Bikes we're pumped to get our hands on for the coming season.
The middle months of each year are an exciting time to be a moto-journalist, with next year’s bike models regularly breaking cover amid much manufacturer hype, pomp and circumstance. 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years yet if you’re in the market for a new rig, with every manufacturer revealing big changes to at least one of their models. Still, it can be confusing and overwhelming to wade through the screeds of information available, so we’ve made it easy for you, and, in no particular order, have laid out the top 10 most anticipated models that you’ll see on dealer floors very soon.
2015 Kawasaki KX450F
The machine that’s carried Ryan Villopoto to four straight AMA Supercross titles was released last week and will boast an all-new air fork. Kawasaki has replaced the KYB air fork from with Showa’s SFF-Air TAC Fork with Triple Air Chamber, which is lighter, more rigid and offers greater stability. Other upgrades include a revised, firmer Showa shock, larger Braking discs (270mm front and 240mm rear), a tweaked piston crown similar to what the factory racers use that increases the compression ratio and improves performance and combustion efficiency, revised ECU settings, and a launch control system to help nail starts off a slippery gate.
2015 Husqvarna FC 250
Even though 2014 saw a completely redeveloped Husqvarna range in the hands of the brand’s new owners, KTM, the R&D departments haven’t slacked off for 2015. As does the entire motocross range, the FC 250 four-stroke MXer cops a suspension overhaul; a new WP 4CS fork with improved damping graces the front and the new shock has 4mm more stroke and improved linkage geometry. A new 22mm front axle with more flex is expected to translate to increased handling at the bars. The FC250 and its bigger brother, the 350, have received a new clutch basket and springs, while external mods include new fork protectors, handguards, ‘bars (now Neken, but with the same bend as this year’s model), seat and seat cover.
2015 Yamaha YZ250
It’s been an age since Yamaha put their two-stroke range on the operating table, but in response to the resurging popularity two-strokes, Yamaha has given the lively racers a cosmetic makeover to bring it into line with the YZ-F range. Upgrades to the YZ250 include new plastics (fenders, fork and disc guards, shrouds, side plates, rear brake caliper protector and front brake-hose holder), an updated airbox, triple clamp and Dunlop MX52 tyres. Expect the YZs to finally receive some new footpegs too.
2015 Honda CRF250R
For 2015, the CRF250R offers a host of improvements, with a new-generation 49mm Showa SFF-Air fork leading the way. This fork eliminates steel springs for less weight while offering a wider range of adjustments than a conventional spring fork. A redesigned muffler and new fuel map settings for the Dual-Timing PGM-FI fuel injection system increase engine performance for smoother acceleration, improved throttle response, quicker revving and more peak power. Like the CRF450R, the CRF250R also incorporates Honda’s new Engine Mode Select button that allows the rider to easily select one of three different EFI/ignition maps to match track/riding conditions. The CRF250R also features new front/rear wave-style rotors, a larger 260mm front disc brake and new graphics for a fresh look. The current model’s impressive and the new one looks to improve on that again.
2015 KTM 450 EXC-F
KTM’s entire enduro range, including the always popular 450 EXC-F, have bore the brunt of a swathe of refinements for 2015, primarily to the chassis. When the new model hits the dealer floor here, you’ll find it sports a lighter swingarm thanks to some changes to the wall thickness, an orange frame, black Giant rims, a new MAE speedo, and an updated muffler that’s quieter without affecting performance. In the cockpit you’ll also see new Neken bars, softer compound grips and improved handguards.
2015 Yamaha YZ250F
After a complete overhaul for 2014, Australia’s highest-selling motocross bike will see a number of smaller changes next year that are aimed at improving the quarter-litre’s on-track performance. For 2015 the YZ250F has received revised fuel and ignition timing and tweaked suspension settings. Externally, it’ll also sport Dunlop MX52s, airbox quick-fasteners, and black rims a gold chain for some extra bling. You’ll also continue to be able to choose between the blue and white/red liveries.
2015 Suzuki RM-Z450
After some average sales results despite winning two Australian national 450cc titles over the past 12 months, Suzuki has gone on the front foot by making a raft of changes to the 2015 RM-Z450. At the top of the list of features is the new Suzuki Holeshot Assist Control system, which provides you two options to help you get out of the gate quicker. A-Mode alters the ignition timing and reduces wheelspin on hard or slippery surfaces, while B-Mode will give you a more aggressive launch when there’s better traction off the gate. The ’15 will also sport a state-of-the-art Showa SFF-AIR fork, while the redesigned frame and internal frame parts have resulted in a significant weight reduction. Starting the machine has been changed dramatically due to a longer, reshaped kickstart lever, a redesigned de-compression system, revised kick-drive gear ratio, relocated kick idle gear and the addition of a breather gear. You’ll also find a revised water hose routing and water pump cover and a revised gear-shift cam for more precise, smoothing shifting.
2015 KTM 350 SX-F
While all of KTM’s adult motocross range has received sweeping chassis and linkage upgrades for 2015, the 350SX-F and 250SX-F have also received a revised clutch and oil pump suction screen o-rings. Externally, though, is where lion’s share of the changes have been made. An updated frame is said to save weight, while new fixing points for the linkage has meant the Austrians have also had to redesign a lighter linkage and change up both the fork and shock settings. Other mark-ups include new fork boots and protectors, a thinner front axle, steering stem and bolt, black Excel rims, orange frames, new two-component grips, a lighter rear sprocket, and Dunlop MX52s front and rear. To be honest, be it the 250, 350, 450 or even the two-stroke models, we’re pumped to climb aboard!
2015 Honda CRF450R
Honda’s big-bore MXer has copped sweeping changes to boost its engine performance and handling. An innovative Engine Mode Select button allows the rider to easily select one of three different EFI/ignition maps. Inside the cases Honda’s dropped in a new piston and cylinder head for better top-end power, revised the ignition and PGM-FI fuel injection settings, added a ACG flywheel and improved the strength of the transmission. A shorter, larger diameter exhaust system should also improve top-end power. Suspension-wise expect to see a lighter second-gen KYB Pneumatic Spring Fork with five-way adjustment and an updated rear shock adjuster that’s easier to access. Rounding off the changes are new braking discs (beefed up to 260mm at the front), updated fork covers and Dunlop MX52 tyres.
2015 Husqvarna TE 300
The Husqvarna TE 300 boasts one of the neatest packages you’ll find off-road. For 2015 it features a new headlight and front fender with the triple clamps adapted for easier mounting. The complete two-stroke range sees improved power delivery while the TE 250 and TE 300 receive a lighter, more efficient 3Ah battery. With chromium molybdenum steel frames, poylamide rear sub-frames, engines with peak performances in all displacements, the state-of-the-art WP 4CS front fork and rear suspension linkage on all of the enduro range, Husqvarna is set for a ripper of a year ahead.