2021 2-STROKE BUYER’S GUIDE

BETA 300RX MOTOCROSS: $9199
If you have wondered why Beta doesn’t offer motocross bikes, you are not alone. For 2021, that’s changed with the Beta 300RX. The RX is a dedicated MX-bike based on the 300RR two-stroke off-road bike. It does away with the oil injection and has KYB suspension, among other changes. It still has the new counterbalancer-equipped motor and comes with a work stand.


BETA 300RR/250RR OFF-ROAD: $9199/$8799
These bikes are the bread and butter of the Beta line. The 300 and 250RR off-road bikes are identical, aside from displacement. They both feature an electric-start two-stroke motor that has a counterbalancer integrated within the crankcase. The RR models also feature oil injection and Sachs suspension. Midyear, there will be an upscale Race Edition offered without oil injection.


BETA XTRAINER OFF-ROAD: $7799
Someone very smart at Beta understands that not every rider plans to win the GNCC XC1 Pro class. That’s why the Xtrainer exists. It’s a milder version of the 300 two-stroke with a lower seat height and a much more attractive price. It still has oil injection, but Beta was able to reduce the cost with the suspension and brakes. It turns out that even pros love the Xtrainer for play riding.


HUSQVARNA TX300i OFF-ROAD: $10,299
While Husqvarna doesn’t technically offer a fuel-injected 300cc two-stroke for motocross, most riders understand that the TX300 can fulfill that role, as well as its official duty as a cross-country racer. The TX has the same chassis as the TC250 MX bike, but with a six-speed gearbox, electric-start, TPI injection and off-road amenities, such as an 18-inch rear wheel and a kickstand.


HUSQVARNA TE300i/TE250i OFF-ROAD: $10,299/$10,099
The TE300i and TE250i are two-stroke off-road bikes that can do double duty. They are equally adept as trail bikes and as racers. They have TPI fuel injection, oil injection and WP Xplor forks. Suspension and engine tuning are designed to be trail-friendly when you are riding at a casual pace. The TE models also have headlights and instruments.


KTM 300XC/250XC TPI OFF-ROAD: $10,199/$9999
The XC line is a good example of how KTM subdivides its market into very thin slices. The 300 and 250XC are aimed at two-stroke fans who are off-road racers. The XCs have TPI fuel injection, MX-derived suspension (but with softer settings), six-speed gearboxes, kickstands and 18-inch rear wheels.


KTM 300XC-W/250XC-W TPI OFF-ROAD: $10,199/$9999
The 300XC-W and 250XC-W are identical aside from displacement. They are both softer, friendlier versions of the XC two-stroke cross-country racers. The XC-Ws have cushier suspension (with coil-spring Xplor air forks), mellower power and slightly different gear ratios. They also have headlights and instruments but no spark arresters.


RIEJU MR300 OFF-ROAD: TBA
When KTM took controlling interest in GasGas, the tooling for the existing 300 two-stroke off-road bike was sold to a Spanish company called Rieju. This is a company that previously focused on small-bore street bikes. The electric-start, two-stroke 300 and 250 off-road models will be reborn in 2021 under a new name and with a new importer to the U.S.


SHERCO SE300/SE250 FACTORY OFF-ROAD: $10,499/$10,399
Even though the Sherco two-strokes don’t look that different, hidden within the cases there’s a new counterbalance shaft to quell vibrations. The SE300 and 250 are still the mainstay two-stroke off-road bikes for the French company. Both have electronic power valves, Keihin carburetors and KYB suspension. For 2021, you can special order a version with WP suspension.


THUMPSTAR 300/250 OFF-ROAD: TBA
Thumpstar has been developing motorcycles for the last five years, primarily in the pit bike market. For 2021, new 250cc and 300cc two-strokes will be produced in Spain. Thumpstar has been working with Josep Pibernat, who was the founder of GasGas, to develop an all-new motor.

