12 Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles For The Best Riding Experience (2024)

12 Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles For The Best Riding Experience (1)

We all enjoy getting out on the trails and giving them a whirl. However, buying a dirt bike and a pickup truck to take it to the trail may be quite a financial commitment. A dual sport motorcycle, which is also street legal, is a more cost-effective option because it eliminates the need to take a dirt bike to the trails.

Modern-day dual-sport motorcycles give riders unprecedented freedom to explore new terrain and riding styles. With fewer and fewer places to ride off-road, having a dirt bike that is legal to ride on the street opens up a whole new universe. They operate with less noise and minimal waste, and their efficiency has increased.

Motorcycles from Honda, Beta, Suzuki, Kawasaki, SWM, KTM, Husqvarna, Christini, and SSR are street-legal without sacrificing the off-road prowess that was long reserved for genuine dirt bikers.

Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles to Buy

Want to buy a dual-sport bike but don’t know where to begin your search? There are a lot of options to choose from, but I’ll show you an easy way to limit it down to the model that will serve your needs the best.

1. SWM RS500R

12 Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles For The Best Riding Experience (2)
Engine4 valve, DOHC, single
Capacity501 cc
Gearbox6-speed manual
Top speedN/A
Seat height37.9 in
Wet weight255 lb

These bikes are, in essence, classic Husqvarna motorbikes that have been given new life by a Chinese investor. They are all still manufactured in Italy, unlike bikes from other companies like Benelli (in the old Husky factory).

Although they aren’t nearly competition standard bikes currently, they offer excellent performance for the price and are back in the 2000s. SWM also uses high-quality parts; KYB suspension, Brembo brakes, and Mikuni fuel injection are just a few examples.

2. Kawasaki KLX250

12 Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles For The Best Riding Experience (3)
Engine4 valve, DOHC, single
Capacity249 cc
Gearbox6-speed manual
Top speed85 mph
Seat height35 in
Wet weight304 lb

The Kawasaki KLX250 is not a versatile motorbike. It’s an authentic enduro bike with all the necessary street-legal accessories slapped on. It’s designed to be rideable by both inexperienced and seasoned riders, thanks to its low gearing and nimble handling on the terrain.

It can be ridden on the road, and short bursts through city streets are a lot of pleasure, but for longer trips, the KLX falls short. Kawasaki says it can go 85 mph, which is quite implausible and which you probably shouldn’t try to do.

3. BMW R 1200 GS

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Engine4-stroke, DOHC
Capacity1170 cc
Gearbox6-speed manual
Top speed125 mph
Seat height33.5 in
Wet weight538 lb

Forty years ago, there was no such thing as dual-sport motorcycle riding. Only after releasing the R 1200 GS did BMW establish this entire subset of the motorcycle-riding market. While the R 1200 GS has seen its share of ups and downs over the years, the latest incarnation is just as amazing now as it was when it first hit the market.

We didn’t know we needed this until we saw the 125 horsepower, road and rain riding modes, and the ability to switch to Enduro and Dynamic modes to better suit your riding style and the terrain.

4. Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro

Engine4-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves
Capacity1198 cc
Gearbox6-speed
Top speed148 mph
Seat height34.3 in
Wet weight560 lb

In spite of what may appear like an exorbitant price tag, there is significant worth here. Ducati equips this monster with a plethora of riding modes, power settings, traction control, ABS for cornering, electronically regulated suspension, and an app that records your bike’s settings and performance.

That’s the basic equipment, whereas, on most bikes, extras like that aren’t even an option. It’s not quite as agile in the mud as the BMW because it’s larger and heavier.

5. Husqvarna 701 Enduro

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Engine4-stroke, single-cylinder, SOHC.
Capacity693 cc
Gearbox6-speed
Top speed120 mph
Seat height35.8 in
Wet weight344 lb

The original hunter-orange plastic on this KTM motorcycle has been replaced with something else. That’s not a knock on the Enduro but rather an argument in favor of giving this another look.

It blends KTM’s expertise in off-road riding with a gentler, friendlier commuter motorcycle. The result is a practical vehicle for commuting to work or exploring new territory on the weekend that isn’t out for blood but rather for some lighthearted mischief.

6. Beta 500RR-S

12 Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles For The Best Riding Experience (7)
EngineSingle-cylinder 4-stroke, DOHC.
Capacity478 cc
Gearbox6-speed
Top speedN/A
Seat height37 in
Wet weight257 lb

If you’re looking for a brand on the verge of breaking into the big time, keep your eye on Beta. They’ve been quietly developing some of the best off-road machines around, and now they’re sneaking into the dual-sport market with models like the 500RR.

The six-speed fuel-injection system here demonstrates actual road workability and a genuine alternative for both intense trips and more moderate ones, even if they are still a little too hard-core into the off-road scene.

7. Honda CRF300L

12 Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles For The Best Riding Experience (8)
Engine4 valve, DOHC, single
Capacity286 cc
Gearbox6-speed manual
Top speed80 mph
Seat height34.7 in
Wet weight306 lb

Honda’s CRF300L and CRF300 Rally are two brand-new dual-sport models. The new CRF300L and CRF300R are the refined successors to the wildly successful CRF250L and CRF250 Rally, incorporating all the best features of the 250 cc motorbike while making significant upgrades, especially to the engine.

Compared to other dual-sport motorcycles, the Honda is on the heavier side. However, if it follows in the 250L’s footsteps, you’ll get a bike that’s bulletproof and has some pleasant additions, such as switchable ABS, and to be honest, once the CRF is moving, you rarely notice the weight when riding.

