2009 DIRT BIKE BUYER'S GUIDE

 
(12/15/2008)

 
MOTOCROSS BIKES
The digital frontier


TM MX
TMs are rare, expensive and handmade. Very few will be imported to the U.S., but there are lots of different models. The four-strokes models are the 530, 450 (shown) and 250. In two-stroke configuration there is an 85, 100, 125, 144 250 and 300. Prices: TBA 


HUSQVARNA TC510/TC450
Husqvarna has always had good designs and beautiful craftsmanship. Now that the company is owned by BMW, you might actually be able to find one. The 510 and 450 are competitive motocrossers with conventional carbs and Marzocchi forks.  Prices: $7699/$7399


HONDA CRF450R
The CRF450R was good but gray. It had been on top of the class since 2002 and that's a good run, so the 2009 version is all new, highlighted by fuel injection.  It also got a new frame and motor and the suspension is now KYB. Price: $7599


KAWASAKI KX450F/KX450F MONSTER ENERGY
James Stewart won every outdoor race he entered in 2008. You gotta give some credit to the KX450F. The '09 model gets EFI, but not a completely new motor as was the case with Honda and Suzuki. Also available in Monster colors. Prices:  $7549/$7749


KTM 450SXF
If you want an electric-start motocrosser, you have a choice between the KTM and, well, nothing. The 450SXF is crazy fast and reasonably light considering it has a battery and a starter motor. It has a four-speed and a conventional carb. Price: $7998


SUZUKI RM-Z450
Suzuki beat everyone. Last year Suzuki redesigned the RM-Z450 to accommodate fuel injection and it worked, but there were a few warranty issues with case breakage. Now all of that has been fixed, and the Suzuki is back without any other changes. Price: $7499


YAMAHA YZ450F
You win some you lose some. Yamaha got James Stewart, but didn't get fuel injection. The YZ450 remains the conservative choice in the class for those with digital phobia. The YZ is also the quietest bike on the track. Price: $7399/$7499 in white


GAS GAS MC250
Once upon a time, the world was ruled by two-strokes. For Gas Gas, nothing has changed. The MC250 is basically the same bike it was in the age of premix and expansion chambers. It's a small market, but that's okay. Gas Gas is a small company. Price: $7549
 

HONDA CRF250R
With all of the R&D money going to the 450 project, the Honda CRF250R was left alone for 2009. It still has twin exhausts and a steering damper, which you won't find on any other 250Fs. And it's still the bike to beat. Price: $6549


HUSQVARNA TC250
When it finally arrives, the Husky 250F promises to be the lightest bike in the 250 four-stroke class. The bike has been raced in Europe, and now with BMW's resources it should finally see a production line. Price: $6699


KAWASAKI KX250F/KX250F MONSTER ENERGY
Kawasaki is just greedy. In 2008, the KX250F won more pro races than all the other bikes combined. Yet the '09 version has massive change. Most of the redesign is in the motor department, although fuel-injection will have to wait. Prices: $6499/$6699


KTM 250SXF
KTM has the market cornered on light and fast. The 250SXF hauls and weighs slightly more than a BMX bike. The suspension was the only aspect of the bike that held it back, and for 2009, that got the most attention. Price: $7198


KTM 250SX
When other two-strokes stopped evolving and were frozen in time, the KTM 250SX just kept right on going. It has the best two-stroke motor ever made and it's lighter than anything that isn't a 125 or smaller. Price: $6598


SUZUKI RM-Z250.
For 2009, Suzuki engineers took a little time off. Thus, the RM-Z250 is unchanged. That's okay because it was really good. The Suzuki is probably the best handling bike in the class, and its strong point is cornering . It's also the least expensive. Price: $6299


YAMAHA YZ250F
It's a cruel world. Yamaha invented the 250F and what thanks does it get? Nothing but imitation. The 2009 YZ250F has a number of small changes for 2009. It remains the only bike in the class with a separate oil reservoir under the motor. Price: $6549/$6649 in white


YAMAHA YZ250
All the other Japanese companies gave up on the two-stroke, but not Yamaha. Maybe they feel guilty for starting the whole four-stroke thing. The YZ250 isn't new but who cares? It's available and it can be built into a stunning off-road bike. Price: $6599


