The term “off-road bike” sounds vague and generalized, but it refers to a group of very specialized motorcycles. They fall into a vast space between motocross race bikes and dual-sport bikes. That area is so big that it needs to be further subdivided into closed-course cross-country competition bikes, trail bikes, EPA-certified off-road bikes, two-strokes, four-strokes and combinations of several groups. The matter has been made more confusing lately because some bikes meet EPA noise and emission standards, others don’t. Even more confusing is the role of the California Air Resources Board which issues green-sticker status to an ever decreasing number of motorcycles. Here, we try to sort it out for you with prices and descriptions of the off-road bikes imported to the United State for model year 2023. The prices don’t include destination charges, taxes or dealer fees.

For Dirt Bike Magazine’s 2023 MX Buyer’s Guide, click here.

For Dirt Bike Magazine’s 2023 Two-Stroke Buyer’s Guide, click here.


SHERCO 500SEF FACTORY/450SEF FACTORY: $12,499/$12,299

Sherco has made an impressive push in America that has upset the hierarchy in off-road racing. The two big Sherco four-strokes use the same platform that has won stages in the Dakar Rally and even finished on the podium in the GNCC XC1 class. The 450 and 500 are essentially the same bike, aside from the 3mm of bore, that push the big version to 478cc. Both have KYB suspension, Akrapovic silencers and 6-speed gearboxes.


Schlagel Marine in the American Northwest is the importer for AJP, which is a company based in Portugal. The PR7 is the top of the line, with a 600cc motor that was originally developed by Husqvarna and is now manufactured in Italy by SWM. The chassis has a perimeter frame, and a rally tower comes as standard equipment. There are also 510cc and 310cc versions, as well as entry-level AJP models in 240 and 250 sizes.


BETA 480RR/BETA 430RR RACE EDITIONS: $11,299/$11,199

Beta’s “standard” four-strokes are the dual-sport models, while the Race Editions are dedicated off-road bikes with KYB suspension and a long list of accessories that include upgraded footpegs, sprockets, seat and tires. Most of the dual-sport equipment is stripped off and the motors are tuned for competition.

GASGAS EX450F: $10,949

This year the GasGas cross-country bikes are decidedly different from their counterparts on the KTM and Husqvarna side of the fence. The EX450F has the same frame and motor as last year, whereas the KTM 450XC-F and the Husky FX450 have gone to the new, more rigid platform. That means the GasGas is a little more compliant as a trail bike. It still is in a very motocross-oriented state of tune with a 5-speed gearbox.

HONDA CRF450RX: $9899

The CRF450RX got the same changes as the motocross version for 2023. They include a narrower intake-port shape and longer intake funnel, a revised cam profile, and a smaller throttle-body diameter. The frame’s rigidity has been altered by increasing material thickness in strategic locations and through the use of steel engine mounts. For its off-road mission, the RX has a 2.1-gallon fuel tank, softer suspension, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand and handguards.

HONDA CRF450X: $9799

This is one of the few full-sized off-road bikes that is still eligible for a green sticker in the state of California. The CRF450X is a dedicated off-road version of the CRF450RL dual-sport bike. It’s in a tangier state of tune, though, and has lost about 10 pounds of dual-sport equipment. The gearbox is a 6-speed, which is one of the keys to its incredible winning streak in Baja and the Best in the Desert, Nevada, races.

HUSQVARNA FE450: $11,749

The FE450 is a new model for Husqvarna in 2023. It’s a cross between the FE501 dual-sport bike and the FX450 cross-country racer. This bike has EPA approval as an off-road bike, meaning it’s quieter and cleaner than a closed-course competition bike. However, it is not currently eligible for a California green sticker. The gearbox is a 6-speed, which should get the attention of off-road racers out west. There’s a Heritage Edition that looks like a Swedish flag on wheels for $11,849.

