HUSQVARNA FE501: $11,099
This is a new model but an old concept from Husqvarna for 2020. Previously, the 501 four-stroke was only available as a dual-sport model. Now, mostly because Husky dealers got tired of hearing customers complain, they are available in a dirt-only configuration as well. That means you don’t have to pay for the lights and reflectors if you don’t want them. This is California green-sticker compliant but less restricted than its dual-sport brother.
AJP PR7: $10,099.99
AJP is a Portuguese company that made a splash a few years ago then disappeared, at least stateside. Now the company is back with a new importer, and its flagship is the PR7. This is an adventure-style bike with a SWM 600 motor, but it’s not homologated for the street and therefore not bottled up by various emissions restrictions. The PR7 still has much of the street equipment to be licensed in some states. Contact: Jeff Schlagel at (208) 921 1214.
KTM 500XCF-W: $10,999
The KTM 500XCF-W is similar to the 500 dual-sport in KTM’s line but free of street-legal restrictions. It still meets all federal and state regulations governing off-road vehicles, so it’s fairly quiet and clean, but the suspension and engine tuning are more off-road oriented. The 500XCF-W motor is similar to that of the Husky FE501, but the KTM chassis has PDS rear suspension sans linkage. The fork is the WP Xplor 48 coil-spring unit.
SHERCO SE-F500/SE-F455 RACING: $10,399/$10,199
The 500 and 455 Shercos are powered by DOHC four-valvers with Synerject EFI. The Racing models are less pricey than their Factory counterparts, but you don’t get a name-brand exhaust system or premium wheels. The Factory models also come with WP suspension, front and rear. Both have hydraulic clutches and electric start. The difference between the 500 and the 455 is 3mm of bore.
SHERCO SE-F500 FACTORY/SE-F455 FACTORY: $11,099/$10,899
Sherco’s big off-road four-stroke is the basis for the company’s successful Dakar team. The “Factory” suffix means it gets KYB suspension, an Akrapovic exhaust and other upgrades. The difference between the 500 (actually 478cc) and the 455 (449cc) is 3mm of bore. They are both available in cross-country trim without lights and with different suspension tuning. The 500 cross country is $10,999; the 455 is $10,799.
BETA 480RR RACE EDITION: $10,799
Beta took its newly redesigned dual-sport four-strokes and gave them the closed-course competition treatment to create the Race Editions. These are stripped of emissions and DOT equipment and given KYB suspension, among other upgrades. In addition to the 480, there’s a 430 for $10,699, a 390 for $10,599, and a 350 for $10,499. All four share the same chassis and engine platform, but their differences in displacement result in very different personalities.
TM EN450 Fi ES: $11,195
TM is a small, independent company out of Italy that specializes in competition-oriented, hand-built motorcycles. Unlike most other Euro makers, TM uses aluminum frames for all its dirt bikes. The big four-stroke in the line has double overhead cams, electric start and Keihin EFI. There’s an EN530 Fi ES that shares all the same features, differing only in displacement for the same price.
HONDA CRF450RX: $9699
Of Honda’s two off-road 450s, the RX is the competition model. It’s a close cousin to the CRF450R motocross bike but has softer suspension and milder power delivery thanks to different EFI mapping. It also has a 2.2-gallon fuel tank, an 18-inch rear wheel, a skid plate and a kickstand. Like the MX version, it offers three levels of traction control and three EFI maps, all selectable through handlebar switches.
HONDA CRF450X: $9799
Honda’s long history of Baja success is a result of this bike and its predecessor. Last year, the X was updated to a new platform with fuel injection and a more modern layout. The X actually has a great deal in common with the dual-sport CRF450L, including a six-speed transmission and a 2.01-gallon metal fuel tank. The X meets state and federal off-road requirements for noise and emissions but is less restricted than the dual-sport.
