For 2017 an Italian firm offers you a selection in 300cc off-road bikes. TM presents a carbureted two-stroke or an EFI four-stroke. In Europe, these two bikes would possibly go into completely different courses, however that’s simply an accident of rule-making. Bikes round this engine dimension have received most off-road championships worldwide for years, no matter class, model or engine kind. These two bikes characterize the very best of their respective worlds.
We forgive you in case you don’t know TM. It’s a small Italian agency that builds bikes in very restricted amount, making an attempt to capitalize on craftsmanship over title recognition. In Europe, everybody is aware of about TM merely due to its racing success. The present 250 world champion is Finnish rider Eero Remes, who races a TM EN 250 FI, similar to the 300 four-stroke examined right here. The corporate began out making kart motors, then moved into two-stroke enduro bikes. 4-strokes got here later. One of the vital spectacular elements of the tiny agency is what number of proprietary elements it manufactures. Not solely are the engine and body made in-house, however so are most of the bits and items. Even the rear shock is made by TM. The components that aren’t made by TM are top quality and, oddly sufficient, many are Japanese. The fork is a Kayaba SSS, just like what comes on a Yamaha. The brakes are Nissin. The edges are Takasago Excels, and the EFI on the four-stroke is Keihin. The carb on the two-stroke can also be Keihin, and it’s paired with a Moto Tassinari reed. The bikes bought within the U.S. include Dunlop tires.
The 300cc two-stroke has been the most well-liked mannequin within the U.S. because it was launched within the 1990s. It’s modified regularly since then, getting an digital energy valve just a few years in the past. The 250cc four-stroke has been round for nearly 10 years, and this yr TM elevated each the bore and the stroke to make the 300cc four-stroke. You would possibly assume that each one TMs have the identical body, whatever the motor, however that’s not the case. These two have very comparable geometries, however the airbox and the gasoline tank have traded locations on the four-stroke, very similar to a Yamaha. Air is drawn in up excessive, and the throttle physique is located above the pinnacle, making for a really straight shot into the combustion chamber. The gasoline tank is within the subframe, inflicting slight modifications to the shock place as in contrast with the two-stroke.
There are two different main variations that you simply may not count on. The four-stroke has electrical begin and a six-speed gearbox. The 2-stroke is kick-start solely and has a five-speed. Regardless of this, the two-stroke is barely a pound lighter. It weighs 231 kilos with out gasoline, whereas the four-stroke is 232 kilos. By the point you fill them each up, the two-stroke is a pound heavier as a result of it holds extra fuel (2.5 gallons versus 2.zero).
THE TRUTH OF THE TRAIL
Don’t be too confused by the load figures. 4-stroke weight numbers have dropped dramatically lately, and the 300 two-stroke was designed earlier. The true distinction is how they really feel while you trip them. The 2-stroke feels a lot lighter. It’s simpler to throw round and manhandle. There are gyroscopic legal guidelines that work on the bigger crank and extra spinning shafts within the four-stroke that have an effect on the dealing with in a giant approach. If you wish to win loads of bets, have folks trip these two bikes, then guess which is the heaviest. You may need to convey an authorized scale to the observe to show your self.
Oddly sufficient, the identical components that make the four-stroke really feel heavier make it deal with higher at velocity. It’s extra steady. In tough terrain, particularly, the four-stroke goes straighter and is much less more likely to be thrown off track by sq. edges, holes or whoops. As soon as once more, your seat-of-the-pants using impression would most likely lead you astray. You’d by no means consider that the 2 bikes have the identical suspension elements. The four-stroke feels cushier and extra properly rounded. Each bikes have nice suspension, significantly in entrance, however the four-stroke simply delivers a smoother, extra comfy trip. The 2-stroke’s ahead progress is definitely interrupted by bumps and holes, and that has a unfavorable impact on traction.
THE MAIN EVENT
All that’s attention-grabbing however not very stunning. We’ve lengthy documented the dealing with variations created by the 2 strategies of propulsion. The massive distinction is energy. Standard knowledge has all the time held that two-strokes make extra energy per cubic inch, and that’s why it was thought-about “honest” to provide four-strokes a displacement benefit in racing.
Is it nonetheless justified? Not likely. When it comes to peak energy, these two bikes are very shut. In energy supply, they’re nothing alike. The 2 bikes put their energy to the bottom in such dramatically completely different ways in which they defeat all our standard strategies of evaluating acceleration. In a full-race begin, traction presents a random component that makes outcomes inconsistent. The four-stroke often hooks up higher, however not all the time, and rider ability performs a much bigger function on the two-stroke. The time-honored roll-on take a look at, which we often carry out on pavement, eliminates traction and rider ability as variables, however rpm performs a much bigger function. When you open each throttles on the similar time from a slow-rolling begin in, say, third gear, it is best to get a very good image of how they differ. On this case, the two-stroke walks away simply when the comparability is completed beginning at low rpm. When the roll-on take a look at begins from a sooner tempo, the two-stroke has to shift instantly, and the four-stroke seizes that benefit to tug away.
The underside line is that you simply trip these two bikes in a different way. The 2-stroke is all about low revs and growling via obstacles. It’s just about unstoppable. The bike doesn’t stall or hesitate, even in case you’re in a gear that’s far too tall and it’s a must to all of the sudden speed up to clear a log or wheelie over a ditch. The four-stroke’s energy, alternatively, could be very tender down low. If the path all of the sudden turns upward, you possibly can’t simply open the throttle and count on good outcomes. The bike needs to downshift. All of the four-stroke’s energy is approach up excessive, so it really works greatest in case you rev it. The powerband is definitely very lengthy, going from about 6000 rpm all the best way as much as someplace within the 13,000 zone. However, in case you put the engine beneath a sudden load when it’s not prepared, it groans and complains. Even the automated decompressor makes noise, becoming a member of a refrain of sad traits. The answer is to be aggressive. The four-stroke needs you to be using onerous and quick on a regular basis. Whenever you do this, it flies up hills, hooks up in mud and pulls via sand. It’s an aggressive race bike, and it needs aggressive riders.
Placing the wheel-to-wheel comparability apart for the second, there are specific issues that needs to be stated about TM bikes. The standard is excellent on each bikes. You possibly can take a magnifying glass to the welds on the body and also you’ll by no means discover a flaw. The finishes on the triple clamps, the rear brake pedal and even the fasteners are all NASA high quality. And, as you would possibly count on, the bikes are quirky. They make odd sounds and have uncommon tendencies. For instance, there’s loads of consumption noise on the four-stroke. The 2-stroke vibrates its nuts and bolts unfastened frequently. Each hydraulic clutches have a jerky pull, and the kill buttons are positioned the place brush may trigger a short lived interruption in progress. These aren’t mass-manufactured bikes and aren’t speculated to attraction to the hose-it-off-and-forget-it era.
That’s why we predict the 300 two-stroke will proceed to be the corporate’s calling card for years to come back. It’s simpler to trip and appeals to older riders who would possibly contemplate an off-beat model like TM. There’s little doubt that the four-stroke is a greater racer. Eero Remes most likely may trip something the corporate makes, however he sticks with the four-stroke as a result of he has the ability, the drive and the aggressiveness to make it work for him. As for us, we simply wish to have enjoyable using grime bikes. And, as we’ve all the time recognized, there’s nothing extra enjoyable than a 300cc two-stroke. o