Today’s crop of 300 two-stroke off-road bikes offer an amazing level of performance. The technical advancements in the motor, chassis and suspension are astonishing. These woods weapons perform so well, they make the average pilot a better rider. But, what can you do to improve the stock platform? There are tons of aftermarket products available, so what will deliver improved performance instead of just bling? Mike Webb dipped his 2019 KTM 300XC-W into the aftermarket pool and discovered what he wanted
In stock trim, the XPLOR fork is soft, lacks predictability and bottoms easily. Slavens Racing sells the MX Tech Lucky cartridge system with dual compression and rebound cartridges (stock is compression left, rebound right leg). They are valved using Jeff’s “Mule” spec and target tough enduro terrain. These dual cartridges distribute valving equally between the two dampers, use leaf spring mid-valves, optimized pressure balance, and provide a wide performance profile for riders who expect a plush ride, all while maintaining excellent traction and control. To control the bottoming, the Lucky MX Tech kit uses the MXT huck valve. It’s a speed-sensitive bottoming control that uses a pressure sensitive valving mechanism. This allows for both high-entry speeds and slower speeds effectively. The MXT huck valve-equipped forks allow the setup to be plusher without sacrificing the overall control of the fork.
Out back, Mike went with the Slavens Mule National shock by MX Tech, a very pricey upgrade, but it’s a performance promotion that deals with some of the non-linkage issues of the stock PDS design (rides high, deflects when bottomed, not whoop-friendly). The National shock is over 1 pound lighter than the stocker, has speed-sensitive damping, five damping adjustments, an 18mm DLC-coated shock shaft and a Kashima-coated shock body. It uses an MXT tank (large reservoir system) and a hybrid piston/bladder design for better small-bump compliance and control. Mike felt that his 300 rode lower, maintained balance better under duress, was superb in chewing on track hack, and provided a substantial gain in ugly high-speed terrain.
The stock motor provides a seamless, linear power delivery that is magic in the technical nasties but is mapped lean to meet Euro emissions and, honestly (for western off-road), needs a boost in the mid-to-top power zone. Mike’s first mod was to increase compression using the Slavens Racing S3 high-compression head, which was mated to the Slavens mapped GET ECU. This mod was huge, eliminating the lean zones and upping the midrange where it was weak. Mike was pumped but felt that the engine was struggling in the smooth bottom-to-midrange transition. This was what he tagged as his hill-climbing hot zone, so he went for one more stage, the Slavens Racing Mule GET injector relocation kit, which moves the stock fuel injectors from the cylinder to just in front of the throttle body. This, combined with the S3 head and Slavens setting in the GET ECU, turned Mike’s 300 into a beast. It retains excellent low-end torque and allows a smooth pull into a very muscular midrange and amazing top end. Where the stock power falls flat, this clicks into another zone. It’s a pricey ticket, but for the western rider who spends his days hill-climbing, dealing with power-robbing sand, and still embraces the shift and lug for perfect traction in technical terrain— It’s flat stunning.
The majority of our bolt-on mods were chosen for protection and reliability. The Enduro Engineering handguards and rear disc guard; the Bullet Proof Designs swingarm guard; and the Acerbis chainguide, frame and skid plate for engine protection. The E Line carbon pipe guard, Slavens exhaust flange and TPS protector are all focused on damage control. Mike fit on a Twin Air high-pressure radiator cap and a Trail Tech cooling fan. The fan is almost a must for the rider who spends time in slow, technical zones that easily elevate the motor temps and can turn your machine into a steamer. Ride Engineering split triple clamps aren’t mandatory but are adjustable and offer insurance against twisted bars in the event of a fall. Seat Concepts’ gripper seat is a must for the steep climbs we play on, and the Decal Works graphics kit is just cool.
In the end, Mike says that he went over the top to get what he wanted for the terrain that he plays in. A total revamp of the power output via the Slavens kit was his biggest game changer. Both the fork and new shock target a guy with a healthy credit card limit, but Mike is consumed with balance and feel, and both were addressed superbly with the MX Tech updates. All the guards he bolted on are considered part of the cost of doing business in the off-road world. In the end, Mikey likes the progress he made with his 300 in looks, feel, power and handling.
GET race kit: $1181.95 (includes GET ECU, injector relocation, map switch and ECU plate)
S3 hi-comp head: $179.95
Slavens MX Tech National shock: $2640
Slavens MX Tech cartridge fork: $1079
Slavens TPS protector: $54.95
Slavens exhaust flange: $44.95
Nuetech Tubliss tube: $102.95
Trail Tech fan kit: $219.95
Enduro Engineering rear disc guard: $109.95
Enduro Engineering handguards: $84.90
Fastway EVO 4 pegs: $144.95
Polisport ignition cover
Acerbis frame guards: $47.65
Acerbis disc cover: $32.95
Acerbis skid plate : $82.95
Acerbis chainguide: $63.99
Seat Concepts saddle: $348.99
Twin Air Ice Flow radiator cap: $35.95
FMF 2.1 silencer: $184
E Line pipe guard: $159.95
Ride Engineering triple clamps: $799
Decal Works graphics: $247
Rekluse clutch cover: $179.99
Bullet Proof Designs swingarm guard: $75