The 300cc two-stroke seems to have become the bike of choice for anyone getting into the hard-enduro craze. So this month we will take a look at the KTM 300EXC.
Two-strokes are often perceived as being cheaper to run and requiring less maintenance but let me explain something. If you abuse a two-stroke then it can cost you as much to fix as a four-stroke, if not more.
Two-strokes actually require more maintenance but it’s true that the maintenance is easier to perform yourself. Two-strokes need regular piston and ring replacements as well as power-valve clean-outs (p122). If you know the ins and outs of a two-stroke and you are handy with the tools then this is something that can be performed in your own shed.
When it comes to riding, the two-stroke is lighter, so this means that lifting it out of a bog or dragging it up a hill is going to be easier than lugging a 500F. The pre-fuel injection Katos had carburetors that were relatively trouble-free. If you did happen to pick up some water or dirty fuel, the carby could be easily drained and you’d be on your way again.
Unfortunately, I see more 300cc two-strokes that have been abused or mistreated than most four-stroke models because people tend to buy them and flog them until they stop, expecting the repairs to be cheap. People also like to throw them up and down cliffs in the name of hard enduro glory.
MUD IN AIRBOX
If you are looking at buying one second-hand then make sure it starts easily with plenty of compression and idles well. Ask for any service records and how often the piston and rings have been changed. Look in the airbox because this is a dead giveaway as to whether the bike has been looked after or not.
If the air filter is filthy and the airbox full of mud then my guess would be that the bike has had a hard life. Check the cylinder because these bikes often take a hit in the expansion chamber and it cracks the barrel near the exhaust port. Take a good listen to the starter motor.
If it sounds like grinding metal then it’s most likely on its way out. These bikes, with the starter motor on the side, are prone to wearing out the starter gears but if you glue up the vent hole in the bottom of the case, fill the cover with 100ml of oil and change it regularly then the starter motor and gears will last
Check all the wheel and frame bearings, ride the bike and make sure the clutch doesn’t slip and that it selects all gears. Lastly, check over the bike carefully for any missing bolts or parts. Being a two-stroke, the 300EXC likes to rattle bolts loose and the exhaust brackets that are welded to the frame are prone to cracking and breaking due to vibration. Technical Editor Mat Boyd
2014 $6700 – $8000
2015 $7050 – $8350
2016 $7900 – $9400
2017 $8900 – $10,550
*Fiqures taken from redbook.com.au