Each year as winter comes upon us, and I start going through the normal routine of putting my bikes away for the season, I tend to start looking ahead to the upcoming model year. Thanks to the good old pandemic it is hard to know when the next chance to attend a Motorcycle Show might be. Knowing this, and knowing we will start seeing many buyers’ guides listing every single detail of everything being produced for 2022, I wanted to give you my list of the bikes that have my attention in the Enduro world.
I am not looking to hit the motocross tracks, but I live in Western Canada, with endless trails in the mountains and foothills, and I love exploring them all. A powerful, fast enduro, that I can feel confident with on all kinds of terrain is the key.
With that knowledge, you will see how this list reflects such.
2022 Honda CRF450RL
The Honda CRF450RL is packed with off-road goodness. The “R” reminds us that the 2022 model uses the CRF450R motocross platform, then tunes it for trail greatness.
Engine modifications include; a specific crankshaft for this bike that adds inertia and enhances low RPM torque, and three piston rings to increase durability. A new ECU further refines the fuel injection tuning bringing the 449cc Unicam engine to 41.7 hp, and 23.6 lb/ft of torque.
The frame was widened slightly to accommodate a 6-speed transmission, providing a wider gear spacing to benefit both, low-speed abilities, and a tall 6th gear for long high speed stretches.
The Showa 49 mm front fork has 12 inches of travel and the Prolink rear suspension 11.8 inches of travel. New lightweight handguards are standard. The titanium fuel tank is 20% larger than the R at 2.0 gallons (7.6L).
In street-legal ready to ride trim the bike comes in at 291 lbs.
Pricing is unchanged from the 2021 model. $9,999 ($12,299 CDN).
2022 Yamaha WR250F
This is the machine for those who are all about, light is right. Yamaha has been making constant progressive improvements to the WR250F, and it is almost more race bike than enduro. This makes sense with so much of this bike being straight up a YZ250F race bike with a headlight added.
I am being a bit facetious about that, but much of this bike comes right from the motocross sibling. The cylinder head gets some rework, and ups the power from bottom to top. Not by much, but early riders have commented that it is noticeable. The frame, clutch, and brakes all get tweaked, which adds up to the 2022 model being the best version of the WR250F yet.
The harder you push this bike the more it rewards that aggression. Seat height is 37.6 inches, something to note for shorter riders, although due to this bike not being street legal it may be less of a factor. At just 254 lbs wet, and with an excellent KYB suspension, tossing this bike into corners, will certainly make you grin like a maniac.
Pricing comes in at $8799 ($10,399 CDN).
2022 Beta 500 RR-S
Once again Beta makes small improvements to the RR-S lineup of street-legal off-road bikes. Beta makes this bike with 4 engine choices but it is the 500 that is the sales leader.
With lots of low-end grunt and a very light 243lb wet weight, the Beta 500 RR-S, can certainly stretch your arms. To get the power down, the rear shock has new compression damping settings with independent high and low-speed damping rates providing the rider wi78 FT-LBth the adjustability for both separate settings. The front fork also gets a small valving change, and the clutch diaphragm is new providing lighter pull and more progressive control.
Beta improved the front LED headlight plus the overall graphics and color scheme, so you should be more visible than ever on the road and trail.
Pricing comes in at $11,299 a little more than others in this group.
2022 KTM 350 EXC-F
The KTM 350 four-stroke has been the most popular in their enduro lineup. Known for fantastic 450 like power, and 250 like handling, I am choosing it for this list over the 500 EXC-F. I honestly feel like it is the one I would be choosing out of the KTM lineup.
The 2022 model doesn’t change much from last year. The main improvement looks to come with the WP suspension. The WP Xplor 48mm fork’s tubes get a new oil bypass and damping changes. The XPLOR forks come with reduced friction thanks to updated outer tubes, a polished spring for less pollution of the oil, and a reworked upper cartridge screw connection to enhance rebound damping. The PDS shock now boasts a new O-ring that is less prone to deformation, wear, and fading, while new settings offer better bottoming out resistance.
The KTM 350 EXC-F’s fuel-injected DOHC engine offers the best power-to-weight ratio on the market (KTM claim). It delivers a broad torque curve that just delivers. If you want brute power, choose the 500 EXC-F as it offers superb balance throughout the rev range and upwards of 34 hp.
Wet weight (without fuel) is 238 lbs. The fuel capacity is 2.25 gal (8.5 L)
All EXC-F models have KTMs lightweight Chromoly steel frame, Brembo clutch and brakes, lightweight Lithium battery, and signature orange graphics, with added blue for 2022.
Ready to Race pricing comes in at $11,899 ($13,349 CDN).
2022 Zero FX
Are you ready to consider an electric bike yet? There is little doubt that electric vehicles of all types are where the world is headed, and Zero is right out front with their motorcycles.
The FX is more to the dual sport side of the dirt world, but it is certainly capable of being a competent Enduro machine. The 2022 Zero FX comes in two specs, 3.6 kWh and 7.2 kWh. I would be choosing the 7.2 battery which has a range of 91 miles and a curb weight of 289 lbs.
There is plenty about making the switch to a Zero that will be new, but experienced riders will adapt quickly. First off, there is no clutch. You have one gear and just a constant progression of power as you twist the throttle. Second, there is huge torque. With 78 ft-lb peak torque available instantly, this bike can easily pull you out of all kinds of situations. Lastly, it is so quiet. You will hear just the belt turning and the wheels over the ground. At first, it is bizarre, but then it quickly becomes amazing.
Drawbacks? I would not expect to toss it around as hard as a KTM, the Showa suspension is good, just not at the same level as others on this list. The Zero FX is capable, but it does lean more to the dual sport side and not the motocross level of expectation. That said, you have a bike that you will tend to ride in town more often than you would any other enduro on this list. The biggest drawback for some will be charging. Get the optional fast charger ($600) and that can bring the time down to 3 hours for a full charge.
Pricing comes in at $11,995 ($12,595 CDN).
Sum it up, man!
This is all simply a small slice of the Enduro range. I wanted to share the bikes which fit my riding needs, from the manufacturers I feel have the best offerings in 2022. They all have compelling products between 125cc and 500cc, and now electric has become a viable option. I didn’t even mention there are still 2-stroke choices.
With all brands continually improving their fuel injection systems and suspension setups, if your current ride is 4 plus years old, you will find huge improvements to get excited about.