2022 OFF-ROAD BIKE BUYER'S GUIDE – Dirt Bike Magazine
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In the U.S., the motorcycles we call off-road vehicles fall into several broad categories. Some are officially recognized as OHVs by the federal government, and those are generally regulated for noise and emission. Others are what we call “closed-course competition bikes.” Those are imported under the same rules as motocross bikes. Here, we have gathered photos, prices and information on the 2022 offerings from AJP, Beta, Christini, GasGas, GPX, Honda, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, KTM, Sherco, SSR, Suzuki, TM, Yamaha and others to give you a picture of the current landscape of off-road two-wheelers in the U.S. For the 2022 Motocross Bike Buyer’s Guide, click here. For an exclusive list of all 2022 two strokes, click here.
HUSQVARNA FE501: $11,499
Husqvarna’s flagship trail bike isn’t far removed from its full-blooded race bikes. The FE501 has a chassis that is very similar to that of the Husky motocross bikes with a steel frame and linkage rear suspension. The motor has a longer stroke, bringing the displacement to 510cc. The gearbox is a six speed, but the most significant difference is EPA certification as an official off-road vehicle, which brings a very quiet exhaust note and emission compliance.
KTM 500XC-W: $11,399
KTM’s biggest trail bike actually measures 510cc in displacement and has a six-speed gearbox. The bike differs from the Husky FE501 significantly in the suspension department with a no-linkage PDS rear shock. Like the Husky, it has EPA-friendly sound and emission output, although it is considerably less bottled up than the dual-sport version. Off-road riders still love the 500 for its excellent ground clearance and smooth power delivery.
SHERCO SE-F500/SE-F450 FACTORY: $11,899/$11,699
Sherco has made a huge impact in the U.S. off-road racing scene in the last year. The company’s big four-stroke comes as a 500 or a 450, but the two bikes are otherwise identical, with KYB suspension, steel frames and Akrapovic pipes. This is the basis for Sherco’s Dakar effort, which has had impressive results.
BETA 480RR/430RR RACE EDITION: $11,199/$11,099
After the initial new model releases each year, Beta waits for the clamor to die down before dropping the Race Editions. For these, the company’s dual-sport bikes are stripped and made ready for racing. The 480 and 430 both have KYB closed-cartridge forks and a long list of upgrades. For 2022, Beta four-strokes now offer traction control. The 390 and 350 are also offered as Race Editions for $10,899 and $10,799, respectively.
AJP PR7: TBA
AJP is a company based in Portugal that uses a combination of Italian and Asian parts. The PR7 is the top of the line, with a 600cc version of the Italian four-stroke motor that was originally developed by Husqvarna. The chassis has a perimeter frame, and a rally tower comes as standard equipment. There are also 510cc and 310cc versions with less of a rally mission and more off-road equipment.
CHRISTINI 450AWD: $12,595
Steve Christini is an engineer who developed a practical two-wheel-drive system for motorcycles about 10 years ago. A telescoping drive shaft powers the front wheel when rear-wheel slip is detected. The motorcycle itself is made by Asia Wing and is more or less a clone of an earlier Honda CRF450X but with fuel-injection. Christini also offers a dual-sport version of this bike and is said to have a 300cc two-stroke in the works.
GASGAS EX450F: $10,299
A little review is in order to understand the GasGas EX450. Two years ago Pierer Mobility, which is the parent company of KTM, purchased controlling interest in GasGas, then expanded the company’s line significantly. Most of the new models are similar to ones in the KTM line but offered at a lower price. The EX450 is similar to the KTM 450XC-F cross-country racer but with price-oriented concessions, such as cast triple clamps and no map switch.
GPX FSE450R: $6399
The GPX line is always changing and expanding. This company is based in Utah and has a good reputation for customer service. The FSE450 is made entirely in China with a Zongshin 450cc motor. It is an electric-start six-speed with fuel injection. The fit and finish are excellent; there are CNC-machined parts throughout. The bodywork has a distinctive KTM flavor. A Rally version of the bike is in the works with over 300 miles of range.
HONDA CRF450RX: $9899
To make its cross-country racer, Honda started with the most current CRF450R motocross bike and gave it a number of off-road tweaks. The fuel tank is larger, the suspension is softer, and the bike comes with a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel. The mapping is also a little gentler in all three modes. The bike still has the same motor as the motocrosser, with the same five-speed gearbox and competition exhaust.
