SWM RS300R TEST REVIEW: best budget enduro bike?

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.


ski bum says:

Seen the 300 and 500 in the states now in southern California selling for $ 3800.00 a month ago , I was wondering about them …..thanks for the review !

Player One says:

They should made 250 2t as well. Husky had cool 2t engine;)

Terry Newton says:

Ha, Two months ago I bought a 2017 Husky 350. It’s a incredible bike and really makes me a better rider, I’m just an old plonker. I really love my bike but if I’d heard of SWM before I purchased my bike then maybe I would have made a different decision.

Arturo S. says:

Fake news lol. That phrase it traveling the world

Ramón Labrador says:

empricipio me gusta enta guapa

Maershkin Schrabs says:

I am new to riding dirt bikes in my late 20s and still yet to get my first bike. Ive only ridden a few different bikes so i wouldnt know much. Someone i know well has a husqvarna 2012 te310 and it is the one i have ridden most (in my little experience) and it appears to be of a similar make to this swm . What i have noticed is that though it is only 310 the actual bike itself sits alot taller (like unneccesary) and weighs alot more and feels alot less nimble than even the 450s(wr,crf) ive come across…. what does this have to do with? Is it in a different category of dirt bike to standard enduro? Or am i just misinformed/imagining things ?

Aoki Gahara says:

these bikes will be more than capable for 80% of the people out there if they are honest, but how many of us really are???

HHRider says:

I got my self the 500 Supermoto: It”s a fuckin beast! Every single mile is a blast and especially the brakes are phenomenal! The gearbox is a little short ration indeed and the standart hydraulic clutch is a little mushy as well.
Keep in mind overall these are really little downsides and you’ve got to be a bit picky to really be anoyed by them.
The quality is good, the handling great and the engine incredibly powerful.
If you’re considering buying one of those at least try them! You won’t be disappointed and buy it anyways!

Ask me any questions you’d like

Great review as well as the riding!

brad b says:

Great video ! Thanks 4 sharing . Wonder if I can get an swm in the states ? = )

Mark M says:

Hi, thanks for the video. What do you think of the Swm rs300r as à base for a lightweight adventure bike? I’m thinking of buying one…

EnduroLarm says:

this bike looking good

Michele16 says:

I’ve seen a lot of serious dirt bike riders in Italy doing really well in races with these bikes
I have not tried one yet but I’ve heard Very good things about them and I’ve heard that they are very similar to the great old Husqvarna te 310

Trevor Nugent says:

Great review mate. It’s good that swm took on the husky models and are still selling them. I’d love to test ride one


Great bike, i have superdual, very good bike


Too bad they screwed up the gear ratio’s, otherwise sounds perfect. The 6 gears on my 2015 wr250f are very well spaced, 1st is plenty low and it will still do over 80 in 6th and I weigh 210 pounds.

Alan Hale says:

I’d love to see you guys test out the other bikes in the SWM line up. Even if its on your other channels. keep up the great work!

Zbyszek Zefiros says:

It is very nice motocycle, but: there is no service, no spare parts available. I have bought this motocycle in Poland and I can’t fix it 🙁

Booki says:

Hmmm…so is it Dual sport capable of eating up lots and lots of road use (ie DRZ400 type maintenance), or is it a enduro bike in that sense ? I am confused

Tim Allen says:

For a bit more money, I’d take the 500.

1969cmp says:

I reckon this could be good for Finke, if you just want to get there and back in one piece.

Bob Sacamano says:

Well know I know what my next bike will be. Curious if you know the service intervals? I’d like to see it do at least 3k which is about what my DRZ would do before the oil starts to look like it needs changing.

The Noble and Mighty Beaver says:

The first SWM’s have made their way to Canada to a dealership North of Montreal. I was getting ready to take a road trip, and my cheque book, to look at an RS300R but luckily the dealer was an honest/up front guy and let me know that Canada hasn’t certified them for road use and he couldn’t really estimate when they would be accredited as that was the job of the US importer (the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly here). This dealer also sells AJP and those bikes took some time to get fully accredited.

I was disappointed at first because I really thought the RS300R would be an ideal bike for me. I ended up buying a 2010 Husqvarna TE250 this week with 3500km on it, the power up kit and ECU injector, plus all the off road protection kit you would need on a trail bike. I paid $4500 for it which is about half what I would have paid for a naked RS300R. The bike is in impeccable shape, the previous owner was a licensed mechanic, so it came safetied with a full tune up and all specs verified. I haven’t taken it out on the trails yet because I can’t plate it until next week, but I’ve mucked around on it in an old quarry near my house and so far so awesome. It is probably a good thing I can’t ride it anywhere right now because I am limited to working on basic balance, clutch/gas and cornering skills which I have already seen decent progress in my technique (lot of room for improvement here).

Len Pavia says:

I so miss my Italian Husky!!

eveRide RAW says:

Man the drone shots REALLY add a lot to the vids! Great work Barry!

justgjt says:

The Arrow does come with a Db killer insert. They must not have installed it when they lent it to you.

Enduro Fools says:

I had a 2010 husky wr 125 2stroke. That was a horrible bike. I would never even think about buying anything somehow related to those old italian huskys… I was so happy when I sold that 2stroke husky. I had that husky since it was almost new, but it kept breaking down. I was maintaing the bike very well,but one day my clutch basket cracked and yet there weren’t even any marks from clutch plates… Then ai was waiting about 2.5months for spare parts… Within few months my CDI unit failed… Swm? No thanks… Now I am riding a beta rr300 2015 and I love that bike. Such a sweet bike. That 300 2stroke feels amazing. I love that low end grunt power…

Ninya says:

you mentioned that it was a cable clutch but other reviews indicate its hydraulic?

Lucas Nuzda says:

In my country they are twice the price of exc 300 ,srs

Each Adventure says:

Really cool! Hopefully they are able to get them over to the USA… it would be really nice to have a cheaper alternative to KTM, Husky and Beta.

DueQuattroRuote says:

Very good bike and test

Andy Black says:

I just heard of SWM the other day when Marc Reiner Schmidt put his on the podium of the first S2 supermoto race of this year.  Thanks for reviewing the 300.  I had a Kawasaki KLX300 many years ago and the engine lacked bottom end power but was great in more open 2nd and 3rd gear situations.  The suspension had no adjustment for the rebound dampening and was terrible though.  I  think I’d like to try one of these SWM bikes if they ever become common here in the USA.

Mike Lyons says:

3:15 I definitely would have been in that wash! Nice bike.

Lester Ma says:

Nice review

Carman E says:

Basically a husky TE310?

J Gore blimey says:

Given that about 5% of riders actually use all the power in their bike, it probably suits 95% of dirt riders

Mark De Calmer says:

Thanks for the great vids & the effort you put into them. I know you don’t give recommendations, but maybe you or another reader could suggest the better option for an old fart gumbie wanting the closest to a Xtrainer / Trials bike – Considering a New Honda CRF 250L or older Sherco 2014 250 SEF-R or new SWM RS300R. My thoughts are the Honda is to heavy, maybe also the SWM with the Sherco possibly the pick, but I’m clueless.

Ninya says:

yes please do a review on the swm superdual! they’re an unknown for me.

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