TM EN300/EN250 Fi OFF-ROAD: $10,095/$9895
TM has proven that you don’t have to be a giant corporation to lead the way in technology. This small Italian company is offering the most high-tech off-road two-strokes on the market. The 300 and 250 both have TPI fuel injection, counterbalancers and electronic power valves. It has electric starters and aluminum frames. You can also order carbureted versions of the same bikes for about $300 less.

TM MX300ES/TM MX250ES MOTOCROSS: $9395/$9195
In Europe, there’s still a thriving market for open-class two-strokes. It’s populated entirely by European makes, and TM is one of the players. The MX300ES is a five-speed, 300cc two-stroke with an electronic power valve and electric start. The 250 has a smaller bore but is otherwise identical. They come with Keihin carbs but can be ordered with TPI fuel injection.


HUSQVARNA TC250 MOTOCROSS: $8499
Last year Dirt Bike conducted a 250 two-stroke MX comparison, and the Husky TC250 came out on top. It’s light, fast and still very manageable. The TC250 still comes with a Mikuni carburetor and an old-school kickstarter; there’s not a battery in sight. The fork is a WP Xact air fork, just like the one on the FC450 four-stroke motocrosser.


KTM 250SX MOTOCROSS: $8399
KTM’s 250SX got a new motor four years ago, but it still uses a traditional kick-start, case-reed design with a Mikuni carburetor. The most significant updates in 2017 were the inclusion of a counterbalancer and the change to the same Belleville-spring clutch used in the four-strokes. The chassis has been updated each year since then, side by side with KTM’s four-strokes.


YAMAHA YZ250 MOTOCROSS: $7499
Yamaha hasn’t made major changes to the YZ250’s frame or engine in 16 years, but it still is competitive and reliable. The suspension, brakes and bodywork have received evolutionary changes in that time, and the YZ is still excellent in the handling department. For 2021, there are no mechanical changes, but the YZ did get the deep-blue number plates and black graphics.


YAMAHA YZ250X OFF-ROAD: $7599
The bigwigs at Yamaha understand that the two-stroke is still popular among play riders and off-road enthusiasts, so the company introduced the YZ250X in 2016. It’s tailored specifically for those riders with an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand, softer suspension, a mellower power delivery and a wide-ratio five-speed gearbox. The pipe is tucked away to stay out of harm’s way.


GPX TSE250R OFF-ROAD: $4999
GPX is a sister company to Pitster Pro, which offers a wide variety of well-priced off-road bikes. The TSE250R is an Asian-made 250cc two-stroke that closely resembles the Yamaha WR200 from the early ’90s. It has electric start and an electronic power valve. The carburetor, exhaust, headlight, instruments and 2.5-gallon fuel tank are all new for 2021.


BETA 200RR OFF-ROAD: $8699
If you’re one of the riders who misses 200-class two-strokes, you have plenty of company. Beta has finally picked up that ball and run with it. The 200RR is based on the 125RR off-road bike but has more displacement and electric start. Like the other bikes in the RR line of Beta two-strokes, it features oil injection, Sachs suspension, Nissin brakes and a six-speed gearbox.


HUSQVARNA TE150i OFF-ROAD: $8999
Husky’s small-bore, off-road two-stroke is based on the TC125 motocross motor but has a larger bore (displacing 144cc), electric start, transfer port injection, oil injection and a wide-ratio gearbox. The front suspension is the WP Xplor fork, which uses coil springs and has adjustable rebound, compression and preload. The brakes and clutch hydraulics are by Magura.


KTM 150SX/125SX MOTOCROSS: $7599/$7399
Depending on the racing organization, 125 and 144cc two-strokes might or might not be allowed in the same class. That’s why KTM offers both. The 150SX has a much more aggressive power delivery, but both bikes feature Mikuni carburetors and old-fashioned kickstarters. The fork is a WP Xact air fork, and the rear suspension uses linkage.