HONDA CRF450X: $9799
This is the bike that has dominated Baja for years. In production trim, however, it’s a very smooth trail bike that meets EPA requirements for noise and emissions. The basis is the CRF450RL dual-sport bike but less restricted and stripped of the street-legal equipment. It has no map switch or traction control. The gearbox is a six-speed and the fuel capacity is 2.0 gallons. The fork and shock are the same components as those used on the motocross bike but much softer.
HUSQVARNA FX450: $10,999
The Husky FX450 is so similar to the FC450 motocross bike that many riders consider them interchangeable on the track. It has the same WP Xact air fork and WP linkage-driven shock but with softer valving. The only other concessions to the off-road racer are a larger translucent fuel tank (2.25 versus 1.85 gallons), handguards, an 18-inch rear wheel and an O-ring chain. The FX still has traction control, two map options and launch assist.
KAWASAKI KX450X: $9699
Making the KX450 motocross bike into a cross-country competition bike didn’t require too much. It already had a smooth power delivery and a hydraulic clutch. Kawasaki gave it softer suspension, an 18-inch rear wheel and a kickstand, and called it a day. The KX450X has the same fuel tank, exhaust, chain, gearbox and mapping as the motocross version.
KTM 450XC-F: $10,999
In most cases, KTM’s off-road bikes have PDS rear suspension without linkage. The KTM 450XC-F, on the other hand, is more closely related to the motocross 450, with linkage in the rear and a WP Xact air fork in front. The XC-F still gets an 18-inch rear wheel, handguards, a larger fuel tank, an O-ring chain and a kickstand. The suspension settings are softer than those of the MX bike, but the power delivery is the same.
TM EN530Fi/EN450Fi: $11,195
For some reason, all things Italian have an extra element of style. TM motorcycles are more or less hand-built in very low quantities. Unlike most European bikes, they have beautifully crafted aluminum frames with welds that put Japanese bikes to shame. TM’s four-stroke enduro bikes have the fuel cell located under the seat and the air filter on top. The fork is a KYB, and the shock is made in-house at TM.
SSR SR450S: $5499
If you replaced the graphics on an SSR SR450 and told everyone that it was a 2018 Honda CRF450X, some people would not believe you. The welds on the SSR’s aluminum frame are better. Likewise, the SSR has a number of billet parts that look nicer than the Honda’s. The SR450 is an Asian clone of an earlier CRF450X with a single-overhead-cam motor and a five-speed gearbox. It carries a 30-day warranty on parts only.
YAMAHA WR450F: $9899
This is Yamaha’s take on the big four-stroke trail bike. It has the same frame as the YZ450F motocross bike, but the motor is tuned to meet EPA sound and emission standards for off-road vehicles. It also has a larger fuel tank, a wider-ratio five-speed gearbox, lights, an 18-inch rear wheel, an O-ring chain and a kickstand. The WR comes with a throttle stop and an inner baffle that most owners remove immediately.
YAMAHA YZ450FX: $9899
Most manufacturers offer closed-course off-road bikes that are only slightly different from their motocross bikes. The YZ450FX is different. It goes a few steps further than the 18-inch rear wheel and the kickstand. The FX has a wide-ratio gearbox with a true granny gear, a much more off-road-oriented power delivery, a larger fuel tank, an O-ring chain and softer suspension. The exhaust is still the same as that of the MX bike.
GASGAS EX350F: $10,199
The Austrian 350 four-stroke has become the winningest off-road racing platform of the modern age, and right now, GasGas has the most affordable version. The EX350F has a six-speed gearbox, off-road suspension and a number of creature comforts, such as the kickstand and the 18-inch rear wheel, but is otherwise similar to the 350 motocross bike. Unlike the GasGas motocross bikes, the EX350F comes with Dunlop tires.
HUSQVARNA FE350: $10,899
The FE line is aimed at trail riders without racing aspirations. To that end, the FE350 is a quiet bike that meets EPA standards for noise and emissions. It’s very similar to the six-speed FE350S dual-sport bike but stripped of street-legal equipment like horns and blinkers. It also has a little more fire in the furnace. The fork is a coil-spring WP Xplor, and the shock has linkage. There’s no map switch, and the ECU is locked with the approved settings.
