The Best Dual Sport Motorcycles For On And Off-Road Riding (2024)

If motorcycles are the ultimate freedom machines, enduro and dual-sport bikes take this spirit to its logical conclusion, allowing riders to continue their travel, exploration, and adventure well beyond where the roads end. With a wide range of manufacturers each offering their own lineup of models, shopping for a new motorcycle in the lightweight on-road, off-road space can be tricky — especially to the uninitiated. So, with this in mind, we’ve put in the legwork for you, scouring the two spaces to deliver this guide to the best dual-sport and enduro motorcycles. Alongside delving into our picks for the latest and greatest models on the market, we’ll also be breaking down and defining what exactly dual-sports and enduros are and how they differ, as well as touching on what to consider and look for when shopping for one.

The Best Dual-Sport Motorcycles Breakdown

Fantic XEF 250 Trail

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Pros
  • Offers outstanding value
  • Made in Italy
  • Very easy to ride
  • Comes standard w/ Arrow exhaust & silencer
  • Features more than 1’ of suspension travel front & rear
Cons
  • Lacks power of larger engined models

Best 250 Pick: Designed and built entirely in Italy, the Fantic XEF 250 Trail Enduro is a high-performance quarter-liter dual-sport that takes inspiration from competition-spec bikes with a potent engine, an advanced frame design, and a generous slew of top-shelf components. This includes CNC-machined triple clamps, an LED headlight, a race-spec braking system with petal rotors and an adjustable lever, and an exhaust and black-anodized silencer from top-shelf Italian outfit Arrow. Tipping the scales at less than 270lbs, the entire machine has also been pieced together around a CrMo steel perimeter frame that’s been mated to a race-derived inverted 43mm FRS fork and FRS mono-shock, an aluminum swing-arm, and a set of black-anodized spoked aluminum wheels. Fantic also produces a range of stellar retro-inspired scrambler models based on its modern dirt bike and dual-sport platform.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled Four-Stroke 249.6cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 21.2HP & 13.7FT-LBs
Dry Weight: 269LBs
Suspension Travel F/R: 12.2” / 12.48”
MSRP: $6,585

Beta 125 RR

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Pros
  • Super lightweight & easy to control
  • Great power-to-weight ratio
  • Has fully-adjustable suspension
  • Boasts features normally reserved for larger bikes
Cons
  • Performs better off-road than on
  • Lacks power of larger engined models

Best Lightweight Pick: With a roughly 200lb curb weight and a super punchy eighth-liter two-stroke motor, the Beta 125 RR proves that lightweight bikes can still pack incredible levels of performance. Constructed around a Molybdenum double-cradle frame, the 125 RR features a high-end Sachs suspension setup with a 48mm open-cartridge fork and an aluminum-body mono-shock — items that are fully adjustable for compression, preload, and rebound — that offer 11.6” and 11.4” of travel respectively. This long-travel suspension setup also affords a generous 12.8” of ground clearance, enabling this 125 two-stroke to conquer a variety of off-road obstacles and conditions. Fed via a 36mm Kelhin PWK carb, the bike’s engine consists of a liquid-cooled two-stroke 125cc single cranking out around 15hp. This entire dual-sport is made all the more attractive by the fact that it’s sold for below $10,000 — with all taxes, crate, and destination fees included.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled Two-Stroke 124.8cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 13.4HP
Curb Weight: 207LBs (w/o fuel)
Suspension Travel F/R: 11.6” / 11.4”
MSRP: $8,599

TM Racing TM EN 450 ES FI 4T

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Pros
  • Built by hand in Italy
  • Boasts outstanding build quality
  • Street-legal version of competition-derived motorcycle
  • Has over 1’ of suspension travel & massive 14” of ground clearance
  • Comes loaded w/ impressive host of parts from leading aftermarket brands
Cons
  • Very limited U.S. dealer & support network

Best Boutique-Made Pick: Made by a boutique outfit that’s based in Italy and best-known for its race bikes, the TM Racing EN 450 ES Fi 4T is essentially a competition-grade flagship 450cc motocross bike that’s been bestowed with the necessary bits to achieve road-legal status. Starting with an extruded, forged, and micro-cast aluminum Deltabox-style frame, the bike boast an inverted 48mm KYB fork out front and a custom in-housed-designed unit in back – a suspension setup that ultimately allows for 14.1” of ground clearance and approximately a foot of travel fore and aft. Riding on spoked Excel rims wrapped in Maxxis tires, the EN 450 ES Fi 4T also comes outfitted with a set of Circuit Equipment hand guards, vented fork guards, a Regina ZSA chain, a composite skid plate, a front Brembo caliper biting down on a 270mm petal rotor, and an ultra-unique front number board design with a sunken integrated projector-style LED headlight.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled Four-Stroke 449cc Single-Cylinder
Power: N/A
Curb Weight: 248LBs (w/o fuel)
Suspension Travel F/R: 12/2” / 11.8”
MSRP: $9,570

