SSR Motorsports came to life in 2002 and developed a strong following building Chinese-manufactured pit bikes, scooters, UTVs and full-size motorcycles. They are known for being very competitively priced and are visually cutting-edge. One of its popular mid-sized off-road machines is the SR300S, a machine first tested here in 2019. It retails for $4499 and features an aluminum frame and a water-cooled, four-valve engine that is fit with a six-speed gearbox. The suspension is a linkage-driven rear end with a USD fork, and both ends offer 10.5 inches of travel. Based on looks and price, the package is appetizing. Here’s our take on how it works.
There is a distinct similarity to Honda’s CRF-X line of machines. The perimeter frame is aluminum and appears to use the Honda CRF-X as inspiration. The main-frame spars are beefy. The swingarm has a tapered design with both suspension ends offering adjustable damping, the rear being rebound only, and the fork having both compression and rebound damping. Like the chassis, the fork has a strong Showa-like look, and word on the street is that Showa internals actually work and fit into the front damper.
It’s fit with a 21-inch front wheel and a 19-inch rear. This seemed a little odd to us, mainly because it’s easier to find 18-inch rubber, and it gives you the ability to run lower air pressures to help improve traction. This is a trail bike. Both brakes are 240mm disc brakes, with the front hydraulic unit being a two-piston design. The tires are made by Innova, while the cockpit uses an aluminum bulge bar, an on-the-fly adjustable clutch lever, and a throttle reminiscent of the old Gunnar Gasser.
The machine is fairly slim through the middle. The fuel tank is smallish and holds 1.7 gallons. Dual radiators handle the cooling, and a radiator fan clicks on when the engine gets too hot. It’s a full 300cc, with a bore and stroke of 82mm x 53.6mm. The valves are stainless. The exhaust system has a header-pipe collector targeting softer decibel levels, and the muffler is aluminum and does not come equipped with a spark arrestor. Carburetion is handled by a 35mm unit. As stated, it has a six-speed, wide-ratio transmission and, according to the spec sheet, the claimed horsepower is 30.8. It has both kick and electric start, while the air-filter access resides under the saddle.
ON THE TRAIL
The SR300S is fairly discreet sound-wise, but is not spark-legal, making it a closed-course-only machine. It features pretty nice gearbox ratios, and sixth gear allows it to carry some decent top speed. Good marks go to the clutch pull, which is fairly light via the cable-operated system. We did get it to lose a bit of the handle when aggressively fanned, but it did come back in short order. Too, the on-the-fly adjuster worked well.
Starting via the button wasn’t immediate when the machine was cold, but it did respond quicker when warmed up. The jetting on the 35mm carburetor was good mid to top. It had a lean hesitation at low rpm. Power-wise, the flow of juice is smooth, fairly tractable and quite tasty for the trail rider. Better pilots could make it sing and work in the mid-to-upper power range without abusing the engine and cover ground quite adeptly. Shifting was crisp and helped keep the SR300S where the rider could work the sweet spot of the powerband. Speaking of traction, our bike came with Innova tires. In our hard-packed conditions, they were pretty pedestrian, appearing to target loamy terrain. Suspension-wise, the 10.5 inches of travel worked fairly well. Trail carnage, rocks and roots sent a bit of feedback back to the pilot’s hands, but the bike handled whoops and bigger hits just fine.
BITS AND PIECES
We’re pretty impressed with several facets of the machine.
• The aluminum frame and swingarm look modern and effective, and all of the welds are clean and consistent.
• All of the suspension parts look professionally built with fine machining.
• It uses an ignition key, which is strange for a dirt bike.
• The grips, handlebar and footpegs are quality items.
• The 1.7-gallon tank has no reserve.
• Two Allen bolts hold the seat on, and the fit is excellent. Under the seat is the airbox access. You move a wire clip, pull the airbox cover forward, and you can rotate it out of the way. The battery stays with the airbox lid. The box lid isn’t solid. It has a very open, plastic grid above the filter that should allow plenty of airflow.
The SSR SR300S is no lightweight at 256 pounds, but that puts it in the hunt with the 254-pound Honda CRF250X. But remember, the Honda has 2 additional inches of suspension travel, lights and instruments, and is spark-arrestor-equipped. And, with the SSR, you honestly feel the weight, but in a trail-oriented environment, the SR300S is a pleasure to ride. While it’s heavy on styling and looks ready to hit the motocross track, that is not its happy place. Flowing trails and woods riding salted with a modicum of hard-edged, jumpy terrain will keep you smiling.
We want to fiddle with the jetting a bit, fit on some handguards and get some hours on the machine. Ours came equipped with a Pro Circuit T-6 slip-on muffler (from SSR Accessories) that has a removable spark arrestor and let us explore in areas where you need to be legal. The bottom line is this: the SSR 300S is a polished machine, though not in the same league as the Honda CRF250X. Still, it sells for $3800.00 less than the Honda. Depending where you are in your dirt bike life, having a good-handling and respectably powered machine with a price tag that is appetizing might just be the ticket for you. The SSR SR300S fits in this niche quite nicely.