2019 OFF-ROAD BIKE BUYER’S GUIDE

Off-road bikes exist in the gray area between closed-course competition motorcycles and street-legal dual-sport bikes. Some are imported under rules that require adherence to EPA regulations for emissions and noise, others are considered race bikes and are therefore exempt from those rules. As with any category of motorcycles, it’s up to the consumer to know which is which. In this guide, the bikes that have EPA approval are noted as such.

For the 2019 Dual-Sport Buyer’s Guide, click here.

CHRISTINI AWD 450E: $8995
Christini is an American company out of Philly with proprietary two-wheel-drive technology. The design uses telescoping drive shafts to channel power to the front wheel. The 450E is a production model with the Christini system on a Chinese-made clone of a Honda CRF450X, but the company will also sell frame kits for certain Honda and KTM models. The price for the kit is less than $4000 with frame exchange.

HONDA CRF450RX: $9599
Honda’s take on the big off-road racer is the CRF450RX, a new version of the CRF450R motocross bike. It has a different power delivery, a larger tank (2.25 gallons), softer suspension, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel. It has the MX gearbox, and it got all the same updates as the 2019 motocross bike, including a flexier frame and swingarm. The kickstarter provision has been taken away for 2019.

HONDA CRF450X: $9799
Baja racers have been drooling over this bike since it was announced. This is the long-anticipated EFI remake of the X, a bike that has dominated the Mexican 1000 for years. It has the same layout as the R motocrosser but with a six-speed gearbox and full EPA blessing as a legitimate off-road bike. That means it’s super quiet and green-sticker-legal in California without a throttle stop or any such end runs.

HUSQVARNA FX450: $10,449
Husqvarna took the FC450 motocross bike that was the basis for Jason Anderson’s Supercross bike and tweaked it here and there to make it suitable for off-road racing. It has softer suspension, a larger fuel tank and different mapping in addition to trail equipment like a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel. It is very similar to the KTM 450XC-F, but with Magura brakes, a composite subframe and a number of component changes.

KTM 450XC-F: $10,599
KTM’s master plan is to direct trail riders towards its dual-sport line while off-road racers are offered this: a full-race, off-road version of the 450 motocross bike. The 450XC-F has the same gearbox, motor, muffler and suspension components as the SX model, but it carries more fuel and has different settings to make the power delivery and suspension action more appropriate for off-road racing. It has a kickstand, an 18-inch wheel and handguards.

SUZUKI RMX450Z: $8999
Suzuki took the high road with the RMX450Z, making it fully compliant with national requirements for an off-road bike. It’s super quiet and meets EPA emission requirements. In order to do that, it has a throttle stop that many riders will remove when they get home from the dealership. The bike is fundamentally the same as the 2010 model and based on the RM-Z450 MX bike of the time but with electric start and off-road equipment.

SHERCO SE-F 450 RACING: $10,200
Sherco is a French company just getting off the ground in the U.S., having already earned a World Enduro Champ-ionship and a number of high-profile international races. The SE-F 450 Racing is the basis for the bikes that Michael and Adrien Metge use in world rally competition, including the infamous Dakar Rally. It comes standard with WP suspension and an electric-start, EFI, six-speed DOHC motor.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

SHERCO SE-F450 FACTORY: $10,900
Sherco has a premium line, much like the KTM Factory Editions and the Honda FWEs. The most distinctive upgrades for Sherco’s Factory line are KYB suspension and an Akrapovic exhaust. The SE-F450 Factory otherwise has the same motor and chassis as the Racing model. That includes a hydraulic clutch and a dual-mode map switch. There is also a 500 version of the 450 available.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

SSR 450S: $4899
If you didn’t already know, you would think the SSR 450S is an older Honda CRF450X. It’s actually an Asian-made replica that sells for considerably less. The quality of the welds on the aluminum frame actually looks better than Honda’s. The bikes are sold with a 30-day warranty. Most of the components are sourced in China, so don’t expect a Keihin carburetor, KYB suspension or Dunlop tires.

TM OFF-ROAD FOUR-STROKES: TBA
TM is a high-end builder of four-strokes and two-strokes in Pesaro, Italy. Toward the end of each year, the company announces its new models at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, but the four-stroke off-road line usually includes a 500, a 450, a 300 and a 250. All the bikes will feature aluminum frames, a TM-made rear shock, KYB forks and Nissin brakes.

