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There are many kinds of motorcycles that tackle different terrains. If you want to buy one, you have to identify the type of riding that you intend to participate in. Dirt bikes shine on off-roads, but dual-sport models can double in the city and the mountains.
To cater to this market, manufacturers have presented enthusiasts with dual-sport bikes for both road and non-highway use. Below, we pick the best five enduro/dual sport dirt bikes that you can buy:
What is an Enduro Dirt Bike?
The enduro bike is a kind of mountain bike, and it is a bigger sibling of the trail bike. It is popular in the ‘enduro’ race format where climbing is essential, but only the downhill sections are scored on. Enduro bikes have more suspension, longer wheelbases, and heavier-duty parts than trail bikes.
Factory-ready enduro bikes are typically not street legal. They are designated to trails, but it is possible to have them approved for road riding through the addition of several components.
You can add a rear-view mirror, horn, turn signals, and brake light, depending on where you live.
Dual sport bikes evolved from the enduro, where manufacturers included gauges, license plates, noise mufflers, and a key.
The dual-sport journey has not been easy, however, as brands have to strike a balance between the lightweight agility required in off roads and the demands of street riding.
Best Dual-Sport Dirt Bikes
Below you can read about the top 5 dual spot / enduro dirt bikes:
1. Yamaha WR250R
The Yamaha WR250R was developed from the brand’s WR off-road and YZ motocrossers lines.
It provides the best performance in the suspension and engine department. It has 46mm fully-adjustable inverted front forks and a linkage-mount monoshock that supports the rear with similar parameters as the front. The bike’s 11.8-inch ground clearance and 4.4-inch trail make the WR250R sufficient for street and off-road riding.
The bike’s powerplant is a 250cc motor that you may have to wind quite tight to achieve high speeds. Its linear power delivery will suit regular commutes while the bike’s knobby tires will offer the traction needed on rough terrains.
The seat is quite high at 36.6 inches, but it is necessary to achieve the required ground clearance. The bike features narrow ergonomics and an aluminum semi-double-cradle frame.
Overall, the WR250R is a non-intimidating way to get into dual sports dirt bikes.
2. Suzuki DR-Z 400 S
The Suzuki DR-Z 400 S first appeared in 2000, and it has remained mostly unchanged since. Its adequate power, capable suspension, easy handling, and excellent ground clearance have made the DR-Z 400 S a reliable off-road machine.
The bike’s chassis is characterized by thin-walled tubing forged from a chromium-molybdenum alloy. The result is a light frame that is strong enough to withstand dual-sport activities. The DR-Z 400 S has a curb weight of 138 kg, which is quite considerable, considering that most of its counterparts come in at over 160kg.
The suspension on the DR-Z 400S consists of 49mm front forks with 11.3-inch of travel. You also get adjustable damping and adjustable spring preload for the rebound and the compression stroke. The rear has 11.6 inches of travel, a progressive-link monoshock, and an aluminum swingarm. The bike has 250mm front discs and 220mm rear brakes.
A liquid-cooled 398cc motor powers the DR-Z 400 S, and it utilizes the DOCH system to actuate its four valve heads. Its 29mm exhaust and 38mm intake valves are wide enough to allow the bike’s engine to breathe.
The DR-Z 400 S has been around for more than 15 years, and its capabilities are tried and tested. It can, therefore, compete with more modern offerings to provide the best in dual-riding.
3. Kawasaki KLX250
The Kawasaki KLX250 is an excellent beginner’s dual-sport dirt bike and is currently the brand’s biggest dual-sport offering.
The first version of the bike was unveiled in 1994, and what we now know as the KLX250 appeared in the US market in 2006. It disappeared in 2014 but was back in 2018 with electronic fuel injection.
The KLX250 has adequate power to tackle hills and pavements, and it especially shines on controllability. It is able to balance between street riding and off-roading very well, and it is quite forgiving to the rider.
The bike’s power comes in the form of a liquid-cooled 4-stroke 249cc engine. You may have to be aggressive with the motor on rough roads to get to speed. The brakes and suspension are capable, and it cruises with comfort and dependability.