HONDA CRF150R/150R EXPERT
We expected the whole world to follow Honda into the 150 zone. It didn't happen, so the CRF150R is the only one and it's very, very good. Most clubs allow it to race against 85 two-strokes where it has an advantage, stock-for-stock. Price: $4299/$4399 (big wheel)


KTM 150SX/125SX
If you don't like the rules, wait 10 minutes. The 150 is actually a 144 two-stroke, which was legal against 250Fs in some organizations for a little while. Now those rules don't apply, but both the 150 and the 125 remain brilliant, fun machines. Prices: $6198/$5998


GAS GAS MC125
In Europe, there's still an active Schoolboy class for 125 two-strokes. There is in some circles of U.S. racing too, and that's why Gas Gas offers the 125. It's a little old-school even by two-stroke standards. Price: $7349


HUSQVARNA CR125
Husky actually gave the 125 a new chassis for 2009, meaning it got more attention than all the two-strokes from Yamaha, KTM and Gas Gas combined. There also is a 144 kit that's so effective that it has won enduros overall in Italy. Price: $5799


YAMAHA YZ125
If you can't beat 'em, quit. Yamaha had the best 125 two-stroke when all the other Japanese companies gave up trying. Now the YZ125 is still fun and occupies an important slice of the market between minis and big bikes. Price: $5799


KTM 105SX/KTM 85SX
KTM makes the only bike that's competitive in the Supermini class without modification. The 105 has big wheels and a big motor that's legal in both NMA and AMA competition. The 85 remains the fastest stock bike in its class. Prices: $5498/$5198


KAWASAKI KX100/KX100 MONSTER ENERGY
Yes there's a big gap between an 85 and a 250F, and the KX100 is one attempt at filling it. It's a KX 85 with bigger wheels (16/19") and a bigger bore (52.5mm). It's legal as a Supermini, but not really competitive. Monster colors will cost you extra. Prices: $3499/$3699


KAWASAKI KX85/KX85 MONSTER ENERGY
Kawasaki has one of the most popular 85s, mostly because it's little. If you have a 65 rider ready to move up, the KX is the first stop. As a racer, it gives up suspension and motor to the Yamaha and KTM. Prices:  $3299/$3299


SUZUKI RM85/85L
Almost every tuner agrees: the RM85 motor has the most potential in the mini class. In stock form, the RM is very conservative, with excellent low-end and a small chassis. As a Supermini, it rips. The "L" has 16" and 19" wheels (2" larger than standard). Prices: $3199/3499


YAMAHA YZ85
In many camps, the Yamaha is considered the best overall 85. Some disagree, and that's why they have races. All agree that the YZ85 is fast and suits larger riders better than the Kawasaki or Suzuki. Price: $3349


COBA CX65/65 CARD
Cobra wasn't satisfied with domination of the 50cc ranks, so the 65 was introduced over a year ago. Now the 65 has a higher-performance brother called the C.A.R.D. (Cobra Advanced Racing Design) for more (a lot more) cash. Prices: $4196/$6398


KAWASAKI KX65/KX65 MONSTER ENERGY
Kawasaki might not dominate the 65 class the way it once did, but the KX65 remains reliable, competitive and capable of great things. The Monster Energy Edition is very cool looking, too. Prices: $2999/$3199


KTM 65SX
Swing a dead cat in the 65 class and you'll hit a half dozen KTM riders. Some of them might cry and you'll probably be arrested. The 65 class is wall-to-wall KTMs with good reason: they're fast. The new-for-'09 motor is said to be faster still. Price: $4398


POLINI XP65
It seems that Japan has lost interest in the 65 motocross market, so the newest designs are coming from smaller manufacturers like Polini. That's not such a bad thing. The Polini 65 is said to be one of the strongest in the class. Price: TBA


 KIDS BIKES
Certain to have Dad's fingerprints too


HONDA CRF150F
It's a little confusing, but this is the CRF150 that has electric-start and an air-cooled engine (called the F), not the full-race version (called the R). The worst thing about the F is that it's big enough for Dad to ride, which is bad for family stability. Price: $3199


KAWASAKI KLX140L/140L MONSTER ENERGY
Kawasaki took aim directly at the Honda 150 and lowered the price $100. You can get the coveted Monster Energy colors for $200 more or use the cash to send your kid to the movies every weekend while you ride his bike. Prices:  $3099/$3299


