Newcomer UTVs’ attempts at making a statement in the off-roading scene are all too predictable – that is, to lure consumers with flashy styling and mask any flaws in vehicle performance. However, such is not the case for the TrailMaster Challenger 300. With less than two decades in the UTV industry, the Challenger 300 product line has managed to make a name for itself – not to mention a solid following.
The TrailMaster Challenger 300 is a rec/utility 4×4 considered by many as one of the best all-around UTVs in the past year. Featuring a fuel-injected engine, hassle-free automatic CVT, and two and four-seater options, this machine has become synonymous with top-caliber off-road quads.
Continue reading and discover more about this reputable Chinese-made wheeler – from its specs and features to its pros and cons. You will be amazed at what the TrailMaster Challenger 300 UTV has to offer.
About TrailMaster Challenger
If the TrailMaster Challenger 300 series had a life mission, it would be captured in these two words – “breaking stereotypes.” And so far, the lineup seems to be doing a darn good job. Changing consumers’ impressions of Chinese-made wheelers is not an easy task. But like other motorsport vehicles manufactured by CKM, the TrailMaster Challenger has successfully impressed North American buyers with its overall design and flexibility – in only a few years since its inception.
While the capabilities of the 4×4 were something to be proud of, the marketing strategy behind its launch proved more notable. It was a very clever move by CKM to provide consumers with tons of options from the get-go. Riders could choose from the entry-level 300S to the sportier 300X or 300EX. They only need wait another year, and they had the opportunity to get a four-seater instead of the usual side x side. Any one of these models was already enough in stock form. But if anyone wished to personalize the quad, he or she can do so, too.
TrailMaster Challenger 300 Specs & Features
Except for the 300S, all other TrailMaster Challenger 300 models are EPA/CARB certified (except for the 300E trim, which is not CARB-approved) and fuel-injected. However, these vehicles are often confused with their same-displacement carbureted cousins, namely – the TrailMaster 300 XRX and XRS. Bone stock, the four-wheeler’s performance is already pretty impressive – thanks to its high-output water-cooled power mill. Horsepower is almost 18 hp and is comparable to that of big-name brands. Top speed also comes second to none at 50 mph for its 2-seater trims and 35 mph for its 4-seater versions.
|Engine Type||Electronic Fuel Injection (RM1A1 module), 4-Stroke, Single-cylinder|
|Engine Cooling||Liquid cooling|
|Engine Fuel||Unleaded gasoline w/ rating of at least PON 87/RON 91, containing < 5% MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), < 10% ethanol, or < 5% methanol; E15/E20/E85 fuels are prohibited|
|Fuel Capacity||6.6L (1.75 US gal)|
|Bore x Stroke Ratio||72 x 67 mm (2.85 x 2.63 in) 57 x 58 mm (2.26 x 2.28 in) – 300-X|
|Compression Ratio||Refer to manual|
|Displacement||275.6 cm³ / 16.8 in³|
|Horsepower||17.4 hp (12.98 kW) @ 6,500 RPM 8.2 hp (6.11 kW) @ 7,500 RPM – 300-X|
|Rated Torque||21.7 Nm (2.21 kgf-m, 16 ft-lb) @ 5,000 RPM 9.5 Nm (0.97 kgf-m, 7 ft-lb) @ 6,000 RPM – 300-X|
|Top Speed||40 – 50 mph (64 – 80.5 km/h) – advertised 25 – 35 mph (40 – 56 km/h) – 300-X|
|Engine Oil||SAE 15W-40 or 10W-40, SJ or higher API grade|
**Refer to manual for oil quantity
A single-speed gearbox, paired with an adjustable driver seat, tilt steering wheel, and variable speed control, makes for the quad’s ease of operation and shiftless driving. Plus, its automatic CVT keeps RPMs low and consistent, rendering it more fuel-efficient. Cold starting is unlikely to be an issue, same as adjusting the jetting when riding on higher elevations. These superb powertrain characteristics make the Challenger 300 ideal for teens (above 16 years of age) and adults.
