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.
For the official announcement of Beta’s 2019 line, click here.
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.
The 200 class has returned! The Beta 200RR is based on the 125RR, which was new for last year but has increases 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.
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.
CHRISTINI AWD300E: $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.
COBRA CX50FWE: $5198
This is the most elite of the elite 50cc racers. The Cobra FWE comes with everything a young racer can possibly want to propel himself to the top of the mini racing world. The FWE is a premium version of one of the most successful bikes in amateur racing history. Cobra is a tiny company in Michigan that makes bikes one at a time and it continues to humble the giants of the motosport industry.
GasGas 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.
For the official announcement of the 2019 GasGas line, click here.
The GasGas 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 identical in the KYB dampers. Both the XC300 and the EC300 have FMF silencers (without spark arrestors). The XC300 also gets the new head, start-system upgrades and the map switch.
The GasGas 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.
Visually, there’s almost no way to tell the GasGas 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 muffler and the new cylinder head. For 2019, it gets electrical upgrades and a map switch.
GasGas 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 GasGas 200, 250 or 300 externally, but they all have very different personalities on the trail. Like the bigger bikes, the 200 has KYB suspension.
Like the larger two-strokes in the GasGas range, the 200 is available in cross-country configuration. The XC200 has no headlight, but it does get an FMF straight-through muffler. 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.
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. From the same importer as Pitster Pro.
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.
For the official announcement of Husqvarna’s 2019 line, click here.
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.
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.
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.
This is an old-school MX two-stroke stripped of non-essentials. It has no electric start or fuel injection. The gearbox is a five-speed, and the suspension is essentially the same as the FC250’s. The TC250 has a new frame for 2019, which is more rigid in every plane. It also has new bodywork that is similar to that of the four-stroke MX bikes for 2019. Unlike the off-road Huskys, it has Brembo brakes.
For a Dirt Bike Magazine video of the 2019 TC250, click here.
Husqvarna does not offer a 150cc two-stroke MX bike, but the TC125 can be easily modified with the replacement of a cylinder and piston. The 125 has a new frame and bodywork, just like the four-stroke MX bikes in the Husqvarna line. It still has the AER 48 fork, Brembo brakes, a Pro Taper handlebar and D.I.D rims. The subframe/airbox combo is now two pieces (instead of three).
The TC85 is available in standard and a big-wheel configuration—14-inch rear and 17-inch front versus 16/19 inches. The TC85 has few changes for 2019, but it still has a hydraulic clutch with a master cylinder made by a company called Formula, WP suspension with linkage in the rear and an air fork up front, and an oversized handlebar. The brakes are also made by Formula. The big-wheel version sells for $6199.
There aren’t major changes in store for the Husqvarna TC65 in 2019. It still has a long list of features that many full-size motocross bikes don’t have, including a hydraulic clutch and an aluminum handlebar. The TC65 has a WP AER 35 air fork, a six-speed gearbox, Formula disc brakes and a pressure-controlled power valve. The shock connects directly to the swingarm without linkage.
The Husqvarna TC50 shares its engine, frame and suspension with the KTM 50SX, but has its own bodywork and a different layout. The 50 has a three-shaft motor with the crank located near the bike’s center of gravity. The brakes are hydraulic, the clutch is automatic and the front suspension is the WP AER 35 air fork. The kickstarter kicks forward, which most kids find easier.
Kawasaki is the only major company making a 100. It is technically a Supermini by the definitions of most amateur racing organizations, but in truth, the KX100 is a stepping stone to full-size bikes for kids who aren’t necessarily involved in racing. The 100 has a 19-inch front wheel and a 16-inch rear wheel, and it has a larger bore than the standard KX85 but is otherwise a very similar machine.
Kawasaki revitalized the KX85 in 2014 when it got a new top end, new suspension and new bodywork. That boosted it into a position as king of the Japanese 85s for a while, although for 2019 it has competition from Yamaha for that title. The Kawasaki is still a bike well-suited to smaller riders and play racers, whereas the more expensive KTM and Husqvarna 85s are considered better for competition.
Kawasaki hasn’t updated the KX65 in a very long time, which is a good thing if you’re looking for a reliable play bike at a very good price. The Kawasaki is about $1000 less expensive than the KTM, the Husky and even the Yamaha 65. It has a manual clutch and a six-speed gearbox to provide a young rider with his first experience with shifting. The bike isn’t quite as tall as the other 65s.
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.
For the official announcement of KTM’s 2019 line, click here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is what all great motocross bikes used to be—a 250cc case-reed two-stroke with a 38mm Mikuni carb. The SX has no fuel injection, no oil injection, no electric start and it’s a five-speed. For 2019, it gets a new frame and bodywork, just like Marvin Musquin’s 450cc four-stroke. The 250SX has just about as much power as a modern 450 four-stroke and less weight than a 250F. You just have to hold on and shift.
