For this month, we have decided to take it off-road and hit the dirt with our list of powerful dirt bikes to get crazy with.


This bike replaces KTM’s much-loved 300XC-W off-road two-stroke for 2019. The TPI version is almost the same, but it does away with the carburetor for a fuel-injection system that squirts fuel directly into the transfer ports. This is still regarded as a closed-course competition vehicle with no EPA or CARB approval, and that isn’t likely to change. It offers the benefits of increased fuel mileage and improved performance at altitude.


Honda’s take on the big off-road racer is the CRF450RX, a new version of the CRF450R motocross bike. It has a different power delivery, a larger tank, softer suspension, a kickstand and an 18-inch rear wheel. It has the MX gearbox, and it got all the same updates as the 2019 motocross bike, including a flexier frame and swingarm. The kickstarter provision has been taken away for 2019.


Baja racers have been drooling over this bike since it was announced. This is the long-anticipated EFI remake of the X, a bike that has dominated the Mexican 1000 for years. It has the same layout as the R motocrosser but with a six-speed gearbox and full EPA blessing as a legitimate off-road bike. That means it’s super quiet and green-sticker-legal in California without a throttle stop or any such end runs.


KTM’s master plan is to direct trail riders towards its dual-sport line while off-road racers are offered this: a full-race, off-road version of the 450 motocross bike. The 450XC-F has the same gearbox, motor, muffler and suspension components as the SX model, but it carries more fuel and has different settings to make the power delivery and suspension action more appropriate for off-road racing. It has a kickstand, an 18-inch wheel and handguards.


Suzuki took the high road with the RMX450Z, making it fully compliant with national requirements for an off-road bike. It’s super quiet and meets EPA emission requirements. In order to do that, it has a throttle stop that many riders will remove when they get home from the dealership. The bike is fundamentally the same as the 2010 model and based on the RM-Z450 MX bike of the time but with electric start and off-road equipment.


Yamaha was due to upgrade the WR450F with a move to the new chassis and the motor that was introduced on the 2018 YZ450F motocross bike. Exhaust Emissions and noise levels are dropped for it to be widely available on the markets and meet the regulations. The motor’s central processing unit is locked on this model, so it’s not compatible with Yamaha’s smartphone-based Power Tuner app.



It took a year, but for 2019, Yamaha brought the YZ450FX up to the same platform as the YZ450F motocross bike. That means it’s completely different from the previous WR. It has a more rigid frame and a new motor, and the electric starter is now integrated much better, resulting in weight loss. Of all the 450 MX-based off-road racers, the Yamaha is the only one with a wide-ratio gearbox. It also gets a map switch and a larger tank.


This is the bike of choice for elite off-road racers in the east like Kailub Russell. KTM keeps its cross-country race bikes closely in sync with its current motocross bikes, so there’s no one-year delay for the newest updates to trickle down to the off-road world. The 2019 350XC-F has a new frame and bodywork for 2019. It still has a six-speed gearbox, a 2.3-gallon tank and off-road badges like a kickstand and handguards.


Honda’s R&D department went a little crazy this year with a long list of bikes that are either all new or heavily updated. The CRF250RX is one of the all-new ones. It’s based on the e-start CRF250R MX bike that was introduced in 2018. This version is for off-road racing and does not meet EPA requirements for an off-road model in the U.S. It gets a 2.25-gallon fuel tank, softer suspension and other off-road amenities.