2022 MOTOCROSS BIKE BUYER’S GUIDE

Most of the new 2022 motocross bikes are now in dealers and readily available. The supply line still isn’t back to normal, but almost anything will be better than 2021. GasGas, Beta, Honda, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, KTM, Suzuki, TM, Yamaha and Cobra have all announced their new models and the assembly lines are pumping out both two-strokes and four-strokes. Demand is pent up and the first batch will go quickly. Here’s the class of ’22, presented with prices and details.


BETA 450RX: TBA
At the start of 2021, Beta shocked everyone by going head-to-head with established MXGP teams and earning respectable results with a brand-new 450 four-stroke MX bike. The production version of the 450RX is said to arrive as a late 2022 model or perhaps an early 2023. It will have a motor that is decidedly different from that of the existing 450 off-road bike. Development is ongoing, so details are still pending. We can’t wait.


GASGAS MC450F: $9599
When Pierer Mobility (parent company to KTM) acquired majority interest in GasGas two years ago, the 2021 MC450 arrived as the first-ever production GasGas motocross bike. It has the same frame, motor and suspension components as the KTM 450SX-F, but with a number of differences that allow a lower suggested retail price. The 2022 version of the MC450 has no changes, although the price has risen somewhat.

2022 Honda CRF450R RHP

HONDA CRF450R: $9599
Honda completely redesigned the CRF450R for 2021, but restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic cut out much of the testing time usually devoted to final settings. Now, the 2022 model has arrived with different mapping and suspension specs. The bike still has a hydraulic clutch and a handlebar-mounted switch that offers three maps, as well as multi-level traction control and launch assist.

HONDA CRF450RWE: $12,399
If you’re one of those guys who can’t wait to customize and modify his bike, Honda offers a head start. The CRF450R Works Edition has a long list of upgrades that go far beyond cosmetics. The bike comes with a ported head, a Yoshimura slip-on exhaust, titanium-nitride suspension coatings, a Hinson clutch basket, a Hinson clutch cover and a number of cosmetic enhancements.


HONDA CRF450RS: $8599
To answer complaints that new-bike prices are too high, Honda offers the CRF450RS for $1000 less than the standard 2022 CRF450R. This is virtually identical to the 2020 CRF450R, which means it has a dual-exhaust system and the previous-generation chassis. It does not get the hydraulic clutch, but it still has multi-level traction control and Showa suspension with a coil-spring fork.


HUSQVARNA FC450: $10,399
The Husqvarna FC450 comes out of the same factory as the KTM 450SX-F, so it’s not surprising that the two motorcycles are similar. There are, however, a few significant differences. The Husky has a lower seat height, a composite subframe and a number of different components. It still uses WP suspension with linkage in the rear and the Xact air fork up front. More than anything else, Husqvarna has a different image and legacy.


KAWASAKI KX450: $9499
The KX450 motor is more or less built like a big 250 four-stroke with double overhead cams and finger-followers between the valves and the cams. It has a hydraulically actuated clutch with a coned disc spring, Nissin brakes, Showa suspension and a Renthal Fatbar. You can change EFI maps between sessions by swapping electronic couplers. Three come with the bike. If you want more options, a recalibration tuner is available for $700.


KTM 450SX-F: $10,299
KTM hasn’t made many changes to the 450SX-F since 2019 when it got a new, more compact head and a stiffer frame. The 2022 model has new graphics and a few reliability-related changes but is essentially the same bike as last year’s model. The fork is a WP Xact air fork. The rear end has linkage. The brakes and hydraulic clutch are Brembo. A handlebar-mounted multi-switch offers two maps, traction control and launch assist.


SUZUKI RM-Z450: $8999
Suzuki has been playing a very conservative hand for a number of years now. As a result, the 2022 RM-Z450 is slightly out-of-step with the rest of the class, without electric start, traction control or on-the-fly mapping options. It’s still considered one of the best handling bikes in the 450 class and enjoys a cult following in the amateur world as well as an excellent reputation among pros.

TM 450Fi ES: $10,995
TM is a tiny, family-run company in northern Italy that lives and breathes racing. The 450Fi has an unorthodox layout with the fuel cell located under the seat and the gas cap above the right-side numberplate. The airbox is located on top, much like that of a Yamaha. The TM’s frame is aluminum, and the suspension is KYB. If you really want power, the company offers a 530cc version for $10,995.


