Kawasaki continues to grow the fastest amateur riders in
America through its “Team Green” program, and they all
spend time on the KX85. It’s a small bike as 85s go, but
has potential and is easily hopped-up. The KX100 is a big-wheel version of the same bike, although not typically
used as a racer in the Supermini class.
A few years ago, Suzuki was generally considered to
have the best motor in the mini class. In stock form, it
might still have the most low-rpm performance. The chassis is small by modern standards, although slightly larger
than that of the KX85. The Suzuki is especially welcoming
to smaller riders. The L has larger wheels.
Just like its offerings in the 85 class, KTM provides two
options in the 65 ranks. The 65SX already dominates racing, and now the SXS is available to push the envelope a
little farther. It offers an upgraded power valve, an FMF
silencer, Dunlop tires and other perks for $800 more.
P ric e: $5199/$4399
Yamaha has the best deal in the 85 class. The YZ’s chassis is more modern than either the Kawasaki’s or the
Suzuki’s, and it sells for $1000 less than the four-stroke
Honda. The YZ is a little larger than the other Japanese two-strokes and offers more suspension travel for the
P ric e: $3990
Cobra has been developing its 65 for several years now,
and 2012 will bring yet more refinement. This in an
American-made motorcycle, and it’s virtually hand-built. As
of press time, few details of the new version are known.
Kawasaki understands that the future of the sport is filled
with riders who weren’t born when James Stewart rode for
Team Green. That’s why the company has such thorough
coverage of the mini ranks. The KX65 isn’t the fastest bike
in the class, but it is the most affordable bridge to the big
leagues, and it has a manual clutch and gearbox.
P ric e: $3549