HUSQVARNA FX450: $10.699
Husky’s FX line is designed for off-road competition. The 450FX is a very close relative of the FC450 motocross bike, sharing the same motor, frame and WP suspension components. Even the gearbox and exhaust are the same. The FX does get a 2.25-gallon fuel tank, softer suspension settings, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand and handguards. The FX450 is similar to the KTM 450XC-F but has a number of different components and its own bodywork.
KTM 450XC-F: $10,599
This is the bike that Taylor Robert and most of KTM’s western off-road racers prefer. It’s a closed-course competition bike, similar to the 450SX-F motocross bike, but is equipped for GP and desert racing. It has a fuel tank that is a 1/2-gallon larger than that of the MX bike, softer valving in the WP shock and XACT air fork, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand and handguards. The Husqvarna counterpart to this bike is the FX450.
SSR SR450S: $4999
SSR is an American company that sources its motorcycles from Asia with the goal of offering high quality without the price getting out of hand. The SR450S bears a striking resemblance to the pre-2019 Honda CRF450X. The finish of the aluminum frame and bodywork look every bit as good as that of the Honda, although the carburetor and suspension components are not name-brand items. The SSR has both kick and electric start.
YAMAHA YZ450FX: $9599
This is Yamaha’s version of the closed-course, competition off-road category that takes a slightly different approach from KTM, Husqvarna and Honda. It, too, is based on the company’s motocross 450, but the Yamaha has a wide-ratio gearbox and a softer power delivery. It also gets a larger fuel tank, softer suspension, an 18-inch rear wheel and a kickstand. The Yamaha’s EFI system can be tuned with any smartphone carrying the Power Tuner app.
YAMAHA WR450F: $9699
The WR was a late arrival in 2019 and is a quieter, more trail-oriented version of the YZ450FX. The WR is compliant with most federal and state off-road regulations for noise and emissions but is still awaiting green sticker approval in California. The EFI system is locked, so this model is not compatible with the Yamaha Power Tuner smartphone app. It can be converted easily to a closed-course competition vehicle with a hop-up kit from Yamaha’s accessory division.
HUSQVARNA FE350: $10,499
This is a new model in the Husky off-road fleet for 2020, although it’s very similar to the FE350S dual-sport bike. This one has none of the DOT equipment for street use, but it still has a headlight and a taillight and is whisper quiet. It also meets the federal emission requirements to qualify as an official off-road vehicle, but it’s not as restricted as the dual-sport version.
HUSQVARNA FX350: $10,499
Many riders consider this the finest off-road race bike in Husqvarna’s line, and it’s the foundation for Colton Haaker’s World Championship Super Enduro bike. The 350 is similar to the FC350 motocross bike but has a six-speed gearbox, a larger fuel tank, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand and softer suspension. The front suspension is a WP XACT 48 air fork, and the rear suspension uses linkage. Husky’s off-road bikes uses Magura brakes, front and rear.
KTM 350XCF-W: $10,499
This is a more trail-oriented version of KTM’s middleweight four-stroke. It uses a coil-spring WP XPLOR fork and PDS rear suspension without linkage. The motor has a softer power delivery than the 350XC-F competition bike but is a little spicier than the 350EXC dual-sport. This bike complies with federal requirements for an off-road vehicle, which means it’s very quiet and has some emissions equipment.
KTM 350XC-F: $10,499
Any place east of the Mississippi, the KTM 350 is the off-road race bike of choice. Kailub Russell just used it to clinch his seventh-straight GNCC XC1 Pro Championship. The bike has much more power than a 250 four-stroke but still revs like one. The gearbox is a six-speed, but otherwise the motor is similar to that of the 350SX-F motocross bike. It has a larger fuel tank, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand, handguards and off-road suspension settings.
BETA 300RR/250RR TWO-STROKES: $9199/$8799
This is a year of big change in the Beta two-stroke line. The bikes are totally redesigned, using a new counterbalancer-equipped, electric-start motor. They still have Sachs suspension and a steel central backbone frame, and they still feature oil injection to do away with the hassle of mixing oil in the gas. The 300 and 250 motors differ only in bore and share a frame that is redesigned, along with new bodywork and a new look.