YAMAHA WR450F: $9599
Yamaha was due to upgrade the WR450F with a move to the new chassis and the motor that was introduced on the 2018 YZ450F motocross bike. The WR models are fully compliant with EPA standards for noise and emissions, making them eligible for a California green sticker. The motor’s central processing unit is locked on this model, so it’s not compatible with Yamaha’s smartphone-based Power Tuner app.

YAMAHA YZ450FX: $9499
It took a year, but for 2019, Yamaha brought the YZ450FX up to the same platform as the YZ450F motocross bike. That means it’s completely different from the previous WR. It has a more rigid frame and a new motor, and the electric starter is now integrated much better, resulting in weight loss. Of all the 450 MX-based off-road racers, the Yamaha is the only one with a wide-ratio gearbox. It also gets a map switch and a larger tank.

For a Dirt Bike video featuring the 2019 Yamaha YZ450FX, click here.

HUSQVARNA FX350: $10,299
Husqvarna gives its four-stroke off-road racers the “FX” prefix, meaning they are very similar to the motocross models but with certain off-road features. In the case of the FX350, that includes a six-speed gearbox, a larger tank, a kickstand, a different power delivery and off-road suspension settings. Like the FC350 motocross bike, the FX350 has a new, more rigid frame this year, as well as new bodywork.

KTM 350XC-F: $10,499
This is the bike of choice for elite off-road racers in the east like Kailub Russell. KTM keeps its cross-country race bikes closely in sync with its current motocross bikes, so there’s no one-year delay for the newest updates to trickle down to the off-road world. The 2019 350XC-F has a new frame and bodywork for 2019. It still has a six-speed gearbox, a 2.3-gallon tank and off-road badges like a kickstand and handguards.

BETA 300 RR (TWO-STROKE): $8899
Beta continues to invest in its two-strokes. The 300RR is an electric-start, power-valve, off-road bike that comes with an FMF exhaust system and oil injection, meaning you don’t have to mix oil in the gas. The Sachs suspension has linkage in the rear and coil springs in front. For 2019, the 300 gets a more powerful ignition and updates to the power valve, among other changes.

CHRISTINI AWD300E (TWO-STROKE): $9595
Christini has an inventive system of telescoping drive shafts that transfer power to the front wheel at a reduced ratio, so that they only come into play when the rear wheel spins. The motor is manufactured in Spain by Gas Gas, and the aluminum frame is built in Asia to the specifications of engineers in America.

GAS GAS EC300 (TWO-STROKE): $9299
Gas Gas was reborn when an electric scooter company called Torrot purchased the company’s assets out of bankruptcy in 2015. Last year, the 300 two-stroke was reintroduced with a new chassis and a mostly new motor. It lost considerable weight and gained KYB suspension. The 2019 models received further attention to the electric starter and the head and a handlebar-mounted map switch.

GAS GAS XC300 (TWO-STROKE): $8999
The Gas Gas XC300 is designed to be a cross-country racer. It doesn’t have the headlight or taillight that comes on the EC models, and the suspension settings are different. Both the XC300 and the EC300 have FMF silencers (without spark arrestors), but only the XC models have an FMF-made expansion chamber. The XC300 also gets the new head, start-system upgrades and the map switch.

HUSQVARNA TE300i (TWO-STROKE): $9899
This electric-start off-roader was only available in Europe last year, but for 2019, we Yanks get our first taste of the fuel-injected Husky 300 two-stroke. A DellOrto throttle body introduces air with oil (no fuel yet) into the crankcase. Then injectors feed fuel into the transfer ports. Oil is injected, so there’s no need to premix the gas. The TE model is trail-oriented with a six-speed gearbox and a WP Xplor 48 fork. The rear shock has linkage.

HUSQVARNA TX300  (TWO-STROKE): $9599
This is Husqvarna’s most competition-oriented off-road two-stroke. It gets to keep its carburetor for 2019 while most of the other off-road Husky two-strokes will have TPI fuel injection. Many riders use the TX300 for motocross as well. It has the advantage of electric start, whereas the TC250 MX bike doesn’t. The suspension is very MX-oriented with the WP AER 48 fork and full linkage for the WP rear shock.

KTM 300XC (TWO-STROKE): $9499
Do you like your off-road two-strokes with good, old-fashioned carburetors? KTM thought you might, so the 300XC gets to keep its 38mm Mikuni. The XC line is more competition-oriented than the XC-W line, so this bike also has linkage rear suspension and the WP AER 48 air fork, similar to the setup for KTM’s motocross bikes. The motor gets to keep its electric start but loses the headlight.