Yamaha WR450F

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Pros
  • Street-legal version of Yamaha’s flagship 450cc dirt bike
  • Has razor-sharp handling
  • Can easily be converted to supermoto setup
  • Makes for great commuter bike
  • Huge availability of aftermarket upgrades
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer the best value
  • Ti valve train designed for racing not longevity

Best 450 Pick: While two-stroke engines were once the norm for dirt bikes and enduros, Yamaha changed everything in 1998, introducing its YZ400F model — the first modern production four-stroke motocross bike — kicking off what’s commonly called the “Four Stroke Revolution.” A quarter of a century later and the Japanese moto brand’s WR450F now continues this legacy, as a high-performance cross country motorcycle that’s based on the Tuning Fork Company’s current flagship YZ450F motocross bike. Priced just below $10,000, the WR450F boasts an industry-leading chassis and suspension — in the form of an aluminum bilateral beam frame and a KYB front and rear. The immense popularity of this model has resulted in an enormous variety of available aftermarket upgrades on the market – including supermoto kits — as well as a wide range of specimens on the used market.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled Four-Stroke 450cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 48.9HP & 31.8FT-LBs
Wet Weight: 262LBs
Suspension Travel F/R: 12.2” / 12.5”
MSRP: $9,999

CAKE Bukk Power Light Street Legal

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Pros
  • Delivers riding experience unlike anything else
  • Super lightweight & extremely easy to control
  • Ultra-sleek, futuristic appearance
  • Makes enormous amounts of instantly-accessible torque
  • Boasts unparalleled power-to-weight ratio
  • Battery fully recharges in under 3 hours
Cons
  • Öhlins & WP suspension upgrades cost additional $3,200
  • Super low curb weight made possible by using small battery

Best EV Pick: With a curb weight of just 209lbs and an otherworldly 336ft-lbs of torque on tap, the CAKE Bukk Power Light Street Legal offers a riding experience unlike anything else on the road. This all-electric thrill machine is constructed around a 6061-T6 aluminum frame and swing-arm that have been extruded, forged, CNC-machined, and welded together. This chassis comes mated to a RacingBros and Formula suspension package that can be upgraded to Öhlins, or WP XACT PRO suspension kits for an additional $3,200. Weighing less than your average 450cc dirt bike while putting down nearly four-times as much torque as Ducati’s latest four-cylinder flagship superbike, the Bukk Power Light is kicked along by the Swedish firm’s all-new Jante interior permanent magnet motor which delivers a top speed of around 60mph. The motor draws from a 40Ah 21700 Lithium cell battery that affords around 45 miles of mixed-use, on-road, off-road range, plus can receive a complete recharge in under three hours. Equipped with multiple ride modes and multiple braking modes, the Bukk is normally an off-road-only dirt bike, though CAKE offers a street legal kit for the two-wheeler for an extra $700.

Engine: Interior Permanent Magnet Motor
Power: 16kW (21.45HP) & 336.3FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 209LBs
Suspension Travel F/R: 10.94” / 11.69”
MSRP: $11,770

Sherco 300 SE Factory

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Pros
  • Made by hand in France
  • Great build quality
  • Largely derived from Sherco’s competition bikes
  • Uses full KYB suspension package
  • Comes loaded w/ impressive host of parts from leading aftermarket brands
Cons
  • Limited U.S. dealer & support network
  • Expensive price

Best Two-Stroke Pick: Drawing inspiration and borrowing elements from the French firm’s factory race machines, the Sherco 300 SE Factory is an ultra-potent 293.2cc two-stroke dual-sport that weighs in at just 257lbs fully fueled and ready-to-ride. Upgraded components that come standard on the 300 SE Factory include a lightweight race-spec BS Lithium battery, a blue diamond pattern gray Selle dalla Valle seat, a 6mm AXP skid plate, Brembo brakes and Galfer discs, padded NEKEN handlebars, an expansion tank, an upgraded radiator fan, an expansion chamber exhaust with an aluminum silencer, and a set of black Excel rims wrapped in Michelin Enduro tires. The latest (2024) model year version of this French-built bike also comes adorned in a special competition-inspired graphics kit. What’s more, Sherco has also bestowed the 300 SE Factory with a high-end suspension setup with an inverted 48mm KYB closed cartridge fork and a KYB 50 mono-shock — affording 11.8” and 13” of travel, respectively, and contributing to its nearly 14” of ground clearance.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled Two-Stroke 293.2cc Single-Cylinder
Power: N/A
Curb Weight: 257LBs
Suspension Travel F/R: 11.8” / 13”
MSRP: $11,849