YAMAHA YZ450F MONSTER ENERGY EDITION: $9799
Yamaha has a history of offering different color options in its motocross line. For 2022, Yamaha takes this to the next level with the YZ450F Monster Energy Edition. This is a special edition to honor the success of the Monster Energy Star Yamaha racing team, which just clinched the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in the 450 class. The special edition features black plastic and Monster Energy graphics but is mechanically identical to the standard model.


YAMAHA YZ450F: $9599
Yamaha played it safe with the 2022 YZ450F, making changes only to the rear wheel and the suspension valving. The suspension is still KYB with a coil-spring fork in front. Since 2010, the motor is oriented with the exhaust in the back and the air intake in front. The fuel filler sits under a seat flap right behind the airbox. The most distinctive feature is the fact that the EFI mapping can be altered with any smartphone.


GASGAS MC350F: $9299
The GasGas 350 motocross bike is one of the company’s more successful models. It appeals to amateurs because it’s much easier to ride than a full-blown 450 but can hold its own in terms of peak power. The 350 is similar to the MC250 but larger in both bore and stroke. It has a five-speed gearbox, although there is a cross-country version with a six-speed. All GasGas models are unchanged for 2022, even in terms of graphics.


HUSQVARNA FC350: $10,199
Husqvarna is starting its 120th year of making motorcycles. Within the family of brands offered by Pierer Mobility, Husqvarna is seen as the elite name because of that legacy. That’s why the FC350 sells for a little more than its GasGas and KTM counterparts. It has a number of components that are different, such as the Pro Taper handlebar, D.I.D rims and the integrated airbox/subframe. The FC350 also has slightly less suspension travel for a lower seat height.


KTM 350SX-F: $10,099
Even though no AMA pros are currently riding a 350 in the 450 class, we often think they should. The KTM 350SX-F is a much more friendly way to go racing at any level. The motor is closely related to that of the 250SX but with a longer stroke and larger bore. It can close the horsepower gap with most 450s simply by revving higher. The 350SX is basically unchanged for 2022 and still uses WP suspension and Brembo hydraulics.

2021 model shown

BETA 300RX (TWO-STROKE): TBA
Beta’s first foray into the motocross world came just before the COVID-19 shutdown, so we didn’t see much of the 2021 300RX two-stroke. It’s an electric-start 300 with a Keihin carburetor, a KYB closed-cartridge fork and a Sachs shock. The basic motor and frame are from the 300RR off-road bike, but there’s no oil injection, and it’s in a more aggressive state of tune.


TM 300Fi ES/250Fi ES: $11,195/$11,195
It’s tough to tell the difference between a TM 250 and a TM 300 from the outside, but both are beautiful bikes. They have hand-welded aluminum frames, KYB suspension and detailing that would be appropriate for a factory works bike. The chassis is designed with the fuel cell under the seat and the airbox up top, sort of like a Yamaha. The twin-pipe motor has two separate ports leading to two independent exhaust systems.

TM MX300ES/MX250ES (TWO-STROKES): $9395/$9195
There’s no reason two-stroke MX riders shouldn’t have electric start just like four-stroke guys. TM’s two-stroke MX bikes have it as standard equipment. They also have electronic power valves, aluminum frames and KYB forks. TM is the only company in the U.S. that has a 300cc two-stroke motocross bike.


GASGAS MC250F: $8699
GasGas is seen as a more affordable alternative to KTM and Husqvarna. The price is kept down by using non-name-brand components in some areas, but it still has the good stuff where it matters most: Brembo brakes, Brembo clutch, WP suspension and Keihin fuel injection. You don’t get the multi-function handlebar switch, but it can be added, and the underlying functions, such as multiple maps and traction control, are still there.


GASGAS MC250 (TWO-STROKE): $7899
The MC250 is a throwback to an earlier time when the greatest motocross bikes were all 250cc two-strokes. No fuel injection, no electric start, no map switch. As a result, the MC250 is light, simple and inexpensive. It’s also very fast. The front suspension is a WP Xact air fork, the brakes are Braktec and the rims are silver, just like they were in the glory days of motocross.