KTM 300XC-W TPi (TWO-STROKE): $9899
This bike replaces KTM’s much-loved 300XC-W off-road two-stroke for 2019. The TPI version is almost the same, but it does away with the carburetor for a fuel-injection system that squirts fuel directly into the transfer ports. This is still regarded as a closed-course competition vehicle with no EPA or CARB approval, and that isn’t likely to change. It offers the benefits of increased fuel mileage and improved performance at altitude.

SHERCO SE300 RACING (TWO-STROKE): $9300
In Europe and Australia, Sherco is rapidly becoming a mainstream brand. The off-road bikes are manufactured in Nimes, France, by a family-owned business with big ambition. The 300 Racing is an electric-start, six-speed, 300cc four-stroke with a steel frame and WP suspension. The 2019 model has a new cylinder and has lost weight. Additionally, the head now has an interchangeable dome.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

SHERCO SE300 FACTORY/SC300 CROSS-COUNTRY (TWO-STROKES): $9900/$9700
In Sherco language, the Racing model is a standard model, while the Factory edition is upgraded with KYB suspension, an FMF silencer and other features. The SC300 Cross-Country has those upgrades and is aimed specifically at closed-course competition. It’s stripped of lights and has different suspension settings.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

SHERCO SE-F300 RACING: $10,000
2017 World Enduro champion Matt Phillips rode this bike to earn his title against much larger bikes. Sherco settled on the 300cc, six-speed, four-stroke platform as the perfect formula for woods racing. For 2019, the bike lost weight. The frame, lithium battery and triple clamps are all lighter this year. It also gets new cams, larger valves, a reworked head and a lightened clutch basket. It still features a hydraulic clutch, a map switch and WP suspension.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

SHERCO SE-F300 FACTORY/SC-F300 CROSS COUNTRY: $10700/$10600
Both the SE-F Factory and the SC-F Cross-Country models have a number of upgrades over the standard editions, which are called “Racing” models. Those upgrades include KYB suspension and Akrapovic exhaust systems, among other things. The Cross-Country models are designed for racing in more wide-open terrain and do not have headlights or instruments.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

TM OFF-ROAD TWO-STROKES: TBA
TM is a small Italian company that specializes in exclusive, handmade race bikes. The company’s 2019 line has yet to be announced, but it will reportedly include one or more fuel-injected two-strokes with technology similar to KTM’s Transfer Port Injection. The company traditionally has a 300, a 250, a 144, a 100 and an 85, all available in off-road trim. Check back at www.dirtbikemagazine.com for the latest news.

SHERCO X RIDE 290 (TWO-STROKE): $7600
The X-Ride is part trail bike, part trials bike. It is a 272cc two-stroke motor without frills; no electric start and no power valve. Up front, the X Ride has an old-school conventional fork, and in back the shock bolts directly to the swingarm without linkage. It has full lights and, believe it or not, passenger footpegs.

BETA 250 RR (TWO-STROKE): $8699
Beta’s 250cc two-stroke off-road bike is almost identical to the 300 aside from a 5.6mm decrease in bore, but it has a very different personality and a smoother power delivery. It also has electric start with oil injection. For 2019, the 250 gets a new engine control unit, upgraded Sachs suspension and a new expansion chamber, which is made for Beta by FMF.

GAS GAS EC250 (TWO-STROKE): $9099
The Gas Gas 300 and 250 two-stroke motors differ only in bore. The 250’s piston is 5.6mm smaller than that of the 300. It has a 38mm Keihin carb, KYB suspension, Nissin brakes, electric start and an FMF silencer. For 2019, it gets upgrades to the electric system (most notably the starter) and a handlebar-mounted map switch that allows you to alter the power delivery on the fly.

GAS GAS XC250 (TWO-STROKE): $8799
Visually, there’s almost no way to tell the Gas Gas XC250 from the XC300. It’s a smaller-displacement version of the same bike, with electric start and a six-speed gearbox. Like the XC300, the XC250 has no headlight and is designed for cross-country racing. The 250 gets an FMF expansion chamber and different suspension settings. For 2019, it gets electrical upgrades and a map switch.

