I took the new 2023 KTM 300 XCW around a local single track and wanted to share my first impressions in this hands-on review. I have now owned this dirt bike for about 6 months and here are my findings.
KTM has updated the 2023 enduro models with only minor changes. Changes to previous year models include new retro plastics and decal designs, orange frame and added a lightweight skid plate.
The 2023 model has not seen much anticipated major updates, which makes some enduro riders wait for next years models. The SX and XC models did see major updates and seems like we need to wait another year for those updates to trickle into the XCW lineup, which is typical for KTM. The 2023 XCW lineup is mostly compatible with previous 2021 and 2022 models as far as parts go.
In this post, you will find:
The KTM 300 XC-W is a pretty bike off the factory floor. KTM has kept the same look and still somehow managed to update the plastics and graphics into the 90s retro look. The orange frame color that they have used previously seem to match well into the new graphics theme.
This model also won the title in our best trail dirt bike for 2023 comparison, so naturally I chose this model as my new trail ride.
Test Ride Results
After the first trail test on the new 2023 KTM 300 XCW, I can tell you that not much has changed. In a way, that is a good thing.
The engine is smooth, strong and very predictable. Thanks to the stock yellow power valve settings from the factory, the XCW feels very mellow for a 300cc and the power delivery is linear.
Next, let’s talk some of the main features in detail.
Design and Features
Like said previously, not much has changed.
The 2023 model comes with Dunlop tires. KTM changed the front tire to a Dunlop MX33 and kept the Dunlop AT81 rear. Honestly, not the best tire selection for the type of riding I do, which is mostly calling for much stickier and softer tires, such as Shinko 525 series cheater tires.
Additionally, KTM added a plastic skid plate as well as newly designed 90’s themed plastics and graphics set. The plastics and graphics are new, in the sense that KTM heat molded the graphics into the plastic surface making them more wear resistant.
This years model still relies on the WP XPLOR front forks and the PDS style rear shock. The front forks include a spring preload adjustment, which is a welcome addition.
Performance and Handling
Performance-wise, this KTM is guaranteed quality. The motor is producing reliable, predictable and liner power thought out the rev range. The 2023 model still has the same power valve setup, which you can tune yourself. Surprisingly, you no longer get the extra power valve springs with the new dirt bike, so you need to buy them aftermarket.
The power delivery felt much more tame than my previous 2018 model, which is likely because of the yellow power valve spring and the preload adjustment. I plan to change to a red spring soon after the break in period.
The chassis and suspension feels like it should. The Xplor front forks are soft and not the best when it comes to bottoming resistance or high speed stability. Rear shock feels plush and able to keep up in faster trail riding.
To improve the front fork performance, I recently installed the Race Tech Gold valves. Be sure to check out my review on the Race Tech Gold Valves, here.
The forward controls feel great, but the wide stock handlebar feels extra wide for me. I would cut that for single track and woods riding.
The 2023 KTM 300 XCW version has impressive 57 horsepower! The new 2024 KTM 300 XCW has completely redesigned engine producing only 49 HP. So this version is last of the powerhouse 300 engines KTM produced.
In short, the 2023 KTM 300 XCW is trail ready!
The wide ratio gear box is great for single track or trail riding, including steep hills, rocky terrain, and technical single-track. First gear is short, second very manageable around slow speeds and can take you up the steepest climbs without stalling. The 300 motor is strong and does not stall, seriously.
The idle air screw allows the user to fine tune the idling speed and just off idle performance. However, to further improve the off idle performance and low end torque, you can modify the fuel mixture off idle by adding a custom fuel mixture screw on the throttle body.
2023 KTM 300 XCW – Technical Details
Like said, not much has changed when it comes to technical details. This year model did not see major updates like the sister XC models in 2023.
|$11,099.00 (in US)
|Single-cylinder, 2-stroke, liquid-cooled
|Dell’Orto 39 mm throttle body, TPI
|WP XPLOR-USD, Ø 48 mm
|WP XPLOR, PDS
|Disc brake with 2-piston caliper
|Disc brake with 1-piston caliper
|1,485 ± 10 mm
|Tank Capacity (approx.)
|9 liters or 2.38 gal
|Weight (without fuel)
|228 lbs or 103.4 kg
I rode the 2023 KTM 300 XCW on several different single tracks around Texas and clocking about 40 hours total so far and I am still impressed. The main differences to my older 2018 KTM XCW 300 are in the way the TPI delivers power and how the suspension works.
Overall I like the smooth power delivery of the 2023 KTM 300 XCW. It is much less aggressive and controllable than the older models, but packs a raging punch when needed. While it may have less low end torque at just off idle, you get used to it quickly.
The 2023 KTM 300 XCW is easy to ride, performs very well and is very predictable.
The 2023 KTM 300 XCW is an absolute beast! This bike is an absolute powerhouse on the trails, with impressive performance and handling. The 300cc engine, lightweight frame, and top-of-the-line suspension make for an unbeatable combination. I highly recommend checking out the 2023 KTM 300 XCW. It won’t disappoint!
|Overall 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★
- TPI (no mixing 2 stroke fuel)
- PDS style rear shock design
- Durability and reliability
- Ease of service
- Stock tires
- Soft suspension
- Skid plate is not durable
- Plastics are patented (makes more difficult to find aftermarket plastics)
Frequently Asked Questions About 2023 KTM 300 XCW
What size is the rear tire on a KTM 300 XCW?
The KTM 300 XCW has a 110/100-18 rear tire. It can also fit up to a 140 wide rear tire.
What’s the difference between a KTM 300 XC and 300 XC-W?
The KTM 300 XC uses a XAct front forks and linkage rear shock, where as the 300 XC-W uses XPLOR front forks and PDS style rear shock. The XC model also has slightly higher tuned engine, with a map switch. The XC-W is also equipped with a wide gear ratio, making the first and second gear shorter.
How much horsepower does a 2023 KTM 300 XCW have?
Around 57 horsepower.
Do you have to mix gas for a 2023 KTM 300 XCW?
No. The new KTM model is using TPI (Throttle Port Injection) system. This mixes the 2-stroke oil as needed when you ride.
How many gears does a KTM 300 XCW have?
How much does a 2023 KTM 300 weight?
228 lbs or 103.4 kg
Do the 2022 KTM XC-W plastics fit 2023 XCW model?
Yes. I ordered the Acerbis 2023 plastics kit for the XC-W with the 2022 XC front plate. The plastics are interchangeable.
In conclusion, the 2023 KTM 300 XCW is an absolute game-changer in the world of off-road motorcycles. This bike has been designed to deliver exceptional performance on any terrain, making it the perfect choice for adventure enthusiasts and trail riders. The impressive power and handling of the 300cc engine combined with the lightweight frame and top-of-the-line suspension make this bike a true beast on the trails.
From the moment I took this bike out for a test ride, I was blown away by its capabilities. Whether I was navigating through rocky terrain, powering through steep climbs, or carving through tight corners, the 2023 KTM 300 XCW handled everything with ease.
If you’re looking for a high-performance off-road bike that can handle anything you throw its way, the 2023 KTM 300 XCW is definitely worth checking out. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and experience the thrill of this amazing bike for yourself!
Keeping it pinned!