|2002 KTM 300MXC
|Because two KTM's are better than one
|I enjoyed the sight of two KTM's in my garage but eventually sold the bike on the right, the '99 300EXC, in May 2003.
KTM updated the forks with 43mm WP's in 2000, which were very light compared to the massive 50MM WP's on the '99
EXC. What the MXC forks gave up in weight, they gained in harshness. Some of the sharp rocks the EXC would float
over were bone-jarring impacts on the MXC. Eventually I bought a do-it-yourself revalve hit for the MXC and the fork
action improved quite a bit.
KTM's from this era were notoriously finicky with carburetor jetting, and these two bikes were no exception. The MXC
jetting baffled me. I never did find a setting that would prevent engine knock without using race gas, which I did for most
of the 2003 season. Then I found a guy named Clay Wolfe at C&M Machine, who had done some work with engine
tolerances on KTM's. Turns out the specified tolerances weren't being consistently applied in the manufacturing
process, making it nearly impossible for all engines to be jetted exactly alike.
Off went the MXC's cylinder head to Clay, who machined it to correct tolerances. After that, no more race gas. A year or
two later KTM finally improved its manufacturing processes and I now hear much less about wide variations in jetting.
Other differences in the two KTM's were minor. Back then, the MXC and EXC models were somewhat similar in purpose
to today's XC and XC-W lines, respectively. The MXC had motocross-like gear spacing in its transmission, while the
EXC had a wide-ratio transmission. To keep up with the wide-ratio, big-bore 4-strokes I was racing against in the
Missouri Hare Scrambles series, I ran a 14/50 sprocket combo (14/52 was stock). This worked fairly well in wider,
GNCC-type trails but was a handful in Illinois-style woods. Only the lugging power of that sweet 300 motor made it
The 300MXC was sold in January 2008; the 300EXC in May 2003. Both KTM's were great for long races where I could
be lazy late in the race and conserve energy. In Colorado in 2006 and 2007, the MXC was perfect.
|I'm a big fan of eBay, and the Internet in general, for finding all things motorcycle-related. In the summer of 2002, I
noticed a KTM 300MXC for sale on eBay by Fay Myers Motorcycle World, one of Colorado's largest motorcycle
dealers. I'd planned to finish out the 2002 season on my '99 300EXC and race one more year on it before looking for a
new ride in 2003, but the '02 MXC seemed like a pretty attractive price. And the economical (read: cheap) person I am,
I knew I could swing a road trip to Denver for business and get my mileage paid for.
Although the bike didn't sell on eBay, I negotiated a deal with Fay Myers and drove out to Denver to pick it up. Thus
began a string of bike purchases using only the Internet, including a 2003 Kawasaki KX250 from Motorcycle Brokers
and a 2004 KX250 from Racing Unlimited.