For the Dirt Bike Magazine 2016 Two-Stroke Buyer’s Guide, click here.
For the Dirt Bike Magazine 2016 Off-Road Bike Buyer’s Guide, click here.
HONDA CRF450R: $8699
The Honda returns with its dual-exhaust system, HPSD steering damper and push-button selection of CPU maps for altering the power delivery. The Honda fork is a KYB air system. The CRF450R remains one of the lightest bikes in the class and is easy to manhandle, by 450 standards. The power is also very mild by 450 standards.
HUSQVARNA FC450: $9399
This is kind of a new golden age for Husqvarna. Since being absorbed by KTM, Husky has produced more bikes than it has in years. The FC450 is based on the KTM 450SXF, but has different suspension settings, different bodywork, a different intake system and many other items that set it apart. It’s fast, light and has electric start, like the KTM.
KAWASAKI KX450F: $8799
Kawasaki seems to go into R&D overdrive occasionally. The 2016 KX450F is a perfect example. The whole bike was redesigned. It’s lighter and much slimmer. The KX still uses the Showa Triple Air fork and is very customizable. You can alter the location of the bars and pegs, plus you can change the power delivery with plug-in adaptors, which are color-coded for application.
Each year, KTM announces a limited run of bikes just prior to the beginning of the Supercross season. For 2016, the KTM 450SX-F Factory Edition will be just like the standard version with a few premium features. On the top of the list of goodies is the WP AER 48 air fork, which replaces the 4CS fork. The bike will also have billet triple clamps, a front disc guard, an orange frame, an Akrapovic Ti slip-on muffler and Red Bull Graphics. The premium model will sell for $1000 more than the standard edition. If past history is any indication, this is generally a preview of the next year’s model.
This is a new bike for 2016 and now is the lightest motorcycle in the 450 class despite having electric start. It has a chrome-moly steel frame, a WP shock and a WP 4CS fork. The engine is still an SOHC design with a new throttle body. The power delivery can be altered electronically and the KTM now has a launch-control mode.
SUZUKI RM-Z450: $8749
Suzuki made massive updates in 2015 on the RM-Z450 without much cosmetic change to advertise the fact. The 2016 model, on the other hand, has only mild change. It still is the best of all the 450s in turns and the power delivery can be personalized with the use of electronic couplers that are color coded. Up front, the RM-Z uses Suzuki’s version of the Showa Triple Air.
TM RACING MX450: $10,500
TM is a very small Italian company that builds bikes for each customer. The four-stroke MX models will only be imported to the U.S. on a special order basis. They are fuel-injected, have TM-built shocks and KYB forks. The aluminum frames are hand-made works of art. Both the 450 and 250 four-strokes have the same price. The 2015 model is shown here.
YAMAHA YZ450F: $8590
The Yamaha YZ450F is fast and very unconventional. The engine is configured with the exhaust in the rear and the intake in front. For 2016, there were a number of changes in the chassis department, including a beefed-up frame, different fork offset and softer rear suspension. There’s a yellow-and black 60th Anniversary Edition YZ450F that sells for $8690.
HUSQVARNA FC350: $9199
Of all the new bikes in Husqvarna’s 2016 line, this is the one that had Dirt Bike’s test riders the most impressed. The FC350 has more power and less weight, and is making it harder and harder to justify a full-size 450 for anyone. It has electric start, a Magura hydraulic clutch and significant differences that set it apart from the KTM.
KTM 350SX-F: $9099
We got an early preview of most of KTM’s 2016 MX line with the release of the Factory Editions. But not this bike. The 350 was held back, and it was worth waiting for. It lost weight and has more low-end power. The electric start is back and so is the 14,000 rpm redline. The engine and frame are all new.
TM RACING MX300 (Two-stroke): $8800
You won’t find a TM dealer on every corner. Or even in every state. TM is a small Italian company and has a handful of dealers in the U.S. For 2016, TM will only import the two-strokes, except by custom order. That makes the MX300 the only 300cc two-stroke motocross bike that is brought in to the States.There is also a 250 version for $8650. The 2015 model is shown here.
Honda’s CRF250R remains one of the best handling motocross bikes available. It still has a proprietary version of the Showa Triple Air fork, twin exhausts and Honda’s HPSD steering damper. This year, the motor got a number of updates, including a new piston and crank, plus increased compression to keep the power output in the running in the highly competitive 250F ranks.
