ADB Enduro Editor Geoff Braico puts the 2016 TM EN300 to the test.
The last TM EN300 we tested was a 2014 and, since then, the Italians have been busy developing the new bike with Aigar Leok, an Estonian rider who has competed in the Enduro World Championship (EWC) for the last five years.
The 2016 model is covered in cool parts such as trick CNC-machined triple-clamps bolted to a black KYB fork. The bike looks very slim, while the shock, which is a TM designed-and-built unit, has a finned, gold-anodised reservoir for that factory finish.
There is a black plastic cover behind the fuel cap, which is actually a tunnel that leads all the way into the airbox. This is TM’s new Fresh Air intake system. It means that the air being fed to the filter is super clean, helping performance and keeping the filter cleaner.
Jumping on the TM straight away I noticed the amount of compression the bike had. I had to give it a big boot. First ride impression the bike felt quite slim, the standard handlebar is a little tall for my liking but that’s just being extra picky. The brakes felt strong and the hydraulic clutch felt nice. Once I felt comfortable on the Italian machine, I wound the big girl out and to my surprise, the power was very nice.
Compared to the previous model which hit quite hard, the latest version had a much more manageable powerband. This motor likes to be pushed. It had a tendency to want to be revved more than torqued around. I preferred to stay in second and rev it more on the trail than just cruise along in a higher gear.
It only has a five-speed gearbox so that may be the reason the gap between gears is a little wide. It’s the only 300cc two-stroke that has a five-speed box.
It’s definitely an improvement on the TMs of old, with which the power hit very hard. It still was more aggressive than other brands but that new TMEES electronic power-valve seems to work like a dream.
In basic terms, the TMEES power valve works in such a way that it ensures the power, torque and responsiveness are all at their best. The 2016 ignition works alongside the exhaust valve control system to change the way the motor runs depending on gear selection and powervalve position, which then gives the rider the best power delivery and traction at all times.
I got to the base of a really gnarly hill and tested this system out. I selected first gear and tried to ride the bike up as slow as I possibly could. I practically crawled up that hill and was very surprised to say the least.
The KYB fork has quite a solid feel. I found myself wanting to push the bike harder because, the more I pushed, the better the front-end felt.
It gave me confidence to charge into the bumps and jumps along the way. It still soaked up the smaller stuff quite well but it really shined at pace.
As for the shock, I was a little sceptical at first because it’s a TM unit, but I found that it also felt quite solid. It didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, tracked really nice in and out of corners and was firm enough so that it didn’t bottom out on the bigger hits. Overall, the suspension felt quite balanced. Compared to other bikes in this class, I would say that the TM’s standard suspension would have to be the closest to a race bike setup.
Overall, I was very impressed with this bike. The people at TM have done a great job building a machine that has a very useable and broad power unit and a suspension package that boosts a rider’s confidence.
In all my years testing for ADB, this is the best TM I have ever ridden. It is definitely more suited to racing than trailriding but gone are the days where you’d hop on one and it would feel totally foreign.
At over $13,000 it’s not cheap but you have to look at the large number of quality components that come standard. Parts are readily available and there is now a large range of accessories including the Pro Circuit exhaust, bashplates, radiator guards, flex levers, folding gear levers and more. Geoff Braico
For the full review check out issue #438 of ADB.