KTM 150XC-W TPI OFF-ROAD: $8999
The off-road version of the KTM 150 is completely different from the MX version. It has electric start, fuel injection, oil injection, a PDS rear shock (without linkage) and a WP Xplor fork. Beyond all that, the bike has a very different power delivery and is exceptionally easy to ride by small-bore two-stroke standards.

TM 144MX/125MX MOTOCROSS: $8695/$8455
TM is heavily invested in amateur motocross with a very quick 125 that is also available as a 144. Unlike KTM, TM has achieved the increase in displacement by altering both bore and stroke in order to maintain what TM engineers consider a more optimal relationship. The bike features an aluminum frame, an electronic power valve, a KYB fork and a TM-made shock.


BETA 125RR OFF-ROAD: $7999
Beta’s 125cc off-road bike is similar to the 200RR but distilled to its purest elements. There’s no electric start, oil injection or battery. The motor is competitive with 125 motocross bikes, but the RR is still very off-road-oriented with its softish Sachs suspension, a generator-powered headlight, an 18-inch rear wheel and a kickstand.

 

GASGAS MC125 TWO-STROKE: $6799

GasGas has a long history in the off-road world, but has never offered motocross models prior to the pairing with KTM. Now, the GasGas MX line is extensive, including a 125cc two-stroke motocross bike. The MX125 is similar to the KTM 125SX and the Husqvarna TC125, but has a number of small differences that bring the price down.

TM EN144FI/EN125FI OFF-ROAD: $9295/$8795
TM’s 125 and 144 off-road bikes are very similar to its motocross versions but feature transfer-port fuel injection and oil injection. They have a kick-start motor with an electronic power valve and a six-speed gearbox. The frame is aluminum. The fork is KYB, and the shock is made in-house by TM. The 125 and 144 differ only in bore and stroke. Carbureted versions can be ordered.


HUSQVARNA TC125 MOTOCROSS: $7499
Husqvarna offers the TC125 as a bridge between the mini class and the big bikes. Without electric start or fuel injection, it comes in under 200 pounds. While Husqvarna does not offer an official 150, the company’s in-house accessory department has a 144cc kit to up-size the TC125. The bike features a WP Xact air fork and linkage rear suspension.


KTM 125XC OFF-ROAD: $7599
This is a new bike for model-year 2021. The 125XC is a cross-country version of the 125SX, with some features from the motocross line and others from the enduro side of the fence. Like the 125SX, it has a Mikuni carb and a WP Xact air fork. Like the 150XC-W, it has electric start, an 18-inch rear wheel and a kickstand.


SHERCO SE125 FACTORY OFF-ROAD: $9099
Sherco’s commitment to two-strokes is clear from the company’s investment in a very sophisticated 125cc off-road motor. It has electric start and an electronic power valve. It also has KYB suspension, an FMF exhaust, a headlight, a taillight and instruments. The SE is set up for technical, eastern-style off-road riding. A version with WP suspension is available by special order.


YAMAHA YZ125 MOTOCROSS: $6599
Some pundits criticize Yamaha for ignoring the YZ125 for so long, but we’re delighted that the bike is still offered. It has been a staff favorite for 16 years. The 2021 version has no changes beyond cosmetics, but it still has excellent KYB suspension, a Keihin carburetor, a six-speed gearbox and Nissin brakes


YAMAHA YZ125X OFF-ROAD: $6699
Last year Yamaha expanded the “X” cross-country line to include the YZ125X. It looks like a traditional YZ125 with the inclusion of a kickstand and an 18-inch wheel. Within the motor, there are significant changes in the power valve to make it more suitable for trail use. The KYB suspension has the same spring rates as the MX version, but it’s re-valved for off-road use as well.

TM MX100/MX85 MOTOCROSS: $6595/$6495
The TM is far more sophisticated than anything else in the mini ranks, with an electronic power valve and an aluminum frame. There are four different versions: the Super Mini 100 with a 19-inch front wheel and a 16-inch rear wheel ($6595), the standard 85 with a 14-/17-inch wheel size ($6495), and this year there will also be a 112cc Supermini with a stroked motor and new engine cases.


