2011 Motorcycle of the Year | Best Dirtbike

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KTM 350 SX-F
Sometimes Less Is More

Ever heard of Antonio Carioli? How about Stefan Everts? In case you haven’t, the former is the reigning FIM MX1 World Champion while the latter won that title a record 10 times. The two teamed with KTM to create the 350 SX-F, which gives away 100cc to its competition in the 450cc motocross ranks but makes up for that in other areas. How so? First, its power output is eminently tractable, letting it grab traction in sketchy conditions, along with its fair share of holeshots. And second, although the Austrian machine doesn’t weigh appreciably less on the scales, it feels lighter thanks to the lower inertia of its smaller (and thus lighter weight) engine internals. This translates to reduced rider fatigue near the end of a long moto—particularly if you stall it, since its standard electric start means no kicking. There’s also an off-road version, which should offer even more of an advantage on tight trails. If 250cc is too little and 450cc too much, the 350 is just the ticket.

Alternative Take

Beta 400 RS
It's impressive when a little-known European company goes mainstream. It's even more impressive when said company's products prove to be truly world-class. Such is the case with Italy's Beta and its new line of street-legal dual-sports. The 400 RS can go head to head with anything from Husaberg, Husqvarna, KTM—or Japan, Inc.