HONDA CRF450R Honda took a giant leap forward last year with the remake of the CRF450R, and it remains a favorite at the track. For 2014, it comes back with its dual-exhaust pipes and hidden steering damper and gets a double-shot fuel-injection system. What really sets it apart is that it weighs less than any other 450 motocross bike—and feels lighter still. Price: $8699.
HUSQVARNA FC450 When KTM acquired Husqvarna in January 2013, it shook up the motorcycle industry. People had a lot of questions, but with this bike, most of those questions have been answered. The FC450 is made in Austria and is closely related to the KTM 450SX. The blue and yellow colors are a tribute to Husky’s Swedish heritage. Price: TBA.
KAWASAKI KX450F It seems to easily win shootouts and championships year after year, and in 2014, the KX450 is at it again. In this issue, it makes a great showing against the other 450s, despite being virtually unchanged. It’s a very adjustable motorcycle, with different electric couplers to alter the power, movable bars, movable footpegs and an infinitely adjustable air fork. Price: $8699.
KTM 450SX-F Two things set the KTM 450SX apart from virtually every other 450. It has more power than any motocross bike on the market, and it has electric start. The overall weight of KTM’s 450 is no greater than the others, even though it has to carry a battery and a starter motor. This year, the bike has very few changes. Price: $8999.
SUZUKI RMZ450 For 2014, the big Suzuki returns with few changes after a surprising remake in 2013. The ECU has been altered for easier starting, and there are a few graphic changes. It still has the Showa SFF front suspension with only one spring. This bike has a reputation for handling great in turns but being somewhat stiff. Price: $8699.
TM 450MX TM is a tiny Italian manufacturer that makes most of its own parts in-house. That includes, of course, the electric-start motor and the aluminum frame, but surprisingly, TM makes its own rear shock and even things like the hubs and rear sprocket. TM is a very independent, prideful company that isn’t owned by a larger parent corporation. Price: TBA.
YAMAHA YZ450F This is the most exciting motocross bike of the year. Yamaha’s reverse-engine layout has been around since 2010, but this marks its first major revision since then. The chassis is all new, and it places the motor further forward for more front-end bite. The airbox is roomier, and there’s room for 2 gallons of fuel in the new tank. Price: $7490.
KTM 350SX-F We love this bike! The 350SX now makes good on the original promise of having 450-level power in a package that’s as easy to ride as a 250. You have to keep the motor revving to run with the big bikes, but if you fall off the pipe, it still pulls surprisingly hard. It has electric start. The gearbox is a five-speed, and the suspension is WP. Price: $8749.
TM 300/250 MX 2T TM has been around a long time and has never given up on the two-stroke concept. The 300 and 250 are both very fast and surprisingly light. TM made minor revisions for 2014, but the motor and the fundamental belief in two-strokes are unchanged. The bike is handmade and has a beautiful frame with welds that put larger companies to shame. Prices: TBA.
HONDA CRF250R Honda gave the CRF250R the same treatment that the 450 received last year. It got a new chassis, new bodywork, more compression and the twin-pipe exhaust. If you remember, the twin pipe was introduced on the CRF250R years ago. Now it’s back with the same goal: to centralize mass for better handling. The Honda is already the lightest 250F. Price: $7599.
HUSQVARNA FC250 This is another model that will carry the Husqvarna name but is essentially a KTM under the paint. Like the KTM 250SX-F, the Husky is very fast and has electric start and a five-speed gearbox. The frame is steel, and the suspension is WP with linkage. Husqvarnas will be sold through the existing Husky dealer network. Price: TBA.
HUSQVARNA TC250 It took the Italian Husqvarna factory a few years to get this bike up to speed, but it finally happened. The TC250 was developed by Husky engineers prior to the BMW takeover, and it slowly took shape as a competitive bike just in time for the KTM takeover. For 2014, it will coexist with the Austrian Husky 250, but will share nothing but the name. Price: TBA.
HUSQVARNA CR250 This is a matter of heritage. The Husqvarna 250 two-stroke motocross bike will be mechanically similar to the KTM 250SX, which means it will be very powerful and very light; however, it will carry the colors of the Swedish flag and inherit a motocross legacy that goes back to Torsten Hallman and the golden age of motocross. Price: TBA.
