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.


DasEinhörnchen says:

Very nice that you test a SWM! Great Video.

1969cmp says:

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

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.

Phoenix Blaster says:

That front mud guard is the ugliest mud guard I’ve seen.

osimnod says:

If that isn’t gnarly single-track, I don’t want to know what is! Sounds like this bike hits a lot of sweet spots for the category it’s designed for – modest off-road and some highway, too. Great review, Barry.

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


Great bike, i have superdual, very good bike

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!

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 ?

Alex Frankl says:

Most bikes these days are too hard core enduro focused , SWM are at least focused on building great trail bikes , my old 08 Husky 450 was a great trail bike , a refreshing break from my 300 2t when i just wanted a casual ride , now i have the swm superdual x , awesome bang for buck .

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 🙁

Ninya says:

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


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.

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.

HighRider 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!

threefiddyone says:

When youre a silly American and measuring weight in kilograms confuses you.

Dean Thomas says:

I’m in the market for an SM300R. Just wondering if you’ve ridden this model prior to exhaust upgrade and remap. I know you mention it in the vid as tamer but just wondering how the standard bike feels side by side compared to the upgrade

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.

Ninya says:

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

EnduroLarm says:

this bike looking good

Arturo Saldana says:

Fake news lol. That phrase it traveling the world

Lucas Nzbr says:

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

DueQuattroRuote says:

Very good bike and test

Carman E says:

Basically a husky TE310?

justgjt says:

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

brad b says:

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

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???

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

zepcertoxic says:

Bought 2 of SWM RS500R’s here in Europe for me and wife. Considered AJP but SWM just seemed better for the price. And it does not have a chinese engine. Only issue I see so far is that exhaust gets really hot – burned my pants, so putting on some heatwrap is a must.

Player One says:

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

tosgem says:

Much anticipated review by many, the SWM story is intriguing and looks like the most bike for buck you can get right now.
I only have the rumour mill to back this up but I heard the moulds for all the plastics had been moved to China, but the rest of the bike and assembly still happens in Italy. Doesn’t sound all the plausible actually. Oh well.
If I recall correctly the Husky 310 was touted as one of best dual-sport crossovers, amongst its 250 – 400 enduro competitors, even in 2010. So it would seem SWM’s treatment of it, and father time, have only taken it further in that direction.

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.

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