A: The hate list: (1) Preload ring. TM uses the KTM clamp system, but with an aluminum preload ring instead of nylon. The preload ring is very hard to get to, and it never truly locked the shock down. We would set the preload ring, lock the Allen bolt down, and then after the moto, the Allen bolt would have spun to the other side of the shock (where we couldn’t get to it). No problem, we just grabbed the spring and spun the Allen bolt back to where we could reach it—all without loosening the Allen. ( 2) Sprocket bolts. There are nine bolts holding the sprocket on. Nine! ( 3) Gearing. Both bikes work a lot better when the gear ratios are tightened up. ( 4) Radiator cap. The radiator cap sticks up above the radiator shroud and the caps’ tangs bend too easily. Last year we lost two radiator caps. This year we drilled a hole in the flange and safety-wired the cap on. Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE? A: The like list: (1) Exotica. This bike is a thing of beauty. No, not the graphics or plastic—the workmanship. ( 2) Front brake. The front brake uses a Nissin master cylinder with a Brembo caliper and 270mm rotor. That is 10mm bigger than a KTM brake. ( 3) Map switches. There are two maps in the ECU. We ran both bikes on Map 2. ( 4) Gas tank. We loved the translucent gas tank. We never had to wonder if we had enough gas. We could see the fuel level through the plastic. ( 5) Hydraulic clutch. Very sweet, and we used the heck out of it. Q: WHICH ONE WOULD WE BUY? A: As shootouts go, this one is very simple. We aren’t worried about which one has the best suspension, best brakes, best ergos, best clutch or lowest weight. In every significant category, save one, these two bikes are tied on points. It all comes down to the tiebreaker, and that is the powerband. There is no riddle here. Every MXA test rider preferred to race the TM 300MX. ;
The choice between the TM 250MX
and 300MX boils down to the snap of
250cc two-stroke or the torque of
300cc two-stroke...either way they
are both two-strokes.