HUSQVARNA FX450: $11,649

Husky’s FX450 is a close cousin to the FC450 motocross bike. As such, it has a new frame and restyled bodywork for 2023. It also has a new head and a long list of motor updates, and is in the same state of tune as the MX version. To go off-road racing, it has a larger fuel tank, a kickstand, handguards, a skid plate, softer suspension and an 18-inch rear wheel with Dunlop AT81 tires. The FX uses the same 5-speed gearbox as the motocross bike.

KAWASAKI KX450X: $9799

Kawasaki’s KX450 is widely considered the smoothest and easiest to ride of the 450 MX bikes, so it didn’t need much to make the transition to the off-road world. The KX450X is essentially the same bike with minimal changes. It has softer suspension, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel with Dunlop AT-81 tires. It does not have handguards, increased fuel capacity, different gear ratios or a different exhaust system.

KTM 450XCF-W: $11,699

Many desert riders took the 6-speed gearbox from the 500EXC dual-sport bike and installed it in the 450XC-F for cross-country racing. With the 6-speed transmission, the new 450XCF-W has part of that formula already. It also has a long list of trail-oriented features, like a quiet muffler, PDS rear suspension, a radiator fan, a headlight and a taillight. The XCF-W is approved by the EPA as an off-road vehicle, but will not get a California green sticker. For a Dirt Bike Magazine video featuring the 2023 KTM 450XC-W, click here.

KTM 450XC-F: $11,699

KTM views the 450XC-F as a cross-country competition bike for wide-open spaces and western-style GPs. For 2023, it has a more rigid frame, new rear suspension, new bodywork and a long list of new engine parts, just like the latest 450SX-F motocross bike. For its off-road duties it has a 2.2-gallon fuel tank, softer suspension settings, handguards, a kickstand, an 18-inch rear wheel and an O-ring chain.

TM EN450Fi: $11,895

TM is a small Italian company out of Pesaro that specializes in race bikes. The EN450Fi is virtually hand-made with an aluminum frame and a number of billet parts. The fork is a KYB, and the shock is TM’s in-house brand, which is known as EXT. The 450 is configured with the airbox on top and the fuel tank under the seat. The gas cap is located on the left side of the bike. For 2023 the back-up kick-starter has been removed, and there are a number of changes including a new exhaust.

SSR SR450S: $5499

At a glance, you might think that the SSR SR450S is a Honda CRF450X. Your first giveaway is that the welds on the SSR’s aluminum frame actually look better than Honda’s. The SR450S is a copy of a carbureted Honda 450, but it is clearly a very good copy, and the price is downright amazing. SSR also has an SR300S and an SR250S for $5499 and $3999, respectively.

SWM RE500: $8299

A few years back the SWM RS500 was a fully certified dual-sport bike. Now, the 2023 version is back as a dirt-only model, simply because it’s awaiting recertification. The U.S. importer made a few changes and is offering it as a trail bike. Those changes include richer mapping and a more aggressive WRP exhaust system. SWM motorcycles are manufactured in Italy and are based on the Husqvarnas of the mid 2000s. There is also an RE300 for $7899.

YAMAHA YZ450FX: $9999

This is the bike that Stewart Baylor used to dominate the end of the 2022 racing season. Like the  Honda CRF450RX and the Kawasaki KX450X, the YZ450FX is heavily influenced by the motocross model. Unlike those bikes, it has a wide-ratio gearbox and is remapped for an off-road power delivery. It has the same fuel tank and muffler as the motocross bike. The 2023 model is unchanged, whereas the YZ450F motocross bike got a big makeover, so expect big changes for the FX next year.

YAMAHA WR450F: $9999

This model is a true trail bike. It has a smooth power delivery, cushy suspension, a radiator fan, a headlight and a taillight. It’s also very quiet—to the point of overkill. It comes from the dealer with a throttle stop and a pea-shooter-sized inner baffle. Even with those items removed, it’s one of the quietest bikes in the off-road world. Despite all that, it is not eligible for a California green sticker and, in fact, isn’t even sold in that state.

