Yamaha's all-new YZ250F takes much of the technology built into the award-winning YZ426F and packs it into a more manageable size for smaller or less experienced dirt worshippers. The "F" stands for four-stroke, which means that this bike pollutes less, is more forgiving, and requires less maintenance than the two-stroke engines in Yamaha's harder-edged motocross bikes. Those accustomed to the traditional rush of two-stroke acceleration will find little to complain about here: The YZ250F utilizes five lightweight titanium valves and revs to a two-stroke-like 13,500 rpms for plenty of wrist-stretching power.

Kawasaki ZRX1200R
$7,899
www.kawasaki.com; (949) 770-0400

The ZRX1200R is the essence of motorcycle. There's nothing extraneous here; not a hint of pretension in its lean, muscular stance, exposed 1,164cc engine, or classic Kawasaki green paint (also available in black, purple mica, pearl/metallic, blue violet). Nope, the ZRX doesn't waste any time making promises; it simply performs with effortless flexibility. In the morning, you'll run neck and neck with much more expensive (and far less comfortable) race-inspired sport bikes; in the evening, hit the town with your favorite passenger for some mellow cruising. What you do in between is up to you. Just don't expect the ZRX to make a big deal of it.

MV Agusta F4 S
$18,895
www.mvagusta.com; (215) 830-3300

Listen, we're not about to suggest that you spend 19 grand on a motorcycle, especially one as unabashedly impractical as this one. Then again, since when has choosing a motorcycle had anything to do with practicality? The F4 S is certainly not the best value in the 750 sport bike class, and looking strictly at the numbers, it's not even the best performer. But numbers don't tell us a thing about simple desirability, which hangs thick in the air around the F4 S's sleek and sexy bodywork. Like so many things Italian, this bike is pure passion. And who are we to put a price on that?