR 08-03-2012 02:14 PM

Thanks for all the replies. :thumb

If I didn't already have a good bike and funds were tight I'd go check it out, but I'll just wait until I come across a newer one that fits my budget.

Shooter1 08-04-2012 05:27 PM

I've had a '00, an '02 and currently have an '06 300 XCW. All three have been great bikes. I didn't find them hard to jet. Beginning in 2000 they started to make a number of changes, then again in '04, past that, I don't have any data on them. An '00 thru '02 would be a good choice as they are good bikes and can be had at reasonable prices. These bikes also had a bit longer stroke motor than the '06 I currently have. My '06 feels a bit lighter and revs slightly quicker than the '00 and '02 I had. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a '00 thru '02 if I found one in good shape. You get alot of bank for the buck. Good luck.

basalt 08-10-2012 11:44 AM

I was in the same boat as you about a month ago. I've been riding an XR650R for two years and and didn't think it was all that heavy until I spent some quality time on my brothers '06 wr450f a few months ago. The XR650R felt like a big old Caddy after riding the WR. Nice for cruisin' but I wanted something lighter for trails. Last bike I had before the XR650R some 20 years ago was a '89 CR250 and I needed to know if I wanted another 2 stroke or not so I started looking at 300s.

I picked up a '97 for $1000. PO had the top and bottom end rebuilt and put a new clutch and clutch cable in. He couldn't get the clutch to work and just wanted to get rid of it. Couple hours of my time and the correct length clutch cable and it was up and running. I've now put about $500 more into it for bars, rotors, sprocket/chain, handguards, etc. It seems like a great bike. Since I paid so little I'm willing to give it some more time. While it may be called the 4 stroke of two strokes and does lug well, it really ISN'T nearly as luggable as my brothers WR, and nothing compares to the 650R. That said, it is super light. Also, the '97 seems to be higher geared than any of the newer generation 300s, and WAY higher geared than the WR. I am currently at 14/52, and even 13/52 wouldn't get my first as low as the WR's first.

Jetting at lower elevations was ok as I got it, but everyone recommends going to a #7 slide ($60!) on the '97s and a different needle (I went CEK) which seems to be the biggest thing making the jetting overly rich. It runs great and definitly RIPS.

I haven't been able to ride in too many different conditions, but the suspension is good and seems at least comparable to the WR's on trails. The suspension was redone by ProAction for desert, but was still great in endless bolders on a 4x4 jeep trail we did. In my research I found the fork seals are supposed to be prone to leaking, and mine were when I got it, but running a sealmate through them and bleeding the forks fixed the issue and haven't leaked again after several rides.

I like it and I'm happy I only spent $1500 to test the waters instead of $3000 or so. It looks like crap too, but I'm glad cause then I don't mind beating it!

GlennR 08-10-2012 01:10 PM



That's good to hear about your experience with an old-ish 300. Sounds like you're having a good time with it. Are you in an area where it would be worthwhile to think about dual-sporting it?

Funny you mentioned riding a WR450 to realize that you needed a lighter bike. I recently bought an 08 WR450 that's dual-sported (plated) and have been having a great time on it. I'm not certain about my gearing, I think it's stock 13/50. It came with a spare 14, so I'm thinking the one on it is the stock 13 (haven't counted the teeth yet). It seems to lug pretty well, but I rrecently compared it back to back on the same trails against my XT225 and was really surprised at how much lower geared the XT225 was in 1st. I was able to creep on it where the WR450 had to go faster or need clutching. The 225 isn't fast & powerful like the 450, but the 6 speed surre lets it lug great. I've never mounted knobbies on it, but I'm sure I'd be amazed with them. I would consider gearing the WR down more, but I don't want to loose the top end for the road.

basalt 08-10-2012 01:28 PM

I do live in the land where a plate is almost mandatory, but in California there is no way it could be plated legitimately (nor could any of the japanese mx/offroad bikes). I considered finding an old one with a plate, but they were $1000-2000 more! Some how if you pay the right people or do a ton of work you can supposedly get it done, but I would have to put another $500 into for the lighting and such which I don't want to do. Luckily the older bikes can have a CA green sticker which means I can ride any OHV area in CA any time of year (if they are actually open). Post-2003 2strokes (and mx 4strokes) are all red sticker and restricted in certain areas spring-fall. The 650R is plated (since 2003) which is nice. Now I'm trying to decide between keeping both, selling both and getting a newer 300 or 450EXC, or just selling the XR and keeping the '97. The 300 is nice enough and cheap enough that what ever I decide I want, it almost makes sense just to keep it as a buddy bike.

I have a sumo setup for the XR too, but I don't care much for street riding, as fun as it may be. Too many idiots out there for me. But the plate is nice up in the Sierras for connecting trails and such.

GlennR 08-10-2012 03:18 PM

Plating bikes is impossible in NC, but I found one which had been plated in another state and then brought to NC, which is legal.

I would almost never ride if I had to haul my bike to the trails. Over 80% of my riding is on the paved & unpaved backroads just finding & riding to the trails.

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