KAWASAKI KLX140/140 MONSTER ENERGY
This is the "standard" version of the KLX140. It still has electric start and an air-cooled five-speed motor, but it has smaller wheels (14/17 instead of 16/19). That makes it a little safer from grown-ups. Prices: $2799/$2999


FALCON ZRF138 PRO/125 PRO
Of all the Chinese clone bikes, Falcon is one of the very few that has followed through with parts and service coverage. The ZRF138 Pro is the top of the line with big-boy suspension and trick parts. Price: TBA


SUZUKI DR-Z125/125L
Suzuki's entry in what we'll call the XR100 class is just that: an XR-like five-speed air-cooled four-stroke without electric start. The "L" version has bigger wheels; 16 inch in the rear and 19 in the front, as opposed to 14/17. Prices:  $2499/$2699


YAMAHA TT-R125E/125LE
Yamaha is all electric for 2009. The TT-R125 E (with 14/17-inch wheels) and the LE (with 16/19 inchers) both are electric start as the kickstart version is no more. Both have an air-cooled five speed and surprisingly good suspension. Prices: $2699/$2999


KAWASAKI KLX110/110 MONSTER ENERGY
Kawasaki's cult classic is nearly indestructible with its automatic clutch and three-speed gearbox. That gives rise to some of the wildest modifications imaginable. The Monster Energy look only adds $100, whereas it's a $200 addition on all the other Kaws this year. Price: $1849/$1949


POLINI XP4, XP4R
Yes, Polini the Italian company is selling a Chinese four-stroke. It's no big deal anymore, considering how many Chinese parts are on Yamaha's and Honda's 2009 motocross bikes. The XP4 and XP4 Racing are pit bikes in two states of tune. Prices: TBA


YAMAHA TT-R110E
Last year, Yamaha did away with the old electric-start 90 and came up with the 110, which has a YZ look and a much higher cool factor. The electric start puts it a notch above all the other 12/14-inch-wheel, four-speed minis. Price: $1949


HONDA CRF100F
The big-wheel version of the timeless CRF80F not only has a 17-inch rear and a 19-inch front wheel, but larger displacement. No electric start, but most of the 20-something-year-olds we've seen on these are big enough to kick. Price: $2499


HONDA CRF80F
This is the air-cooled four-stroke that started several revolutions. The first was way back in the '70s when it was called the XR75. The next was in the first adult mini rage of the '80s. Now it remains as the father of a generation or two of riders. Price: $2099


GAS GAS CADET/BOY
If you think your kid has the stuff to be a trials champion, start him early with the Gas Gas Boy (a 50cc two-speed) or the Cadet (80cc six-speed). Gas Gas also offers the 80 with slightly larger wheels and calls it the Rookie. Prices: $4799/$3599


FALCON ZRF70/ZRF50
Yes these are Chinese clone bikes. But Falcon has proven that they will be around tomorrow and they do look pretty good for the money. The 50 and 70 are both kick-start, auto-clutch three-speed four-strokes. Prices: TBA


HONDA CRF70F
 Honda took the most copied bike in the world, the CRF50F, and basically copied it. But the 70cc version has larger engine displacement and larger (12 and 14-inch) wheels. It still keeps the three-speed gearbox and the auto clutch, but no E-start. Price: $1699


SUZUKI DR-Z70
Suzuki is right there mixing it up in the mini market with its own air-cooled, three speed. Like the Honda CRF70F and the Yamaha 110, it has a 12/14-inch wheel combo, but you have to kick. Deal with it. Price: $1599


COBRA CX50 JR/SR
Cobra's story is wild. The company started off with a few hand-built minis and had instant racing success. Now Cobra is one of the winningest makes in amateur competition. The CX50 is sold as the Jr (4-to-6-year-olds) and Sr (7-8). Prices: $3498/$3798


HONDA CRF50F
Is this the best Honda 50 clone in the world?  The CRF50F looks so much like the real thing it's amazing. Actually, the Honda is the only 50 we know of that's really made in Japan. It has 10-inch wheels, three speeds and no electric starter. Price: $1349


KTM 50SX/50SX JUNIOR
Isn't America great? Where else can you put a 10-year old on a top-fuel dragster like the new KTM 50SX and not be arrested? KTM gave its hottest mini a new motor for 2009. The Jr. is slightly milder, has a 10" front wheel and less travel. Prices: $3698/$3498