Husqvarna 701 Enduro

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Pros
  • Based on KTM’s proven 690 platform
  • Makes for great touring & commuter bike
  • Also available in factory supermoto version
  • Features advanced tech package
  • Brimming with ultra-premium componentry
Cons
  • Substantially heavier than 450cc dirt bikes
  • Expensive price

Best Big-Bore Pick: Like the GASGAS ES 700, the Husqvarna 701 Enduro is based on KTM’s popular, tried-and-true, and thoroughly-proven 690 platform. As such, both bikes share the same 73-hp 692.7cc single-cylinder engine, advanced trellis frame, WP suspension, and cutting-edge suite of electronics and rider aids. And, while they’re the same bike under the surface, the Husky model does boast a few noticeable visual changes over its GASGAS and KTM-made counterparts including a sleeker, sharper KISKA-penned bodywork design, a white, blue, and fluo-yellow graphics package, a matching blue powder-coated frame, a more futuristic headlight design, blacked-out rims, and bronze anodized engine covers. Thanks to its big-bore engine, the 701 Enduro is also incredibly proficient on the freeway, making it a great choice for commuting, as well as long-range touring and of course, off-roading.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled Four-Stroke 692.7cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 73.75HP & 54.2FT-LBs
Dry Weight: 321.8LBs
Suspension Travel F/R: 9.8” / 9.8”
MSRP: $12,999

KTM 300 EXC HARDENDURO

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Pros
  • Incredible build quality & durability
  • Offers world-class off-road performance
  • Based on KTM’s factory-built enduro race bikes
  • Is ready-to-race right out of the crate
  • Loaded w/ upgrades & premium components as standard
Cons
  • Expensive price

Best Overall Pick: The KTM 300 EXC HARDENDURO is the result of the Ready To Race brand attempting to deliver the most off-road-capable turnkey dual-sport possible — an objective that the Austrian outfit has absolutely nailed. Based on KTM’s already incredible capable 300 EXC model, the 300 EXC HARDENDURO gains a host of factory upgrades all as standard amenities. This includes a bevy of machined anodized elements, a suite of protection parts, pull-straps, a special race seat, and a top-of-the-line WP suspension package with a closed cartridge fork and a XPLOR PDS mono-shock. Tipping the scales at less than 250lbs in full race order, the HARDENDURO-spec 300 EXC also comes cloaked in a special competition-inspired graphics package. Powering the bike is a super potent 293cc oil-burner that puts down around 50hp and 30ft-lbs of torque. At the end of the day, a major part of what makes this model so special is the fact that it’s nearly indistinguishable from the factory-prepped KTM race bikes that you see at the Erzbergrodeo and other EnduroGP events.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 293.15cc Two-Stroke Single-Cylinder
Power: 49HP & 32.3FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 233.9LBs (w/o fuel)
Suspension Travel F/R: 11.8” / 12.2”
MSRP: $13,049

What Exactly Are Enduro & Dual-Sport Motorcycles?

As the name suggests, a dual-sport motorcycle is a type of bike that’s engineered for (the dual purposes of) on-road and off-road use. Unlike larger adventure motorcycles which are also capable of on and off-road riding, the term dual-sport tends to refer to more lightweight machines that are more similar to street-legal dirt bikes that have been fitted with headlights, a horn, and a license plate. With that said, with the right aftermarket upgrades — such as rally raid-style bodywork, auxiliary fuel cells, and additional crash protection — dual-sports can be converted into adventure motorcycles.

Despite the presence of head and taillights, enduro motorcycles are designed almost entirely for off-road use — more specifically off-road competition use — and are very seldom street-legal in their stock form. With the right modifications, some enduros can be made road-legal in certain locales — which would then make the bike a dual-sport. With enduros already wearing some lighting, the bikes would eventually evolve into modern dual-sports, affording their riders markedly more versatility and value by offering both on and off-road capabilities.It is worth noting that some manufacturers have labeled dual-sports as “enduros” — often in a bid to emphasize a model’s dirt-going capabilities or off-road-leaning performance.

The 12 Most Important Areas To Consider When Buying a Dual-Sport

As their own unique types of bikes, it can be tough to know what exactly to focus on and look for when shopping for an enduro or dual-sport. Well aware of this reality, we’ve broken down the dozen most pivotal areas to review before buying a new enduro or dual-sport motorcycle.