HUSQVARNA FX350: $10,899
This is the bike that Colton Haaker has used to dominate the EnduroCross series in recent years. It’s an off-road racing version of the FC350 motocross bike but with a six-speed gearbox, softer suspension, more fuel capacity, a kickstand, handguards, an 18-inch rear wheel, Dunlop AT81 tires and an O-ring chain. In terms of power delivery and exhaust, the FX is the same as the motocross version, prompting many riders to use it for double duty.
KTM 350XC-F: $10,799
Eastern off-road races often see whole rows of KTM 350XC-Fs lining up against one another. The 350XC-F is derived from a motocross bike but has a smooth power delivery that makes it particularly adaptable to off-road racing. The XC-F differs from the motocross bike in a number of ways, including its six-speed gearbox and softer suspension (with linkage), as well as more gas capacity and the usual off-road accouterments. In outright power, however, it is just as potent as the MX bike.
KTM 350XC-W: $10,899
Fans of KTM’s iconic PDS no-linkage rear suspension are as devoted as ever because of the design’s suitability for off-road terrain. The 350XC-W still has PDS, as well as a coil-spring WP Xplor fork. The motor is a six-speed and is almost as quiet as the 350EXC dual-sport bike. The XC-W meets EPA requirements for off-road vehicles. The bike comes with handguards and 2.25 gallons of fuel capacity.
BETA 300RR/250RR (TWO-STROKES): $9699/$9399
Beta motorcycles were hard to find in 2020, but the factory is running hard to make up for lost time. For 2022, Beta has altered the square bore/stroke formula that virtually all 300 two-strokes held sacred for so long. The bore is now slightly larger and the stroke shorter. The 250 is unchanged. Both get new Sachs suspension, a new diaphragm-spring clutch and a new head. Oil injection is still standard on the RR models.
BETA 300RR/250RR RACE EDITION (TWO-STROKES): $10,199/$9899
For more competition-oriented riders, Beta offers the Race Editions. These have been stripped of oil injection and have upgraded suspension, including a KYB closed-cartridge fork. The shock is made by Sachs. Like the standard model, the Race Edition of the 300 gets a new bore-and-stroke configuration for 2022. Beta also has a Race Edition of its 200RR ($9599) and its 125RR ($8749).
BETA XTRAINER (TWO-STROKE): $7999
European two-strokes are known for many things, but affordability has never been on the list. The XTrainer is an exception to the rule. It’s an electric-start, six-speed, 300cc two-stroke with oil injection, just like the RR models, but is less competition-oriented. Components like the suspension and brakes are from less well-known suppliers. The physical size of the bike is about 10 percent smaller, too.
GPX FSE300R/FSE250R: $5999/$4399
GPX has a long history in the U.S. under the name Pitster Pro. The FSE300 is a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, electric-start four-stroke with double overhead cams and a six-speed gearbox. It has a steel frame and bodywork that looks similar to that of a KTM. The FSE250 has a similar chassis but with a simpler air-cooled motor with a conventional carburetor. GPX has a six-month warranty on parts only, no labor.
GASGAS EX300/EX250 (TWO-STROKES): $9799/$9499
This is the second year that GasGas is under the umbrella of Pierer Mobility, which is the parent company of KTM. The EX300 and EX250 share major components with other bikes in the group but have fewer bells and whistles, so the bikes can be offered at a lower price. GasGas models offer TPI fuel injection and oil injection just like KTMs, but some suppliers are different when it comes to brakes and handlebars. There are no changes for 2022.
GASGAS EC300/EC250 (TWO-STROKES): $9749/$9549
The GasGas EC300 and EC250 are supposed to be the trail bikes of the line but share many of the same parts with the EX competition bikes. That includes their fuel- and oil-injected motors and steel frames. The EC bikes have softer power delivery and softer suspension with coil-spring Xplor forks. The ECs also get a headlight, a taillight and an odometer. The 300 and 250 are identical aside from displacement.
HUSQVARNA TE300i/TE250i (TWO-STROKES): $10,599/$10,299
Husqvarna off-road bikes return for 2022 with only one significant change. The hydraulic systems are now supplied by Braktec instead of Magura. That includes both brakes and the clutch actuation. The TE300 and TE250 are still trail-oriented six-speeds with TPI fuel injection, as well as oil injection. The fork is the WP Xplor with two coil springs, and the WP shock employs linkage.