GPX FSE450R: $6400

GPX is a Utah-based company that specializes in importing motorcycles at very attractive prices. The FSE450 is made entirely in China with a Zongshin 450cc motor. It is an electric-start 6-speed with fuel injection. The fit and finish are excellent; there are CNC-machined parts throughout. The bodywork and frame have a distinctive KTM flavor. The bike comes with some dual-sport equipment, but is not currently certified by the EPA or DOT.

BETA 390RR/BETA 350RR RACE EDITIONS: $11,099/$10,999

Beta’s Race Editions are special models based on the four-stroke dual-sport bikes. They’ve been stripped of all the DOT hardware and equipped with KYB suspension. They also are in a more aggressive state of tune. The Race Editions feature traction control and mapping options accessible through a switch above the gas filler. The four versions of the four-stroke Race Editions—350, 390, 430, 490—are identical aside from displacement.

KTM 350XC-F: $11,399

This is the winningest off-road race bike in America. Most of Kailub Russell’s record-breaking 67 GNCC wins came aboard the 350, which is known for being both smooth and fast. The 2023 version is all new, with a stiffer frame, new bodywork and redesigned rear suspension. The gearbox is still a 6-speed but now has a slightly broader spread. In terms of power, the 350XC-F is identical to the 350SX-F motocross bike. It has softer suspension and off-road accouterments.

GASGAS EX350F: $10,799

The GasGas EX350F closed-course cross-country bike is essentially unchanged for 2023. That means it’s completely different from the current KTM and Husky 350s, which underwent substantial change. The GasGas still has the older, more compliant frame that many riders have grown fond of. It still has a 6-speed gearbox and is in an aggressive state of tune, just like the GasGas motocross version of the 350. The fuel tank holds 2.2 gallons, it has a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel.

HUSQVARNA FX350: $11,499

At some point it will occur to the rest of the motorcycle industry that the 350cc four-stroke is the ideal size for an off-road race bike. For now, only the brands from Austria have cracked the code. The Husky FX350 is very similar to the KTM 350XC-F and has the same new frame and motor for 2023. It differs from the KTM only in bodywork, subframe, airbox, handlebar, rims and a lower seat height. Both use a new rear-shock design, but the WP Xact air fork is similar to years past. There’s a 2023 Heritage Edition for $11,699

BETA 300RR/250RR (TWO-STROKES): $9899/$9699

Beta’s two-strokes have a new look for 2023. The bodywork has been slimmed down, and the Sachs fork has new valving. The RR models still have oil injection, hydraulic clutches and Nissin brakes. Last year Beta altered the 300’s bore and stroke, while the 250 was unchanged. Both got a diaphragm-spring clutch and a new head. The Race Editions have upgraded KYB suspension and go without oil-injection for $500 more.


Everyone knows that a European 300cc two-stroke is magic on the trail. Likewise, everyone knows they carry a very high price. Not the Beta XTrainer. It’s an electric-start, 6-speed, 300cc two-stroke with oil injection, just like the RR models, but it is less competition-oriented. Components like the suspension and brakes are from less well-known suppliers. The lower seat height makes it appealing to entry-level off-road riders.

GASGAS EC300/EC250 (TWO-STROKES): $10,399/$10,099

The GasGas EC300 and EC250 have the same frame as the bikes in the more competition-oriented EX line but are designed with trail riders in mind. They use the coil spring  WP Xplor fork and the Xact shock with comparatively soft settings. The EC bikes also have a softer power delivery, wider gear ratios, and a headlight, taillight and odometer. The hydraulic clutch is Brembo, and the brakes are by Braktec. The 300 and 250 are identical aside from displacement.


Husqvarna chose to leave its trail-oriented TE300 unchanged for 2023, while the cross-country TX300 was completely redesigned. That means the TE still has TPI fuel injection and oil injection. The hydraulic brakes are supplied by Braktec, and the fork is the WP Xplor with two coil springs. The Husky’s WP shock employs linkage, whereas its counterpart in the KTM line uses PDS suspension. The Heritage Edition is $11,299. A Husky TE300 Rockstar Edition is available with upgraded accessories for $11,799.


