Timely updates keep KTM's two-stroke racers alive

KTM’s SX-derived XC line is receiving fuel injection for the 2020 model year. Off-road riders of these cross-country motorcycles will now be able to enjoy the benefits of KTM’s Transfer Port Injection (TPI) system in the two-stroke 300 XC and 250 XC. TPI means better fuel efficiency, cleaner emissions, an ambient air pressure sensor, and no premixing or re-jetting required.

KTM released the fuel-injected, two-stroke 300 and 250 EXC TPI enduros in 2018. The 2020 model year will see the 300 XC TPI and 250 EXC TPI. In KTM’s stable, XC stands for cross country while EXC (or XC-W) refers to enduro. Both are 6-speeds, designated for competition. The main differences between the two are in the gearing and suspension. The XC has a semi close-ratio gearbox with relatively even gearing and no major gap between low gears. It also has rear suspension linkage and air forks. These features help the cross-country bike shine in wide-open spaces.

Meanwhile, the EXC (XC-W) has a wide-ratio gearbox that shortens the gap between first and second gear, and widens it between second and third. Its lack of rear suspension linkage prevents snagging around the swingarm, while its shorter fork springs make it more nimble. The EXC also comes with lights and additional instruments. These help the enduro navigate extreme terrain, clear obstacles, and carve single tracks.


The 2020 KTM XC TPIs are built around the same lightweight chrome-moly steel frame. Riders can choose between the 293.2 or 249 cc single-cylinder engine — two-stroke, liquid-cooled, twin-valve, and fuel-injected with a 39 mm Dell’Orto throttle body. The cross-country bikes get new CNC exhaust ports and lighter, more durable exhaust systems with a corrugated expansion chambers and aluminum silencers. The upgraded WP XACT suspension entails 48 mm air forks with new damping pistons and improved performance (310 mm of travel) and mono shocks with linkage (260 mm of travel), a new compression adjuster, and an aluminum swingarm with a long rear axle slot for better stability on straights.


The 2020 KTM 300 XC TPI and 250 XC TPI have wet, multi-disc DDS clutches, operated by hydraulic Brembo systems which offer highly controllable modulation. Their Neken aluminum handlebars have both lower and bridge-type clamps for torsional stiffness. The 300 and 250 XC TPI roll on Giant rims (21-inch in front, 18-inch out back) with CNC-machined hubs and Dunlop AT81 knobby tires, while the Brembo brakes work with lightweight Galfer Wave rotors (310 mm front, 300 mm rear). The new KTM 300 XC TPI and 250 XC TPI share a seat height of 950 mm, wheelbase of 1485 mm, and a sizable tank capacity of 8.5 L. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.