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Which Are The Best Enduro and Dual Sport Bikes?

Looking for the freedom to ride wherever your two wheeled obsession can take you?

Dual sport is the fastest growing bike segment. It offers the best of both worlds. It combines the ability to traverse rough landscapes confidently, while also maintaining a smooth, comfortable ride across long distances.

Enduro, or "endurance" riding, is a more niche market where racers rides long distances over all sorts of terrain, including mud, rocks, woods, water, sand, etc... sometimes for days. But you don't have to be that hardcore and can snag an enduro bike for your own riding pleasure.

Enduro bikes behave much like dual-sport bikes in that they have to be reliable enough to cover long distances and be able to handle off-road demands. The main intent of getting a plated enduro bike is so you can literally ride ANYWHERE vehicles are allowed. This a huge benefit in states (like CA for instance) where there are strict laws for where you can ride an off-road bike. But if you have that plate, you can experience absolute freedom.  

For those of you who want to rip up more than the roads, here is a breakdown of some of the best enduro and dual sport bikes available.


If you?re an everyday rider, but have superstar taste and style, KTM built the 500EXC with you in mind.

This has been called the best dual sport bike ever. The 500 EXC handles tight turns smooth like a dirt bike, while also riding smoothly at high speeds on the open road. Seriously, this little machine can surpass 100 mph with its 510cc 1 cylinder 4-stroke engine.

The 2016 version of the already hugely popular KTM comes with some slight improvements, such as a new front fork and suspension setting especially designed for enduro use, new graphics, and new skid plate. It's extremely light at just 250 lb, and with the powerful fuel-injected engine and newly improved suspension, this is a bike that go anywhere. 

At an MSRP price of $10,399, it's not the cheapest, but this is basically "undisputedly the most powerful Enduro machine of its class" (stated by KTM, and we've got to agree!), so we think the price is well justified.


If you're looking for similar performance, but without quite as many bells and whistles, there is the KTM 350 EXC. Lightweight and stable, with tight handling, it is built to withstand any reasonable terrain. Round that out with updated license brackets, signals, fenders and a removable mirror and its performance rivals all other enduro/dual sport class bikes.

The KTM 350 EXC revs with an easy, powerful acceleration. And it's fuel injected, which is huge when you're traversing terrain with crazy variations in elevation. However, look out for its potential for engine troubles that may arise after stalling or overheating. Needless to say, out in the desert that could be a VERY bad situation. Fortunately, such issues are rare.

Yamaha WR250R

The WR250R has been a standout dual sport for years now, since it's original release back in 2008. This little bike features a 250cc fuel injected engine capable of hitting speeds around 85 miles per hour on flat roads. But it focuses much more heavily on its off-road capabilities.

Its light build makes handling rough terrain easier, with dual wave brakes and fully adjustable forks contributing to a smoother ride. The larger 2.0 gallon tank will hold plenty of fuel for your excursion, and the bikes gets great fuel economy too. There's only one potential drawback: at a little under 300 pounds, the WR250R ranks on the heavy side for off-roading.

It may also be a bit light on power if you need more "bike". Aram is our resident dirt/adventure junkie and he loves this bike. But he has just one request: PLEASE Yamaha, make a 450 version of this bike!!

At a MSRP of only $6,690, this is serious value for what you're getting.

Beta 500RS

Beta bikes aren't so popular in the off-road racing circuit, but these Italian bikes are just as good as any competitor. And we think Beta bikes are actually even more ideal for the average rider. KTM bikes are best when they're ridden harder, but the average rider will get plenty of fun from Beta bikes.

The 500RS has electronic fuel injection to optimize fuel delivery at any condition and altitude. The 478cc single cylinder, 4-stroke engine delivers smooth power that Beta is known for. The suspension is the same as their RR off-road models, so it can handle any terrain. 

The bike comes with some pretty cool features, including: a Voyager GPS that can also tell you the engine temperature and trip mileage, folding mirrors to keep safe when off-roading, and handguards to protect your hands. 

Starting at MSRF of $9,799, again, it's certainly not cheap. But for a fun, reliable bike that comes with some luxury features, the Beta is a great option for riders who may feel KTM's are a bit too much "bike". 

What are your favorite dual sport/enduro bikes? 

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers
By Daniel Relich

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