BETA 300RR/250RR RACE EDITION TWO-STROKES: $9499/$9099
For competition-minded riders, Beta produces the Race Edition line. These bikes get the new bodywork, frame and counterbalancer-equipped motor but are upgraded with KYB suspension and a number of accessories, such as a quick-pull axle pin and handguards. The Race Editions do away with oil injection. They have a very distinct look with a long list of cosmetic upgrades.
BETA XTRAINER TWO-STROKE: $7699
The Xtrainer is a slightly downsized 300cc two-stroke designed to be a friendlier, more affordable trail bike for the non-competitive rider. Like the other 2020 Beta two-strokes, it has a new electric-start motor with a gear-driven counterbalancer to quell vibration. The chassis is slightly smaller than the standard model’s for a lower seat height. It also has oil injection, a six-speed gearbox and full lighting.
GAS GAS EC300/EC250 TWO-STROKES: $9299/$9099
Gas Gas is a company out of Girona, Spain with a legacy of designing highly competitive off-road two-strokes. The EC300 and EC250 were redesigned two years ago and have electric start, KYB suspension, an FMF silencer (sans spark arrestor), a six-speed gearbox and lighting. There will also be special editions with upgraded parts and accessories, the EC GP 250 and 300, each selling for $10,299. Mid-year, there will also be a 200cc version for $8899.
GAS GAS XC300/XC250 TWO-STROKES: $8999/$8799
The bikes in the XC line from Gas Gas are aimed at western-style cross-country riding and racing and are stripped of lights and instruments. They also get an FMF exhaust pipe in addition to the FMF silencer. Like the EC bikes, the 300 and 250 differ only in bore. Both have KYB suspension, six-speed gearboxes and electric start. A 200cc version will sell for $8599.
GAS GAS EC RANGER 300 TWO-STROKE: $7899
Someone at Gas Gas looked at the price of European dirt bikes and decided to do something about it. The result is the EC Ranger, which is a 300cc, electric-start two-stroke tuned for low-speed torque rather than top-end performance. The EC Ranger carries a lower price than other bikes in the Gas Gas line because it uses more affordable components, such as the Fastace fork. There’s a 200cc version for $7499.
KAWASAKI KLX300R: $5499
If you’ve been around long enough, you probably remember this motorcycle from the ’90s. Kawasaki execs saw the need for a low-price off-road four-stroke, so they gave the KLX electric start and brought it back. The motor is essentially the same as it was back in the day, with dual overhead cams, four valves and a six-speed gearbox, but now it’s equipped with fuel injection and complies with current EPA off-road regs.
HUSQVARNA TX300 TWO-STROKE: $10,099
Now with transfer-port injection, the TX300 is Husqvarna’s first EFI two-stroke aimed at racing. The TX has a chassis very similar to that of the TC250 motocross bike, but unlike that model, it has an electric-start motor with a six-speed gearbox. The suspension components are the same as on the MX bike, including the WP XACT air fork, but the valving is softer, plus it has an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand and a larger fuel tank.
HUSQVARNA TE300i/TE250i TWO-STROKES: $10,099/ $9899
Husqvarna’s TE two-stroke line is aimed more at trail riding than competition, although these bikes routinely find their way into eastern-style off-road events. The TE300 and 250 are similar to KTM’s XC-Ws but have linkage rear suspension, Magura brakes and hydraulics, ProTaper bars and D.I.D rims. The airbox is integrated with the subframe, and the bodywork is distinctively un-KTM-like. The motors have electric start, fuel injection and oil injection.
KTM 300XC-W/250XC-W TPI TWO-STROKES: $9999/ $9799
Fuel injection for two-strokes has been around long enough to have all the bugs worked out, so for 2020, all of KTM’s full-size off-road two-strokes have transfer-port fuel injection. They get better gas mileage and withstand elevation change much better than their carbureted predecessors, plus they have oil injection. The 300 and 250XC-Ws have no-linkage rear suspension, a coil-spring fork and rule the world of extreme enduro.