KAWASAKI KX250F In the world of 250F motocross bikes, Kawasaki has earned more respect than any other company. The KX250F is the winningest bike of the breed, at least at the pro level, thanks to Pro Circuit and riders from James Stewart to Blake Baggett. The most interesting change on the 2014 model is the inclusion of Launch Control, which is designed to augment traction off the line. Price: $7599.
KTM 250SX-F Last year the KTM 250SX-F motor was redesigned. It still kept its electric starter and DOHC head, but it gained rpm and power in a big way. For 2014, it is essentially the same, but has a five-speed transmission instead of a six-speed. Despite having electric start, the bike’s weight isn’t too far off the other bikes in the class. Price: $7999.
KTM 250SX KTM’s 250SX has the most modern two-stroke motor in the motocross world. It has received small updates from year to year, steadily improving to the point where its power is both stunning and well-mannered. But, it still has carb and power-valve technology that hasn’t changed in years, and it’s likely that big changes are coming to the two-stroke world in the future. Price: $7199.
SUZUKI RMZ250 It’s not the fastest or the lightest, and it doesn’t capture Supercross wins on a weekly basis, but the Suzuki RMZ250 quietly remains at or near the top of its class year after year. It has won the Dirt Bike 250F shootout time after time because of its great handling and suspension, and there’s nothing about the 2014 version that threatens that status. Price: $7599.
TM 250F MX The guys at the tiny TM factory are just about the only Europeans who believe in aluminum frames for motocross bikes. The TM 250F MX is a modern four-stroke motor with fuel injection and an old-fashioned kickstarter. The frame looks somewhat Honda-like, but is assembled and welded by hand with nary a robot in sight. Price: TBA.
YAMAHA YZ250F Yamaha joins the electronic age in 2014 with an all-new, fuel-injected 250F. The bike now shares a chassis with the YZ450F and has injection, a reverse head and a rearward-tilted top end. The five-valve head has given way to a four-valver. With so many changes, the Yamaha will be arriving in the U.S. near the end of 2013. Price: $7490.
YAMAHA YZ250 There are some riders who still believe that motocross bikes haven’t improved in almost 10 years and that the YZ250 is the best bike on the planet. The YZ remains dear to the hearts of two-stroke lovers, despite being fundamentally unchanged since 2007. It’s still light and fast, and on the right track, it can teach the four-stroke boys a thing or two. Price: $7150.
HONDA CRF150R When Honda introduced the CRF150R, it was supposed to be the start of a new age—four-strokes would gradually take over, even in the mini ranks. That didn’t happen, but as the only four-stroke mini racer, the Honda is bigger and faster than most of the bikes it lines up against. Rules vary from organization to organization as to which class the 150 belongs in. Price: $4990.
KTM 150SX/125SX The 125 is generally acknowledged as the fastest in its class, and the 150 is much faster. Both are powerful, light and fun. The 150 can run with 250cc four-strokes on most tracks in the hands of a two-stroke veteran. The two bikes are identical aside from bore and stroke and provide a great stepping stone from minis to full-size race bikes. Prices: $6599/$6499.
TM 144MX If you want the absolute latest in technology from a 144cc two-stroke, TM has it. The 144MX has a motor with an electronic power valve in an aluminum chassis. The little TM makes incredible peak horsepower. The frame is basically the same as the one around the 250F, and the bike has a TM-made shock and a Kayaba fork. Price: TBA.
HUSQVARNA CR125 It might seem a little confusing, but there are two Husky 125 two-strokes in the lineup for 2014. This one is still made in Italy, at least for the time being, and is similar to Husqvarna models of the past. It’s proven to be popular and reliable, so the new owners decided to keep it in the line with its Austrian-made siblings. It still comes with a 144cc top end as a spare. Price: TBA.
HUSQVARNA TC125 More choices are always a good thing. The 2014 Husky CR125 is made in Mattighofen, Austria, right alongside the KTM 125SX. It shares the same motor and frame with the KTM, but will be sold through a different dealer network. The Husky version has a new look and is priced slightly higher than the Italian-made CR125. Price: TBA.
