Our unusually warm Montana winters are starting to become the usual, so when the opportunity came about in the middle of March to finally do some testing on our new fleet of GPX motorcycles I was not hugely surprised. While snowfall is needed and makes for a much less smoky summer, being able to test these bikes so early in the year was indeed a treat. A lot of skepticism comes with anything Chinese in the powersports industry, but GPX has done an incredible job of creating reliable dirtbikes at affordable price points. They are not the fire breathing race bikes you’ll find of a Japanese or Austrian manufacturer, but they are fun, smooth and handle well. These are the perfect bikes for the casual trail rider.
I had never been on a GPX bike prior to this day of testing. Coming from a KTM, I felt immediately at home on the chassis. The chassis closely resembles that of a KTM and you can tell. Body positioning and handling felt natural right away. The biggest surprise was how good the suspension is. The forks have incredible bottoming resistance and soak up small bumps quite well. With regards to the chassis and components, the 250E and 300R are identical. They feel nearly exactly the same and share all the same components. From a chassis point of view, both bikes are great.
This leaves the one thing about these bikes that is actually different: the engine. The 250 is air cooled and carbureted. The 300 is liquid cooled and fuel injected. Going into the day I fully expected the 300 to blow the 250 out of the water. From my experience EFI is superior to carburetion and I also expected the air cooled 250 engine to be much more tame than that of the liquid cooled 300. In reality, both engines produce similar power. Let’s start with the 250.
The 250 has great throttle response, particularly at the bottom end. Our testing was at 5,000 feet and the stock jetting is crisp and responsive. While I would not describe the power as “snappy”, the low end response was much more crisp than I expected. The bike produces great power off the bottom, but reaches the top of each gear quickly. This engine needs to be shifted often and attentively to pull hard enough out of corners and accelerate on straights. I would almost compare it to a two stroke in its desire to be shifted constantly. The top end is where this engine lacks, as you’ll often find yourself holding it wide open and feathering the clutch to try to get as much out of this motor as possible. Overall, it isn’t a bike I’d find myself on at a race, but it’s got enough kick behind it to have a great time regardless of skill level.
The 300 surprised me in that the EFI needs some work off the bottom. Unlike the 250, the bottom end throttle response is where the 300 suffers the most. It has the slightest bog as you initially open the throttle, but as you open it further and get into the meat of the power it becomes smooth and hearty. The power is still very smooth and it’s not that abundant; a Japanese or Austrian 250F is still quite a bit faster than this 300R. That said, this 300R shines in the mid and top compared to the 250E and is noticeable faster. It likes to be shifted as well but is not nearly as picky as the 250E and can pull each gear a little longer. As a whole I wouldn’t find myself racing this bike either, but this is certainly the more competitive of the two.
Overall both of these bikes are truthfully amazing entry level bikes for a new trail rider, or great low budget options for the casual weekend warrior looking to have a good time. These bikes will require far less maintenance than a performance race bike and the mellow engine characteristics will ensure minimal valve adjustments and top end replacements. Truthfully the differences are minimal enough that if I were in the market I would probably go with the 250E. With a $1,500 difference in price, I didn’t think the fun factor on the 300R was that much higher to warrant that difference in price. With some adjustments to the EFI, my opinion on that could be a little different. Have questions? Feel free to contact us!