Everything is new on the 2023 TX300. That might make some riders nervous, but the package is promising. It has a new motor with throttle-body fuel injection. It also shares its frame design with the current motocross models in Husqvarna’s line. The 6-speed gearbox, WP Xact fork, Brembo hydraulic clutch and Brembo brakes are still there. The oil injection and the provision for a kick-starter are not.


Back in the ’90s, the Kawasaki KLX300 was one of the first four-stroke off-road bikes with a DOHC motor and a number of advanced features. It has returned with fuel injection, electric start and a different role. It’s no longer considered anywhere near the cutting edge of technology, but it is very affordable and appealing to entry-level riders. The seat height is 36.4 inches. The KLX300 is eligible for a California green sticker.

KTM 300XC/250XC (TWO-STROKES): $11,099/$10,799

For 2023, KTM presented one of the most extensive lineups of redesigned bikes in the company’s history. The XC two-strokes were included in the sweep. Both got the new chassis, akin to the one that the motocross line received. They also got new motors with throttle-body fuel injection. The KTM 300XC has very motocross-oriented suspension with a WP Xact air fork and a linkage rear shock. The 250XC is identical to the 300XC aside from displacement.

KTM 300XC-W/250XC-W (TWO-STROKES): $11,099/$10,799

PDS suspension 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 made with the trail rider in mind. They still have TPI fuel injection and oil injection for 2023, and there’s even a place to install a kick-starter if you like. KTM also offers the upgraded 300XC-W Erzberg Edition for $12,649.

RIEJU 300 MR PRO/250 MR PRO (TWO-STROKES): $10,599/$10,499

After a year in the U.S., we’re finally learning how to pronounce “re-YAY-hoo.” This is a Spanish company that now owns all the tooling and the rights to produce the two-stroke off-road bikes that were formerly known as GasGas. The MR Pro is the premium line with a closed-cartridge KYB fork and other accessories. The 250cc version is identical, with a 6-speed gearbox, a hydraulic clutch and Nissin brakes. There’s also a 200MR Racing for $10,399.

(TWO-STROKES): $9699/$9599

Rieju is slowly and surely working its way into the mainstream off-road scene in the U.S. The Racing version is the standard model. It has a 6-speed, case-reed two-stroke motor with an open-cartridge KYB fork and a KYB shock. All the Riejus have electric start, as well as a back-up kick-starter. For 2023 there are no changes. Rieju also makes the Racing model in a 200cc configuration for $9499.


Rieju is not a budget brand by any means, but the Spanish company does have a more affordable line of motorcycles offered at a lower price. The Rangers are designed with less experienced riders in mind. They have a much lower seat height than the standard models and a milder power delivery. The price is around $1000 less than the standard versions. Most of the cost savings are in the components, such as the bars, suspension and brakes.
The 200 Ranger is identical to the 300 aside from displacement.

(TWO-STROKES): $11,849/$11,699

Sherco has become a premier name in the world of hard enduro, with riders like Cody Webb, Mario Roman and Wade Young taking them to the top of some of the most difficult races in the world. The SE300 and SE250 are electric-start, carbureted two-strokes with electronic power valves, hydraulic clutches, Brembo brakes and a reputation for excelling in the worst terrain. The 2023 models have closed-cartridge KYB suspension.


Even though Sherco offers two-strokes and four-strokes of the same displacement, they are completely different bikes. The 300SEF and 250SEF are the four-strokes, as denoted by the “F” suffix. They have DOHC motors with 6-speed gearboxes. The SEF models have KYB closed-cartridge forks, KYB shocks, and Akrapovic titanium exhaust systems. They also have radiator fans as well as boil-over tanks.


TM EN300ES/EN250ES (TWO-STROKES): $11,145/$10,895

TM is a small Italian company with a big reputation. The two-stroke enduro bikes got a number of changes in 2022 and now return with new graphics and detailed upgrades. 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. Standard models have Keihin carbs, and TM also offers them with TPI fuel injection.