YAMAHA YZ125 Yamaha might not be advancing the two-stroke cause with yearly updates, but we’re still happy that the YZ125 remains in the lineup. It’s still reliable and reasonably fast. The 2014 version is virtually indistinguishable from the 2005 model, which got an aluminum frame and new bodywork. A more modern fork came several years later. Price: $6290.
KAWASAKI KX100/KX85 Kawasaki finally gave some love to the KX mini racers after a long dry spell. The new KX100 and KX85 have a great deal more power and more sophisticated suspension without much of a bump in price. Just as important, they look great with new bodywork. The 100 is the same bike as the 85 but with a bigger bore and bigger wheels (16-inch rear and 19-inch front versus 14/17). Prices: $4599/$4349.
TM 85MX In Europe, the new electronic-power-valve TM 85 motocrosser made a big splash last year but wasn’t available in the U.S. because of a bad exchange rate. This year, the bike will be imported in limited numbers along with a big-wheel 100. Both will feature the only aluminum frame in the mini class and will have a high exclusivity factor. Price: TBA.
Husqvarna hasn't had a youth-class motorcycle in the U.S. market for as long as anyone can remember. That has changed with the integration of Husky into the KTM family. The TC85 is an 85cc two-stroke for racing motocross. It's very similar to the KTM 85SX, which means it will be very fast Price: TBA
KTM 85SX KTM continues to take a bigger and bigger piece of the mini-racer market share every year, despite a price that is considerably higher than that of other 85cc motocross bikes. The 85SX is faster and has higher-quality suspension components than its Japanese rivals. Only time will tell if the less-expensive, new Kawasaki KX85 can throw KTM off its game. Price: $5399.
YAMAHA YZ85 Yamaha is keeping the price real with the YZ85. It remains a good bike that is competitive with more expensive 85s. The Yamaha is slightly larger than the Kawasaki or KTM, which leaves a little room for growth. The Yamaha is also a great platform for a Supermini and can be turned into a 100 with affordable mods. Price: $3990.
COBRA CX65 This is a great American success story. Cobra has been wildly successful in amateur racing for years and is truly an America brand. The CX65 is still fairly new in the line and evolves each year. For 2014, it gets longer suspension travel, changes in the electronic power valve and a long list of other upgrades. At Loretta Lynn’s this year, a Cobra came out on top in the 7–9 class. Price: $4988.
KAWASAKI KX65 Kawasaki virtually created the 65 class in motocross racing. The KX still does well after all these years, and Kawasaki seems committed to keeping the price under control in the face of more sophisticated rivals. The KX is smaller than other 65s and much more affordable, giving it a valuable place in the market for younger riders. Price: $3699.
KTM 65SX This bike now dominates amateur racing in its class. It isn’t unusual to see 40 KTM 65s line up side by side at Loretta Lynn’s and other big amateur races. The KTM 65SX has a new hydraulic clutch mechanism for 2014, as well as a new front-brake master cylinder. The engine still uses a pressure-activated power valve and a case reed. Price: $4549.
COBRA 50 KING/50 JUNIOR Cobra’s record of success in National amateur racing is downright stunning. This is a small, American company making its own products. The King is the bike that made the company what it is, and it gets a new head and forks among other changes for 2014. The Junior is scaled down for younger racers but is still innovative and competitive. Prices: $3988/$3888.
KTM 50SX/50SX MINI In the mini ranks, KTM has come to dominate American racing by sheer weight of numbers. The 50SX has a case-reed motor with an automatic transmission that can be adjusted to engage at different rpm levels to suit different tracks and different rider skill levels. The Mini is scaled down, with smaller wheels and milder performance. Prices: $3849/$3299.
For the 2014 off-road bike buyer's guide, click here
WARNING: Much of the action depictÂed in this magazine is potentially danÂgerous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced exÂperts or professionals. Do not atÃƒâ€šÃ‚Âtempt to duplicate any stunts that are beÂyond your own capabilities. Always wear the appropriate safety gear.
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