|Clutch||Automatic CVT w/ reverse|
|Steering||Rack & Pinion|
|Shift Sequence||Internal F-N-R|
|Final Drive||Chain drive / 2WD|
The Challenger 300 is brought to life by an electronic CDI. A flywheel serves as its charging system, and a YTX12-BS battery helps power up the 4×4 and electronic accessories. In the event of a leak or worn battery, replace the stock with Antigravity ATX12-HD-RS Lithium Motorsport Battery (view on Amazon). Not only will it nicely fit in your wheeler, but it will also help shed close to 7.0 pounds from your quad’s overall weight.
|Ignition||Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI)|
|Spark Plug||NGK CR7HSA, 0.6–0.7 mm (0.024–0.028 in) gap Torque specs: 12-15 Nm (1.22–1.53 kgf-m, 9-11 ft-lb) – new; 23-27 Nm (2.34–2.75 kgf-m, 17-20 ft-lb) – used|
|Battery||12V (10 Ah)/10 HR, YTX12-BS format|
|Battery Dimensions||150 x 8 x 130 mm (6.00 x 3.44 x 5.12 in)|
Tires & Brakes
The front and rear wheels have 22-inch all-terrain tires. Hydraulic disc brakes on all fours comprise the 4×4 brake system, providing it stopping power. Stock tires on base models are mounted on 10-inch mags, while tires for the four-seaters and 300X/300EX series are on deluxe aluminum wheels.
|Front Tire||AT22 x 7-10, tubeless|
|Rear Tire||AT22 x 10-10, tubeless|
|Off-road/road air pressure (F/R)||34.5 – 69 kPa (0.35 ± 0.70 kgf-cm2, 5 psi ± 10 psi)|
|Front Brake Type||Hydraulic disc brakes|
|Rear Brake Type|
The Challenger’s front and rear suspension travel are unspecified in any online resource. But since the vehicle is a 300-cc 4×4, it would be safe to assume its wheel travel is similar, if not slightly more than its 200-class cousin, the MB200-2 minibike. Ground clearance is a tad shorter than the MB200-2, especially for four-seater trims. Expectedly, the wheelbase is lengthier, even for the two-seater versions.
|Ground Clearance||160 mm (6.3 in)|
|Wheelbase||1,830 mm (72 in); 2,580 mm (101.6 in) – four-seater versions|
|Front Suspension Type||Independent dual A-arms w/ adjustable shocks|
|Rear Suspension Type||4-point swingarm w/ double oil-damped adjustable shocks|
The main differences between the base and four-seater trims are in their length, height, and mass. Seat height and width are the same across all models, while curb and dry mass fluctuate depending on the seating capacity of the wheeler. For instance, four-seaters increased their weight to 920 lbs (curb) and 770 lbs (dry) for later-year models. Generally, the X series of the TrailMaster Challenger is slightly heavier (despite aluminum parts meant to reduce weight) due to extra features which are not present on the standard models.
|Length||2,490 mm (98 in); 3,350 mm (132 in) – four-seater versions|
|Width||1,270 mm (50 in)|
|Height||1,524 mm (60 in); 1,600 mm (63 in) – four-seater versions|
|Seat Height (Unloaded)||533 mm (21 in)|
|Distance to Pedals||(Pedal to seat back) Adjustable from 38 to 43 inches (965 – 1,092 mm)|
|Weight (Curb / Dry)||320 / 280 – 302.5 Kg (705 / 617 – 667 lbs) 390 / 329 Kg (860 / 726 lbs) – four-seater versions|
|Maximum Weight Limit||227 – 238 Kg (500 – 525 lbs) 363 Kg (800 lbs) – four-seater versions|
The TrailMaster Challenger 300 UTV has a very sporty, dune-buggy look. Its aggressive aesthetic is complemented by its heavy-duty top roll cage, side nets, bikini sun-shade top, and 4-point safety seatbelts – among other things. Part of standard equipment are a speedometer and odometer, LED light bar, turn signals, flashers, side view mirrors, a trailer hitch, windshield, plus a sizeable rear utility rack. Unlike some of its counterparts, its cabin is spacious and provides ample legroom for up to 6’2″ tall riders and passengers.
