If you’re a motorcyclist and want adventure, a dual sports motorcycle is a must-have. Dual sports motorcycles can conquer both on-road and off-road travel. It’s a good thing the manufacturers came up with this type of motorcycle to satisfy your need for adventure.
However, finding the right dual-sports motorcycle can be difficult, especially when there are so many options to choose from. The most popular manufacturers of dual-sport motorcycles are Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and KTM.
Besides the quality and price of the bike, the biggest thing to consider is your Height. If you are less than 5’6” tall, riding a dual sports motorcycle may be a little tougher for you. The high valve trains and long travel suspensions tend to be on the leggy side. However, some manufacturers offer kits that will shorten the suspension. You can look into models in the 250 range, like the Kawasaki KLX250, the Honda CRF230L, the Yamaha WR250R, and the Suzuki DR-200SE.
Here are the best dual sports motorcycles.
Honda has a funny history with Toyota. At the start of their life as a company in 1937, Honda actually was a contractor for Toyota. And they weren’t even a particularly good one, at least in the beginning. They supplied shoddy piston rings to Toyota that were rejected. Honda, the founder, attended engineering school, and in 1941, finally got piston rings right. In 1946, after the war, Honda started retrofitting bicycles with salvaged war-surplus two-stroke engines to produce their first makeshift mopeds. It was a couple of years later that they produced their first real production motorcycle. It was called the “Dream” and was powered by a 98 cc 2-stroke engine. Honda soon perfected their motorcycle design, and production and has since been recognized as the world leader in motorcycle manufacturing.
The Honda CRF450L is one of the most well-balanced dual sports motorcycles in the industry. It boasts an enhanced suspension systems, sturdy architecture, and great looks. Its front and rear Showa suspension system is fully adjustable. It has over 37 road-ready horses and 12.4 inches of ground clearance. The CRF450L has features that catapulted it to the limelight as Honda’s one of the most capable variants.
The CRF450L is lightweight, offers superior handling, and has plenty of power. It has a robust 449cc Unicam engine, wide-ratio 6-speed transmission, twin-spar CRF chassis, catalytic converter, high-end long-travel suspension, and electric start. It is entirely street legal in 50 states, so you won’t have to worry about traveling with it all over the US. Its 18-inch rear wheel offers you an excellent choice for off/on-road tires. It also has superior ergonomics, making you comfortable throughout the ride.
The KTM brand is a world-renowned Austrian motorcycle manufacturer that produces sought-after off-road bikes. The bikes that KTM produces are known to excel in performance in Enduro, Supermoto, and Motocross events. KTM’s long proud history started in 1934. Today, they create motorcycles for adventure seekers and off-road racers. To date, KTM-sponsored racers have won over 270 world championship motorcycle racing titles.
This KTM model is one of the more expensive dual-sports motorcycle on the market. KTM describes this variant as “versatility without compromise.” The Super Adventure 1290 R is sturdy, big, and versatile and is probably one of the best in the dual-sport industry.
The Super Adventure 1290 R is powered by a massive liquid-cooled 1301cc twin engine that can deliver a whopping 160 horsepower and 103.2 pounds per feet of peak torque. It also comes with super heavy-duty spoked wheels and knobbly tires, and a long travel suspension of 8.7 inches that offers 10 inches of ground clearance. This dual-sports adventure motorcycle is also treated toBembo brakes, ABS, cruise control, an adjustable windscreen, and traction control.
Kawasaki didn’t start with motorcycles. Their first products were fairly larger, such as ships, submarines, and airplanes. They only started tinkering with building their own brand of motorcycles in 1960 after acquiring Meguro, a failing Japanese manufacturer at the time. Meguro was rebranded as Kawasaki, and this division of the Kawasaki mega-corporation soon became one of the recognized “Big 4” of motorcycle production.
The Kawasaki KLX250 is an excellent dual-sports motorcycle for beginners. It is very well-rounded despite being a small displacement option. Do not underestimate this motorcycle. Kawasaki’s commitment to outstanding architecture ensures excellent features for the KLX250. It has a complete suspension system that gathers up to 10 inches front travel. The rear offers a decent 9.1 inches of travel, which complements the motorcycle’s 11.2-inch clearance.