HONDA CRF250R: $8099
Just when we were thinking that 2022 didn’t have very much to offer in terms of new motorcycles, Honda dropped an all-new CRF250R. The most striking aspect of the new Honda is a big weight loss. It also got more power, Pirelli tires and a chassis that is very much like that of the new-for-2021 CRF450R. It didn’t get a hydraulic clutch like the 450, but Honda did keep the price reasonable.


HUSQVARNA FC250: $9499
Husqvarna moved up in the pecking order in the 250 MX world last year simply by taking steps to reduce the seat height. It makes sense, especially for those riders making the jump up from the mini ranks to a 250F. There is a slight loss in wheel travel and ground clearance, but few riders will notice. The Husky still uses WP Xact air suspension, Brembo hydraulics, a ProTaper handlebar and D.I.D rims.


HUSQVARNA TC250 (TWO-STROKE): $8599
The Husky TC250 was the winner of the most recent 250cc two-stroke motocross shootout in the pages of Dirt Bike magazine. It’s very similar to the KTM 250SX but has a softer hit. It’s still a very powerful and light motocross bike with a five-speed gearbox and an old-fashioned kick-starter. The brakes are Brembo, the fork is a WP Xact and the carburetor is a Mikuni. It differs from the KTM in airbox design, handlebar, rims and bodywork.


KAWASAKI KX250: $8399
Kawasaki redesigned the KX250 step-by-step over a period of years. In 2020, the motor was updated with a finger-follower valve train, and in 2021, the KX got a new chassis, electric start and a hydraulic clutch. For this year, Kawasaki let the engineering crew take a break. The KX returns with its KYB coil-spring fork and KYB shock. The KX allows you to change maps by swapping color-coded electronic couplers.


KTM 250SX (TWO-STROKE): $8499
KTM is the horsepower king in the 250cc two-stroke world. The five-speed 250SX doesn’t offer any new technology, such as fuel injection, electric start or an electronic power valve, but evolution has produced a bike that is light and fast. It uses a Mikuni carburetor, Brembo brakes, a WP Xact air fork and linkage rear suspension. The 250SX is fundamentally unchanged for 2022.


KTM 250SX-F: $9399
By the numbers, the KTM 250SX-F is still hard to beat. It’s the lightest bike in the 250 class and has excellent peak power as well as strong pull through the midrange. It’s been like this for years, although other 250s are getting close. The WP suspension, Brembo brakes, Neken handlebar, Excel rims, Brembo hydraulic clutch and Dunlop tires are all top-quality components. For 2022, there are no significant mechanical changes.


SUZUKI RM-Z250: $7899
Suzuki last paid attention to the RM-Z250 back in 2019 when the bike got a long list of new parts as well as a new look. It was an improvement, but not enough to lift the bike out of its position as an entry-level race bike. It still lacks the horsepower to compete at higher levels. It also lacks electric start and any kind of on-the-fly mapping options. The price remains its most attractive feature, and it still can be built into a competitive pro racer with some work.


YAMAHA YZ250 MONSTER ENERGY EDITION (TWO-STROKE): $7999
Yamaha has long been in the habit of producing a special edition of each of its four-stroke motocross bikes. For 2022, the practice has been extended to the full-size two-stroke motocross bikes as well. The YZ250 Monster Energy Edition gets black plastic and Monster graphics similar to those of the Star Yamaha team. Otherwise, the bike is the same as the standard version, which is updated for the first time in years.


YAMAHA YZ250 (TWO-STROKE): $7799
Significant updates for the YZ250 two-stroke have been few and far between since 2005. That was when the aluminum frame first appeared. Now the bike gets a new look with redesigned bodywork and styling. It also gets a new front brake, a smaller rear rotor and revised suspension valving. The YZ250 still uses a Keihin carburetor with a Power Jet and a throttle position sensor.


YAMAHA YZ250F MONSTER ENERGY EDITION: $8699
In the world of AMA Pro Racing, the Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha YZ250F is considered the best of the best. As a tribute to that team’s success, Yamaha is offering a special edition of the YZ250F in Monster Energy colors. The bike will sell for $200 more than the standard edition but is mechanically identical.