What to Expect of the TrailMaster Challenger
Based on TrailMaster Challenger 300 UTV reviews, the rec-utility four-wheeler seems to be hitting the spot with consumers. But that is not to say that the vehicle comes with no flaws. In this section, we will go over a few of the quad’s endearing qualities and pitfalls that will help you understand what had turned it into such a charm with off-roaders:
- It is guaranteed to give you bang for your buck.
- The Challenger 300 is a nice, quality UTV for its price point.
- It comes with a lot of features that are not standard for many of its counterparts.
- The rear rack or cargo bed is quite spacious, handy for chores, and comes with plenty of tie-down points for securing gear and equipment.
- The front bumper has a winch-ready tab for mounting a recovery winch like a WARN 101150 AXON 55-S Powersports Winch with Spydura Synthetic Cable Rope (view on Amazon) – perfect for unforeseen situations.
- It offers good suspension travel – both front and rear.
- Hazard, hi-lo beam, turn signals, and the horn all have switches found on the right and left sides of the speedometer (on the dash).
- You only need to do the necessary paperwork and get approvals to make your 4×4 road legal.
- Nuts and bolts are loose from the factory and ideally need to be tightened before taking it out for its first spin.
- Given that the TrailMaster engine is a single-cylinder, the motor vibrates a lot and is on the loud side.
- The quad is not ideal for extensive off-road trails, as something is bound to break when the 4×4 gets roughed up.
- The suspension feels loose once you hit above 40 mph.
- Shifter placement makes the cup holder in front of it unusable.
- The stock battery is underpowered and best replaced with an aftermarket variant.
While the drawbacks listed are non-exhaustive, they are also not as serious as those observed from the Challenger’s competition. Loose nuts and bolts could be easily tightened and fixed in place with the help of some Loctite. You can swap out the stock battery for a lawnmower battery or any other YTX12-BS battery format. As for the unusable cup holder, you can always buy an aftermarket one that can bolt or snap on the part of the roll bar closest to you.
Price of a TrailMaster Challenger
The list price for this wheeler falls between $4,249 and $7,498 (sans shipping, destination charges, and other extraneous fees), depending on your chosen trim and seating capacity. The cheapest of the lot would be the entry-level TrailMaster Challenger 300S. Conversely, the most expensive would be the four-seater 300EX (a.k.a. TrailMaster Challenger 300EX EFI IRS or 300X Ultra). Other models and their corresponding MSRPs are as follows:
|TrailMaster Challenger 300||$4,599|
|TrailMaster Challenger 300X||$4,899|
|TrailMaster Challenger 300ES (fuel-injected 300S)||$5,149|
|TrailMaster Challenger 300E (fuel-injected, 2-seater)||$5,249 to $5,348|
|TrailMaster Challenger 300EX (fuel-injected, 300X)||$5,799 to $6,098|
|TrailMaster Challenger 300E (fuel-injected, 4-seater)||$6,598|
Family Go Karts, Go Karts USA and Go Power Sports sell these UTVs without charging shipping fees. However, expect dealer fees if you purchase the quad elsewhere. Some stores even charge an extra $250 for requesting to have the vehicle assembled. If you are not particularly after buying a brand-new unit, then check online. Many online resellers, auction sites, and even private owners sell secondhand Challengers for at least $800 less than the lowest MSRP listed above.
ChinaTop King Motorcycles Co., Ltd. or CKM, one of the most respected motorsport companies in China, is the maker of the TrailMaster Challenger 300 UTV and also known for other brands such as Kainuo, DYK, and Kamax. The company started as a parts supplier in 1997 and eventually produced its line of motorcycles several years after. CKM’s exponential growth since then has resulted in an armada of products that consists of over 100 models and 500,000 engines. These product offerings include cubs, choppers, dirt bikes, street bikes, tricycles, and ATVs/UTVs – on top of maintaining the manufacture of core motorcycle parts.
Conclusion – TrailMaster Challenger 300 Review
The TrailMaster 300 may be a new player in the UTV scene. But by no means does it intend to fall behind. Even at its current imperfect state, this workhorse-dune-buggy hybrid (both in looks and function) is competing head-to-head with some of the industry giants. It performs on and off-road like a challenger – true to what its name suggests. If you are looking for a hardworking beast that also works as a high-performance utility quad, then the spirited TrailMaster Challenger 300 UTV may just be the vehicle for you!