KTM’s commitment to two-strokes is clear. Whereas most manufacturers stopped making small-displacement two-strokes, KTM has a whole range of them. The 150SX is just like the 125SX, but has an increased bore, bringing the displacement to 144cc. That difference gives the 150 a separate personality. It’s more of an expert-level bike than the 125, with a hard hit and a lot more power.
Just like KTM’s other motocross bikes, the 125SX has a new frame and reshaped bodywork for 2019. The frame is said to be stiffer and narrower. The fork is the WP AER 48 air fork; the brakes are Brembo and so is the hydraulic clutch. The motor is still very powerful by 125 standards, and the weight is less than 200 pounds. The 125 is good for racers and play riders. Sorry, no electric start for the two-stroke MX bikes.
KTM utterly dominates mini racing in the U.S. with the 85SX. It’s almost a mandatory stepping stone for all pro riders to have spent some time in orange. The 85SX got a new frame and motor in 2018, and the remake continues with a handful of changes for 2019. The new bike is mostly unchanged but still has a hydraulic clutch, Formula disc brakes, a WP AER 43 air fork and oversized bars.
Like the KTM 85SX, the 65SX is the king of its class in amateur mini racing. This bike has a power valve that is operated by pressure, eliminating the ball-ramp device in the lower end. The clutch is manual and is activated by a Formula hydraulic system. The gearbox has six speeds, and the front end has an AER 43 air fork. The only official changes for 2019 are the grips and the fork guards.
Thank to the KTM Mini Challenge, which is held during select rounds of the Monster Energy Supercross series, virtually everyone knows that KTM makes a mini racer. It has a shiftless transmission and an automatic clutch, but it’s a very serious racer. It has hydraulic disc brakes, a WP AER 35 air fork, and you can adjust the clutch to deliver a harder hit as the rider develops his or her skills.
For very young riders, typically around 6 years old, the KTM 50SX Mini is designed to be a very stylish first bike. It’s much lighter than the 50cc four-strokes that are typically used for this, but has a similar seat height with 10-inch wheels. The clutch is automatic, and there’s no shifting. Starting is manual through an old-school kickstarter that kicks forward.
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 more new model information on Sherco for 2019, click here.
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.
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 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.
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 models gets a new piston and changes that are designed to result in better crankcase lubrication. A cross-country version will be available for $8600.
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.
Suzuki’s RM85 is the bargain of the mini class. It has a bulletproof case-reed motor with a ball-ramp-driven power valve. The Suzuki hasn’t changed much since it became an 85 in 2002, which is why it’s the most inexpensive mini racer in its class. The Suzuki still ranks as the best choice for smaller and less-experienced riders because of its low seat height and good low-end power.
TM is a small Italian company that specializes in handcrafted race machines. Information isn’t fully available for the 2019 line, but it will include an 85, a 144, a 250 and a 300. Later in the year, a fuel-injected 300 should become available with transfer port injection, similar to the design that we have seen on the KTM TPI two-strokes.
TM’s two-stroke MX bikes feature a hand-welded aluminum frame and sand-cast motors with electronic power valves. The fork is by KYB, and the shock is made in-house by TM. The brakes are by Nissin. The motocross line will include a very highly regarded 85 in both big-wheel and regular sizes—125, 144, 250 and 300. Full details will be available after the Milan Motorcycle Show in November.
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 like 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.
In 2005, Yamaha made big changes to the YZ250 two-stroke MX bike, including a single backbone aluminum frame. Since then, it has received sporadic attention with regular suspension upgrades. In 2015, it got new bodywork and a fresh outlook. Since then, the suspension has been upgraded again, but the YZ250 remains essentially the same bike it has been for 14 years.
There’s no motocross bike that makes you feel like a hero the way the YZ125 does. That’s because it has excellent suspension, great overall handling and light weight combined with a fairly mild power delivery. That’s pure ego food. The YZ has had only a few significant changes since 2005, including a cosmetic remake in 2015, but it’s still competitive among 125s because of its excellent manners.
Don’t let the unchanged bodywork fool you. The 2019 Yamaha YZ85 has received its biggest changes since 2002. The little YZ has a new motor that incorporates a ball-ramp-driven power valve. The suspension is fully adjustable, the brakes are upgraded and the whole package has been brought up to date with only a modest increase in price. The YZ is still $1300 less than the KTM 85SX.
Yamaha introduced this all-new motorcycle in 2018 to thunderous applause from the dirt bike community. It had been 35 years since the company offered a mini racer in this class. The new YZ65 has a mechanical power valve and coil-spring forks. The rear shock is mounted directly to the swingarm. The little YZ is considered competitive with the much more expensive 65s from KTM, Husqvarna and Cobra.
For a Dirt Bike Magazine video on the YZ65, click here.
This is the bike that taught most of today’s MX stars how to ride. It might have even taught some of their dads to ride. The Yamaha PW50 has been around since 1981 with its automatic clutch and transmission. The super-low seat height and the driveshaft mean they’re not intimidating to young riders, and the reliability means most of them are still out there, being passed from one generation to the next.