KAWASAKI KX100 MOTOCROSS: $4649
Kawasaki offers the KX100 as a big-wheel version of the KX85 for riders who want a stepping stone to the big bikes. It has a 16-inch rear wheel and a 19-inch front. Technically, it is a Supermini, although in today’s amateur racing scene, that class is dominated by heavily modified bikes that can cost more than twice as much as the KX100.


KAWASAKI KX85 MOTOCROSS: $4399
Kawasaki’s mini is somewhat dated compared to the more expensive offerings from KTM, Husqvarna and TM, but the KX85 is still raced and capable of earning good results in amateur races across the country. The bike last received attention in 2014 when it got a new top end, more modern suspension and new bodywork.

GASGAS MC85 TWO-STROKE: $5999

There might be another color in the mini field at Loretta’s Lynn’s Amateur nationals in 2021. GasGas will be fully homologated for competition with the MC85 two-stroke. It’s based very closely on the KTM 85SX with a WP air fork and a Formula hydraulic clutch, but the GasGas will carry a lower price.


HUSQVARNA TC85 MOTOCROSS: $6199
All of Husqvarna’s current models come out of the KTM factory, so it’s not surprising that the Husky TC85 is closely related to the KTM 85SX. It features a six-speed gearbox and a mechanical power valve. The fork is a down-sized version of the Xact air fork found on larger Husqvarnas, and the WP shock connects to the swingarm without linkage. A big-wheel version sells for $6399.


KTM 85SX MOTOCROSS: $6099
In its class, the KTM 85SX is one of the most dominant bikes in the history of motocross. Amateur racing in the mini class is a sea of little orange bikes. The 85SX has very few changes for 2021. It still has a case-reed motor with a mechanical power valve and a Formula hydraulic clutch. Brakes are also by Formula and suspension is by WP. A version with a 19-/16-inch wheel combo sells for $6299.

SUZUKI RM85 MOTOCROSS: $4299
Suzuki hasn’t updated the RM85 in almost 20 years, but, oddly enough, Suzukis still appear in the results at big amateur races. That speaks to the solid engineering employed when the bike was first designed so long ago. Now, it serves a useful purpose for smaller riders with its low seat height and torquey power delivery.


YAMAHA YZ85 MOTOCROSS: $4699
Yamaha doesn’t want to leave any gaps in its family of off-road bikes, so the veteran YZ85 got a redesigned power-valve motor two years ago. It also got updated suspension and a long list of other changes. The bike’s appearance, however, didn’t get changed, so that Yamaha could continue to offer the bike at a reasonable price—far less than even the 65s from KTM, Husky and Cobra.


COBRA CX65 MOTOCROSS: $5499
Initially, the Cobra CX65 was slow to mimic the amateur racing record of the company’s wildly successful 50. That’s changed, and now Cobra has multiple championships in the 65 class as well. For 2021, the Cobra CX65 has a number of improvements, including a new clutch pressure plate, changes to the power valve and a new color.

GASGAS MC65 TWO-STROKE: $4849

The GasGas MC65 two-stroke is a full-blooded race bike featuring a WP Xact air fork with 215mm of travel, a hydraulic clutch, disc brakes and a six-speed gearbox. The bike is similar to the KTM 65SX but will carry a price that is $250 less. The entry of GasGas to the mini ranks is a first in the history of the Spanish brand.


HUSQVARNA TC65 MOTOCROSS: $5199
Husqvarna’s TC65 enjoyed instant success in the amateur racing world. It is based on the KTM 65SX but with its own look and bodywork. It has a six-speed gearbox, a hydraulic clutch and a power valve that is operated by combustion-chamber pressure rather than any mechanical means. The front suspension is an Xact air fork and the WP shock uses no linkage.