KTM 300XC/250XC TPI TWO-STROKES: $9999/$9799
KTM designs the XC two-strokes for western off-road competition. They are stripped of lights, and the suspension components are straight off the SX motocross bike, with a WP XACT air fork in front and linkage in the rear. The valving and rear spring rate are softer than those of the MX models, and the motors have electric start and TPI fuel injection, so there is no need to mix oil in the gas. The fuel tanks are over 2 gallons, and both bikes have all the expected off-road equipment.
SHERCO SE300/SE250 RACING TWO-STROKE: $9299/$9199
Sherco is a small but rapidly growing French company with a rich history in the trials segment. Recently, Sherco has enjoyed spectacular success in the World Enduro Super Series and the FIM World Enduro GPs. In the U.S., Sherco’s two-stroke off-road bikes have had particular success in the east and south. They have carbureted, electric-start six-speeds with steel frames. The Racing”models are the company’s standard editions with WP suspension
SHERCO SE300/SE250 FACTORY TWO-STROKES: $9899/$9799
The Factory models are Sherco’s premium off-road bikes with upgrades that are well worth the price difference. The two-strokes get KYB suspension, FMF exhausts, Trail Tech radiator fans and a long list of other goodies. Otherwise, the motors are the same electric-start six-speeds as the standard versions. The 250 motor is essentially the same as the 300 aside from displacement. For western riders, there’s a cross-country version of the 300 for $9699 and a 250 for $9599.
SHERCO SE-F300/SEF250 RACING: $9999/$9299
Sherco is best known in the U.S. for its two-strokes, but the four-strokes have had an outstanding run of success in international competition. The middleweight thumpers have compact motors in a steel-framed chassis that was developed specifically for off-road, rather than being adapted from MX applications. This isn’t a big year for mechanical changes, but the U.S. importer is new and the company will place more emphasis on the American market.
SHERCO SE-F300/SE-F250 FACTORY: $10,699/$9999
Even though the 300 and 250 four-strokes look almost identical, they have very different personalities. The 300, with its slight increase in bore, can go head to head with bigger bikes in competition. The Factory models are upgraded with KYB suspension and Akrapovic exhausts. There are also cross-country versions without lights and stiffer suspension; the 300 is $10,599, and the 250 is $9899.
SSR SR300S/250S: $4399/$3999
SSR is a company that is amazingly adept at figuring out the needs of American recreational off-road riders. The SR300S is a perfect example; it’s an off-road bike with a modern motor and an excellent price. The liquid-cooled 298cc motor isn’t a copy of anything else. It’s a carbureted SOHC six-speed that produces a claimed 30 horsepower. The 250 has a different chassis but similar components. Both have aluminum twin-spar frames. SSR also offers a full line of pit bikes.
THUMPSTAR 300/250 TWO-STROKE: TBA
Thumpstar has been developing motorcycles for the last five years, primarily for the pit-bike market. The 250cc/300cc two-stroke models will be produced in Spain. Thumpstar has been working with Josep Pibernat, the founder of Gas Gas, on this model, which has a case-reed, power valve motor with a conventional Keihin carburetor and a six-speed gearbox.
TM EN300/EN250 Fi ES TWIN PIPE: $11,995/$11,395
TM has been called the Ferrari of the dirt bike world with good reason. The small company produces beautifully crafted machines that are always very fast. The twin-pipe four-strokes have the company’s newest motor, which already has wins in both world motocross and world enduro. The chassis is aluminum, the fork is a KYB and the shock is made by TM. The new motor is now available in both 250 and 300 sizes.
