Is the 2023 KTM 300 Really That Good?
This is the question that I have been getting since I got back from the 2023 KTM intro at Red Bud. Is this bike on just another hype train because it’s new and we were at a good track? I am here to break it all down for you in this article.
As you all know I am not a two stroke type of rider. I like to work smarter not harder and two strokes normally DO NOT like this mantra of mine. Most two bangers take a lot of work to go fast on and to me, that part of my life is over with. I put that away many moons ago along with my iPhone 4s (so much good content in that damn phone though!). But… Yes, there is a “but” in here.. The 2023 KTM 300 is not like the normal two stroke. The 2023 KTM 300SX has a blend of four stroke smoothness with that two stroke excitement. I only got to ride a handful of laps on the new 300 at Red Bud, but I have ridden enough KTM two strokes in my life to come away with three important aspects of this machine that you may be interested in:
- Vibration: Or should I should say lack of vibration. All of the older two strokes vibrated more than any other brand of two stroke out there. I don’t know if it was the steel frame or the stiff natured handlebar that KTM uses but I absolutely dreaded getting on the orange two stroke back in the day. The new 2023 KTM 300 SX doesn’t have nearly the harmonics that the older versions have through the bars or pegs which makes the bike feel newer and less loose feeling on the track.
2. Torque Feel: The 2023 KTM 300 has the torque for vet riders to be lazy but also seems to have enough top end/over-rev for the hyper active younger racer as well. Now don’t get too worked up as you can’t always lug the KTM 300 in third gear through corners, but the 23 version does recover quicker if you’re tired as shit in a race and just don’t feel like down shifting into second. A quick fan of the clutch gets the rpms back into the meat of the power much better than I can remember from any two stroke. Unlike the 250, the 300 felt like it ran cleaner and wasn’t nearly as lean feeling up on top, but the KTM FI R&D engineers are supposed to make the FI even better before it hits the dealerships in late September. The 300 had a much cleaner and better pull than the 250 I rode on the same day.
3. Handling: The 300 feels lighter than the 250 because of the way the power is delivered. I can lean into corners harder/sooner and get more rear wheel traction on the way out! I also like how the new 300 handled de-cel bumps when on the edge of the tires. Unlike past KTM’s that I have tried, the new chassis likes to be leaned under load. The stability that I felt from the 23 KTM 300 was much better than that of a YZ250 that I got a chance to ride before I went to Red Bud. This really blew my wig back a little because the Yamaha set the bar for me on stability when it came to two strokes!
So with all this being said, is this the ultimate vet machine? I would say not quite, but it is the ultimate vet two stroke! I still think the KTM 350 SX-F is easier to ride and allows the rider to work less while going faster, but this KTM 300 has closed the gap and gives you a whole different perspective on what a good two stroke is supposed to feel like. If I was racing and riding for fun I still would choose the 350 for the simple fact that I can charge harder into obstacles and get out of corners slightly quicker. These two aspects allow “me” to have more fun on the track. But, if I was a 50/50 type of rider that liked to ride woods/moto, I would lean towards this 300 because of how light it feels and how much rear wheel traction I can get when lugging. Figure out what type of rider you are and choose! With KTMs 2023 lineup you get a lot of choices and this new 300 isn’t just hype. It is a new era for two strokes and this “hater” is coming around a little!