In the past, there were motorcycles for riding on the road and dirt bikes for riding off the road. You had to settle for clumsy solutions like making your dirt bike with dubious DIY modifications if you wanted anything that could do both, and whatever you came up with definitely wouldn’t be very comfortable to ride.
That started to alter with the advent of dual sport motorcycles. The majority of the crucial components of a dirt bike, such as a high suspension and knobby tires, are incorporated into the design of these “best of both worlds” machines. However, they include features that allow you to ride them on the street all the way to the trail or track, and some of them are even appropriate for riding in more general settings than that.
Dual sport motorcycles are a rapidly expanding market in 2021, and there are many fantastic models available. We’ll look at six of the greatest below.
KTM 690 Enduro R
KTM is one of the top brands in the adventure and dual sport bike market, and their flagship 690 Enduro R is a prime example of how they keep innovating and moving the industry forward. With a price tag of approximately $12,000, the Enduro R is by no means an inexpensive dual sport, but it doesn’t get much better than this in terms of performance.
FE 450 Husqvarna
The FE series is well-known and adored among dirt bike aficionados, and this year’s FE 450 model strikes the ideal balance between performance and straightforward enjoyment. With a chrome-molybdenum frame that offers robust performance, an exceptionally light engine that produces a ton of power, and a newly designed front fork made exclusively for enduro riding, it is incredibly light and maneuverable. This Husqvarna is a fantastic option if your riding requirements lean more toward the off-road but you still need some adaptability on the road.
The DR650S is a superb example of the ultra-practical attitude that has made Suzuki one of the top names in dirt and dual sport bikes for many years. It is another bike with enough truly roadworthy power to hang with conventional motorbikes. This one, with its air-cooled engine and retro aesthetic, is ideal for the grumpy old man who laments that things aren’t made the same way anymore.
Fourth: Suzuki VanVan
The Suzuki VanVan fills a niche for dual sport riders who don’t want to ride something that resembles a street legal dirt bike. This dual sport is based on the well-known cafe racer aesthetic, and young riders love it for its throwback flair. A pleated seat keeps you comfortable during extended riding days, and the VanVan is precisely calibrated to function equally well on city streets as it does on the trail and track. The extra-wide tires that assist stability the bike and, quite frankly, just look fantastic, are maybe the most tempting feature.
Although the introduction of fully electric vehicles has been slow and difficult, the market for electric dirt bikes and dual sports has been booming for many years. The FX is the latest electric masterpiece from Zero, a top producer in this industry. The accompanying app’s ability to switch between pre-programmed dirt and pavement modes may be its best feature, but the vehicle’s entirely electric drivetrain and satisfyingly gangly suspension are also rather good.
Honda produces almost all other types of motorized vehicles, so why not dual sports? Naturally, the Japanese manufacturer executes the CF300L with the same panache that they do for all of their motorcycles. With a single-cylinder engine that produces 286cc of torque, this model keeps things straightforward. It’s an excellent entry- to mid-level vehicle, and with beginning prices under $6,000 for the majority of trims, you could definitely afford to buy one even if you weren’t absolutely required to.
Just getting started with dual sports and dirt bikes? Read our dirt bike beginner’s guide to find out how to start off properly. And while you’re putting together the necessary dirt bike equipment, be sure to look over our guide to fun motorbike presents for your rider friends and family.