TM EN300 Fi ES: $11,395/TM EN250 Fi ES: $10,995
The older TM engine platform still has a large fan base, so the company is keeping it in the enduro lineup in both 300 and 250 configurations. Even though the twin-pipe version is newer, there’s nothing dated about this model. It’s a DOHC, four-valve four-stroke with electric start and an aluminum chassis that places the fuel tank under the seat. It has Nissin brakes, Keihin fuel injection, KYB suspension and a TM-built shock
TM EN300/EN250 Fi TWO-STROKES: $9995/$9795
KTM isn’t the only company with transfer-port fuel injection for two-strokes. TM has had the technology in the back room for years, and now it’s ready to go public. Both the 300 and 250 have the new system, which, in this case, is said to deliver more horsepower than traditional carburetion. Both bikes use the distinctive TM aluminum frame, a KYB fork and a TM shock. For purists, the carbureted versions are still available. The 300 is $9645 and the 250 is $9495.
AJP PR4: $5099
The AJP PR4 sets itself apart from other budget trail bikes by offering a chassis that is designed and built in Europe. The air-cooled 240cc motor is sourced in Asia, and that allows the price to be competitive with the cost of bikes that are assembled and shipped from mainland China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. The PR4 Extreme is an upscale model for $6299, and the more budget-conscious PR3 is $4899
HONDA CRF250RX: $8299
Honda joined the “closed-course-competition off-road bike” club a couple of years ago with this bike, but it wasn’t ready for prime time. Back then, the new 250R motocross bike was too highly strung for off-road. Now, it has a new head and more low-end power. The frame is new, too, with the more compliant chassis that the CRF450R got in 2019. The RX has off-road mapping, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand, off-road suspension and a 2.25-gallon tank.
HONDA CRF250F: $4599
The names are similar, but the CRF250F is very different from anything ending in “RX.” In Honda terms, the “F” models are family-oriented bikes aimed at trail riding, not competition. The 250 is a fairly new model built in Honda’s factory in Thailand to keep the price down. It has an air-cooled motor, electric start and a fairly low seat height. The CRF250F is fuel-injected and has disc brakes at both ends.
KTM 250XC-F: $9499
This is one of the few KTM off-road bikes that doesn’t have a twin brother in the Husqvarna line. The 250XC-F is based on the motocross 250 four-stroke and is not imported as an official off-road bike. It offers virtually the same performance as the MX version, but it gets a six-speed transmission, a larger tank, softer suspension, a kickstand, an 18-inch rear wheel, handguards and a number of other off-road accessories.
YAMAHA YZ250FX: $8499
For 2020, the Yamaha YZ250FX is completely different from its predecessor. It got the same basic changes that the YZ250F motocross bike got a year ago, including a new electric-start-only motor and a more rigid frame. Like the other competition four-strokes from Yamaha, it now has the capacity to be tuned with a smartphone. It also got a 2.1-gallon fuel tank for 2020. As a competition bike, it does not meet federal or state off-road requirements.
YAMAHA YZ250X TWO-STROKE: $7599
Yamaha’s YZ250X is the only 250cc off-road competition two-stroke available from a Japanese manufacturer. It is a very close relative of the YZ250 motocross bike but has wider gear ratios and more off-road appropriate suspension and power. It also gets a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel. As with the MX version, this is technology that is almost two-decades old, meaning no fuel injection or electric start. Most purists are fine with that.
YAMAHA WR250F: $8599
Like the competition-oriented YZ250FX, the WR250F got a new engine and chassis for 2020. It’s the same electric-start platform that was developed for the YZ250F motocross bike in 2019, but the WR isn’t intended as a racer. It’s a trail bike with the full blessing of the EPA for noise and emissions. Therefore, the EFI system is locked, but it can be made into a competition bike with accessories from Yamaha.
GPX TSE250R: $4699
This motorcycle’s roots can be traced back to the Yamaha WR200 of the mid-’90s. The rights to the design are now in the hands of the guys at Pitster Pro, who have launched the bike under the GPX name. It’s now a 250cc two-stroke with electric start and oil injection. It even has a counterbalancer. GPX also offers a 250cc four-stroke for $2849, a 65cc two-stroke off-road bike for $2999, and a number of pit bikes.
