Is a dual sport motorcycle a street approved dirt bike? -MotorBiscuit


For all their strength and popularity, many off-road motorcycles have the same problem: They are not street legal. Note, however, that I said “a lot”, not “all”. This is because some of these off-road motorcycles can be legally registered for road use. However, if you search the catalogs of many manufacturers, you probably won’t find the phrase “legal off-road motorcycle”. Instead, you’ll likely see references to dual sport bikes. But are they in fact the same thing?

Dual sport motorcycles may be allowed on the street, but are they off-road motorcycles?

Offroad Motorcycle Riders in Boone Road / Johnson Valley OHV California | Getty Images / Bob Riha, Jr.

Tackling this dual sport motorcycle issue requires first understanding what an off-road motorcycle is. Or rather, what separates an off-road motorcycle from other types of motorcycles. And that gets complicated because, in this case, the term “off-road motorcycle” does not apply to just one type of bicycle.

If you asked the average person to imagine an off-road motorcycle, they would probably imagine something like the Honda CRF250R that James Bond rode. But although it is part of the mountain bike family, it is not a trail bike like the CRF250F. It’s technically a motocross bike, Dirt jumper Explain. So, although it can be all-terrain, it is designed to run on special outdoor courses with natural terrain and artificial obstacles. Supercross bikes look alike and often face similar challenges, but they run short distances in arenas. And none of these dirt bikes are allowed on the street.

But then, by definition, off-road motorcycles are not meant to be legal on the streets. “By their nature”, Bike world explains, “Off-road motorcycles are sold as OHV or off-road vehicles.” Dirt jumper says something similar: “Off-road motorcycles, or dirt bikes, are two-wheeled motorized machines designed to be driven… basically anywhere except on the street. In this regard, “motorcycle legal off-road” is arguably an oxymoron.

A red and white 2021 Honda CRF300L double sport motorcycle in the middle of the desert plains

2021 Honda CRF300L double sport motorcycle | Honda

So, looks like dual sport bikes aren’t off-road bikes? Well no. Bisports “are in the same line” as enduro bikes, RideApart Explain. Enduros are another member of the dirt bike family. But they’re beefier, more powerful, can carry more fuel, and have more protection than regular track bikes. This is because they are designed to explore the terrain, not just to walk it, Dirt jumper said.

And as it turns out, the same things that make an all-terrain bike better over long distances also make it more usable on the road. It’s just that, while enduros aren’t necessarily street legal, dual sport bikes are. So although a dual sport motorcycle is not a track bike, it is a street-approved mountain bike.

Is a bisport motorcycle the same as an adventure bike?

Black-clad rider on a 2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 Adventure gray-camo dual sport motorcycle in the desert

Double sport motorcycle Kawasaki KLR 650 Adventure 2022 | Kawasaki

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This ability to move freely from pavement to dirt is one of the main reasons why dual sport motorcycles have become extremely popular. Riders Share CEO Guillermo Cornejo says this is “one of the fastest growing segments in all of motorcycling.” urban commuters. In addition, unlike a trail bike, you can carry luggage on a dual sport.

However, there is another type of motorcycle that also fits this description: an adventure bike. Like dual sport bikes, adventure bikes have long-travel suspension, all-terrain tires, and many come with additional protections such as skid plates. And some models blur the lines between the two segments.

For example, most dual sport motorcycles have single cylinder engines. However, the Royal Enfield Himalayan, although classified as an adventure bike, has a single cylinder engine. On the other hand, while the KTM 690 Enduro R has a single cylinder engine, it has electronic characteristics worthy of an adventure motorcycle. Additionally, KTM puts it in the same category as the 790 Adventure, which is an ADV. And while the Kawasaki KLR650 may be the definitive bisport bike, it now offers an Adventure finish.

So what is it that separates a dual-sport from an ADV? Mostly intentional. Dual sport motorcycles are derived from their non-legal brethren. They are true off-road motorcycles that have enough equipment to be allowed on the street and cover longer distances without much discomfort. In contrast, adventure motorcycles are essentially touring motorcycles with additional off-road capabilities. For example, the very first ADV, the BMW R80 G / S, was based on a street bike, not an all-terrain.

Dual sport and adventure motorcycles may be similar in some ways, but they are not the same types of bikes.

Which manufacturers offer dual sport bikes in the United States?

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Due to the growing popularity of dual sport motorcycles, more and more manufacturers are starting to throw their helmets into the fray. As of this writing, these companies may sell you any of these legal dirt bikes:

  • Beta
  • Honda
  • Husqvarna
  • Kawasaki
  • KTM
  • RSS
  • Suzuki
  • GDS
  • Yamaha
  • Zero

In short, if you want to buy a street approved off-road motorcycle, there are plenty of dual sport motorcycles to choose from.

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