YAMAHA YZ250F: $8499
The Yamaha YZ250F won the 2021 Dirt Bike magazine 250 motocross shootout by the slimmest of margins by virtue of its excellent KYB suspension and easy-to-manage power delivery. The 2022 version is mostly unchanged but does have a new rear wheel and some suspension upgrades. It still uses the reverse head, the top-side airbox and Nissin brakes. The YZ250 motor can be tuned at the track with the Yamaha Power Tuner smartphone app.


KTM 150SX/125SX (TWO-STROKES): $7699/$7499
KTM offers two small-bore, two-stroke motocrossers that might or might not be in the same class, depending on the racing organization. The 125SX and 150SX are identical aside from bore, which places the 150 at 144cc. They are quite different in personality as well. The 150 is harder-hitting and more demanding. Both use a Mikuni carburetor for fuel delivery.

TM MX144/MX125 (TWO-STROKES): $8745/$8545
TM is a small, independent maker in Pesaro, Italy, that cut their teeth making karting motors. As such, small-bore two-strokes are still the company’s core identity. The MX144 and MX125 have different bore-and-stroke configurations but are otherwise identical. The power valve is electronic, but starting is accomplished through an old-school kick-starter. The frame is hand-welded aluminum.


GASGAS MC125 (TWO-STROKE): $6899
Each GasGas model is a near mirror image of a corresponding KTM model but offered at a lower price. The MC125 is based on the KTM 125SX, which means it’s one of the fastest and lightest bikes in its class. GasGas managed to keep the price down by using non-brand-name components, such as Braktec hydraulics. The carburetor is a Mikuni TMX38. The bike does not come with a map switch, but the ignition will support one.


HUSQVARNA TC125 (TWO-STROKE): $7599
The Husky TC125 is just under 200 pounds and makes around 40 horsepower. That’s a recipe for fun. The TC125 motor is identical to that of the KTM 125SX, but the chassis has a number of differences, including different bodywork, the integrated airbox/subframe, and the ProTaper handlebar. Husqvarna does not offer a 144cc version of the TC125 in motocross trim.


YAMAHA YZ125 MONSTER ENERGY EDITION (TWO-STROKE): $7099
For the first time, you can get the Yamaha YZ125 two-stroke in the Monster Energy trim. The YZ125ME sells for $200 more than a standard edition but has an unmistakable look, similar to that of the Star Yamaha race team. Under the Monster graphics and black plastic, it’s the same as the standard edition with a new motor, updated brakes and restyled bodywork for 2022.

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YAMAHA YZ125 (TWO-STROKE): $6899
This is a big year for the Yamaha YZ125. It received more motor upgrades than it has in the last 20 years combined. The cylinder is new. The head is new. The crank is new, and the gearbox is new. There’s a new airbox feeding a new Keihin carburetor. Yamaha also upgraded the brakes and suspension, then gave it a fresh look. Only the aluminum central-backbone frame itself is carried over from the previous model.


HONDA CRF150R/HONDA CRF150R BIG WHEEL: $5249/$5449
Honda remains the only manufacturer to build a four-stroke specifically for mini racing. The CRF150R has changed little since it was developed for 2007, when the company decided to drop all two-strokes. Now it’s somewhat dated, although it’s still very competitive in the stock ranks. It is allowed to line up against 85cc two-strokes in most local racing organizations.


KAWASAKI KX112 (TWO-STROKE): $4999
Just when you thought that Kawasaki forgot about ’tweens. For 2022 Kawasaki is offering the KX112 Supermini. It replaces the ancient KX100 in the Kawasaki lineup but is much more modern, with a new cylinder, new crank, new gearbox and new bodywork. The KX112 uses a 16-inch rear wheel with a 19-incher in front and is equipped with Dunlop MX33 tires.

TM MX100/MX85 (TWO-STROKES): $6395/$6345
For years the most exotic bikes in the mini world have been TMs. The small Italian company has made a big investment in little two-stroke motors. The basic platform is the aluminum-framed MX85 with its 14/17-inch wheel combo. Then there’s the big-wheel MX100 with a 16-inch in the rear and a 19 up front. Finally, there’s the fire-breathing MX112 Supermini, which sells for $6995.