HUSQVARNA TX300i (TWO-STROKE): $10,599
If you’re an off-road racer who loves two-strokes, the primary Husqvarna with your name on it is the TX300i. It’s in a more aggressive state of tune than the TE300, plus it has suspension components like those in the motocross line—a WP Xact air fork and a linkage-mounted WP shock. The TX is also stripped of lights. It still has TPI fuel injection and oil injection. This year the TX gets Braktec hydraulics. There is no 250 version of this model yet.
KAWASAKI KLX300R: $5599
If this bike looks a little familiar, it might be because your dad rode one. The KLX300R was in Kawasaki’s line long before four-strokes were cool. It disappeared in 2008 and now has been reborn with fuel injection. Today’s incarnation of the 300 is a budget-oriented off-road play bike, but it’s still an electric-start, liquid-cooled six-speed with double overhead cams. There’s also a dual-sport version called the KLX300—without the “R” suffix.
KTM 300XC/250XC (TWO-STROKES): $10,499/$10,199
Most extreme enduros in the U.S. are carpeted with wall-to-wall KTM 300XCs. In the two-stroke world, it’s still the bike to have for most off-road racing. The KTM 300XC has a very motocross-oriented chassis with a WP Xact air fork and linkage rear suspension. Unlike KTM’s MX two-strokes, however, the XC has fuel injection and oil injection. The 250XC is identical aside from displacement.
KTM 300XC-W/250XC-W (TWO-STROKES): $10,499/$10,199
KTM came out with PDS suspension way back in 1997, and it still has a fanatical following among off-road riders. The 300XC-W and 250XC-W are built around that no-linkage rear suspension design and are therefore lighter and have more ground clearance than linkage bikes. The XC-W two-strokes are oriented more for the trail than for the track. They still have TPI fuel injection and oil injection.
RIEJU 300MR PRO/300MR RACING (TWO-STROKES): $10,599/$9699
Rieju is a Spanish company that acquired all the tooling and the rights to produce the two-stroke off-road bikes that were formerly known as GasGas models. The 300MR Pro is the top of the line with a closed-cartridge KYB fork and a cone pipe. The 300MR Racing has a little less bling and is $900 cheaper. If you want a 250cc version of either of these bikes, they are priced $100 less, respectively. There’s also a 200MR Racing version built on the same platform for $9499.
RIEJU 300MR RANGER (TWO-STROKE): $8799
This was a brand-new bike from GasGas that arrived just before the company changed hands. Rieju gladly picked up where GasGas left off with a less-expensive version of the two-stroke off-road bike. Most of the cost savings are in components like bars, suspension and brakes. There’s also a 200 Ranger for $8599.
SHERCO SE-F300/SE-F250 FACTORY: $11,499/$10,659
Sherco’s factory is a modern facility in Nimes, France, with massive capacity, so the company is keen to fill the U.S. with its products. The bike that Cody Webb rides in EnduroCross in the U.S. is the SE-F300 Factory, and he used it to battle the KTM and Husky 350s to a standstill. The 250 and 300 are identical aside from displacement, both with KYB suspension and Brembo brakes.
SHERCO SE300/SE250 FACTORY (TWO-STROKES): $10,999/$10,859
Before Cody Webb switched to Sherco, he got a chance to test one of the few ES300 two-strokes in the country. He signed immediately. The SE300 Factory 300cc two-stroke has an electronic power valve, KYB suspension and an old-fashioned Keihin carburetor. Supply has been limited, but there’s a big boatload on the way. The 250 is identical aside from displacement.
TM EN300 ES/EN250ES (TWO-STROKES): $9895/$9745
TM is a small Italian company, but it produces some of the most sophisticated bikes in the two-stroke world. The EN300ES is an electric-start two-stroke with an electronic power valve. It also has an aluminum frame, a KYB fork and a shock made in-house at TM. For $400 more, you can have the TM 300 with transfer port fuel injection. For the 250, it’s an additional $350.
AJP SPR250: $7215
The AJP factory in Portugal assembles these bikes, but the parts come from all over the globe. The SPR250 has an Asian motor with a European composite steel/aluminum frame. The suspension is made by Sachs in Germany and the EFI is from Athena in Italy. The AJP has the fuel tank under the seat and a gas filler in the rear. AJP has a number of other models powered by air-cooled motors, as well.
