Motorcycle races can be thrilling to watch, but off-roading enthusiasts will probably be more drawn to motocross. The obstacles of muddy or rocky terrain add a new element to the competition. It also requires the driver to have a little more skill to avoid these bumps in the road expert maneuvering abilities.
In addition to being off-roading experts, motocross drivers also need a good dirt bike. Motocross has seen a lot of powerful and speedy bikes since its stateside introduction in the ’70s. Here are some of the best dirt bikes ever built, from a list published by Dirt Bike Magazine.
1974 Yamaha YZ360
The YZ360 is one of the most powerful dirt bikes ever made, with a 360cc engine. It was also one of the very few ‘work’ bikes built during its time, which meant that it was made specifically for racing. Despite its light structure, it was known for being able to hold up under a lot of abuse on the track. It was also the first dirt bike to use a monoshock suspension system, which gave drivers more stability.
In addition to its considerable power, this Yamaha bike was incredibly desirable because of its rarity. It was produced in very limited qualities and was more expensive than other dirt bikes in the ’70s. Each of these bikes costs $1700 which, adjusted for inflation, would be a little over $11,000 today.
2008 Honda CRF450R
Honda’s CRF450R is a popular choice among dirt bike drivers today because the company continues to make even more improvements on the model each year. Many consider the 2008 model to be the best version.
It introduced a new frame, Honda’s Progressive Steering Damper Technology, and new brake rotors that would help cement its place as one of the greatest dirt bikes on the market. It came with a liquid-cooled four-stroke engine with a top speed of 110 miles per hour.
1981 Suzuki RM125
The RM125 came with a two-stroke engine that was water-cooled, which was considered very innovative for the time. Other features that set this bike apart from its competitors included a better suspension, a larger fuel tank, and air-assisted front forks.
Unfortunately for this brand, the ’80s were a period where dirt bike production was booming. This meant other manufacturers quickly made other bikes with even better specs than the RM125. Despite being quickly surpassed by its rivals, the RM series remained on the market until it was discontinued in 2008.
2007 YAMAHA YZ250
The YZ250 was first introduced in 1974 and has remained a popular choice for motocross racers. The motor and frame were slightly reworked for the 2000s, but it’s still the same reliable bike that it always has been.
It’s one of the only modern bikes that has never traded its classic two-stroke engine for a four-stroke. It weighs in at 211 pounds and can go up to 65 miles per hour. Its lightweight structure makes it one of the best bikes for tackling corners and overall handling.
1974 Honda CR125M
The CR125 may not have lasted long due to the rapid development of superior dirt bike technology, but many still recognize it as one of the most iconic dirt bikes for its popularity.
It was Honda’s first two-stroke motorcycle in its lineup, and also the most powerful one at the time. For many old-school riders, this bike was their gateway into the exciting world of motocross.
Racers like Marty Smith made the bike famous after breaking numerous racing records while riding it. Even though the CR125 couldn’t keep up with the competition, it helped Honda gain recognition as a reliable dirt bike manufacturer.