2002 KTM 300MXC
Sweet dreams
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 workable.

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.