TM 300Fi DE/TM 250Fi DE: $12,745/$12,095

TM isn’t the type of company that will cut and paste anyone else’s designs into its own products. The TM 300 and 250 four-strokes have engine architecture that is unlike anything else in the motorcycle world. The frames are hand-welded aluminum, which is decidedly offbeat for a European manufacturer, and the fuel tank is located under the seat. There are two independent exhaust pipes and TM engineers even make their own shock.

GASGAS EX250F: $11,149

GasGas motorcycles certainly can’t be called cheap, but they are less expensive than other Austrian bikes that come out of the Pierer Mobility factory in Mattighofen. The EX250F is similar to last year’s KTM 250XC-F and has a number of non-name-brand components. That allows the price to be $750 less. It’s a competition-oriented off-road bike with motocross-level power output and off-road suspension. It does not have handguards or a map switch.


There aren’t many full-size two-stroke off-road bikes offered in the U.S. aside from the GPX TSE250R. The history of this electric-start 6-speed can be traced back to the 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.

HONDA CRF250RX: $8599

Last year the CRF250RX received extensive updates, so it now returns for 2023 unchanged. It’s similar to the CRF250R motocross bike, meaning it has a 5-speed DOHC motor with finger-followers between the cams and valves. For off-road cred, it comes with softer 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: $8599

Kawasaki made some invisible changes to the KX250X this year that are aimed at improving rideability. It has a new head with smaller valves, a relocated upstream injector, a straighter intake, a heavier flywheel rotor and a tighter spread between gear ratios. The head pipe is longer and the mapping has been changed. The X is almost identical to the KX250 motocross bike, but with softer suspension, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel.

KTM 250XC-F: $11,849

As has been pointed out frequently, 2023 is a year of big change for KTM’s competition models. The 250XC-F off-road bike is among those that got a new frame, a redesigned motor and restyled bodywork. It remains an off-road bike that shows heavy influence from the motocross models in the KTM fold. Compared to the 250SX-F, the suspension is softer, the fuel capacity is larger, and it has a 6-speed gearbox rather than a 5-speed.

YAMAHA YZ250FX: $8999

To convert the YZ250F motocross bike into the YZ250FX off-road machine, Yamaha did quite a bit more than add a kickstand and an X to the end of the name. The FX has a wider-ratio 6-speed gearbox and a very different power delivery. The mapping can be further altered by the end user through Yamaha’s Power Tuner smartphone app, which allows changes to the fuel delivery, as well as ignition timing. For 2023, there are no changes to the YZ250FX.

YAMAHA WR250F: $8999

For those riders who complain that off-road bikes have become so similar to motocross bikes that it’s hard to tell the difference, Yamaha offers the WR250F. This is a true trail bike with an ultra-quiet exhaust, a 6-speed gearbox, lights, an odometer and a radiator fan. As delivered, it has a throttle stop and an inner baffle that most buyers remove. Unfortunately, this bike is not currently eligible for a California green sticker.


Last year Yamaha reworked the YZ250 two-stroke motocross bike, and for 2023, the YZ250X off-road bike got the same updates. That includes new bodywork, plus updated suspension and brakes. The X is considered a cross-country racer and has a number of features for that specialty. The 5-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 AT81s.

HONDA CRF250F: $4899

It’s easy to be confused by the alphabet-soup suffixes attached to some motorcycle names. The CRF250F is a good example. The “F” on the end stands for “family.” That means that Honda has designed this bike for the whole family, not just racers. It’s an air-cooled, fuel-injected four-stroke with an electric-starter. 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.


The KLX230R is an entry-level bike for adults. It has full-size wheels, a manual clutch and a  6-speed gearbox. The motor is an air-cooled two-valver with fuel injection. Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes. Kawasaki also offers a model called the KLX230R-S with a lower seat height (35.4 inches versus 36.4 inches) for the same price. There is also a dual-sport version for $4999.

