2020 2-STROKE BUYER’S GUIDE

 

BETA 300RR/250RR OFF-ROAD: $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 OFF-ROAD: $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 OFF-ROAD: $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. 

 

GASGAS EC300/EC250 OFF-ROAD: $9299/$9099

KTM recently partnered up with GasGas, but for now, the two lines are completely separate. 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.

 

 

GASGAS XC300/XC250 OFF-ROAD: $8999/$8799

 The bikes in the XC line from GasGas 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.

GASGAS EC RANGER 300 OFF-ROAD: $7899

Someone at GasGas 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.

 

HUSQVARNA TC250 MOTOCROSS: $8399

The Husqvarna TC250 is proof that modern two-strokes are continuing to evolve alongside four-strokes. It got a new chassis and bodywork last year, just like the four-strokes in Husqvarna’s motocross line. It still has a kickstarter and a Mikuni carburetor, while most of the two-strokes in the company’s off-road line have moved to electric start and TPI fuel injection.

KTM 250SX MOTOCROSS: $8299

The KTM 250 two-stroke has basically the same chassis as the 250SX-F four-stroke. The only difference, as two-stroke lovers will loudly report, is that it has a motor that is more powerful and lighter. The 250SX still has a carburetor, uses a kickstarter and burns premix. It’s the only two-stroke that competed in the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series.

HUSQVARNA TX300 OFF-ROAD: $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 OFF-ROAD: $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 OFF-ROAD: $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 OFF-ROAD: $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 Racing Two Stroke

SHERCO SE300/SE250 RACING OFF-ROAD: $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 FACTORY

SHERCO SE300/SE250 FACTORY OFF-ROAD: $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.

THUMPSTAR 300/250 OFF-ROAD: 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.

 

2020 TM MX300 Two-stroke

TM MX300ES/TM MX250ES MOTOCROSS: $9395/ $9195

TM has made a name for itself by delivering highly specialized, hand-built race bikes. A perfect example is the 300cc two-stroke motocross bike, which is the most powerful production two-stroke currently available. The 250 uses a chassis and motor that are the same aside from the smaller bore. Both models will be available with transfer-port fuel injection for an additional $600.

TM EN300/EN250 Fi OFF-ROAD: $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.

YAMAHA YZ250 MOTOCROSS: $7499

Yamaha continues to offer the YZ250 two-stroke year after year, and it keeps selling enough to justify its existence. The main reason for its longevity is its overall handling and suspension, which continue to lead the class. The motor remains a kickstart-only, case-reed five-speed with a mechanical power valve and has had the same basic layout for the last 15 years.

 

Yamaha YZ250X Two-stroke

YAMAHA YZ250X OFF-ROAD: $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.

 

GPX_TSE250R

GPX TSE250R OFF-ROAD: $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. 

 

Beta 200RR-125RR

BETA 200RR/125RR OFF-ROAD: $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

HUSQVARNA TE150i OFF-ROAD: $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 150SX/125SX MOTOCROSS: $7499/$7299

Some racing venues allow 144cc two-strokes to compete in the 125 class; others don’t. KTM deals with this problem by offering both a 125 and a 144 (labeled a 150), which differ only in bore. Both have old-fashioned kick-starters, WP XACT 48 air forks, linkage rear suspension and dry weights that are under the 200-pound mark.

 

2020 KTM 150XC-W

KTM 150XC-W TPI OFF-ROAD: $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 144MX/125MX MOTOCROSS: $8695/$8355

TM’s race two-strokes come in a fairly high state of tune, generally making the most peak horsepower in their respective classes and requiring race fuel. The 144 and 125 differ in both bore and stroke to arrive at their respective displacements. Fuel-injected versions will be offered. The pricing will be $9195 for the 125 and $9695 for the 144.

TM EN144/EN125 OFF-ROAD: $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.

 

2020 Husqvarna TC125

HUSQVARNA TC125 MOTOCROSS: $7399

Husqvarna offers only the TC125 for the Schoolboy motocross class, but there is a top-end kit that boosts it to a 144. This is similar to the TE150, but without the electric start of fuel injection. The TC125 has the WP XACT air fork, a Mikuni carburetor and a mechanical power valve that is externally adjustable.

 

Sherco SC125 Factory

SHERCO SC125 CROSS-COUNTRY OFF-ROAD: $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

SHERCO SE125 RACING OFF-ROAD: $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 YZ125 MOTOCROSS: $6599

If Yamaha ever stopped offering the YZ125, there would be a revolution in the streets. This is a hero maker, thanks to phenomenally good suspension and excellent handling. The YZ125 is no longer the horsepower king of the lightweight two-stroke world, but it’s close enough that it can still win races on the merits of its handling.

 

Yamaha YZ125X

YAMAHA YZ125X OFF-ROAD: $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.

TM MX100/MX85 MOTOCROSS: $6595/$6495

The TM85 has emerged as the elite bike of the amateur mini racing world. It has an electronic power valve and an aluminum frame. There are three different versions: the Super Mini 100 with a 19-inch front wheel and a 17-inch rear wheel ($6595), the adult-sized 85 with a 19/21 wheel combination ($8195), and the standard 85 with a 14/17 wheel size ($6495).

KAWASAKI KX100 MOTOCROSS: $4599

Back in 2014 Kawasaki redesigned both the KX100 and the KX85, giving them more power, updated suspension and new bodywork. Since then, they haven’t changed. The KX100 is offered with a larger bore, a 17-inch rear wheel and a 19-inch front wheel. It is eligible for the Supermini class, although it generally needs a little work to be competitive there.

KAWASAKI KX85 MOTOCROSS: $4349

Like the KX100, the KX85 was redesigned back in 2014 and has gone unchanged since then. It sells for far less than the premium bikes in the class and has proven to be competitive in the right conditions. At the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals, a few Kawasakis were spotted on the podium.

