Best 250cc two-stroke motocrosser:
Yamaha YZ250 It was the top expansion-chamber bike in our 250 shootout and often a favorite among the testers.
Click to visit the first test of the 2004 Yamaha YZ250
Best four-stroke motocrosser:
Honda CRF250R and CRF450R This is more of a size issue. Smaller, lighter riders usually get along better with the 250 and bigger guys prefer the 450, but it’s like splitting hairs. So they have to share this spot.
Click to visit the first test of the 2004 Honda CRF250R
and the 2004 Honda CRF450R
Best Off-Road four-stroke:
KTM 450 and 525 E/XC RFS Again it comes down to a coin toss. The more open the terrain you ride in, the more the 525 shines, and conversely with the 450.
Click to visit the first test of the 2004 KTM 450 E/XC RFS
and the 2004 KTM 525 E/XC RFS
Best Off-Road two-stroke:
KTM 250 and 300 E/XC The revised frame and engine and race-ready setup make this choice a no-brainer. Again, it’s more a question of just which size you can run. The 300 is often the choice for vet riders, but the two are so nearly identical that we’re happy on either.
Click to see the first test of the KTM 300 E/XC
Best MX Minis:
KTM 50 to 105 SX line From the Junior to the big-wheeled 105, the orange bikes have every step in the ladder for your rising star.
Suzuki DR-Z400S/Kawasaki KLX400S No contest here. For a D-S bike, “it” is thin and light and has good suspension.
Less than 80cc: Yamaha PW50 and Honda CRF50F/XR50R The PW50 is for mini tyros, and the CRF/XR family is for kids of all ages and is the best pit bike ever.
80-110cc: Kawasaki KLX110 Regardless of skill or size, there is a healthy grin factor with this green machine.
125-150cc: Honda CRF150F The perfect nonthreatening beginner bike, it can be ridden faster and harder than its predecessor, the XR100R.
Small-bore: Honda CRF230F It has the E-button, good ergonomics and decent power–and is a hoot to ride.
Full-size: Suzuki DR-Z400E/ Kawasaki KLX400 That E-button again, and the user-friendly power that will let you plunk along the trail all day or get on the gas and haul.
Best bang for your buck:
Kawasaki KDX200 It’s quiet, makes good power to race or trail-ride with and is about half the cost of most of its competition.