4. Husqvarna 701 Enduro
The Husqvarna 701 Enduro gives the best of the dual-sport and adventure worlds. It is powered by a 690cc single-cylinder engine like the one on the KTM enduro, which gives out 66 bhp.
You can expect quick acceleration around the 100mph mark, although the motor’s short gearing makes it rev quite hard at around 70 mph.
The bike’s off-road capability is incredible. The WP front fork offers 250mm of travel in addition to being adjustable for compression and rebound. The rear WP monoshock is fully-adjustable, and it also provides 250 mm of travel.
It has a dry weight of 145 kg and is handles well on the street and off roads. The bike encourages an upright position, and its suspension compresses to let at least one boot on the ground.
Shorter riders can, therefore, feel less intimidated about its 910mm seat height.
The 701 Enduro is a beast on rough terrains thanks to the excellent traction on its tires and smooth power delivery. It performs satisfactorily on the tarmac, although it will need more handling at lower speeds.
5. KTM 690 Enduro
KTM made significant upgrades on the 2019 690 Enduro to make it more capable in the dual-sports category. The water-cooled single-cylinder, LC4 engine provides 67 horsepower, and it features a ride-by-wire and a twin-plug ignition.
The 690 Enduro is an adventure bike by all means, although you can still expect reliable street-riding performance.
Are Enduro Dirt Bikes Good for Beginners?
There are plenty of beginner-friendly enduro dirt bikes from reputable brands.
It is advisable to select a 4-stroke model as they are easier to handle and are more forgiving for riders. You will also have to choose between 250cc and 450cc bikes.
The former is less powerful, and they mostly provide up to 35HP. Most 450cc models will provide between 35-45P and up to 50HP for the performance-oriented bikes.
250cc enduro bikes are more suited to beginners, especially because they are lighter. You want a model that lets you hone your skills slowly without demanding a lot of athleticism.
Current enduro dirt bikes can be a bit pricey, which is why some beginners opt for used bikes. If you pick a used dirt bike, you will be missing out on advanced technology.
The suspension for example is one area that manufacturers are always improving on. You also want a motorcycle whose spare parts are readily available in your locality.
Dual Sport vs Enduro – What is the Difference?
Enduro has developed as an endurance test between riders and the terrain. Enduro racing is mentally, and physically-intensive, and obstacles include rocky uphill sections, fallen trunks, and low-hanging branches.
The rider cruises through streams and rides downhill an uphill on different terrains, including mud, asphalt sand, and dirt.
450cc and 250cc enduro bikes are quite popular, although you can still get a 125cc model. The technical support of these bikes is close to that of a dirt bike since a rider must overcome a lot of challenges on the way.
450cc enduro bikes dominate the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series, which is the most popular enduro race in the US.
Enduro and dual-sport bikes are as close as you can get to a street-legal dirt bike used for day-to-day activities. Enduro models meet all the requirements that are required for a legal street license.
Such components include lights and an exhaust system. The engines are de-tuned dirt bike motors for easier maintenance.
Dual-sport bikes are heavier than enduro bikes, but they will not handle harsh cross-country adventures well. The main weakness of dual-sport bikes comes in their weight. Some machines can weigh between 375 – 400 pounds, which is impractical for off-road cruising.
The general attributes of a dual-sport bike include a single-cylinder motor, a gas tank with a range of below 100 miles, high-ground clearance, high handlebars, and 250cc-650cc displacement.
Enduro and dual-sports bikes are, however, not designed for long distances.
Are Enduro Dirt Bikes Street Legal?
Most enduro dirt bikes are rated for non-highway use from the factory, and you will have to make them street legal through modifications.
Some brands release enduro models that comply with on-road use, and you only have to register them for highway use.
Can You Use an Enduro Dirt Bike for Trail Riding?
An enduro dirt bike will be underwhelming on trails. Unlike trail riding dirt bikes that have more strength for climbing, the enduro dirt bike has more power and suspension.
Enduro bikes are also heavier than trail dirt bikes, and they will be less maneuverable.
You can maximize your motorcycle riding experiences with an enduro/dual-sport dirt bike. These models will provide street legality, although you may have to modify them a little.
While dual-sport bikes offer the best of both worlds, most of them will be biased to either off-road or street riding.