KTM 50 SX MINI
So you're not quite ready to send little Bobby Junior into space on a full race bike? KTM has the Mini with a lower seat height, less travel and a milder version of the new motor. Price: $3298


YAMAHA TT-R50E
Yamaha upped the stakes in the mini world by building a 50 with electric start. In every other way, the three-speed, auto-clutch TT-R50 is comparable to the Honda CFR50F, including price. Price: $1299


YAMAHA PW50
Legends built here. Starting your kid on anything other than a PW50 is like giving him a hand grenade covered in lead paint. The timeless PW still has a drive shaft and a oil-injected two-stroke motor. Price: $1199


XTREME MOTOR CO
Although many lay claim to the honor, Xtreme was probably the first company to import decked-out minis from China. The company will offer four models in 2009; the Superstock 50, Superstock 88, Prostock 125 and the new CR5. Prices: TBA


OFF-ROAD BIKES
Sub: Mountains, deserts, forests--it's all dirt


HUSABERG FE570/450
The winters are long in Sweden. The new Husaberg motor is the result of creative minds left idle too long. They started welding up motors in strange and frightening ways with the fuel-injected results you see here. Husabergs are manufactured by KTM. Prices: $9998/$9498


KTM 530XCF-W/450XCF-W
Remember the days when KTM had one four-stroke motor? That was a long time ago. The XCF-W motor is available in two sizes, both with a single overhead cam and a wide-ratio six-speed gearbox. The W suffix means it's intended for woods and tight trails. Prices: $8998/8798



TM ENDURO
Want to have something really different? TM builds fast motorcycles with aluminum frames by hand in Italy. The company makes 250, 450 and 530 four-strokes along with 125, 144 (shown), 250 and 300 two-strokes. Prices: TBA


BETA 525RR/450RR
When KTM redesigned all its four-stroke motors, there was still lots of life left in the old RFS powerplants. Beta decided to buy those motors and build its own chassis around them. The result is the electric start RR line, which has had instant success. Prices: $8599/$8499


GAS GAS EC515/450
Does anyone remember that it was Gas Gas who first got fuel injection to work properly on a dirt bike? The EC four-strokes have had lots of time to work out bugs that the Japanese manufacturers have yet to experience. Prices: $8949/$8949


SHERCO SE5.1i-F/4.5i-F
Sherco four-strokes are high on the list of cool fuel-injected bikes that you'll probably  never see. The Spanish company is more famous for making super light trials bikes but the four-stroke enduro bikes should be built with the same quality. Prices: TBA


KTM 505XC-F/450XC
This motor is an animal. Of all KTM's new engines, the double-overhead cam monster that goes in the 505XC, 450XC and 450SX should be handled with care. It's electric-start only and the XC versions have six speeds. Prices: $8998/$8698


HUSQVARNA TXC510/450
Husqvarna has appeared on the podium at several GNCC races this year, and this is the bike that did it. The TXC models are similar to the dual-sport bikes, but have a conventional carb, more serious suspension and more power. Prices: $7999/$7699


ATK 450
If only the guys at ATK could go back in time and talk to the engineers at Cannondale. A meltdown could have been stopped. Today ATK has finished the job that Cannondale started and has fixed all the problems with the fuel-injected, aluminum frame four-stroke. Price: TBA


HONDA CRF450X
Honda quietly has been making the CRF450X better and better each year. Now it's one of the best off-road bikes ever, and it already has a number of Baja victories to its credit. It remains quiet and very rideable in stock form. Price: $7499


KAWASAKI KLX450R
One of the best off-road bikes we ever tested was Destry Abbott's personal KLX450. He started with the highly effective electric start KLX, mixed in some KX parts and then won a national hare-and-hound. The stocker is good and it just gets better. Price: $7499


YAMAHA WR450F
We love the WR450F but we don't really understand it. Yamaha made a very effective electric start off-road four-stroke out of the YZ450, then detuned it drastically. If you go through the ordeal of unplugging the WR, you'll be rewarded. Price: $7499


BETA 400RR
It was a cult without a bike. The original KTM 400EXC had an intensely loyal following that was abandoned by KTM. Beta now purchases the original KTM 400 motor and builds a chassis around it that includes shock linkage. Price: $8399