GASGAS EX250F: $9299
This is a new addition to the GasGas line for 2022. It’s an off-road racing version of the MC250F motocross bike but has a six-speed gearbox and off-road concessions like an 18-inch rear wheel, softer suspension, more fuel capacity and a kickstand. In terms of power, it’s the same as the motocross bike. The fork is a WP Xact air fork, and the linkage rear suspension has a WP shock. Brakes are Brembo, as is the hydraulic clutch.
HONDA CRF250RX: $8499
Usually, off-road bikes don’t get updated as quickly as motocross bikes. In this case, Honda gave the 2022 CRF250RX all the same new features as the MX version. That includes the latest-generation chassis and a motor with a single-sided exhaust and a nine-plate clutch. The RX version of the 250 comes with off-road suspension and a smoother power delivery. It also has Dunlop tires, handguards, 2.2 gallons of fuel capacity, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel.
KAWASAKI KX250X: $8499
Last year the Kawasaki KX250X cross-country racer got updated just like the motocross version. Kawasaki has a minimalist philosophy in its off-road builds, meaning the X version is very similar to the MX bike. It gets softer suspension, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel, but the fuel capacity, power delivery, gearbox and final drive chain are the same as those items on the MX bike.
KTM 250XC-F: $9799
KTM’s 250XC-F is unchanged for 2022 but is still the most popular bike in the XC-2 class in GNCC racing and many other venues. The bike is a 250SX-F at its core but with a six-speed gearbox, larger fuel capacity, softer suspension settings, handguards, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel. The fork is still a WP Xact air fork and the rear shock is connected to linkage, just like the motocross version.
TM 300Fi/250Fi: $11,995/$11,395
TM made some significant changes to its four-stroke off-road bikes for 2022, although the details are still vague at press time. The 300 and 250 four-strokes are still based on the twin-pipe motor that was developed for MXGP racing several years ago. It has an unusual valve train with cams that are driven by a chain and gears. The fuel tank is still under the seat. The frame is still aluminum, and the workmanship is still beautiful.
GPX TSE250R (TWO-STROKE): $5099
The bloodline of this electric-start six-speed can be traced back to the short-lived Yamaha WR200 of the early ’90s. It had a short run in the U.S. but saw service in other markets as a dual-sport bike. The bike has evolved over the years, and now it’s manufactured in mainland Asia and imported to the U.S. by the guys at Pitster Pro.
YAMAHA YZ250X (TWO-STROKE): $7799
The Yamaha YZ250X is considered a cross-country racer and has a number of features for that specialty. The five-speed gearbox has wider ratios, the power delivery is softer, the suspension has off-road valving, the rear wheel is an 18-incher, and it has an O-ring chain and a kickstand. The tires are Dunlop AT-81s. The 2022 YZ250X is unchanged but will probably get the new YZ250 bodywork next year.
HONDA CRF250F: $4749
In Honda nomenclature, when you see the “F” suffix, it generally signifies a family-oriented trail bike. That’s what the CRF250F is, whereas the CRF250R and the CRF250RX are full-blown competition bikes. The 250F has an air-cooled, two-valve, electric-start motor. It has full-size wheels, but reduced travel brings the seat height down to 34.3 inches. The CRF250F has front and rear disc brakes and a five-speed gearbox.
YAMAHA WR250F: $8799
Right now, Yamaha is the only company offering a fully compliant off-road 250, as defined by the EPA. The WR250F is super quiet in stock configuration and meets federal emission requirements. The bike also has a headlight, a taillight and an odometer. Otherwise, it’s very similar to the closed-course YZ250FX. If you want YZ-level performance, it can be had through a performance kit offered by Yamaha’s accessory department.
YAMAHA YZ250FX: $8799
Yamaha took the current YZ250F motocross bike and transformed it into a cross-country racer by giving it a six-speed gearbox, greater (2.16-gallon) fuel capacity, softer KYB suspension, an 18-inch rear wheel and an O-ring chain. For 2022, the FX has a number of modest changes that the motocross model received in 2021. Like the MX bike, the YZ250FX is compatible with the Yamaha Power Tuner smartphone app for engine tuning.
KAWASAKI KLX230R: $4499
Kawasaki answered the criticism that modern off-road bikes are too expensive by introducing the KLX230R last year. It has a fuel-injected, air-cooled motor; a manual clutch; a six-speed gearbox; and dual disc brakes. If you’re looking for something with a lower seat height, Kawasaki also offers the KLX230RS, which measures 35.4 inches versus 36.4 inches at the saddle. The price is the same.