GPX MOTO TSE250 (TWO-STROKE): $5600
This is an Asian-made two-stroke that is based on the Yamaha WR200 from the ’90s. It has oil-injection, an electronic power valve and a six-speed gearbox. GPX equips this bike well, with handguards, frame guards, a headlight, a trip meter, a skid plate, tapered handlebars and a number of billet parts, including the footpegs and triple clamps. It’s from the same importer as the Pitster Pro.

HONDA CRF250RX: $8299
Honda’s R&D department went a little crazy this year with a long list of bikes that are either all new or heavily updated. The CRF250RX is one of the all-new ones. It’s based on the e-start CRF250R MX bike that was introduced in 2018. This version is for off-road racing and does not meet EPA requirements for an off-road model in the U.S. It gets a 2.25-gallon fuel tank, softer suspension and other off-road amenities.

HUSQVARNA TE250i (TWO-STROKE): $9699
America only got a handful of these in 2018, but now the TE250i with TPI fuel injection will be more plentiful. In fact, it replaces the version of the TE250 that used a carburetor. Husky off-road bikes differ from KTMs because they have linkage rear suspension, Magura brakes, a Magura clutch master cylinder, Pro Taper bars and Dirt Star rims. The 250i and 300i have a traction-control function for 2019.

KTM 250XC (TWO-STROKE): $9399
In KTM language, the XC suffix (without the “W”) means the bike is designed to be a cross-country racer. So, the 250XC is actually more closely related to the 250SX motocross bike than it is to the trail-oriented 250XC-W TPI. The XC still has a carburetor. It has linkage rear suspension and the WP AER 48 fork. It also has electric start, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel.

KTM 250XC-F: $9499
This is one of the few bikes that KTM does not share with its kinfolk on the Husqvarna side of the factory. The 250XC-F is designed for off-road racing and is very closely related to the KTM 250SX-F motocross bike. It has a six-speed gearbox, a 2.3-gallon fuel tank, softer suspension settings, a kickstand, an 18-inch rear wheel and handguards. Like the MX version, it has a map switch and a traction-control setting.

KTM 250XC-W TPi (TWO-STROKE): $9699
We received only a handful of these bikes in the U.S. last year, as Europe gobbled up most of the supply. Over there, it can be homologated for street use. In the U.S., however, it lacks that certification. The bike has electric start, oil injection, a six-speed gearbox, a WP Xplor 48 fork and a PDS rear suspension system with the shock mounted directly to the swingarm. Brakes are Brembo, as is the hydraulic clutch.

PITSTER PRO LXR250F: $4499
Pitster Pro is a Utah-based company that designs products in the U.S. and has them manufactured in Asia. The LXR250F is a price-point 250cc off-road bike with a liquid-cooled, SOHC, six-speed motor. The bike is available with an EFM automatic clutch for an additional $699. Handguards, headlight and instrumentation are all standard equipment.

SHERCO SE250 FACTORY/SC250 CROSS-COUNTRY (TWO-STROKES): $9800/$9600
For 2019 Sherco’s SE250 Factory Edition is upgraded with KYB suspension. This is a huge improvement over the closed-cartridge WP fork that came on the same model last year. The Factory also gets an FMF silencer. If you want a more stripped-down version of the same thing, you can ask for the SC250 Cross-Country, which has no lights and is aimed at closed-course competition.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

SHERCO SE-F250 RACING: $9300
Sherco just completed a new factory in Nimes, France, with a very large capacity, so count on seeing more of them. Even though the 250 and 300 four-strokes look almost identical, the 250 received more attention for 2019. It will have a bigger piston and a shorter stroke. Both the 250 and 300 will have new cams, larger valves, reworked heads and lightened clutch baskets.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

SHERCO SE-F250 FACTORY/SC-F250 CROSS-COUNTRY: $10,000/$9900
These two models are premium editions of the SE-F250 Racing model. They will have the same basic electric-start, DOHC, EFI motor but with upgraded KYB suspension and Akrapovic exhaust systems. The SC-F250 Cross-Country model is a stripped-down version without a headlight or instrumentation. The 250 motor has a different bore and stroke configuration for 2019.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

SHERCO SE250 RACING (TWO-STROKE): $9200
Sherco’s 250 two-stroke motor is very similar to the 300 two-stroke aside from the bore, which is 5.6mm smaller. The motor has electric start, a 36mm Keihin carb, case reeds, a six-speed gearbox and an electronic power valve. The biggest change for 2019 is the weight loss, which comes from a new frame, a lithium battery and a long list of details. The suspension is by WP.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

SSR SR250S: $3899
SSR is a U.S. company that imports Asian-made dirt bikes and provides a U.S. warranty. The chassis and bodywork of the SR250S bear a distinct resemblance to the Honda CRF250X, although the motor looks very different. It’s a single-overhead-cam, four-valve four-stroke with electric start and a five-speed gearbox. The quality of the finish is surprisingly good, and the price is phenomenal.