KTM 400XCF-W
Someone at KTM realized that the 400 was gone and took steps to fix the problem. Now there's a new 400 in KTM's line. It has a completely different motor, but it's aimed at the same tight trails where the original 400 was so good. Price: $8398


GAS GAS EC300/250/200
Talk about manufacturing efficiency. Gas Gas gets three completely different bikes out of the same basic design. The 300, 250 and 200 two-strokes are all based on the same motor and frame. All are very good at tight, ugly survival trails. Prices: $7749/$7699/$6999


HUSQVARNA WR300/WR250
The Husky 300 is the two-stroke most likely to turn heads in 2009. It's based on the aging WR250, but the extra bore was all it needed for a firey new personality. The 250 remains as a much milder two-stroke alternative. Prices: $6999/$6799


KTM 300XC/300XCW
For 2009 all versions of the KTM 300 two-stroke will have electric start. That's such a brilliant concept we don't know why it didn't happen sooner. The "W" has wider gear ratios. Both have hot and mellow ignition curves built in. Prices: $7998/$7998


HONDA CRF250X
The Honda 250X has no right to have such decent low-end power. It's a 250F for goodness sake. In stock form it's quiet, runs cleanly and needs no "unplugging." But it can be made into quite the race bike with a few "R" parts from the MX version. Price: $6699


KTM 250XCF/250XCF-W
Some like it hot. The KTM 250XCF (and the wide-ratio "W" version) aren't mild mannered fluff bikes. They are hardened racers with little more than an electric starter to separate them from the motocross version. Prices: $7998/$7998


HUSQVARNA TXC250
Husky kept the existing 250F motor around for off-road racing even though the MX bike gets a new engine. Why? Because the old motor still runs great, is massively overbuilt and should run forever. It might be available as a 310 later in the year. Price: $7599


KTM 250XC/250XCW
Generally, we're nice guys here at DB. But when a KTM 250XC or XCW arrives, there's a knife fight to see who takes it home first. The electric-start two-stroke is the perfect bike for the types of trails we like best: tight, steep and ugly. Prices: $7898/$7898


SHERCO SE2.5i-F
In theory this bike exists, although we have yet to see one in real life. It has been raced in Europe with good results, so we believe it's really a fuel-injected 250cc four-stroke with electric start. It sounds great. Price: TBA


YAMAHA WR250F
It looks like a YZ250F with lights, but the WR is very mild mannered. Once you remove the throttle stop and make a few modifications, it runs almost as good as a Honda CRF250X. Almost. Price: $6699


HONDA CRF230F
This Brazilian-made, air-cooled, two-valve four stroke might not be the zenith of dirt bike technology, but it's inexpensive, it has electric start and it fits perfectly on the bumper of the motorhome. Price: $3699


YAMAHA TT-R230
Not all riders are racers. The same is true for dirt bikes. The TT-R230 is sized for a small adult,  has electric start and an air-cooled, 1960s-technology motor that should outlast the dirt it rides on. Price: $3699


KTM 200 XC/XCW
Sadly, the Kawasaki KDX200 is gone, so the KTM now carries the entire 200 two-stroke market on its tiny shoulders. We're okay with that because the KTM is so stinkin' good. Some say it's the best woods bike ever. Prices: $6998/$6998


GAS GAS EC125
It's one thing to keep making two-strokes in a four-stroke world. It's quite another to make 125cc two-stroke enduro bikes. That's a small market, but one that Gas Gas is serving with the EC125, which has a relatively new motor. Price: TBA


KTM 105XC/85XC
KTM really has every kind of off-road bike you can imagine, including ready-made cross-country minis. The 105 and 85 XCs are based on the motocross bikes, but with hand guards, an O-ring chain and a few other off-road tricks. Prices: $5598/$5198

KTM 65XC
We're not sure how many parents are ready to send their nine-year-old into the woods of a GNCC, but KTM has a bike for that. Based on the all-new 65SX, the XC version has handguards. Price: $4398

 DUAL-SPORT BIKES
 We used to think real dirt bikes couldn't be street-legal. We used to be wrong


KTM 990 ADVENTURE
Our definition of the term "dirt bike" is under assault. We just assumed that mammoth twin-cylinder dreadnaughts couldn't be fun off road. The KTM Adventure proved otherwise. With the right tires it's a blast on dirt roads. Price: TBA
 

