What Is a Dual Sport Motorcycle: Everything You Need To Know

Buying a motorcycle can be confusing. There are so many types of motorcycles that you may not know where to begin looking. One of the primary deciding factors while buying a bike should be the terrain you plan to use it on.

There are different bikes for paved roads and different ones for off-road — different choices for tracks than leisure rides. And that’s where dual sports bikes come in. But what is a dual sport motorcycle? And why should you choose it over any other bike? Let’s find out.

What Is a Dual Sport Motorcycle?

Dual sports motorcycles are street-legal motorcycles that are designed explicitly for road riding and off-road use. So, whether you want to get a bike for traveling to and from work or racing on rough terrains with your friends, a dual sports motorcycle is the right choice.

A dual sports motorcycle does not differ a lot from typical road bikes. The only significant difference is that a dual sports motorcycle’s suspension might be slightly higher than a standard street-legal bike. You can even modify an average paved road motorcycle into a dual sports motorcycle.

Similarly, you can add some extra features to an off-road bike and turn it into an on-road bike. All you’ll have to do is take care of road regulations and add features accordingly. You’ll have to integrate lights, a horn, a muffler, a license plate, a speedometer, and mirrors to ensure the bike is ready for use on the streets.

Features of a Dual Sports Motorcycle

Shot of Dirtbike Racers

To classify a motorcycle as dual sports, these are the features it generally needs:

  • Displacement ranging from 250cc to 650cc
  • No windscreen
  • Only one cylinder engine
  • Spoked wheels
  • Crash protectors
  • A 21-inch front wheel
  • High handlebars

Types of Dual Motorcycles

Dual motorcycles can be classified into three types, depending on their weight and size. Each type has its own benefits and functions.

Lightweight Dual Motorcycles

Lightweight motorcycles look almost like dirt bikes. They weigh up to 300 pounds and feature off-road tires, ground clearance, lengthy travel suspensions, and high fenders.

Middleweight Dual Motorcycles

Middleweight dual motorcycles offer a more comfortable ride and are more suitable for off-road use than lightweight dual motorcycles. The comfortability factor of the middleweight dual motorcycles makes riding on rough terrain a much easier task for newbies.

This motorcycle weighs between 300 and 350 pounds and has a decreased suspension travel and ground clearance, which makes these motorcycles more comfortable to ride on.

Heavyweight Dual Motorcycles

These motorcycles are best for use on the road and weigh more than 350 pounds. They also work for off-road use, especially in terrains where there is a lot of dirt or rockier trails.

Benefits of a Dual Sports Motorcycle

Now that you know what a dual sport motorcycle is, its general features, and its different types, let’s move on to why you should consider this kind of motorcycle. Here are a few benefits of a dual sports motorcycle to convince you to buy one.

Dual Use

The biggest benefit of a dual sports motorcycle lies in its name — it can be used for every activity. Instead of buying a separate off-road and on-road bike, you can buy one that works for both at the price of one.

Fewer Body Parts

A characteristic feature of a dual-sports motorcycle is that it has fewer body parts than other motorcycles. As such, it is not as risky as other motorcycles. With fewer body parts, there will be less damage after an accident — meaning fewer repairs to pay for, too.


Since a dual sports motorcycle is made for both on and off-road use, it can withstand the harshness of off-road conditions. When you use this motorcycle on the road, you don’t have to worry about getting into an accident and your bike facing a lot of damage — it is made to meet much worse, so there is nothing to fret about.

Drawbacks of a Dual Sports Motorcycle

Dual Sport Motorcycle on Road

Like every other vehicle, a dual-sports motorcycle also has drawbacks. You should be aware of these cons before you buy the bike so that there are no issues you aren’t aware of.

  • There is no windscreen in a dual-sports motorcycle, which might be annoying when riding at high speeds.
  • The maximum speed of a dual sports motorcycle is generally 65 mph, with some models reaching 85. As such, there might be a lot of noise from the engine at top speed, which can be distracting and annoying.
  • The seat is not that big, which makes sitting on this bike for long periods uncomfortable.
  • The high front fender is not that durable. It can break off if you constantly ride at high speeds.
  • The bike features knobby tires for off-road use. These tires also work for on-road use but are not the best choice. You will have to maintain extra braking distance on paved roads. Also, the bike might drift and float at high speeds due to these tires.

Best Dual Sport Motorcycle Brands

When choosing which dual sport motorcycle to buy, you need to know the top brands that sell dual sport motorcycles. Here are the brands that are famous for selling the best dual sport motorcycles, along with the other top-selling dual sport motorcycle models:


Honda bikes range from dual sports motorcycles to heavyweight adventure bikes. The bike’s engine power is usually between 125cc and 1000cc, so there are many options to choose from. Whether you want a bike for on-road use or long-distance road trips, Honda will have the right bike for you. Here are Honda’s top models in dual sports motorcycles:

  • CRF300L
  • CRF450L
  • Africa Twin 1000
  • Trail 125
  • CRF300L Rally
  • XR650L


Kawasaki features everything from dirt bikes to heavy-weight adventure motorcycles. They have an impressive range of adventure bikes, the Versys bikes, designed specifically for off-road use. These bikes are cumbersome and hard to ride for beginners — but don’t worry, as Kawasaki has other dual-sport motorcycle models.