YAMAHA WR250F: $8099
Yamaha’s WR250F is an EPA-legal off-road model with a very quiet exhaust note and emission certification. Just below the surface, it’s similar to the 2018 version of the YZ250 motocross bike but with an electric starter grafted in place. It also has a six-speed gearbox. This model has locked and tamper-resistant fuel-injection settings, so it can’t be altered with Yamaha’s handheld Power Tuner.

YAMAHA YZ250FX: $7999
If you want something halfway between the Yamaha YZ250F motocross bike and the WR250F trail bike, Yamaha has the YZ250FX. This is an off-road race bike based on the previous version of the YZ250 motocrosser, not the new-for-2019 version. Electric start was added, as well as a six-speed wide-ratio gearbox. It also gets a kickstand, softer suspension and an 18-inch rear wheel. It has a 2-gallon tank, same as the 2018 YZ250F.

For a Dirt Bike video featuring the 2019 Yamaha YZ250FX, click here.

YAMAHA YZ250X (TWO-STROKE): $7499
Yamaha knocked our socks off with this bike when it arrived in 2016. It’s the eternal YZ250 repurposed for off-road with a wide-ratio gearbox, smoother power delivery, and off-road accessories that include a tucked-in pipe, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel. The ignition has a different advance curve and the clutch has lighter springs. The X doesn’t have increased fuel capacity or electric start, though.

For a Dirt Bike video featuring the 2019 Yamaha YZ250X, click here.

HONDA CRF250F: $4599

Honda just announced this new middleweight play bike, which will eventually replaces the the CRF230F, although both are in the line for 2019. The 250 is much more modern and features a four-valve motor and fuel injection. The price is only a few hundred more than the 230, but it give you a modern perimeter frame and hydraulic disc brakes. The clutch is manual and the gearbox is a five-speed.

YAMAHA TT-R230: $4399
Yamaha bridges the gap between minis and full-size bikes with the TT-R230. It’s designed to come in at a reasonable price, and that’s why it has a carburetor and is air-cooled. All the tooling has long since been paid off. The bike does have electric start and a six-speed, manual gearbox. The wheels are a full-sized 18/21 combo, but the seat height is around 34 inches. The exhaust is very quiet and the bike is off-road legal.

BETA 200 RR (TWO-STROKE): $8399
The 200 class has returned! The Beta 200RR is based on the 125RR, which was new for last year but has increased in both bore and stroke to arrive at 190cc. The 200 also has some features that the 125 doesn’t, like the oil-injection system and electric start. Despite that, the 200 is said to weigh only 8 pounds more. A kickstarter kit is available as an option. The suspension is Sachs.

GAS GAS EC200 (TWO-STROKE): $8199
Gas Gas was the first to fill the void left by the departure of the KTM 200XC-W with a 200 of its own. The EC200 is based on the EC250 but has a smaller bore and a shorter stroke—62.5mm x 65.0mm as opposed to 66.4mm x 72.0mm. There’s almost no way to tell apart a Gas Gas 200, 250 or 300 externally, but they all have very different personalities on the trail. Like the bigger bikes, the 200 has KYB suspension.

GAS GAS XC200 (TWO-STROKE): $7999
Like the larger two-strokes in the Gas Gas range, the 200 is available in a cross-country configuration. The XC200 has no headlight, but it does get an FMF expansion chamber. The bike comes with KYB suspension, electric start, Nissin brakes and a new 28.6mm Neken handlebar. There are upgrades to the side number plate and graphics, plus it gets the new map switch too.

HUSQVARNA TE150 (TWO-STROKE): $8499
This is an off-road bike based on the TC125 motocrosser. The features that separate it from its MX cousin are electric start, a wide-ratio six-speed, a larger bore bringing the displacement to 144cc, softer suspension, a WP Xplor 48 fork, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand, handguards, a headlight and a heavier flywheel. For 2019, the 150 gets a diaphragm-spring clutch and traction control. It still uses a 38mm Mikuni carburetor.

