POLARIS PHOENIX ($3599)
The Phoenix is one of those secret best sellers that never
takes the spotlight. There are zillions of them out there
with an eternal 196cc four-stroke motor and electric start.
One of the secrets to its success is its CV transmission with
reverse, and the fact that it’s rated Y- 14 for 14-year-old kids
doesn’t hurt. The chassis of the Phoenix is decent, with
double A-arms in front and 6. 5 inches of travel in the rear.
KYMCO MONGOOSE 300 ($3849)
As long as you’re clear that the Mongoose isn’t a
motocross racer, you’ll be happy. It’s a good transition
machine for beginners, and it’s capable of going fast in
the hands of an expert. There’s no clutch and no shifter,
just a CV transmission with reverse. The Mongoose is built
on a platform similar to the MXU 300 but has a chain final
drive instead of a shaft.
SUZUKI Z400 (TBA)
This sport Suzuki has a great heritage. When it first
arrived, it was the first four-stroke ATV to win a national
motocross championship. Now, it remains in the Suzuki
lineup where flashier sport models have come and gone.
The reason it has such eternal staying power is because it
was done right in the first place. Today, it has fuel injection, electric start and reverse.
YAMAHA YFZ450R ($8799)
This year the YFZ450R received new ECU settings, the
compression ratio was increased, and it got a new throttle
body and muffler. On top of all that, the new slipper-style
clutch has a lighter pull and effectively reduces engine
braking. The suspension was reconfigured, and it got new
bodywork. As it stands, the YFZ450R is the best production
racer available. The SE version offers a cool look for $8999.
YAMAHA RAPTOR 700 ($7699)
There’s nothing quite like the Raptor 700. Other manufacturers have tried to copy its formula to no avail; the
Yamaha remains the king of the sport jungle. The big four-stroke motor is linked to a manual five-speed transmission
and long-travel single-shock rear suspension, EFI, reverse
and electric start. The R version has upgraded styling and
suspension for $8799, and the SE comes in white for $8799.
ARCTIC CAT MUDPRO 1000 LE ($14,399)
Someone at Arctic Cat must have come up with this
idea in a dream. Who would have guessed how cool it
would become? The Mudpro line is designed to cross
uncrossable mud and water crossings, either for competition or play. The 1000 Limited is the top of the line, with the
V-twin motor, a snorkel, massive tires, power steering and
a long list of items to maximize muddy mayhem.