Making My Ultimate KTM300
Story and Photos by Stephen Clark
Anyone who knows me knows that I am huge fan of 2-strokes and especially the KTM 300. This is my third 300 and I plan to keep buying them as long as they keep making them. For my riding style, ability and terrain the light nimble and simple 300 is the perfect bike. When they announced the new bike for 2017 I had to have one and quickly went to my local dealer to make sure I got one of the first ones. As great as this bike is, it still needs quite a bit of work to make it truly trail worthy particular to me. After spending a couple of years getting my 15 completely dialed I had a pretty good idea of what parts I wanted on this 17. With a bone stock 300 XCW and box of aftermarket parts I went down to Brockstar Performance to build my dream bike.
The bike will be ridden on technical singletrack and will inevitably hit the ground often so it needs the protection to withstand the falls and rocky terrain. The most valuable protection part is definitely the skid plate as a hit anywhere to the engine will for sure ruin your day and possibly your season. I’m not a big fan of aluminium skid plates for a few reasons, they are noisy and can change handling due to binding on the frame. My friend Ray Conway has horror stories about terrible handling CRF450x’s due to aluminum skid plates, so while we like the protection we decided to go a different direction on this build. P3 Carbon built us a sweet carbon fiber skidplate that molds nicely to the frame and offers great protection. It securely mounts to the frame on the front and rear using supplied aluminium brackets. Next up was radiator protection, another expensive and easy to break part. SRT built us a set of billet aluminium guards that replace the stock plastic louvers, super easy to install and burly enough to take a lot of abuse. Other protection pieces include and an SRT shark fin brake guard to protect the rear brake rotor from rocks and roots. Another cool part from P3 Carbon is some custom frame covers, these replace the stock plastic frame guards making the bike every so slightly narrower, offer more grip and look cool with KLIM logos.
My first ride on the new 17 KTM 300 was interesting, the chassis and suspension instantly impressed us but the engine was less than impressive. Mostly due to jetting the bike just didn’t pull like my old 15 300 and even with the leanest stock jetting we couldn’t get the new Mikuni carb to work like the old Keihin, so getting more power and response out of the engine was a big priority. We re-jetted the bike using a jet kit from JD and added a high compression head from RK Tek along with a pipe from Pro Circuit and a type 296 spark arrestor. We would be riding at elevations from 5-10,000 feet so a high compression head makes a big difference bringing the low end snap back that these bikes have at lower elevation. Also due to elevation the jetting had to change, we had some success using the stock jets but it wasn’t perfect so we went with the JD kit. At this time we are still perfecting the jetting settings but once we have it dialed we will post another update with what we are running.
KTM changed to a new aluminum throttle on the 17 model and it was immediately noticeable that this throttle had more drag than the previous throttle. Talking with Manuel Lettenbichler we found out that the factory bikes are running the wheel throttle from the old bike. We ordered a 16 throttle and cable and it matched up without any issue. We also added a billet throttle tube with adjustable cams from the KTM Power parts catalog. The new throttle feels great with a much reduced pull, so no more aching hands.
Another little trick we learned from the factory bikes is flipping the left side footpeg pin upside down. In the regular configuration the kickstand hits this pin and will eventually break the cotter pin. Our bike also had the footpeg springs installed incorrectly which turns out to be a common problem on these bikes and they ended up breaking after a couple of rides, so we replaced the springs ensuring they were installed correctly.
For plastics we went with Acerbis and replaced all the plastics aside from the airbox and headlight. We opted for black radiator shrouds to match the stock bike but changed the side panels to white to brighten up the bike a bit. For graphics we wanted an OEM kind of look but customized with a few logos and numbers, MotoFX graphics did a great job designing and printing a graphics kit that looks amazing and went on well. We also added a set of Acerbis X-Factor handguards to protect our hands from brush and protect our levers when the bike hits the ground. Seat Concepts built us a really cool gripper seat with ribs along the top, they have several different heights available but we went with stock height.
After trying a bunch of different tires I always come back to the Kenda Parker DTs from SRT, these tires offer great flat resistance, good traction and last forever. We have ran this setup with heavy duty tubes for the last few years and been really happy so went with this setup again on the new bike.
As for suspension our initial impressions are really positive on the new WP XPlor 48 fork and PDS shock so we decided to leave it as is for now. Depending on how things pan out when the suspension is completely broken in we may end up changing springs and valving.
The best parts in the world are worth nothing if they aren’t installed right so we had our buddy Brock Buttars at Brockstar Performance do all the wrenching on this build. He stripped the bike down and meticulously rebuilt it with all the new parts. The bike looks absolutely fantastic and the only thing left to do is fill it with mixed gas and ride it. Once we put some time on the bike we will report back on how it is working.
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