These Are The 11 Best Dual Sport Motorcycles You Can Buy Right Now (2024)

For a while, it seemed like the dual sport was more or less dead, with only a few very old models persevering. Things have rather changed a lot in recent times though, there are still a couple old models banging about, but they are fan favorites and there are now also several new bikes to choose from.

Updated October 2022: Getting out and riding trails is something most of us love to do. Owning a dirt bike can be expensive though, and it also usually requires a pickup to transport the bike/bikes to the trail. The affordable alternative to this is getting a dual sport, a street legal dirt bike you can ride to the trails instead of transporting it there.

Although the definition of a dual sport is pretty vague, it is essentially a street legal dirt bike. Today, more people are seeing the value in these street legal dirt bikes, for those of us who have no real motocross ambitions, riding out to a trail or fire road just makes more sense. Modern dual sport bikes all pass both emissions and noise regulations and there is a model made for just about any budget.

Related: Honda And Greenger Motors Developing CRF-E2 Electric Dirt Bike

11 Kawasaki KLR650

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The Kawasaki KLR650 was recently reborn as a budget Adventure bike, but at its core, in base trim, it is very much still just a dual sport. It is a no nonsense kind of motorcycle that is easy to like.

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The only downside to the venerable machine is its size and weight, which is obviously a big limitation off-road and is not exactly new rider friendly.

10 Honda CRF300L

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If you are a new rider and are after something a little more beginner-friendly, look no further than the CRF. It has a modern, fuel injected engine and is approachable no matter which way you look at it.

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Although the seat height may seem tall on the spec sheet, once you sit on it, it will compress significantly lower and is actually low enough for most people to flat foot. Unfortunately, that soft rear shock is also its biggest downside as bigger, heavier riders will bottom it out almost everywhere.

9 Suzuki DR-Z400S

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The DR-Z has been around for more than two decades in this form, and is one of the last vehicles of any sort that you can still buy equipped with a carburetor. Suzuki fans desperately want them to update this machine, and they might, but if they do, the price will have to go up.

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As it stands this is one of the best value for money options, it has a far superior suspension when compared to similarly priced bikes and almost as much power as some of the more expensive modern bikes. For the time being, it is in a class of its own within the dual sport segment.

8 KTM 450 EXC-F Six Days

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The Six Days is a truly special machine that brings the best of the high performance competition bikes to the street.

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Obviously, you have to pay for this kind of performance, but if you are going to be doing some serious off-roading, or competing in enduro races, this is one of the best machines money can buy.

Related: Check Out KTM’s 2023 Off-Road And Enduro Lineup

7 Kawasaki KLX230

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In essence, the KLX is the perfect balance between off-road capability and budget, it has a better suspension than the CRF and a more approachable seat height than the DR-Z.

Not everyone needs an enduro championship winning bike, the little KLX is rather obviously not that. What you get is exactly the right amount of capability for a trail bike. It is arguably the best dirt oriented entry level dual sport, and will make for a great beginner bike too.

6 Beta 390 RR-S

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Another “dirt-bike-with-lights” option comes from the small Italian manufacturer Beta, and it is actually one of those bikes that is better than you might expect.

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It is powerful, nimble, and will certainly keep all those fancy Huskies and KTMs honest. It is admittedly going to be one of the most maintenance heavy dual sport bikes you can buy, with extremely short service intervals.

Related: Here's Everything We Know About The 2022 Beta 300 Xtrainer

5 Honda CRF450L

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So, the big boy Honda isn’t all that cheap, but it does pack incredible value. It simply won’t rival the Euro bikes in terms of performance, but it will most certainly be cheaper to run.

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It is one of those down the middle-ground options, as it is excellent on the road (for what is basically a dirt bike) with good gearing and more than enough power. Off-road, an experienced rider will keep up with the expensive enduros, and even the average trail runner will benefit from the extra punch.

4 Husqvarna FE 350s

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Arguably the best, most nimble off-road oriented dual sport. It makes decent power and isn’t as much of a headache to maintain as some of the other high performance alternatives.

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Although it is very similar to the KTM, it rather surprisingly has a better suspension, so the extra money you need to spend is well and truly worth it.

Related: Here's Why The Husqvarna FE350s Is The Best Street Legal Dirt Bike

3 Yamaha XT250

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Somehow Yamaha is able to cram in 11 inches of suspension travel in a bike with a seat height of 32 inches, it is a pretty impressive trick for an otherwise bargain-basem*nt offering.

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It is the ultimate learner bike, learning to ride on a dirt bike/dual sport is quite simply the best way to learn, and the 20 horsepower air cooled XT is both approachable and low maintenance.

2 Beta 500 RR-S

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Able to crank out 47 wheel horsepower, this is one of the fastest dual sport bikes money can buy.

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It is hard to compare any of the other bikes that have all been toned down to some degree for street use, as Beta pretty much said hang the sense of it and gave us a competition spec bike with lights and a number plate holder.

1 SWM RS500R

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Effectively, these bikes are old Husqvarna motorcycles that have been resurrected thanks to a Chinese investor. Unlike other brands like Benelli, these bikes are all still being made in Italy (in the old Husky factory).

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They offer great performance for the price, and as much as they are not quite competition spec bikes now, they were back in the 2000s. SWM make use of top-notch components too, with suspension from KYB, brakes from Brembo, and fuel injection from Mikuni.

These Are The 11 Best Dual Sport Motorcycles You Can Buy Right Now (2024)
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