The CRF300L is the greatest dual sport bike for novices to get their feet dirty on, as it is a gentle machine despite its increased power.

8. Suzuki DR Z400S

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Engine4 valve, DOHC, single
Capacity398 cc
Gearbox5-speed manual
Top speed94 mph
Seat height36.8 in
Wet weight317 lb

Despite being nearly 20 years old, the Suzuki DR Z400S remains a popular choice for those who enjoy both light trail riding and longer-term road trips. Because of its rugged construction, the DRZ was favored not just in the United Kingdom but also in the United States and Australia, where it was used primarily for exploring remote areas.

The Suzuki DR Z400S is an affordable and durable motorcycle that can be ridden in a wide variety of climates and road conditions. The engine is a water-cooled, single-cylinder unit that produces a respectable 39 horsepower and 39 Nm of torque without exerting itself much. Thus, the engine has a solid reputation for dependability.

The wallowy ride is a result of the suspension being designed for off-road use; you get used to it after a while, but when you add a passenger or some luggage, the shock practically reaches the end of its travel.

While Suzuki stopped producing the DR Z400S in the 2000s, the company plans to revive the model in 2023. There are no new features, and the price tag of $7,099 is just for the American market.

9. KTM 500 EXC-F

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Engine4 valve, DOHC, single
Capacity510 cc
Gearbox6-speed manual
Top speedN/A
Seat height37.8 in
Wet weight254 lb

The KTM 500 EXC-F is another long-lived and extensively revised dual-sport motorbike. You can find several of these if you go to a local rally or out on the green lanes.

The KTM 500 EXC-compact F’s engine and light weight make it a popular choice among dual sport motorcycle enthusiasts. At just 114 kg, the KTM 500 EXC-F has one of the smallest displacements in the industry at 510 cc, making it surprisingly easy to control in confined spaces.

The power is understated and eerily quiet; it can get you through almost any situation, and you don’t even need to be in the best gear all the time.

The KTM 500 EXC-F is not cheap, but then again, it’s a KTM, and they never are. What you’re paying for, though, is the years of off-road expertise packed into a single machine and the painstaking weight saving that the other dual sport bikes didn’t undergo, and that makes a difference when you’re riding in the dirt.

10. Honda XR650L

12 Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles For The Best Riding Experience (11)
Engine4 valve, DOHC, single
Capacity644 cc
Gearbox5-speed manual
Top speedN/A
Seat height37 in
Wet weight346 lb

One of its selling points is its versatility; the Honda XR can be driven just about anywhere. Altering the foot pegs, handlebars, sprockets for lower gearing, and, of course, the knobbly tires renders the XR invincible in harder off-road terrain.

No major updates have been made to the XR650L in over a decade, but that hasn’t stopped it from selling well every year. It’s a fantastic, basic bike, and that’s probably why Honda has kept it in production for 30 years.

The Honda XR650L is incredibly serene and relaxed at highway speeds, and the vibration is so mild that it’s almost nice. That is the single most important fact to remember when learning about the Honda XR650L. It lasts a long time, doesn’t cost too much, and can still get the job done, which, in this case, is pretty much everything.

11. Suzuki DR-Z400S

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EngineSingle Cylinder, 4 Stroke, DOHC
Capacity398 cc
Gearbox5-speed
Top speed94 mph
Seat height36.8 in
Wet weight317 lb

The current iteration of the DR-Z has been on the market for over two decades, making it one of the few remaining vehicles available for purchase with a carburetor. There is a lot of pressure from Suzuki’s fanbase for the company to release an updated version of this product, and if they do, the price will likely increase.

Given its superior suspension compared to other bikes in its price range and nearly equal power to some of the more costly modern bikes, this is currently one of the greatest value-for-money alternatives available. As of right now, no other dual-sport motorcycle can compare to it.

12. Yamaha XT250

12 Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles For The Best Riding Experience (13)
EngineSOHC, air-cooled single-cylinder; 2 valves
Capacity249 cc
Gearbox5-speed
Top speed75 mph
Seat height32 in
Wet weight291 lb

Considering the low price of this Yamaha, it is surprising that the company was able to fit 11 inches of suspension travel onto a bike with a seat height of only 32 inches.

Learning on a dirt bike/dual sport is the greatest way to learn, and the 20-horsepower air-cooled XT is user-friendly and low-maintenance, making it the ideal first bike.

The XT250 is powered by a single cylinder that is 249cc in size and is fuel injected. Its power is easy to control for novice and experienced riders alike, making it ideal for commuting and weekend trail trips. The XT’s 2.5-gallon fuel tank and alleged 76-mpg fuel economy mean plenty of highway or backroad driving.

FAQs

Are dual-sport bikes worth it?

Lightweight and nimble off-road performance are the major benefits of a Dual Sport motorcycle. Dual-sport motorcycles are rugged and versatile off-road vehicles. Due to their reduced weight, the bicycles sustain less damage during crashes and are simpler to pick up after they have been dropped.

Are dual-sport bikes good for long trips?

The adventure bike is better suited to extended rides on paved roads and is only modestly equipped to handle off-road conditions. The genetic makeup of dual sport motorcycles is optimized for riding off-road, and they don’t have many conveniences that would be useful for commuting on paved roads for lengthy periods of time.

Is a 250 good for beginners?

Compared to other motorcycles, the 4-stroke 250 is simpler to ride. A newbie may find it difficult to maintain control of a 2-stroke’s tremendous power. If you’re just starting out in the biking world, a 4-stroke bike is a way to go.

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