  • Versys 650
  • Versys-X 250 Tourer
  • Versys 1000
  • KLX 300S
  • KLR650
  • KLX320 S


KTM motorcycles are more suitable for experienced off-road drivers, as they are much more high-performance than the average off-road bikes. As such, the KTM dual-sport motorcycles are not ideal for beginners. Here are a few popular models in the KTM dual-sport motorcycle range:

  • 500 EXC-F
  • 390 Adventure
  • 890 Adventure
  • 1290 Super Adventure
  • 350 EXC-F
  • 450 Rally
  • 690 Enduro-R


Beta dual-sport motorcycles do not vary a lot in size and design. They typically produce dual-sport motorcycles for beginners, and their bikes are best suited for use on-road. This is a list of their popular models:

  • 390 RR-S
  • 500 RR-S
  • 350 RR-S
  • 430 RR-S


Black and Blue Yamaha Motorbike

Yamaha does not feature a lot of models when it comes to dual sports motorcycles. They have a few beginner dual sport bikes and a few heavyweight adventure bikes. However, their few beginner bikes are top-notch quality.

  • XT250
  • Super Tenere
  • Tenere 700
  • TW200


Suzuki dual sport motorcycles are perfect for people on a budget. They give reliability and the proper functionality, but they cannot be expected to hold while traveling long distances. Suzuki has a wide range of affordable lightweight and heavyweight dual sport motorcycles, which are perfect for a beginner. Here are a few of their popular models:

  • DRZ400S
  • DR200S
  • DR650S


Husqvarna is another suitable brand for experienced dual sport motorcycle riders. Their bikes are only ideal for people who know what they want in a dual sports motorcycle, as the bikes are specifically designed for experienced users. Check out their famous motorcycle ranges:

  • FE 501’s
  • FE 350’s
  • FE 701’s

Other Types of Motorcycles To Consider

If you aren’t convinced to get a dual-sports motorcycle for yourself, you can also go for other types of motorcycles. Here is a brief overview of motorcycles that you can choose from that partly resemble the dual-sports motorcycle.


An adventure motorcycle is specifically designed for off-road use, where the terrain is rough. However, this does not mean it isn’t suitable for on-road use. An adventure motorcycle can travel long distances and is comfortable to sit on, so you can take it out for a long road trip without worrying. As the name suggests, the bike is perfect for people who like “adventures.”


An enduro motorcycle is also another perfect choice for riding on rough paths. It is primarily designed to be used off the road. However, it can work for paved roads as well.

The bike is specifically designed to meet the needs of a dirt road motorcyclist. It has a large gas tank, extra crash protection, and larger tires than average motorcycles. If we were to say anything, this is the best motorcycle for gravel roads.


A supermoto motorcycle is a perfect pick for people who like to engage in bike racing both on and off-road. The bike is designed for every type of terrain. In fact, the bike can easily alternate between landscapes without having to stop or slow down, which is why this bike is perfect for racing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should beginners use a dual-sports motorcycle?

Dual sports motorcycles are an excellent choice for beginners. The bikes have an upright position, making them comfortable to ride. They are lightweight and easy to control, making them a suitable choice for beginners.

These bikes’ engines focus more on torque instead of horsepower. As torque is more linear, it is easier to control the bike that uses torque, minimizing the risk of accidents.

Should I use my dual sports motorcycle for a long trip?

We do not recommend using your dual-sports motorcycle for long trips. The top speed of a dual sports motorcycle is usually 65 mph. As such, it is not suitable for use on long-distance travel. Due to the low top speed, the engine can overheat and make a lot of noise, which will be annoying.

Furthermore, these bikes do not have a windscreen. A windscreen is essential to protect you from the wind and other debris and dust that can make their way into your eyes. Without a windshield, it’ll be tough to drive at high speeds, and you might also be at an increased risk of accidents.

What is the maximum distance I can travel on my dual sports bike?

Typically, a 250cc dual sports motorcycle can travel a distance of 200 miles. A 250cc dual sports motorcycle has a fuel tank with a capacity of 2.7 gallons. The maximum distance a dual sports motorcycle can travel depends on its top speed and fuel capacity.


Now you know the answer to what is a dual sport motorcycle, the essential characteristics that make it stand apart from others, and its different types. There are a few benefits of these motorcycles, like that they can be used on dirt roads and paved roads and are built for rugged use.

However, they also have a few drawbacks, which you need to be aware of if you plan to buy these bikes. They have no windshield, the top speed leaves much to be desired, the seat is not that big, and the engine sometimes makes distracting noises.

There are a lot of brands that sell top-notch dual sports motorcycles. The list includes everything from Honda and Yamaha to KTM and Suzuki. You can choose any of these brands to get a dual sports motorcycle according to your needs.

Some of these brands manufacture motorcycles specifically for experienced riders, some for beginners, and some for a wide range of dual sport motorcycles, which include a bike for everyone.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your dual sport motorcycle today and get riding!

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