From http://www.crosstrainingenduro.com An Italian built enduro bike at only two thirds the price of other European enduro bikes? I was interested. Very interested. There’s a lot of fake news flying around about the SWM RS300R and the RS500R too. No they aren’t manufactured in China, they are manufacturered in Italy but with Chinese funding. This SWM RS300R test review features a rebadged and slightly tweaked Husqvarna model from around 2010. They are built in the same Husqvarna factory that passed to BMW and now finally to SWM.
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In this test review it looks as though in 2017 SWM still have the same quality control as Husky did back in 2010 and the finish is excellent. The SWM RS300R comes with the well known Kayaba suspension and Brembo brakes, and in Australia you also get an Arrow exhaust to replace the twin muffler setup.
SWM have also tweaked the 2016 SWM RS300R engine to provide a bit more grunt and a fraction less top end. This makes sense. Being an older design, SWM are better off taming these bikes a little to bridge the gap between enduro and dual sport bikes, instead of trying to compete with more modern full fledged enduro bikes. This SWM 300 test review used a demo bike that was derestricted with remapping of the ECU and the Arrow exhaust which apparently is what most SWM riders are doing.
So what’s the SWM RS300R like? She’s definitely an enduro engine. It lugs well for a small four stroke, nice mid range and then really starts to sing in the upper revs. If you like to rev this 300 will be plenty fast enough.
Suspension? We started on the softer settings and it was beautifully plush and great for dual sport riding. Then we played with the clickers and upped the speed on the SWM RS300R. It was still plush but handled the big hits a lot better. A very aggressive rider will find the limits of this setup quickly, but then that’s not what this SWM is set up for.
The SWM RS300R 2016 handles very well. Stable at speed, and still feels nimble at lower speeds. We even threw it into some of our gnarlier tracks and you only start to notice the weight in the rough stuff. As with many manufacturers I suspect the claimed weight of 111 kg without fuel may not be accurate. We some weight lifting comparisons with other bikes and it felt more around the 118kg mark to me. A bit porky by modern enduro standards but the SWM 300 is far lighter than dual sport bikes.
At this price, the SWM 300 is a fantastic alternative to your usual dual sport bikes such as the DRZ400, WR250R, CRF250 and XT250. It’s in the same price bracket but you get far better suspension, brakes and engine, and it’s a much lighter bike too. It does bridge the gap between dual sport and enduro extremely well, and in stock form would suit the beginner rider and yet still be very capable for the vast majority of dirt riders unless you are doing gnarly terrain or developing a lot of speed. A healthy 1.8 litre oil capacity for the SWM RS300R should see a good run between oil changes and if the reliability is the same as the 2010 Huskies then you have a long way to go before needing any engine work.
So what didn’t we like about the 2016 SWM RS300R?
The six speed gearbox is a bit close ratio – perfect in the dirt if you want to keep that engine singing. But for a bike that covers dual sport and enduro riding so well I thought first gear was a bit high for dirt riding, but then in sixth gear it was revving very high at highway speeds.
Personally I found the Arrow aftermarket exhaust on the SWM RS300R too loud and would be looking for an insert to reduce that bark. I assume the stock twin mufflers would be quiet but probably add a fair bit of weight to the bike.
The cable clutch was a tad heavy and a bit mushy. But the SWM is so cheap I would just buy a Clake One Light Clutch and still have plenty of spare change.
Does the SWM 300 have any known issues? I checked on the 2010 Huskies and the only common issue was an occasional leak of oil through a seal in the starter motor. Easily fixed and I suspect SWM have corrected it in any case.
So there you have it guys. No the SWM RS300R is not a serious enduro bike by today’s standards. But I think it would be exceptional value for anyone who finds dual sport bikes too boring, or who is getting into dirt riding and wants a bike that they won’t outgrow in the first year. SWM also do a 500 and a 650 and have supermoto and adventure versions. Given this 300 was such a pleasant surprise we might check those out soon too.