5 Of The Best Dual Sport Motorcycles For Beginners - SlashGear (2024)

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5 Of The Best Dual Sport Motorcycles For Beginners

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ByEli Becht/

With so many major motorcycle brands in the game today, finding the perfect bike can be a difficult task. There are many types to pick from ranging from sport bikes to cruisers, and it can be overwhelming. Once you narrow things down to dual sport motorcycles, you then have to weigh your options from the many different manufacturers. Luckily, there are quite a few dual sport options out there, and while this list features five, there are plenty more.

Beginner riders typically benefit from bikes that are lightweight, easy to handle, and inexpensive. There's no sense in spending beyond $10,000 on a motorcycle if you're not sure yet that the hobby's right for you. Luckily, there are plenty of options, so there shouldn't be much of an issue finding exactly what you want. Amore in-depth explanation of how these five bikes were picked can be found at the end of the list.

Suzuki DR-Z400S

New riders typically want to stay away from bikes with high-powered engines with blazing fast speeds like a Suzuki Hayabusa, so the 398cc engine of the DR-Z400Sis a nice way to ease into that. Just because an engine has lower power doesn't mean it can't pack a punch, however. The DR-Z400s can still hit speeds beyond 90 mph, so while it's not the fastest, it's still more than enough for highway riding. It's also lightweight at 317 lbs.

The bike has an adjustable suspension that can tackle off-roading and paved streets. A big factor working in its favor is the MSRP beginning at $7,199, which is expensive considering the rest of the bikes on this list but the Z400S offers a lot of performance to make up for it. If you're not interested in the latest iteration, you can bump it to a 2023 model and save $100. Both versions come with the same engine and adjustable suspension, so you're not losing out on a whole lot if you don't grab the 2024 version. Whether you're sticking strictly to the road or trying out rough terrain, the Z400S is a fine option for learning.

Yamaha XT250

For a price starting at $5,399, you can pick up the Yamaha XT250 and take it both on and off the road. The low seat height of 32.7 inches makes the XT250 approachable to new riders since it's easy to keep your feet on the ground at a stop. The height also makes it so you can take turns more easily at low speeds as it gives you a bit more control, something that's also good news for a new rider.

The 249cc engine is easy to handle for a newcomer, and it'll only get into the mid-70s speed-wise. This makes it a difficult recommendation if you drive on expressways, but if you're looking for a solid dirt bike it's a good option. An underrated feature of this bike is the spacious seating room that gives room for an additional passenger to take those winding trails with. Although a new rider might not feel comfortable taking somebody with them while they're learning, it's something to take advantage of down the road.

Kawasaki KLX 300

The Kawasaki KLX 300is a bike easy to learn on thanks in part to its 292cc engine. Despite the smaller engine, it still packs a decent punch that tops out at nearly 90 mph, but it's more comfortable to ride in the 60s. That makes it a tough ride on interstates when it comes to passing, but it could still be serviceable. If you plan on taking it into the city, Kawasaki boasts a radiator fan that directs heat away from the rider for more comfort. Where it shines best is in off-roading thanks to its low curb weight of 302 lbs and adjustable suspensions.

It's tough to go wrong with many of the KLX bikes Kawasaki offers, and if you want to grab a cheaper dual-sport model, you can opt for the KLX 230 to save more than $1,000. MSRP for the KLX 300 begins at $6,199 — a price that puts it at a nice middle ground with the other bikes on the list. With this being a Kawasaki, you're also covered by the one-year manufacturer's warranty included with the purchase.

Honda XR150L

This is the cheapest bike on the list by a good margin — the 2024Honda XR150Lbegins at $3,099 and the 2023 model drops the price down to $2,971. As long as you're aware of the limitations of the bike, it's a fine option to learn on.TheXR150Lisn't great for interstate riding as it climbs up to just under 70 mph, so it'll struggle to keep up with traffic. The bike model also has no visible gas gauge, so you're better off sticking closer to home instead of going on long trips.

But if that's not what you're looking for in a dual-sport motorcycle, then there's a lot to like about Honda's offering. The 149cc engine gives you an easy-to-handle ride, and it's a lightweight bike in general with a weight of 282 lbs.Honda's motorcycle won't break the bank, and if you end up not liking it you're not going to be in the hole as much as you would with another option.

Yamaha TW200

If you value a low seat and an easy ride, the Yamaha TW200 is a great option for new riders. The 196cc engine can get the bike a little above 70 mph, so it works fine driving through city streets but will likely run into issues on expressways. Luckily, Yamaha's little bike is more than enough for off-roading, so while it's not capable of what some other bikes on the list can do, it can fit your needs if that's all you're looking for. The wet weight is 278 lbs, so it's a light bike that is easy to maneuver for new and veteran riders alike.

With an MSRP beginning at $4,999, the TW200 is an affordable bike backed by a one-year manufacturer's warranty. Yamaha boasts about the "terrain conquering tires" that give good traction and control over all types of terrain. If you're looking for something to take through trails or on a paved road, the TW200 is as good of a pick as any on the list. Just don't expect to take this bike on long-distance trips and you'll be fine.

Why were these five motorcycles picked?

New riders looking for a dual-sport option have plenty of motorcycles to pick from, and this list highlights quite a few of them. Not every bike has the same performance as the other, and some handle paved roads and interstate trips better thanks to stronger engines, so that's something you need to be aware of when making a purchase. Every bike comes in well under the $10,000 price range, so they are all good fits for buyers on a budget.

Ultimately, these bikes make for good starter bikes thanks to their lightweight builds, smaller engines, and good suspension while off-roading. Anybody should be able to get comfortable with the ins and outs of riding, and going off on rocky terrain is much different than riding on a smooth, paved road. All five bikes thrive in those rocky conditions and can handle regular roads too — something that can't be said for all motorcycles.

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5 Of The Best Dual Sport Motorcycles For Beginners - SlashGear (2024)
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