KTM 150XC-W (TWO-STROKE): $8399
This bike is designed to appeal to cult-like followers of the long-gone KTM 200XC-W. It’s actually a very different bike, but in most cases the differences are improvements. The 150 is incredibly light, has electric start and is much more powerful than the old 200. It doesn’t have the smooth low-end torque of the 200, so it isn’t quite as well-suited for true beginners. It has PDS no-linkage rear suspension.

BETA 125 RR (TWO-STROKE): $7999
When Beta introduced the 125RR in 2018, it was an all-new bike, built from scratch, with no grandfathered-in parts from other bikes. It’s a purist’s two-stroke, with no oil injection, no electric start and no battery. Refinement continues in 2019 with a new ECU, a stiffer clutch cover and new suspension. The new ZF Sachs fork has both adjustable preload and rebound damping in the top caps, while the new shock is significantly lighter.

SHERCO SE125 RACING (TWO-STROKE): $8400
There’s clearly a movement back towards 125 two-strokes, and Sherco is a key player. The SE125 arrived late last year with an electronic power valve, a six-speed transmission, electric start and a 36mm Keihin carb. The 2019 model gets a new piston and changes that are designed to result in better crankcase lubrication. A cross-country version will be available for $8600.

For a riding impression of the 2019 Sherco line, click here.

BETA 200 RR (TWO-STROKE): $8399
The 200 class has returned! The Beta 200RR is based on the 125RR, which was new for last year but has increased in both bore and stroke to arrive at 190cc. The 200 also has some features that the 125 doesn’t, like the oil-injection system and electric start. Despite that, the 200 is said to weigh only 8 pounds more. A kickstarter kit is available as an option. The suspension is Sachs.

GAS GAS EC200 (TWO-STROKE): $8199
Gas Gas was the first to fill the void left by the departure of the KTM 200XC-W with a 200 of its own. The EC200 is based on the EC250 but has a smaller bore and a shorter stroke—62.5mm x 65.0mm as opposed to 66.4mm x 72.0mm. There’s almost no way to tell apart a Gas Gas 200, 250 or 300 externally, but they all have very different personalities on the trail. Like the bigger bikes, the 200 has KYB suspension.

GAS GAS XC200 (TWO-STROKE): $7999
Like the larger two-strokes in the Gas Gas range, the 200 is available in a cross-country configuration. The XC200 has no headlight, but it does get an FMF expansion chamber. The bike comes with KYB suspension, electric start, Nissin brakes and a new 28.6mm Neken handlebar. There are upgrades to the side number plate and graphics, plus it gets the new map switch too.

HUSQVARNA TE150 (TWO-STROKE): $8499
This is an off-road bike based on the TC125 motocrosser. The features that separate it from its MX cousin are electric start, a wide-ratio six-speed, a larger bore bringing the displacement to 144cc, softer suspension, a WP Xplor 48 fork, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand, handguards, a headlight and a heavier flywheel. For 2019, the 150 gets a diaphragm-spring clutch and traction control. It still uses a 38mm Mikuni carburetor.

KTM 150XC-W (TWO-STROKE): $8399
This bike is designed to appeal to cult-like followers of the long-gone KTM 200XC-W. It’s actually a very different bike, but in most cases the differences are improvements. The 150 is incredibly light, has electric start and is much more powerful than the old 200. It doesn’t have the smooth low-end torque of the 200, so it isn’t quite as well-suited for true beginners. It has PDS no-linkage rear suspension.

BETA 125 RR (TWO-STROKE): $7999
When Beta introduced the 125RR in 2018, it was an all-new bike, built from scratch, with no grandfathered-in parts from other bikes. It’s a purist’s two-stroke, with no oil injection, no electric start and no battery. Refinement continues in 2019 with a new ECU, a stiffer clutch cover and new suspension. The new ZF Sachs fork has both adjustable preload and rebound damping in the top caps, while the new shock is significantly lighter.

SHERCO SE125 RACING (TWO-STROKE): $8400
There’s clearly a movement back towards 125 two-strokes, and Sherco is a key player. The SE125 arrived late last year with an electronic power valve, a six-speed transmission, electric start and a 36mm Keihin carb. The 2019 model gets a new piston and changes that are designed to result in better crankcase lubrication. A cross-country version will be available for $8600.

CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO OF THE 2019 OFF-ROAD BIKE BUYER’S GUIDE, DEALING WITH YOUTH  AND ENTRY-LEVEL MODELS.

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