YAMAHA TT-R230: $4449
Yamaha’s TT-R230 is the last of the carbureted full-size four-stroke motorcycles from Japan. For many riders, that’s a good thing. It hasn’t changed in a very long time and remains very simple with its air-cooled, single-overhead-cam, two-valve motor. It has a six-speed gearbox and a manual clutch. Up front, the TT-R230 has a disc brake matched to a drum in the rear. It isn’t completely old-school, though; it has an electric starter.
BETA 200RR (TWO-STROKE): $8999
It’s such a great idea; we don’t know why no one else is doing it. The 200cc two-stroke was once ubiquitous in the American off-road scene, but now only Beta makes one. The 200RR isn’t just a 144 kit. It has a bigger bore and a longer stroke than the 125RR. It also has electric start. Like the other Beta off-road two-strokes, the 200RR has oil injection, Sachs suspension, Nissin brakes and a six-speed gearbox.
HUSQVARNA TE150i (TWO-STROKE): $9199
Husky’s electric-start, off-road, 150 two-stroke got TPI fuel injection last year, and it suited the bike well. The power delivery is smooth and sweet compared to other 144cc two-strokes. The bike uses the WP Xplor coil-spring fork in front and linkage suspension in the rear. The brakes and hydraulic clutch are made by Braktec, a company that’s well-established in the trials world.
KTM 150XC-W (TWO-STROKE): $9199
The KTM 150XC-W has a very different personality from the 150SX. For starters, it has TPI fuel injection, oil injection, electric start and no-linkage PDS rear suspension. The 150SX has none of those features. Beyond that, the 150XC-W has a mellower personality, softer suspension settings, lights, a kickstand, an odometer, an 18-inch rear wheel and a wider-ratio gearbox.
TM EN144Fi/EN125Fi (TWO-STROKES): $9895/$9395
TM has its own take on transfer port fuel injection with different components from those used by KTM. The EN144Fi and EN125Fi are kick-start six-speeds in full enduro trim. The frame is beautifully hand-welded aluminum. The fork is KYB. The shock is made in-house by TM, and the power valve is electronically controlled. The 144 can still be had without fuel injection for $650 less.
BETA 125RR (TWO-STROKE): $8349
Beta came to the 125 party only recently, so the 125RR is one of the freshest bikes in the class. It still uses very traditional technology. The power valve is driven through a ball-ramp mechanism. Starting is performed with a kick-starter, and fuel mixture is through a 36mm Keihin carburetor. This model does not feature Beta’s oil-injection system. The suspension is supplied by Sachs and the brakes are Nissin. The 125RR has a new head and power valve for 2022.
KTM 125XC (TWO-STROKE): $7799
For the off-road purist, KTM offers the no-frills 125XC. This is a cross-country racer designed for venues that have a legitimate 125 class. It’s stripped of any ballast that might interfere with that mission: no e-start, no injection (fuel or oil), no headlight, no odometer. It is, in fact, very similar to the 125SX motocross bike, but it has softer suspension, a larger fuel tank (with reserve), a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel.
SHERCO SE125 FACTORY (TWO-STROKE): $9399
Sherco went upscale with its off-road 125. The SE125 Factory has electric start, as well as an electronic power valve. The fork is a closed-cartridge KYB, and the brakes are Brembos. The SE125 also gets lights and an odometer. A Keihin carburetor feeds a Moto Tassinari V-Force reed block. It’s the most expensive 125 in the U.S., but it has features that are generally reserved for big bikes.
YAMAHA YZ125X (TWO-STROKE): $6799
If you’re a young cross-country racer on a budget, Yamaha created the YZ125X with you in mind. It’s far less expensive than any of the Euro 125s but still has off-road features like a smooth powerband, cushy suspension, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel. It uses the same gearbox as the 2021 motocross bikes. It did not receive the updates seen on the 2022 Yamaha YZ125 for 2022.
YCF 190ZE: $3249
This is an Asian-made product that straddles the fence between motorcycles and pit bikes. The YCR 190ZE has a 14-inch rear wheel and a 17-inch front wheel like most minis, but has a big air-cooled motor with a manual clutch and electric start. It also has a fully enclosed airbox. The hubs are machined from billet aluminum, and the bike has plenty of bling everywhere. YCF has a large line of pit bikes and minis as well.
