YAMAHA YZ125: $6499
The YZ125 motor hasn’t changed much in 12 years, but
it makes good power, and the suspension is the best in
the industry. The bike handles flawlessly and makes you
wonder why everyone doesn’t ride one. In 2015 it got new
bodywork, and while it still doesn’t look like a modern four-stroke, it doesn’t look quite as old-fashioned as it did.
COBRA CX50SR & FWE: $4198/$5198
Last year a limited-edition Cobra called the Factory
Works Edition was introduced to instant success in the
mini racing world. Now the CX50SR gets many of the
same upgrades, while the new FWE is updated further with
a new cylinder, lighter wheels and a coated exhaust system. All Cobras have the new Pro Taper Micro handlebar
with a reduced diameter in the grip area.
COBRA CX50P3 & CX50 JR: $3598/$3998
Cobra got its start in 1993 and is a legitimate American
motorcycle manufacturer, specializing in competition mini
cycles. Now there are four different CX50s for different levels of riders. The Jr and the P3 have 10-inch wheels with a
new frame for 2017. The big news is that the two little bikes
have been upgraded to the new Venom-series motor.
YAMAHA YZ250: $7399
In 2005 Yamaha introduced the aluminum frame that the
YZ250 still uses. The motor actually goes back a few years
further, but the bike still holds its own on the track and has
become an icon in the two-stroke world. Yamaha has continued its policy of giving the bike just enough attention to
keep it relevant, and this year it got a 270mm front brake.
COBRA CX65: $5298
Based out of Hillsdale, Michigan, Cobra has won over
300 National titles in the last 10 years. The 65 has been
around for a few years now, but has recently come into its
own as the only legitimate challenger to KTM in that class.
The bikes are hand-made in low quantity with parts mostly
made in the U.S. This year the 65 gets the most extensive
upgrades since its introduction. o
YAMAHA YZ250X: $7499
In 2015 Yamaha stunned us by suddenly deciding that
the off-road world and, more specifically, off-road riders
were worth pursuing. The YZ250X is a competition bike
designed to go head to head with KTM’s two-strokes. It
lacks electric start and a large tank, but Yamaha engineers
worked hard on the powerband and gear ratios to make
the bike work for the trail.