HUSQVARNA FC250: $8499
Husqvarna’s most improved bike of 2016 is the FC250 motocross four-stroke. Last year it lacked the top-end power of it’s brother-in-law, the KTM 250SXF, but now both have a completely new motor, and the two are neck-and-neck. Its intake, exhaust, clutch and bodywork are unlike the KTM’s, but still has electric start.
HUSQVARNA TC250 (Two-stroke): $7499
Husky gave the TC250 two-stroke a number of minor changes this year, including a new CNC’ed top triple clamp with rubber bar mounts. It remains a five-speed, kickstart-only case-reed design. Unlike the KTM, the Husky has a polyamide airbox/subframe combination like the one first seen on the Husaberg line a few years back.
KAWASAKI KX250F: $7599
Kawasaki didn’t give the KX250F a complete reboot this year, as was the case with the 450. But the bike still holds the record for the most pro wins in the 250F class. It has dual fuel injectors, adjustable ergonomics, Launch Control and three built-in fuel/ignition maps. For 2016, Kawasaki has a hand-held electronic DFI programmer for further customization. The Showa SSF fork uses one spring.
KTM 250SX-F: $8399
This is the production version of the new bike that Marvin Musquin and the rest of KTM’s pro riders campaigned all year. It’s amazingly light despite having electric start and makes more power than any other production 250 four-stroke in history. The bike still has the WP 4CS fork, a five-speed gearbox and a Brembo hydraulic clutch.
For 2016, KTM has handed the reigns of its factory-level 250 race team to Troy Lee Designs, while the in-house race effort will be devoted to the 450 class. As a result, the mid-year release of the KTM 250SX-F Factory Edition will have Troy Lee/ Go-Pro graphics sublimated into the plastic. The bike will aslo have the new WP AER 48 air fork. Other premium items include orange anodized billet triple clamps, a slip-on FMF Ti muffler and an ariange frame
KTM 250SX (Two-stroke): $7399
Even though the 2016 KTM 250SX two-stroke is mostly unchanged, it still has the best motor in the two-stroke world. It’s had the same basic configuration for years–a case-reed, five-speed with a Keihin carb, but each year it evolves to keep pace with the times. For 2016 it has rubber-mounted bars and new suspension settings.
SUZUKI RM-Z250: $7699
In keeping with Suzuki’s strategy of making stealth changes, the RM-Z250 has a long list of motor tweeks without many cosmetic updates. The new RM-Z might look familiar, but it runs much stronger. It has S-HAC, which is Suzuki’s launch control system, and a new KYB air fork. The brakes and rear suspension are also new.
YAMAHA YZ250F: $7590
Yamaha is on top of the 250F world right now with the top-selling bike and two consecutive National Championships. The YZ250F still has the decidedly unconventional motor layout with the exhaust in the rear and the intake on top, and updates include the piston, crank, brakes, and suspension settings. The 60th Anniversary Edition is $7690, and is shown here.
YAMAHA YZ250 (Two-stroke): $7290
After getting new bodywork and suspension for 2015, the YZ250 two-stroke was left to enjoy its new look for 2016 with only a couple of cosmetic changes–black rims and a gold chain, to be exact. It remains an excellent motorcycle with a backbone-style aluminum frame and the best suspension in the two-stroke world.
KTM 150SX/125SX (Two-stroke): $6899/$6799
This is an all-new bike (or two all-new bikes), and is the biggest news that two-stroke fans have had in years. The previous 125 and 150 were already very fast, but had used the same motor design for about 20 years. This new engine is still a case-reed six-speed with a Keihin carb. The 150 and 125 are the same, aside from a 4mm difference in bore.
HUSQVARNA TC125 (Two-stroke): $6899
Husqvarna got its version of KTM’s new 125cc two-stroke, but with a number of Husky twists. The clutch has a Magura master cylinder, the bodywork is completely different and the airbox is contained within a Polyamide subframe. The new motor is ultra compact and the whole bike should weigh well under 200 pounds.
YAMAHA YZ125 (Two-stroke): $6390
We have called this the best-handling dirt bike in the world and nothing has happened to change our opinion. The YZ125 is pure fun and makes a great transition to the big-bike world for youngsters, or an ideal bike for older riders revisiting their youths. Last year it got new bodywork and suspension, and now it gets a few minor cosmetic licks.