GASGAS MC85 (TWO-STROKE): $5899
The mini class has become even more heavy with Austrian metal with the addition of the GasGas MC65. It’s very similar to the KTM 85SX and Husqvarna TC85, aside from a few components. The engine is still a case-reed, power-valve six-speed. It has a WP air fork in front and a WP shock connected directly to the swingarm sans linkage. Both wheels have disc brakes. A big-wheel version is available for $6099.


HUSQVARNA TC85 (TWO-STROKE): $6299
Even in the mini ranks, Husqvarna is seen as the elite brand in the Pierer Mobility trifecta of KTM, GasGas and Husky. The TC85 commands a slightly higher price than its stablemates but uses the same case-reed, power-valve six-speed motor. Even most of the components are the same as those of the KTM, including Excel rims, WP suspension, Formula brakes and ODI grips. A version with 19/16-inch wheels is $6499.


KAWASAKI KX85 (TWO-STROKE): $4499
Back in 2014 Kawasaki updated the KX85 with a new top end and new bodywork. We thought we couldn’t see that again in our lifetimes. Not so. The 2022 KX85 got a new look, as well as changes to the gearbox, cooling system and even tires. The Kawasaki still has a lower seat height than many of the other bikes in the Mini class and is excellent for younger, smaller riders.


KTM 85SX (TWO-STROKE): $6199
The KTM 85SX is by far the most common mini across the racetracks of America. It might be the most common bike of any size. That’s because it’s fast but very controllable. The power valve, case-reed motor and six-speed gearbox are mated to WP suspension (air in the front, PDS in the rear). A big-wheel model sells for $6399.


SUZUKI RM85 (TWO-STROKE): $4395
If any motorcycle has defied Father Time, it’s the Suzuki RM85. It has gone fundamentally unchanged for over 20 years. The reason it survives is because it still has the reputation for being the easiest 85 for young riders to master. The power-valve motor has excellent low-end power, and the seat height is lower than most bikes in the class. If left alone, it’s unbreakable and can be passed from sibling to sibling.

LW model shown

YAMAHA YZ85LW/YZ85 (TWO-STROKES): $4999/$4799
Three years ago Yamaha put the YZ85 through a massive update. At the time, it seemed odd that the new bike was dressed in its old bodywork, making it look unchanged. That oversight has now been corrected. The 2022 YZ85 gets a completely new look, as well as more updates to the frame, brakes and swingarm. Now, there’s also a version with a 17-inch rear wheel and a 19-inch front wheel called the LW.


COBRA CX65 (TWO-STROKE): $5599
Cobra is an American motorcycle company that builds mini race bikes in very small quantities at a small factory in Michigan. The CX65 originally came out in 2012, and for 2022, it gets its first major redesign. The top end of the motor was reworked, and the entire chassis was rethought. The CX65 still has a manual clutch and six-speed gearbox powered by a case-reed motor with a Mikuni carburetor.


GASGAS MC65 (TWO-STROKE): $4999
It was surprising how many GasGas MC65s were in attendance at the AMA Amateur Nationals this year, despite it being the first year for that model. In fact, GasGas won three championships out of four in the 65 class. The MC65 is similar to the KTM 65SX with a six-speed gearbox, an air fork and a no-linkage rear shock. It sells for less than the KTM or Husky because of a few components that are different, but the engine, frame and suspension are the same.


HUSQVARNA TC65 (TWO-STROKE): $5299
The smaller bikes in the Husqvarna line are very similar to their KTM counterparts. The TC65 has the same engine, frame, suspension, brakes and wheels as the KTM 65SX. Only the bodywork, frame color and graphics are different. Both have six-speed gearboxes, air forks and Formula hydraulic brakes. Still, the Husky has been known to sell for more on the used-bike market.


KAWASAKI KX65 (TWO-STROKE): $3799
Kawasaki knows that some kids are destined to become motocross stars and others aren’t. Both need to get started somewhere, and the KX65 is an inexpensive stepping stone that will present a young rider with his first manual clutch and manual gearbox. The KX65 is reliable and is still a decent race bike for those initial adventures in competition. In the case of more advanced racers, the aged KX will struggle against the 65s from Austria.


