Taking the KTM 300EXC TPI off-road in Hertfordshire is a far cry from the world launch I was lucky to attend at Erzberg in Austria last year. At the launch it was all about flat out, monster third gear climbs and insane butt clenching descents at the world famous extreme enduro venue. My recent rides in Hertfordshire definitely haven’t been so dramatic, they’re all about water, mud, dawdling through woods and the odd second gear climb.
But it is this diversity in terrain that has highlighted one of the bikes key strengths – its versatility. The pre-conception of riding a competition two-stroke is that there is going to be a lot of blue smoke and plenty of power; just as long you’re on the gas an operating in the 1000rpm wide power band. But that is a hang up from yesteryear. Over the last ten years two- stroke enduro bikes have become the weapon of choice for extreme enduro riders mainly because of their incredible low down torque, explosive power when you need it and light weight. KTM’s 300 EXC has led the way and became the two-stroke by which all others are judged.
The fuel injected TPI model meets Euro4 regulations and gives nothing away compared to fully developed out-going carburetted model. It runs at an incredible 80:1 fuel oil mixture and there is no need for pre-mixing fuel – it does it all for you which means you can fill up with fuel from a petrol station just like your four stroke mates. There is also very little smoke and all of this has turned the 300EXC in to a bike for every occasion.
KTM have billed it as a 3 stroke! And from my experience it is the best of both worlds with the performance, engagement and minimal weight of a two stroke, combined with the convenience of a four stroke.