KTM SUPERENDURO
If you think this is just a big street bike for poseurs, think again. The V-twin SuperEnduro is a real dirt bike. It's just big--but it's not as big as the Adventure thanks to more limited fuel capacity (and range). Price: TBA


BMW HP-2 ENDURO
The BMW HP-2 is the ultimate high-rollers off-road bike. The thought of riding something this expensive off-road would terrify most of us. But the HP-2 twin is capable of flying on dirt roads and winning races like Pikes Peak and the Erzberg Prologue. Price: $20,590


BMW R1200GS
Movie stars can certainly get their kicks by circling the earth on motorcycle adventures, so why not the rest of us? With the BMW GS, global dirt travel is attainable for real people. The enormous opposed twin has some off-road credentials and  cost less than a pickup truck. Price: $14,600


BMW F800GS
We haven't yet ridden it, but the new parallel twin 800 might be the best adventure bike from BMW yet. It's also affordable (by BMW standards).  With BMW's new-found interest in off-road bikes, we expect a lot. Price: $10,520


KTM 690 ENDURO R
This was originally designed as the platform for a new generation of Paris-Dakar bikes. Only now there's no more Paris Dakar. So the fuel-injected 690 is halfway between the huge adventure bikes and real off-road dirt bikes, leaning a little more toward the dirt side. Price: TBA


BMW G650 XCHALLANGE
When BMW first introduced this bike it was billed as a serious dirt machine. Since then BMW has learned volumes about the off-road world, and they understand that 650 is mostly street. Manufactured for BMW by Aprilia. Price: TBA


HONDA XR650L
Once upon a time the Dirt Bike staff raced the Baja 1000 on a stock XR650L. We didn't finish. The XR was the best dual-sport bike of its era, but that era has long passed. The air-cooled, electric-start dinosaur is still decent off-road but it's no racer. Price: TBA


KAWASAKI VERSYS
This motorcycle appeared on our radar screen unannounced. It's called a dual-sport bike, although we have yet to determine which two sports it's aimed at. The 650cc V-twin might be a good commuter bike. Price: $6899


KAWASAKI KLR650
This bike is actually better off-road than its predecessor, which was phased out last year. That's not saying much, but the old KLR's cult followers bemoaned the loss of the ancient KLR because it was an icon. The new version is better but still no thrill. Price: $5349


SUZUKI DR-Z650SE
We suppose that Suzuki must sell these bikes to someone, but that's just an unproven theory. The DR650SE is a bike without much to talk about aside from a seat height that isn't too tall and a price that isn't too bad. Price: $5299


APRILIA RXV550/450
We would never have believed it if we hadn't ridden the bikes ourselves. The V-Twin Aprilia RXV550 and 450 are very capable dirt bikes, weighing about the same as an old XR650R. They are only handicapped by vibration and a goofy airbox. Prices: $9299/$8599


KTM 530EXC/450EXC
Possibly the greatest dual-sport bikes of all time, the KTM 530 and 450 EXCs are based on the off-road XC line with just enough EPA nonsense to pass the test.  Unfortunately the exchange rate puts the price higher than ever for 2009. Prices: $9498/$9198


BETA 525RS/450RS
After KTM engineers made the RFS engine street legal, they promptly discontinued it. That's good for Beta, who is now buying the motor from KTM for its own super serious dual-sport line. Prices:  $8999/$8899


HUSQVARNA TE510/TE450
Husky started the hard-core dual-sport movement three years ago. The newest TEs are fuel-injected and very easy to transform into competition-level hardware.  In the past, supply was the only drawback. Now that BMW owns Husqvarna, things will be different. Prices: $8599/$8299


BMW G450X
Before buying Husqvarna, BMW started its own dirt-bike project. The result is just now hitting the market. The G450X is fuel-injected and has the swingarm pivot running through the countershaft. Juha Salminen will ride one in the World Enduro Championship. Price: TBA


SUZUKI DR-S400S
The DR-Z can be built into a world-beating enduro bike. We know; we did it. In stock form the bike suffers from a collection of quirks that are easily addressed, and it remains the best dual-sport bike that Japan has ever produced. Price: $5699


HUSQVARNATE310
With a new 250F motor in the works, Husky took the old one, which was quite overbuilt, and punched it out. The resulting 310 is the best bike in Husky's line-up for 2009. The fuel-injection can easily be altered into competition form. Price: $7999