KTM 65SX (TWO-STROKE): $5199
KTM invested heavily in the mini ranks, and it has paid off, as more young riders are growing up orange. The KTM 65SX dominates the 65 class in amateur racing across the country, and with Husky and GasGas joining the party, the mini world is mostly made up of little Austrian bikes. The KTM has a manual hydraulic clutch, a six-speed gearbox and disc brakes. The front suspension is a WP Xact air fork, and the rear is a WP PDS shock.


YAMAHA YZ65 (TWO-STROKE):$4699
In 2019 Yamaha reentered the 65 class after a 35-year absence. The YZ65 was a new model, but Yamaha engineers smartly used existing YZ85 technology to keep the price reasonable. As a result, the Yamaha splits the difference in price between the dedicated Austrian racers and the Kawasaki KX65. It has a six-speed gearbox, a centrifugal power valve and a cable-pull manual clutch.

2022 Cobra King

COBRA CX50 (TWO-STROKE): $4699
No motorcycle company has a more successful record in amateur racing than Cobra. The CX50 has earned over 300 championships worldwide and is still going strong. The philosophy behind the product is to offer works bikes on a mini scale. The standard CX50 already has a long list of high-end parts, but there’s also an upscale Factory Works Edition for $5599.

2021 Cobra CX50 Jr shown

COBRA CX50 JR (TWO-STROKE): $4499
Cobra understands that riders don’t come out of the womb ready to win national championships. The CW50 Jr. is for younger and/or smaller riders who need to ease into competition. The Jr. is made to the same quality standards as its larger, faster stablemate, but is very adjustable to allow the rider to develop at their own pace.


GASGAS MC50 (TWO-STROKE): $4299
For those first steps into the world of competition, GasGas offers the MC50 with its automatic transmission and 50cc, case-reed motor. It is very similar to the KTM 50SX and the Husqvarna TC50, but has its own bodywork. The GasGas is still a little less expensive than the other bikes that come out of the Mattighofen, Austria, factory that is home to all three brands.


HUSQVARNA TC50 (TWO-STROKE): $4499
Husqvarna’s TC50 has its own bodywork and graphics, but under it all is essentially the same hardware as the KTM 50SX. It has an auto clutch, a case-reed motor, WP suspension, hydraulic brakes and oversized bars. The seat height is 26 inches, and the whole package weighs about 91 pounds without fuel.


KTM 50SX (TWO-STROKE): $4449
The KTM 50SX is the basis for the Husqvarna and GasGas 50s. It has an adjustable automatic clutch and a torque converter that requires no shifting. The front suspension is a WP Xact air fork, and the rear shock has no linkage. This year there’s a Factory Edition that has upgraded components, including an FMF exhaust system, a billet clutch cover and special graphics. It sells for $5299.


KTM 50SX JR (TWO-STROKE): $3949
The most beginner-friendly bike in the combined KTM line is the 50SX Jr. It is downsized in every way. The suspension travel for the fork is 100mm. The rear travel is 147mm, and the seat height is 558mm. That makes it a good 4 inches shorter than the regular 50SX. It still has hydraulic disc brakes, oversized bars and an adjustable clutch.


GASGAS MC-E 5 (ELECTRIC): $4899
GasGas has a long history of offering electric motorcycles going back to the company’s previous involvement with Torrot. The MC-E 5 can be tailored to a young rider’s size and ability, with six different ride modes, an adjustable seat height (between 616mm and 665mm), and an adjustable air fork. It can run as long as two hours between charges.


HUSQVARNA EE 5 (ELECTRIC): $5299
The EE 5 is virtually noise-free, making it ideal for backyard tracks. It’s also competitive with 50cc two-strokes in acceleration if the time comes to move out of the backyard to the local track. The little Husky has the same chassis and drive components as the GasGas MC-E 5, and the KTM SX-E has a distinctive Husqvarna look with its own bodywork.


KTM SX-E (ELECTRIC): $5199
Electric power is an ideal way for young riders to learn the ways of riding motorcycles. The electric cell in the SX-E can provide up to two hours of general riding or 25 minutes of all-out racing. It takes about 70 minutes to get a full charge. In performance, the SX-E offers six different levels and is competitive with a 50cc two-stroke. The seat height is adjustable, and the air fork can be altered to suit the rider’s weight.

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