The new-generation KTM TBI (Throttle-Body Injection) two-stroke motors have been a hot topic since they were introduced in 2023 on the XC and SX two-stroke competition machines. Knowing that the XC-W models would follow suit, we were anxious to get seat time on the new bike and learn where it ranked in comparison with the 300s that we know so well. To date, we have a little over 40 hours on the 2024 KTM 300XC-W and found it’s very different from its predecessors.
First things first, the new XC-W is far smoother and trail-oriented than we expected. It appears to have the same motor as the 2023 300XC, but the cylinder, the head and most importantly, the map-ping are completely different. The new XC-W is far mellower. There are pros and cons to this. In the woods, we absolutely love this package. It’s calm, smooth, predictable and makes traction. On the other end of the spectrum, when we ride our high-desert loop where it’s sandy and the hills are vertical, the machine struggles to get to the tops of the climbs.
Even on the previous generation 300XC-W with Transfer Port Injection, we could hill-climb and utilize third gear endlessly with a quick stab of the clutch. The new TBI 300XC-W just lacks the mus-cle to pull third and stay up on the pipe in steep terrain. Internally, the gearbox ratios are identical, but the feel throughout the power-band is not. Stock gearing on the XC-W is 13/45. We have tried a 48-tooth sprocket; this tightens up the gaps but makes first and second gear very low.
One other note in the engine department is the temperature. This scoot runs warm—hot, even. We rode last year’s 300 TPI machine for an incredible amount of time and never felt it necessary to in-stall a fan. The 2024 300XC-W, however, can barely handle a few minutes of technical work and slow conditions without turning into a tea kettle. Part of the temperature could come from the thermostat, but we aren’t totally sure. Because the bike overheats often, we must remove the new-style radiator cap, which is painful. Some-times it comes off easily, while other times it won’t budge.
The 2024 300XC-W has a new frame. It’s loosely based on that of the 2023 SX motocross bikes, but it has PDS rear suspension in-stead of linkage, as well as a new coil-spring version of the Xact fork. The ergonomics are impressive, and we do like the slim and sleek bodywork, which makes the bike easy to move around on. Under your caboose the saddle is a bit on the firm side, but uses a nice flat base, making the bike easy to corner and move around on. You might have heard some criticism of the new KTM moto-cross frame. The chassis is stiff even for motocross, and that’s al-so true here. At low speed, both ends of the suspension lack plushness. The previous-generation bike would gobble up rocks where the 2024 model is somewhat unsettled and deflects more often. It’s much better at speed–it’s as if the motor development team and the chassis development team had different goals.
The new kickstand is much improved over the old bike, getting rid of the old bracket and self-tapping screw that launched on cue. New handguards at the controls are improved and mount to the clutch and brake perch. If you’re into night riding, you’ll love the new LED headlight. There is no comparison with how much bright-er it is over the old bike. We have been having issues with the new push-button light switch, as it won’t stay engaged and shuts the light off. On the belly of the bike, the new skid plate offers proper protection to the frame and engine. Air-filter access is improved with more room and more visibility to ensure you fully seat your filter correctly.
At 40 hours the motor hasn’t shown any sign of weakness. We experienced chronic problems with various sensors on the TPI bikes. Those have not arisen here. We do think the TPI bikes had better fuel-range. We’re working on suspension updates and performance mods that won’t offend the trail worthiness, as well as soothing some of the gripes that have surfaced. Overall, it’s a se-rious wagon and totally different than the TPI model.
NEW BIKES AND NOT SO NEW BIKES
Many of the manufacturers are now releasing their 2024 dual-sport bikes, street bikes and unchanged models. In the mix is one Kawasaki street bike that caught our attention. The Ninja 7 Hybrid has some interesting technology that we will probably see on dual-sport bikes soon. The electric component of the hybrid power unit includes a liquid-cooled traction motor powered by a 48V lithium-ion battery pack beneath the seat, enabling all-electric riding for short distances at low speeds. The battery is charged while riding, eliminating the need for external charging. Heat management is addressed with two radiators, a liquid-cooled oil cooler, and a system directing hot air away from the rider. Ducts in the lower cowl provide cooling for the hybrid power unit’s components. The regenerative system recycles deceleration energy back to the battery, contributing to an extended cruising range.
Here are some other bikes that were just released and re-released.
KAWASAKI KLX230 SM
Kawasaki KLX®230 S ABS
Color: Lime Green, Battle Gray
Availability: Now Kawasaki KLX®230SM ABS
Color: Battle Gray
Matte Laurel Green Metallic
Matte Black Metallic
CRF300L ABS: Red
CRF300LS: Swift Gray
CRF300L ABS: $5,749
HONDA CRF300L Rally
CRF300L Rally ABS: $6,499
CRF300L Rally: $6,199
A motorcycle of legendary status, the XR650L continues to stand the test of time, thanks in part to its simple, no-frills design and relentless dependability. Backed by an incredible record of success in Baja, this dual-sport icon has amassed a loyal following of enthusiasts around the globe since its introduction in 1993. Not only is it impressively capable in the dirt, it can also serve as an affordable means of transportation around town. The XR650L’s powerful combination of rugged versatility, rock-solid reliability and remarkable value have established it as a mainstay of Honda’s dual-sport lineup.
Value-focused, yet impressively versatile, the XR150L makes the dual-sport motorcycling experience more accessible than ever. With a budget-friendly price tag, efficient fuel economy and approachable ride characteristics, this do-all machine is a capable around-town commuter or campground companion. The XR150L is outfitted with convenient features like a rear cargo rack and electric starter, but it maintains the rugged simplicity for which the XR family of motorcycles is known. Plus, with a wide range of Honda Accessories available, it can be easily adapted for various riding experiences.
HONDA Trail 125
Colors: Turmeric Yellow
Montesa Cota 4RT300RR: White; Red
Montesa Cota 4RT260R: Red
Montesa Cota 4RT300RR: $11,899
Montesa Cota 4RT260R: $9,299
LARS LARSON HONORED
Legends and Heroes, along with our spokesman Broc Glover, is proud to announce that we will honor Lars Larsson at round 2 of the Anaheim Supercross on January 27th., 2024.
Lars Larsson is a pioneering motocross and off-road racer from Sweden who helped introduce motocross racing to America in the late 1960s. He was a leading International Six Day Trials/Enduro (ISDT/ISDE) rider during the 1960s and 1970s. He earned multiple gold medals riding for the United States, Mexico and his native Sweden. Lars was also instrumental in setting up the original Husqvarna dealership network across America in the late 1960’s, And helped launch Torsten Hallman Original Racewear (THOR).
Lars was born in on July 5, 1941 in Stockholm, Sweden. His first race was in 1959 in a Swedish enduro, riding a Husqvarna 175. “The Husqvarna 175s were street bikes,” Lars recalled. “But we would convert them to off-road bikes by stripping them down and making them as light as possible. Lars had become a leading rider when
the AMA instituted the Inter-AM motocross series. In 1971, he won four of the five Inter-AM 500cc non-national races on a special Husqvarna racer built with a titanium frame. His true forte became off-road racing. He was a leading national enduro rider through the 1970s and earned gold at the 1971 International Six Days Trials (later called the International Six Day Enduro) in Czechoslovakia riding for the U.S.A. Trophy squad.
By the late 1970s, Lars retired from racing professionally. During his career he was a factory rider for Husqvarna, Can-Am, Maico and Kawasaki. He continued to race on the amateur level and earned a World Vet Motocross Championship in 2001 at the age of 60. Now in 2024, Lars is 83 and still racing. Lars was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002.