The 2024 SWM RS300R is making waves in the motorcycle world as a street-legal dirtbike. Despite being a relatively unknown brand in North America, SWM has a rich history rooted in Europe. Founded in Italy in 1971, the company experienced success before facing bankruptcy in 1984. However, SWM made a comeback in 2014, taking over an old Husqvarna factory and gaining support from the Shineray Group. Now, SWM is introducing the RS300R, a smaller dual sport bike, to the North American market.
SWM is upfront about the RS300R's purpose, stating that it is a serious dirtbike with just the minimum street-legal requirements. This bike is designed for off-road adventures, prioritizing performance over long-distance touring comfort. With no traction control or smartphone app, the RS300R is built for the ruggedness of the real world.
Despite its relatively unknown status, SWM emphasizes the use of reputable brand-name parts in the RS300R. It features a KYB 48mm fork and fully-adjustable shock with ample travel, Brembo brakes, and Mikuni fuel injection. The inclusion of fuel injection means riders won't have to worry about adjusting a choke or dealing with carburetor issues after a spill on the trail. Additionally, the bike boasts an automatic cooling fan and a six-speed transmission, a feature that many KLR riders have long desired.
Priced at $7,999, the RS300R offers a reasonable cost considering its features and capabilities. However, it faces competition from more established Japanese models like the Yamaha XT250 and Honda CRF300L, which are priced significantly lower. While the XT250 has a smaller engine and older design with only five-speed transmission, and the CRF300L received updates two years ago, the RS300R offers greater suspension travel. Whether the RS300R justifies its premium price as a no-compromise street-legal dirtbike remains to be seen. Only time will tell.
Overall, the SWM RS300R is gaining attention as a street-legal dirtbike with its European roots, reputable parts, and focus on off-road performance. Motorcycle enthusiasts eagerly await the opportunity to test this bike and determine if it lives up to its claims.