HONDA CRF150R: $4990
The four-stroke revolution only got a toehold in the mini class with the Honda CRF150R. It’s competitive with the fastest of the 85cc two-strokes, but rules aren’t uniform yet, and in many venues the Honda is forced to run with Superminis or Mini Seniors. It remains a good, if unconventional mini. The big-wheel Honda CRF150R Expert is $5140.
HUSQVARNA TC85: (Two-stroke): $5599
Of all the bikes in Husqvarna’s line, the TC85 is the most like its counterpart in the KTM line, the 85SX. Together, they rule mini racing in America. Even so, the Husky has its own bodywork and its own look. It has a hydraulic clutch, a six-speed gearbox and WP suspension that uses no linkage in the rear.
KAWASAKI KX85 (Two-stroke): $4349
Kawasaki give its 85 and 100 more power, better suspension and a new looks two years ago, and was rewarded with a renaissance in green, including a National Championship at Loretta Lynn’s. It still has a power disadvantage compared to the KTMs, but the gap has shrunk. The big-wheel KX100 sells for $4599.
KTM 85SX (Two-stroke): $5599
If you look at the results from any amateur youth race, it’s wall-to-wall KTMs in the 85 class, with rare exceptions. The KTM 85SX has some features that are still rare on big bikes, like a hydraulic clutch and adjustable suspension. The KTM is fast, light and well suspended. It also costs about 25% more than Japanese 85s.
SUZUKI RM85 (Two-stroke): $4099
The RM85 motor has always been a favorite among engine tuners trying to dig up extreme power for the Supermini class or just fun. The Suzuki has a lower seat height than most 85s and comparatively good low-end power, making it a great beginner bike. Today, the RM85 is the last surviving two-stroke in Suzuki’s line-up.
TM RACING MX85 JUNIOR (Two-stroke): $6450
There are no less than five bikes based on this platform. All have aluminum frames and electronic power valves, making them the most sophisticated their classes. The Junior has a 14-17” wheel combo, and there’s also a big-wheel version for the same price. You can get either one with a 100cc motor for $6500. There’s even an adult-sized 85 in a 125 chassis for $8150. The 2015 model is shown here.
YAMAHA YZ85 (Two-stroke): $4090
Yamaha is still relevant in the 85cc amateur racing world with the YZ85, holding out against a sea of European bikes. In stock form, it’s physically the largest of the three remaining Japanese 85s, and is still competitive in stock form. It will struggle against a KTM in a power contest, but it sells for about $1500 less, too.
COBRA CX65 (Two-stroke): $5298
Cobra reaffirms our faith in American ingenuity. This is a small manufacturer in Michigan that has shaped amateur racing in motocross. The CX65 came late to the 65 class, but year after year it becomes more successful. For 2016, it gets a new rear-brake caliper, a new clutch master cylinder, a new rear shock and a number of motor changes.
KAWASAKI KX65 (Two-stroke): $3699
Kawasaki is the only Japanese maker that still supports the 65 class. The KX65 hasn’t changed much since 1998, but we’re happy to have it. It’s no longer competitive with the KTM 65SX when fast kids go racing, but it’s perfect for younger riders who are just learning how to use a manual clutch. Plus, it’s about $1100 cheaper than the KTM.
KTM 65SX (Two-stroke): $4799
The hardest part about going racing with a KTM 65SX is figuring out which kid is yours. Good thing they have big number plates. KTM has the 65 class covered and that isn’t likely to change. The 65SX has WP PDS rear suspension with 270mm of wheel travel and a WP fork with 215mm of stroke. This year there are small updates like a new chain guide.
COBRA CX50SR (Two-stroke): $4098
When the King Cobra came on the scene in the early ‘90s, all others had to copy in order to survive. For 2016, the CX50SR has a new, fully adjustable shock, new fork seals and wipers, new steering head seals, new clutch seals and black wheels which are said to be tougher. The CX50JR is designed for younger riders, has 10″ wheels and sells for $3998.
KTM 50SX (Two-stroke): $3949
Kids today don’t have to walk to school in the snow and ride motorcycles made of rusty barbed wire like their dads did. They have the KTM 50SX with disc brakes, aluminum bars and automatic clutches. The 2016 model gets all-new bodywork. The 50SX Mini is for younger kids and has 10-inch wheels and a price of $3359.