HUSQVARNA TC85 MOTOCROSS: $6099

Husqvarna is making a dent in the elite ranks of the mini racing scene. The TC85 is nearly identical to the ubiquitous KTM 85SX. The Husky has its own look, although the motor, frame and suspension are identical to those of the KTM. It’s unchanged for 2020 with a power-valve-equipped 6-speed motor and a WP XACT air fork. A Big Wheel version sells for $6299.

KTM 85SX MOTOCROSS: $5999

Few bikes have dominated amateur racing as thoroughly as the KTM 85SX. In the Mini and Supermini classes of the 2019 AMA Amateur MX Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s, roughly 60 percent of the entrants were riding KTMs. The 2020 model has few changes aside from graphics and a lighter muffler. It still features a six-speed motor and an air fork. The Big Wheel version sells for $6199.

SUZUKI RM85 MOTOCROSS: $4249

The Suzuki RM85 is the old man of the Mini class, having gone unchanged for 18 years. The good news is that the bike is priced lower than anything in the class, and it still might be the best for smaller riders, thanks to its low seat height and torquey motor. To this day, the Suzuki is easily modified into a competitive Supermini.

YAMAHA YZ85 MOTOCROSS: $4699

Last year Yamaha turned the mini world upside down by redesigning the YZ85 with a mechanical power valve. It also got new suspension, and suddenly the Yamaha was competitive once more. Yamaha managed to keep the price down by sticking with the older bodywork, so the little YZ doesn’t look that different from before—but it is.

 

2020 Cobra CX65

COBRA CX65 MOTOCROSS: TBA

Cobra continues to topple the giants of the motorcycle world by producing ultra-competitive mini racers out of a small factory in Michigan. The CX65 has been evolving continuously since its arrival four years ago. For 2020 it gets Micro-polished transmission gears and shifting mechanism for smoother and easier power shifts, plus a see-through gas tank. 

HUSQVARNA TC65 MOTOCROSS: $5149

The Husqvarna TC65 two-stroke has features similar to those of full-size motocross bikes. It has a six-speed gearbox, a hydraulically actuated clutch and a power valve that is operated by pressure rather than a traditional ball-ramp mechanism. The 2020 model has a new ignition curve and jetting.

KAWASAKI KX65 MOTOCROSS: $3699

Kawasaki’s KX65 costs about $1500 less than the more race-oriented bikes in the 65 class. It still offers a manual clutch, a six-speed gearbox and hydraulic disc brakes. This is a perfect transition bike for kids who are learning to use a clutch, although it’s not as competitive as more modern bikes from KTM, Husky, Cobra and Yamaha at the highest levels of racing.

KTM 65SX MOTOCROSS: $5049

There will be a whole generation of tomorrow’s motocross stars who arrive in the pro ranks having ridden nothing but orange. KTM’s coverage in the mini ranks is deep, not only at the AMA Amateur Nationals but at every track in America. The 65SX remains a sophisticated racer with a power valve motor, an air fork and a hydraulic clutch.

YAMAHA YZ65 MOTOCROSS: $4599

At the end of 2018, Yamaha returned to the 65 class after a 30-year absence. The fact that the YZ65 exists is a testimony to the commitment that Yamaha is making to youth motorcycles and youth sports. The YZ65 compares well to the 65s from KTM, Husqvarna and Cobra at a price that is much lower.

 

2020 Cobra CX50 SR

COBRA CX50/FWE MOTOCROSS: TBA

This is the famous King Cobra that has won an unprecedented number of amateur championships since its introduction in 1993. As usual, the 50 class looked like a Cobra parade at the AMA Amateur Nationals this year. The FWE is a virtual works bike that needs no further modification to be competitive at the highest level. It has all-new forged wheels and both models have a  larger front master cylinder piston, wider stainless-steel foot pegs, a see-through gas tank and a cooler running cylinder.

 

2020 Cobra CX50 Jr.

COBRA CX50JR & P3 MOTOCROSS: TBA

Cobra caters to racers, but the company also has bikes for true beginners. The CX50JR and the P3 have 10-inch wheels and tame performance for younger riders. The P3 is the smallest of the two and qualifies for the Special Limited class.  They both have improved front brake feel, a see-through gas tank and an all-new water jacket shape around the exhaust port.

HUSQVARNA TC50 MOTOCROSS: $4349

Husqvarna is traditionally thought of as a brand that appeals to older riders, but that’s changing. The TC50 is exposing American kids to the oldest name in motorcycling. It’s an auto-clutch mini racer with an air fork. It’s nearly identical to the KTM 50SX aside from bodywork and legacy.

KTM 50SX MOTOCROSS: $4349

This year, KTM did little to the 50SX beyond a new swingarm. The bike remains a single-speed two-stroke with a WP air fork that offers adjustable damping. The automatic clutch is adjustable and offers a way to tailor the output of the motorcycle as the rider becomes more experienced and confident.

KTM 50SX MINI MOTOCROSS: $3849

Not all racers are born; some are made, step by step. The KTM 50SX Mini is a smaller, more conservative mini for kids who aren’t ready to jump onto a full-blooded racer. It still has an adjustable clutch and hydraulic disc brakes, but the wheels are 10 inches and the seat height is only 22 inches. 

Yamaha PW50

YAMAHA PW50 OFF-ROAD: $1499

The PW50 gave generation after generation of Pro motocrossers their start. It has been in Yamaha’s line virtually unchanged since the ’80s. It’s still a fully automatic one-speed that can be equipped with aftermarket training wheels. It has oil injection and an old-school kickstarter, and the seat height is manageable for a 6-year-old.

 

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