When it comes to versatility, very few motorcycles in the market present themselves with as much capability as the good old dual-sport motorcycle. Dual-sports have quite a long and extensive history, unsurprisingly finding their roots back in the day when folks started taking their street bikes off-road.
Known colloquially by many names, the dual-sport is sometimes also referred to as a dirt bike or an enduro. While there are slight differences among these types of bikes, for the purpose of this article, we will refer to all lightweight off-road capable bikes as dual-sports. That being said, here’s why a dual-sport motorcycle makes for the best all-rounder.
You can take them almost anywhere
As the name suggests, these bikes put the dual, in dual-sport. Simply put, this means these bikes can go both on and off-road. It’s important to note though, that the gnarliness of the terrain a specific bike can handle will boil down to componentry, and of course, rider skill. That being said, an entry-level dual-sport like a Yamaha XTZ125 will be equally comfortable riding on the pavement, as it would be on farm roads, light trails, and gravel.
As you move up the echelons of componentry, more purpose-built machines come into the fold. The likes of the Honda CRF150L, which is equipped with Showa suspension and a chassis designed for off-road use, prove to be more capable of handling more rugged terrain. Even more purpose-built bikes like the KTM EXC-350 raise the bar even higher, bringing things like massive jumps and hard enduro riding into the equation.
They’re affordable (most of the time)
Excluding the extremely expensive dual sports from European manufacturers like KTM and Husqvarna, dual-sports are most of the time, extremely affordable. For instance, a brand new Honda XR150L will set you back a measly P89,900. That being said, the barrier to entry as far as riding off-road is concerned, is rather low. That means anyone with whatever budget, can find a bike that would enable them to experience the bliss of off-road riding.
Apart from being affordable to buy, dual-sport motorcycles are also very low maintenance, and spare parts are usually in abundance. Most entry-level dual-sport motorcycles feature sub-200 cc single-cylinder engines. Varying from carbureted, air-cooled units like that of the Honda XR150L, to fuel injected, liquid-cooled ones like what you would find on the Yamaha WR 155R, the fact remains that dual-sport bikes have very simple engines.
They’re loads of fun
Unsurprisingly, dual-sport motorcycles are tons of fun to ride—both on the street and on the trails. The reason behind this boils down to an extremely simple yet effective formula: lightweight and adequate power. Most dual-sports weigh less than 250 lbs with a full tank of gas. Their lightweight mated to a high center of gravity makes for a very flickable package that’s eager to change direction in a near-telepathic fashion.
That being said, dual sports make bumpy roads feel like newly paved asphalt. Off-road, these bikes inspire confidence by making it possible for you to tackle terrain you otherwise wouldn’t even dare cross on another motorcycle. When moving up the ladder in the dual-sport segment, bikes like the KTM 690 Enduro R would make for a total riot for experienced riders. Imagine an expressway-legal dual-sport you could ride all the way out of town and rip on the trails while trying to tame all 74 horses coming from that massive thumper.
It goes without saying that dual-sports have a different vibe and aesthetic as compared to their road-going counterparts. Granted, a dual-sport isn’t for everyone due to their intimidatingly high seat heights, as well as their general unrefined nature. However, one can’t deny just how capable this platform actually is.