KAWASAKI KLX230R: $4399
For 2020, Kawasaki came to the table with a suddenly heightened interest in the off-road market. One of the new bikes offered is the KLX230, which is fully compliant with all the federal and state off-road regulations. It’s a mixture of old technology and new, with an air-cooled, two-valve motor that has electric start and fuel injection. For $200 more, Kawasaki offers a fully homologated, street-legal version.
YAMAHA TT-R230: $4449
The Yamaha TT-R 230 has been around for a number of years now and is one of the few federally approved off-road bikes that still has a carburetor. The air-cooled, SOHC two-valver has an electric starter, a six-speed gearbox and a manual clutch. The front brake is a hydraulic disc, but the rear is an old-school drum. The seat height is a low 34.3 inches, despite the full-size 18-inch and 21-inch wheels.
BETA 200RR/125RR TWO-STROKES: $8699/$7999
The 200 is back! Beta revived the old-school 200cc two-stroke concept and modernized it with electric start and oil injection. It has Sachs suspension and Nissin brakes. For those with fewer demands, there’s a 125cc version without electric start. For truly hardcore small-displacement two-stroke fans, there is a Race Edition of the 125 without oil injection and with upgraded KYB suspension for $8399.
HUSQVARNA TE150i TWO-STROKE: $8899
Transfer-port fuel injection took a little longer to come to the world of small-displacement two-strokes, but it’s here now. The Husqvarna TE150i has fuel injection, electric start and oil injection. This bike is trail oriented, with off-road settings in the WP XPLOR coil-spring fork and the linkage rear suspension. All of Husky’s off-road bikes use Magura brakes and clutch hydraulics.
KTM 150XC-W TPI TWO-STROKE: $8799
This is one of those little bikes that makes you feel like you’re the strongest, most talented rider in the world. The 150XC-W is similar to the KTM 150SX motocross bike but in a milder state of tune and equipped with an electric starter. The chassis uses the no-linkage PDS rear suspension design with a WP XPLOR coil-spring fork in front. This year, the little XC-W gets TPI fuel injection along with oil injection.
TM EN144/EN125 TWO-STROKES: $9195/ $8695
For a small company, TM is all in when it comes to the variety of off-road bikes that are offered in America. The small-displacement off-road two-stroke segment is well covered with four different models from TM. At the root is an electronic-power-valve 125 with a conventional Keihin carb. Then there’s a 144cc version with increased bore and stroke. A TPI, fuel-injected 144 will be available soon for $9695. The TPI 125 will be $9195.
SHERCO SC125 CROSS-COUNTRY TWO-STROKE: $8599
Not that long ago, there was no 125cc off-road class in the U.S. Now it’s a healthy segment, and one of the most intriguing new manufacturer offerings for this class is the Sherco SC125. It has an electronic power valve and electric start. The cross-country version has KYB suspension and is stripped of lights and instrumentation. It also has an FMF exhaust system, a Trail Tech radiator fan and a number of cosmetic upgrades.
SHERCO SE125 RACING TWO-STROKE: $8399
The SE125 Racing version of Sherco’s 125 two-stroke is aimed more at enduro and eastern-style trail riding than western-oriented cross country. It has lights and instruments but also has a lower price, mostly due to different components. The SE has WP suspension and doesn’t get a name-brand exhaust system, but it still has the electronic power valve, electric start and a six-speed gearbox.
YAMAHA YZ125X TWO-STROKE: $6699
After seeing the interest generated by the YZ250X two-stroke off-road bike released two years ago, Yamaha decided to give the same treatment to the YZ125. It gets an off-road makeover, centered around differences in the power valve, head and ignition mapping. It also gets off-road suspension settings, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand, Dunlop AT81 tires and a reserve position on the fuel petcock. It doesn’t have e-start, handguards or a larger fuel tank.
FOR PART 2, THE 2020 YOUTH OFF-ROAD BUYER’S GUIDE, CLICK HERE.