YAMAHA TT-R230: $4499

The Yamaha TT-R230 is somewhat old-school, even by the standards of air-cooled four-stroke trail bikes. It has a carburetor rather than fuel injection. It also uses a drum rear brake in conjunction with its hydraulic disc up front. The SOHC 223cc motor does have electric start and a 6-speed gearbox. Most important, it has a very attractive price.

BETA 200RR (TWO-STROKE): $9299

If you were around in the ’90s, you’d know that the 200cc two-stroke used to be an American off-road institution. Beta remembers and offers the 200RR to fill that gap. The motor has a bigger bore and a longer stroke than the 125RR. It also has electric start, oil injection, Sachs suspension, Nissin brakes and a 6-speed gearbox. For 2023 it gets an upgraded Sachs fork, along with new bodywork and graphics.  The Race Edition sells for $9799.


Like all the TE models in the Husqvarna line, the 150 is unchanged for 2023. It still has TPI fuel injection, whereas the more competition-oriented two-strokes have turned to throttle-body fuel injection. The TE is trail-oriented with a power delivery that 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 are made by Braktec.

KTM 150XC-W (TWO-STROKE): $9799

The KTM 150XC-W is now completely different from the 125SX motocross bike and the KTM 125XC cross-country racer. Both of those bikes are all new, whereas the 150XC-W is unchanged for 2023. The XC still has TPI fuel injection, oil injection and no-linkage PDS rear suspension. 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): $10,695/$10,195

TM offers its own version of transfer-port fuel injection and uses different components from those used by KTM. The EN144Fi and EN125Fi are kickstart 6-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 $10,395.

BETA 125RR (TWO-STROKE): $8599

For 2023 Beta concentrated most of its efforts on the 125RR. This bike is only three years old, but the engineers already saw places to make improvements. The crank is smaller, and the flywheel weight has decreased. The smaller crank resulted in increased crankcase volume, and that, along with a new head, altered the power delivery. 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.

KTM 125XC (TWO-STROKE): $8249

The KTM 125XC is a blood brother to the 125SX motocross bike but set up for cross-country racing with softer suspension, a kickstand, more fuel capacity, an 18-inch rear wheel and a kickstand. Like the SX, it’s a new bike for 2023 with throttle-body fuel injection and electric start. Even if you want to install a kick-starter, there’s no longer a place to put one. The chassis and bodywork are also all new and straight from the motocross world.


Sherco’s 125 two-stroke is still the newest bike in the line, introduced in 2018. As such, it has received evolutionary changes each year. 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 has lights and an odometer. A Keihin carburetor feeds a Moto Tassinari V-Force reed block.


The Yamaha YZ125X off-road bike has only been available since 2020, but it still got a major makeover for 2023. It benefited from all the same changes that the motocross version got in 2022, including a new motor and new bodywork. In order to make it into an off-road bike, it also has differences in the power valve, head and ignition mapping. The suspension has off-road settings. It has an 18” rear wheel, a kickstand, Dunlop AT81 tires and a reserve position on the fuel petcock.

KAWASAKI KLX140: $3449

The Kawasaki KLX140 is an inexpensive way to get involved in off-road riding. In physical size, it’s an in-betweener that can accommodate a teenager or an adult. It has a manual clutch, as well as creature comforts like electric start, fuel injection and dual disc brakes. The standard version has a low seat height courtesy of the 17-inch front and 14-inch rear wheel. The bike is also available in a 19/16-inch version called the KLX140RL for $3749, and a model with full-size wheels (the KLX140RF) for $4049.

SSR SR189: $2799

The SR189 offers a long list of features for not much money. 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. SSR also has a smaller version that displaces 150cc and has a lower seat height for $2459. Beyond that, SSR offers a full line of pit bikes.

HONDA CRF125F: $3399

Honda has a long history with small four-stroke play bikes going all the way back to the ’60s. Today’s CRF125F draws on that legacy but has fuel injection and electric start with a backup kick-starter. The clutch is manual and the gearbox is a 4-speed. There’s a hydraulic disc brake in front and a 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 $3799.