The KLX250 has a 249cc liquid-cooled, DOHC single-cylinder engine and offers a superior ride when you navigate through off-road trails or the city streets. The seat height for this dual-sports motorcycle is 35 inches and a curb weight of 304 pounds. Its fuel capacity is 2 gallons. It also offers ultra-fine atomization of the fuel with its 10-hole injector. Its electro-fusion cylinder has a special coating that helps with lowering weight and heat transfer. The KLX2550 is quite affordable.
Yamaha’s musical history is engraved in its company emblem of three tuning forks criss-crossing each other. In 1887, the year the brand was established, Yamaha built its first piano. From this first product grew a multitude of other high-quality musical instruments. They also diversified and entered other industries with products such as jet skis, ATVs, marine engines, and motorcycles. The Yamaha Motor Company was established in 1955 as a separate entity for these motorized vehicles.
The WR250R is a well-balanced combination of the Yamaha’s YZ motocross and WR off-road platforms. This dual sports bike is a powerhouse, applying an architecture that is race-oriented and excellent off-road qualities, such as a fully adjustable front fork, a linkage-mounted shock to its chassis, and 10.6 inches of travel. It is the perfect dual-sports motorcycle for beginners as well as pros. Yamaha’s semi-double-cradle frame was implemented in this motorcycle as well.
The Yamaha WR250R’s engine is a 250cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke with four valves. It has a compression ratio of 11.8:1 and transmission of constant-mesh six-speed, multi-plate wet clutch. The front suspension is a fully adjustable inverted fork and has 10.6-inches in travel. The rear suspension is a fully adjustable single shock and has 10.6 inches in travel. Its seat height is 36.6 inches, and it has a wheelbase of 55.9 inches. It also has a maximum ground clearance of 11.8 inches. This is another very affordable bike.
For more amazing options like this, check out our selection of the best urban motorcycles.
Zero motorcycles look kind of alien in a good way, and since the founder was a former engineer working for NASA, there might just be some actual alien tech in the motorcycles they produce. Zero was established in 2006 with the vision of going futuristic. This vision is realized with their line of electric motorcycles that are outfitted with their very own proprietary Z-Force motor.
With its aggressive styling, suspension, and body panels, the Zero FX ZF3.6 electric dual-sports motorcycle is an absolute powerhouse. It can easily stand up to a 450cc motorcycle because of its modular, small battery system that is swappable onthego. It also has selectable riding modes so that you can choose between commute, performance, and off-road.
The FX ZF3.6 has long-legged suspension, a punchy Z-Force® powertrain, and a piece of dual-sport equipment that will tackle whatever is thrown its way. One of its awesome features is that you can change the performance profile of your motorcycle with just a press of a button. You can fully customize the performance and modes using the Zero Motorcycle app.
With the Zero FX ZF3.6, you can forget about dust clogged filters, messy oil changes, greasy chain maintenance, fouled spark plugs, and time-wasting tune-ups. Its front suspension travel is 8.6 inches, while its rear suspension travel is 8.94 inches. This is a low to mid-priced bike.
Like the other Japanese motorcycle companies on this list, Suzuki didn’t start with motorcycles. In 1909, Suzuki was established as a manufacturer of weaving machines. The brand was very successful for 30 years with their looms. In 1937 however, Suzuki started research into making small cars, but this was put on the back burner because of Japanese war efforts. After the war, in 1951, Suzuki started producing small motors that would clip on to bicycles. In 1952, they manufactured their first moped and their first ever real motorcycle, the 125 cc Colleda ST. Today, Suzuki is touted as one of the Big 4 in the motorcycle industry.
The Suzuki DR-Z400S has more than 15 years of tested use on mountains, backtrails, and city streets. It has all the chops required to compete with any dual sports motorcycles in the market. Its heightened suspension, dependable chassis, and carbureted engine comprise its excellent architecture, and it’s one of the best in the industry. The minimalist approach to their dual-sport flagship is really a breath of fresh air.
You will be impressed with the torque coming from its 398cc liquid-cooled powerplant and the adjustable suspension’s crisp handling. The DR-Z400S is completely street legal, has an easy-to-read instrument cluster, and features an electric start. The cylinder is made of Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Materials and is durable, lightweight, and offers superior hear transfer. Its five-speed, compact transmission uses a cable-operated clutch. Its electric start offers convenient operation as well. You can purchase the Suzuki DR-Z400S for a very affordable price.