SSR SR189: $2799
Many riders consider the SR189 the best bike offered by SSR. It’s a big-wheel mini with an air-cooled, carbureted motor that has both electric start and a back-up kick-starter. The rear suspension has fully adjustable compression and rebound damping. Both brakes are hydraulic discs. For $2459, SSR has a smaller version that displaces 150cc and has a 14-inch rear wheel and a 17-inch up front . Beyond that, SSR offers a full line of pit bikes.
KAWASAKI KLX140R: $3199
The base model of the Kawasaki KLX140 is aimed at the entry-level rider who is comfortable with a manual clutch and wants creature comforts like electric start and fuel injection. It’s air-cooled but has dual disc brakes. The standard version has a low seat height courtesy of the 17-inch front and 14-inch rear wheels. The bike is also available in a 19-/16-inch version called the KLX140RL for $3499, and a 21-/18-inch version (the KLX140RF) for $3799.
HONDA CRF125F: $3249
The CRF125F has a heritage that can be traced all the way back to the original XR75 of the early ’70s. Today, the little Honda has fuel injection and electric start with a backup kick-starter. The clutch is manual, and the gearbox is a four-speed. There’s a hydraulic disc brake in front and an old-school drum brake in the rear. The standard version has a 14-inch rear wheel and a 17-inch front wheel. There’s a big-wheel version for $3649.
YAMAHA TT-R125LE: $3349
Yamaha was the first company to start putting electric starters on minis with this model over 15 years ago. Now, the TT-R125LE has gone unchanged for a very long time, but it still can match the other bikes in its class, feature for feature. The LE has a manual clutch, a four-speed gearbox, a 16-/19-inch wheel combination and a front disc brake with a drum in the rear.
HONDA CRF110F: $2499
For a time, in the darkest days of the pandemic, you could have acquired a small house in trade for a good-running 110. Now the supply has loosened up, but the 110 craze is still booming. The Honda CRF110F is one of the most popular, because it appeals to big kids as well as true beginners. It has an automatic clutch, a four-speed gearbox, fuel injection and electric start, as well as a backup kick-starter.
KAWASAKI KLX110R: $2399
Kawasaki’s KLX110 was the bike that started the pit bike craze long ago. Today, it’s fueling the fire because it’s available in two different versions. The standard model is the entry-level model with an automatic clutch and 4.3 inches of suspension travel. The KLX110R L version has more travel, a taller seat height and a manual clutch for $2499. Both have a 112cc motor with a carburetor and an old-school kick-starter.
YAMAHA TT-R110E: $2299
Yamaha’s TT-R110E has electric start with a kick-starter just in case the battery goes dead. It also has an automatic clutch, a four-speed gearbox and an old-school carburetor. The spoked wheels are 12 inches in the rear and 14 inches up front. Between the small wheels and the modest suspension travel, the seat height is only 26.4 inches. Both ends of the bike use drum brakes.
HONDA CRF50F: $1649
With all the Honda CRF50F clones that have flooded the market in recent years, it’s easy to lose sight of the original. The Honda is the one that started it all, and it’s easy to see the original bike from the ’60s when you look at the present-day CRF50F. It has no electric start, fuel injection or disc brakes and makes no apologies. The gearbox is a three-speed, and the clutch is automatic.
SUZUKI DR-Z50E: $2209
Suzuki has the most recent addition to the 50 class. The DR-Z50E was first unveiled in 2019, making it one of the newest models in the entire Suzuki line. In 2022 it’s also the only off-road bike that Suzuki offers outside of the motocross line. The 50 has electric start with a kick-starter just in case, an automatic clutch and a three-speed gearbox. The motor is fed through a Mikuni carburetor and the brakes are drums.
YAMAHA TT-R50E: $1749
Yamaha’s TT-R50E was the first in the class with electric start but has no kick-starter. It has a three-speed gearbox and an automatic clutch. The carburetor is a Mikuni, but it still meets all the EPA standards to qualify as a true off-road vehicle. The 10-inch wheels and modest suspension travel give it a 21.9-inch seat height.
YAMAHA PW50 (TWO-STROKE): $1699
The Yamaha PW50 turned 40 years old last year. It has changed very little in that time. It uses a drive shaft to transfer power from the air-cooled motor to the 10-inch rear wheel. There’s no clutch or shifting, and it can be fit with training wheels. The PW rarely makes its way to the used-bike market, as the bikes are passed down within families year after year. o
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