SUZUKI DR-Z125L: $3499

The Suzuki DR125L is a staple in the mini world that hasn’t changed in a very long time. It still has a simple, air-cooled four-stroke motor with a real, live carburetor. No electric-start, no electronic fuel injection. It has a hydraulic front disc brake and a drum brake in back. The wheels measure 19 inches in the front and 16 in the rear.

YAMAHA TT-R125LE: $3399

Yamaha was one of the very first manufacturers to realize that electric starters were a very good idea for minis, and the TT-R125 has been equipped that way for 20 years. There haven’t been many changes since then; it still has a carburetor and a drum rear brake. The TT-R125 is virtually ubiquitous in the off-road world.


YCF hasn’t yet revealed its products for 2023, but it will remain a major player in the pit bike world. The company offers an extensive line of minis that start around $1449. The premium models like the 190CX Daytona shown here feature all the bling and accessories that even the most fanatical pit bike enthusiast could want as standard equipment.

HONDA CRF110F: $2599

The 110 wave hasn’t shown any signs of slowing, and the Honda CRF110F is still selling as fast as dealers can uncrate them. It’s one of those bikes that appeals to big kids, as well as true beginners. It has an automatic clutch, a 4-speed gearbox, fuel injection and electric start, as well as a backup kick-starter. Plus, there’s a whole industry of pit bike accessory makers willing to make it into a rolling palace of bling.

KAWASAKI KLX110: $2649

The 2023 Kawasaki doesn’t yet have electric start, but it does have a history of high demand and was once the center of the pit bike movement. Today it’s available in two different versions. The entry-level model has 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 $2849.

YAMAHA TT-R110E: $2299

Yamaha’s TT-R110E has a four-speed gearbox, an automatic clutch and an old-school carburetor. It also has electric start with a kick-starter just in case the battery goes dead.  The spoked wheels are 12 inches in the rear and 14 inches up front. This is one of the smaller 110s with a seat height of only 26.4 inches. Both ends of the bike use drum brakes.

HONDA CRF50F: $1699

If you’re old enough to remember a time when the Honda 50 wasn’t ubiquitous, congratulations. You have been a motorcyclist for over half a century. The motor in the current CRF50F has been recycled in a dozen different Hondas over the years and copied more than any object since the Mona Lisa. The CRF is supremely reliable and simple, with no electric start and no electronic fuel injection

SUZUKI DR-Z50: $2499

Suzuki isn’t a company known for updating its motorcycles often, but interestingly enough, the DR-Z50 has only been around since 2019. That makes it not only the newest Suzuki dirt bike currently offered, but the newest of the four-stroke minis offered by anyone. It has both electric start and kick start, but no fuel injection. The brakes are drums and the gearbox is a 3-speed.

SHERCO 50 HRD (TWO-STROKE): $4199–$3799

In Europe, there’s a huge market for 50cc dual-sport bikes, and Sherco is one of the key players. Over here, the 50 HRD SE is an off-road bike but still fun for kids and adults. There are eight different versions of the 50, including four Supermoto models. Most have a 17-inch rear wheel with an 18-inch front wheel and a 6-speed transmission.

YAMAHA TT-R50E: $1749

The most difficult challenge for the Yamaha TT-R50E comes from the fact that it sits right next to the legendary PW50 on most dealer showroom floors. Despite that, it offers some features that the PW doesn’t have, like electric start and a 3-speed gearbox. It has a Mikuni carburetor, 10-inch wheels and modest suspension travel with a 21.9-inch seat height.


It’s conceivable that somewhere in the U.S. there’s a grandfather, a father and a son who all learned to ride on the same Yamaha PW50. It’s been around for a very long time, and there’s still no better bike to learn on. It has a 1-speed transmission, an auto clutch and a driveshaft. You can also adjust the throttle as the rider learns the tricks of the trade. When the rider is ready to move on, be sure to drain the gas. It might be 20 years until it gets started again.




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