Beta is an Italian brand of motorcycles that was founded in 1904. The brand produces high-quality off-road motorcycles that have become a popular choice for motorcycle trials. Beta has had successful collaborations with Suzuki and KTM, two very big names in the motorcycle manufacturing business.
The 500RR-S boasts of having the largest of Beta’s four cycles, which makes it a serious player when it comes to dual sports motorcycles. It is a fuel-injected 478cc, 4-valve, dual overhead cam single, liquid-cooled and has a 6-speed gearbox. It comes with a dual map on-the-fly selection that can alter the power characteristics from traction to stock mode. It has twin oil pumps with clutch oil and engine oil separated, an electric start, and hydraulic clutch. Though there is no backup kick-starter, the new battery’s strength and the starter motor’s active engagement made the kick-starter unnecessary. You can always opt to buy a kick-starter if you really want one, though, and it is relatively easy to install.
The Beta 500RR-S has a fuel tank capacity of 2 gallons, a wheelbase of 58.3 inches, front travel of 11.6 inches, rear travel of 11.4 inches, and a ground clearance of 12.6 inches. Operating this dual-sports motorcycle is easy; just turn the key and push the button, and you are ready to go. It has one of the best powerbands in the world of dual-sport bikes, and its suspension components target absorption and not deflection.
Our guide on the top touring motorcycles offers more excellent bikes like this. Don’t miss them.
KTM, the Austrian off-road specialist, has another entry on this list of best dual sports motorcycles. KTM has been reigning supreme in the dual-sport world for years. The company helped define dual-sports racing and innovating the most prolific platform in the industry. They keep raising the bar with their new releases. Their 690 Enduro R is one of the most efficient motorcycles ever created. It has an updated single-cylinder LC4 engine with 67 horsepower. You are guaranteed that this dual-sport motorcycle is ready for anything because of its off-road knobby tires and unique trellis frame.
With the 690 Enduro R, you can master challenging terrains because of its versatility. Its powerful and smooth performance is able to propel you up, down, over, around, and through over all sorts of terrain. Its exhaust is created using top-quality stainless steel, and its shape was optimized for heavy off-road usage. If offers precise handling because of the highly firm forged triple clamps. Its fuel tank has 13.5 liters capacity.
The Husqvarna brand name wasn’t emblazoned first on a motorcycle. The Swedish brand originally produced armaments and was founded in 1689. It was only in 1903 that Husqvarna diversified and started their motorcycle division. At first, they used imported engines, but starting in 1918, all of their engines were manufactured in house. Husqvarna Motorcycles was at one time owned by BMW but is now currently owned by KTM.
Husqvarna has been making motorcycles that are a staple in the community of dual-sports, and their FE 450 is absolutely no exception. This variant boasts of its Magura brakes, capable composite subframe and hydraulic components which will keep it running powerful for extended periods. The chassis and shock have a unique linkage that makes this variant a powerful force to be reckoned with. It features the company’s reliable WP fork and shock and bigger stroke and bore.
The FE450 has a chromium molybdenum frame that is truly a standout and is crafted perfectly to provide agility and precision. The engine of the FE450 weighs only 29.3 kg and utilizes the latest technology, which results in reliable and unmatched performance. Its starter is electric and its clutch a wet, DDS multidisc with Magura hydraulics.
If you are considering purchasing your first bike, be sure to browse our list of the top-rated beginner motorcycles and pick your favorite.
The Japanese giant with a musical history rounds out this list of best dual sports motorcycles with the XT250. Compared to the WR250, the Yamaha XT250 is more road-oriented. This is perfect if you want to just do some light trail riding during the weekend. This dual-sports motorcycle is powered by a fuel-injected, air-cooled, 4-stroke 249cc single-cylinder engine. It provides smooth power delivery and a concise throttle response. It has ground clearance of 11.2 inches with a seat height of 31.9 inches, which makes it ideal for shorter riders.
The Yamaha XT250 has a five-speed, multi-plate wet clutch transmission, a compression ratio of 9.5:1, a fuel capacity of 2.6 gallons, and a wheelbase of 53.5 inches. This Yamaha is another bike that falls into the category of being super affordable.