COBRA CX65: $5298
Cobra has won over 300 National titles in the last 10 years.
The company’s CX65 has recently progressed to the point
where it can challenge KTM in that class—in results if not
in numbers. The bikes are handmade in low quantity with
parts mostly made in the U.S. Last year the 65 got extensive
upgrades, and this year it follows up with new wheels, low-friction swingarm bearings and Dunlop MX3S tires.
HUSQVARNA TE300 & TE250: $9399/$9199
If you’re one of the pundits who say that Husqvarnas
are just white KTMs, the TE models are proof otherwise.
They’re designed for trail riding more than competition,
but unlike the KTM XC-Ws, the TEs have linkage suspension, a unified subframe and airbox, Pro Taper handlebars,
D.I.D Dirt Star rims and a Magura master cylinder. This
year the brakes are made by Magura. The Husky 300 and
250 are identical aside from bore.
GAS GAS XC300 & XC250: $8999/$8899
Gas Gas makes both its 250 and 300 two-strokes available in a stripped-down version for cross-country racing.
The XC models, such as the EC (enduro) models, have
new frames and new top ends for 2018. They have the
same KYB suspension but without the headlight or instruments. The XC models also get FMF exhaust pipes and
silencers. An XC200 will sell for $8599.
COBRA CX50SR & FWE: $4198/$5198
Every summer Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, becomes the
world Cobra center. The CX50R once again had a massive
presence disproportional to the small size of the company.
The 2018 CX50 model gets upgraded brakes, lightweight
wheels and Dunlop Geomax MX3S tires. The high-end
Factory Works Edition (FWE) gets a Warhead cylinder and
an extended wheelbase.
GAS GAS EC300 & EC250: $9299/$9199
After a factory shutdown two years ago, Gas Gas has
been the focus of reinvestment and innovation. The EC300
and EC250 models have completely new frames, bodywork and suspension for 2018. The motors have new top
ends. Horsepower is up, weight is down, and the company
is alive and kicking. The 250 differs from the 300 only in
bore size. There will also be an EC200 for $8899.
COBRA CX50JR & P3: $3998/$3598
Although Cobra specializes in making the world’s most
competitive (and expensive) mini racers, the company also
has something for true beginners. The CX50JR and the P3
have 10-inch wheels and much milder power output for
younger riders. It also gets upgraded brakes, wheels and
tires this year, along with billet triple clamps with adjustable bar mounts. The P3 is smaller and qualifies for the
Special Limited class.