KAWASAKI KLX250S
Kawasaki's KLX is half decent off-road and makes a great beginner bike. If you take it on a hard-core dual-sport ride, be prepared to take your time. It's not fast and even if it was, it doesn't have the suspension to handle it. Price: $4899


YAMAHA WR250R
Yes, there is such a thing as technological overkill. The new fuel-injected, electric-start WR250R is a fun little beginner bike but retails for almost as much as a race bike. It shouldn't cost more than a Suzuki DR-Z400 but does. Price: $6090


YAMAHA XT250
Yamaha imported the stone hammer XT motor to answer critics (well, us) who said the fuel-injected WR250R overshot its target. The XT gets the job done for $1500 less. Price: $4549


SUZUKI DR-Z200SE
The Suzuki 200SE isn't very good, but at least it's ugly.  The enormous fuel tank defeats the idea of having a small, unintimidating beginner bike. The electric starter is the only thing it does right. Price: $3949


YAMAHA TW200
The TW remains the best bike on the market for the inexperienced adult-size rider. It's all about the low seat height, the low price and the electric starter. We don't know what's so hard about that for the other manufacturers. Price: $3899


SUPERMOTO BIKES
 Dirt-track bikes without so much dirt


KTM 690 SMC SUPERMOTO
KTM made a giant leap forward when the old LC-4 motor was finally put to rest. The street-legal supermoto version now has the fuel-injected 690, which is smoother, faster and even gets better fuel mileage. Price: TBA


GAS GAS EC515SM/450SM
The Gas Gas four-stroke motor is a little big and dated, but the Marelli fuel injection is nearly flawless and in Supermoto configuration, it's a good package. Price: TBA


APRILIA SVX550/450
Aprilia has chalked up quite a racing resume in the U.S. by winning a number of large displacement Supermoto races and the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. The SXV V-twin is amazingly light and fast. Prices: TBA


 


SUZUKI DR-Z400SM
Suzuki really found a nook for the DR-Z when the bike got a big front brake and fat street tires. The SM became a hit, and probably the most successful example of anything connected with the name Supermoto. Price: $6299


YAMAHA WR250X
This is the smooth-tire version of the fuel-injected WR250R dual-sport bike. It's fun but expensive for something that struggles at freeway speed. Beware of the endless confusion in Yamaha's line as there are three completely different WR250s. Price: $6190


HEAD: TRIALS BIKES
The world's slowest thrill ride


GAS GAS
Gas Gas keeps its Pro line of two-stroke trials bikes in 125, 250, 280 and 300cc versions. There are also Raga versions of the two-strokes plus the new TXT Pro Four-stroke, which has a side-valve engine.


BETA
Beta also will debut a new four-stroke motor this year, a single-overhead cam, four-valve 250 dubbed the Rev 4T. The existing two-strokes will continue highlighted by the Rev 3.


SHERCO
Sherco was one of the first trials bike companies to offer a four-stroke. Now the bike has had further development. The steel-frame Sherco two-strokes remain some of the lightest in the business.


SCORPA
This is a French company that buys motors from Yamaha and builds trials bikes around them. The four-stroke 250 is actually based on the YZ250F motor. There are "Long Ride" models that have minimal seats with larger fuel tanks.

CONTACTS
ATK ... www.atkusa.com
Aprilia ... www.apriliausa.com
BMW ... www.bmwmotorcycles.com
Beta Enduro ... www.americanbeta.com
Beta Trials ... www.usbeta.com
Cobra ... www.cobramotorcycle.com
Gas Gas ... www.gasgas.com
Falcon ... www.falconmotorcycles.com
Honda ... www.hondamotorcycles.com
Husqvarna ... www.husqvarnausa.com
Kawasaki ... www.kawasaki.com
KTM ... www.ktmusa.com
Polini ... www.poliniusa.com
Scorpa ... www.scorpausa.com
Sherco ... www.shercousa.com
Suzuki ... www.suzukicycles.com
TM ... www.motoxspeed.com
Yamaha ... www.yamaha-motor.com
Xtreme ... www.xtrememotorco.com

 


 


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WARNING: Much of the action depict­ed in this magazine is potentially dan­gerous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced ex­perts or professionals. Do not at­tempt to duplicate any stunts that are be­yond your own capabilities. Always wear the appropriate safety gear.

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