KAWASAKI KX65 MOTOCROSS: $3749
Although its days of amateur racing dominance have long since passed, the Kawasaki KX65 still serves a useful purpose in the market. It’s small, easy to master. and provides young riders with an accessible means to learn the ways of a manual clutch and gearbox. The KX65 is unchanged again, but the price is far lower than that of other 65cc two-strokes.


KTM 65SX MOTOCROSS: $5099
KTM is a company motivated by racing success, so it makes sense that the 65SX is a pure-blooded race bike. It has many of the same features as full-size KTMs, such as a hydraulic clutch, a WP Xact air fork and PDS rear suspension. The power valve on the 65SX is pressure-operated, which is less complicated than electronic or mechanical designs.


YAMAHA YZ65 MOTOCROSS: $4599
Back in late 2018, Yamaha suddenly woke up and realized that the mini riders of today will be the YZ450F riders of tomorrow. That’s why the YZ65 was introduced using new designs, as well as some YZ85 technology. The bottom line is that the YZ65 is a competitive racer, as well as a great entry-level bike, and it costs hundreds less than the premium bikes in its class.


COBRA CX50/FWE MOTOCROSS: $4399/$5499
For years this tiny Michigan company has had wild success making championship bikes and championship riders. The 2021 CX50 has a long list of updated features, including a new frame, new bodywork, new suspension, new wheels, new radiators, a new exhaust and new airbox. The FWE is an upgraded version that is designed to be ready to race at the highest level.

Cobra CX50 Jr

COBRA CX50JR & P3 MOTOCROSS: $4199/$3849
Cobra made its name through competition, but the company also offers products for smaller riders, younger riders and those who might not be ready for racing. The CX50JR has less travel, a lower seat height and a smaller front wheel. The P3 is designed to be a good first bike, and has an even lower seat height and milder power delivery than the other Cobras.

GASGAS MC50 TWO-STROKE: TBA

GasGas now has an entry in the 50cc racing class with the MC50, a bike based on the KTM 50SX. It has the same styling as full-sized GasGas racers, but with an automatic transmission, 205mm of fork travel and 185mm of rear suspension. The rear shock connects directly to the swingarm and the brakes are hydraulic discs. GasGas offers a power reduction kit for those first rides.


HUSQVARNA TC50 MOTOCROSS: $4399
The Husqvarna TC50 was introduced in 2017 and has undergone few changes since then. It has an adjustable automatic clutch, a 10-/12-inch wheel combination and a small version of the WP Xact air fork combined with a WP PDS rear shock. It is almost identical to the KTM 50SX aside from bodywork, styling and company history.


KTM 50SX MOTOCROSS: $4399
Cobra might dominate the 50 class at the Amateur Nationals, but KTM still has a huge number of rank-and-file mini racers across the U.S. covered with the 50SX. The little KTM hasn’t changed much for 2021, but still has an adjustable automatic clutch, an oversized handlebar, hydraulic brakes and a WP Xact air fork.


KTM 50SX MINI MOTOCROSS: $3899
The KTM 50SX Mini is a true entry-level motorcycle. It borrows much of its architecture from the standard 50SX, but is smaller and milder to offer new riders a little more confidence. The Mini has 10-inch wheels at both ends, 100mm of front-wheel travel and 147mm in the rear. The seat height is 558mm.


THUMPSTAR MX50SR/MX50JR: TBA
Thumpstar might sound like a company that deals exclusively in four-strokes, but that’s not the case anymore. The make has expanded into the two-stroke MX market, starting with the MX50SR and MX50JR. Both are loaded with high-end items, such as billet hubs and oversize handlebars. There’s rumored to be an 85 on the way as well.


YAMAHA PW50 OFF-ROAD: $1649
If you are between the ages of 4 and 40, you probably started riding on the Yamaha PW50, or perhaps the “Y-Zinger” as it was named in the ’80s. The little Yamaha has enjoyed a record-setting production run, virtually unchanged aside from cosmetics since 1985. It still has a shaft drive, automatic clutch and a seat height of 18.7 inches.

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