On-Road / Off-Road Performance: Dual-sports can vary in their on and off-road riding abilities. While practically all of these machines are capable — and legally permitted to — be ridden on or off-road, certain models are engineered to be more at-home in one of these settings more than the other.

Intended Use: The jumping off-point in your search should always be your intended use. This will help you determine whether you’ll want a machine that’s more on or off-road-leaning, or if you’ll need a bike that’s capable of touring duties. It’s also worth pointing out that, despite being designed for on and off-road use, a great many dual-sports happen to make for excellent urban and commuter bikes, being rugged, durable, reliable, lightweight, maneuverable, and having the ability to soak up even the nastiest of potholes.

Suspension Travel & Ground Clearance: Alongside their more lightweight, minimalistic, and rugged nature, another area that hugely separates sportbikes and roadsters from off-road bikes is the latter group’s suspension. Almost always of the long-travel variety, these suspension setups afford markedly more vertical travel as well as more ground clearance for more easily traversing obstacles when off-road.

Engine: As the heart of the bike, the engine is of extreme importance. When looking at this area, you’ll want to review an engine’s displacement (i.e. size), number of cylinder (almost always just one on dual-sports), cooling system, cam setup, whether it’s carb’d or fuel-injected, and whether or not it’s a two-stroke or a four-stroke engine — and if it’s a two-stroke, whether it requires gas and oil premixing.

Power Figures: Another crucial area to review when looking at an engine is its power figures (i.e. the motor’s horsepower and torque). While some of these engine’s horsepower and torque outputs may seem meager when compared to multi-cylinder road bikes, the reality is that modern dual-sports and enduros have more than enough oomph to tackle even the steepest hills and toughest terrains — as well as more than enough power to get you into some serious trouble should you lack the necessary experience to properly ride and control the bike.

Maintenance: It’s also crucial to note that some models require substantially more frequent maintenance than others, with some enduros actually needing upkeep after only a dozen or so hours of use. Additionally, it’s also imperative to point out that, while a 250cc to 450cc single-cylinder engine might not sound like much, some of these motorcycles are extremely powerful and are in zero way, shape, or form appropriate for new or novice riders — especially two-stroke bikes.

Street-Legal Status: If you want to have the ability to ride both on and off-road, it’s important to look into whether a given model is street-legal right off the showroom floor — or if it can easily be converted to street-legal status in your particular region. On a similar note, it’s also worth looking into what type of permits will be required to ride off-road in your neck of the woods.

Size & Weight: Size and weight is another important area to consider. The lighter a bike, the better it will perform off-road, however, the less stable it will be at higher speeds when on the road. Your intended use and experience level should help determine an appropriate weight. If you’ve never ridden a dirt bike or dual-sport, you also may not realize just how tall and large these machines are, with some boasting seat heights of 38”.

Componentry & Running Gear: On top of a bike’s engine and frame, you’ll also want to look into a dual-sport or enduro’s smaller pieces of running gear such as its braking hardware. Additionally, some of the more high-end models on the market have been outfitted with a slew of aftermarket parts that come as standard items, such as high-end seat covers, lighting elements, skid plates, hand-guards, etc.

Range: Though typically larger than your average dirt bike tank with a capacity of around two to three gallons, enduro and dual-sport bikes typically boast fuel cells that are markedly smaller than the tanks used on full-size adventure bikes that tend to feature approximately five to six-gallon capacities. As such, it’s imperative to consider the type of range your intended riding application(s) will require, as this should give you a sense of the tank size that you’ll need. These motorcycles can also be outfitted with larger aftermarket fuel cells and/or auxiliary tanks.

Price: Like every other type of motorcycle, dual-sports and enduros can hugely vary both in terms of price and the level of value they offer. The ability to be ridden on and off-road undeniably bolsters the amount of bang-for-your-buck that these bikes offer.

Upgradability: Not unlike with off-road trucks and overlanders, there’s a thriving aftermarket industry for the enduro and dual-sport segments. As such, if you’re interested in upgrading your machine, you’ll want to look into the general availability of aftermarket parts, as the more popular models on the market tend to boast a much wider range of available upgrades. Practically any dual-sport can also be converted into a supermoto (and then converted back at any point).

The Best Scrambler Motorcycles You Can Buy

Prefer an on and off-road-capable bike with old-school looks? Then be sure to cruise over to our guide to the best scrambler motorcycles for a handpicked list of go-anywhere two-wheelers that boast modern performance and unmistakably vintage aesthetics.

The Best Dual Sport Motorcycles For On And Off-Road Riding (2024)
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