Its funny how a bike can change in character as it develops. Take the 300EXC,for instance. When the bike took over from the 380 as the biggest two-stroke in the austrian range it was just another E3 smoker,all scary top-end power and hard-hitting midrange. For many years we found Gas Gas EX300 a much easier machine to ride. Move on a little and KTM have been building smooth bottom- end power into their strokers without losing too much top-end,and since 2008 the 300exc has been given some serious low down grunt. In fact,the latest model feels almost like a four stroke,such is the way it'll climb a gradient at not much more than tickover.
Add to this the fact that since '08,the bike has come with an electric start and you've got one of the nicest two-strokes in production. Prehaps ever.
The downside are that early e-start bikes (given the name EXC-E for one year only) suffered problems with the starter motor and the fact that the mechanism still requires regular maintenance, though most early bikes will have been sorted by now. To this day and despite the 2011 model being given a 6 speed gearbox, the EXC 300 isn't much cop for prolonged tarmac use. The engine is quite vibey and it hunts on an even throttle,so zipping between the lanes is far from relaxed.