Best For BeginnersHonda CRF250R 2023
Head 2 Head WinnerYamaha YZ250F 2023
Editor's ChoiceKTM 250 SX-F 2023
Dirt bikes are exhilarating vehicles that are more lightweight than motorcycles and are designed to be ridden through off-road terrain. Despite their small size, they are equipped with powerful engines, gas tanks, and unique suspension systems to help riders comfortably fly down trails and over hills. Due to the impressive handling and cornering, 250cc dirt bikes provide an exciting adrenaline rush that cannot be matched.
Motocross is a sport where professionals race around a rough, natural-terrain track at breakneck speeds and make impressive jumps on their dirt bikes. The exciting sport is gaining popularity, which inspires manufacturers to make better and better rides. One popular measurement of dirt bike capacity is the CC value, which refers to the engine chamber size or the cubic centimeters available for fuel to combust. Dirt bikes range from 50 – 650 ccs depending on age, experience level, and power desired.
Riders ranging from beginner to professional levels appreciate the impressive horsepower and suspension settings of 250cc dirt bikes. Due to their lower weight, these rides can reach their top speed faster while also providing easy control and balance. All engines create power differently, so not all 250cc dirt bikes will have the same maximum speed.
To have the best riding experience, it’s crucial to find the right dirt bike that matches your style of riding and will be used for many years to come. This varies for each individual based on their body measurements, experience level, budget, and whether it will be used for racing or off-roading. It is also essential to consider the mechanics behind the bike itself and how it handles tight turns and jumps, and how comfortable it is to ride. If you are having trouble deciding which option is right for you, check out the reviews for the best 250cc dirt bikes in 2023.
Best 250cc Dirt Bikes 2023:
KTM 250 SX-F 2023 Dirt Bike Review
Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen, better known as KTM, is a well-known Austrian motorcycle and sports car manufacturer. Their off-road vehicles for motocross are renowned for their reliable manufacturing, longevity, and quality parts. Beginners and professionals choose KTM dirt bikes, making them one of the leading off-road motorcycle manufacturers globally.
The KTM 250 SX-F 2023 model maintains its stellar reputation and stands out among its competitors as a top racing bike. This 250cc dirt bike set the standard as the top high-revving and high-horsepower motocross bike. The impressive power produced holds throughout the range, delivering impressive low-RPM capabilities compared to others in its class. Along with the superior engine, the KTM 250 SX-F has enviable torque feel and maintains a stable speed, even around tight corners. These bikes feature Brembo brakes for riders concerned with safety, which are the most powerful ones available.
KTM updated the engine for 2023 and greatly reinforced the chassis, making the motor around 8mm shorter from bottom to top. For more aggressive valve adjustment, it has a set of tiny finger-followers and twin overhead cams. There are large 32.5mm intake and 27.5mm exhaust valves. The engine has a remarkable range of speed—well over 13,000 rpm. Although this isn’t very innovative, each year the mapping becomes a little more sophisticated and the rev limiter a little softer.
Despite the many advantages of the KTM 250 SX-F, there are some disadvantages to consider. This vehicle requires more frequent maintenance, oil changes, and tune-ups to keep in top condition as a race bike. Besides, the high-quality manufacturing and parts make this bike one of the most expensive on the list. Finally, the high-RPM powerband is better suited to those who ride aggressively and may not be appropriate for beginners.
Clocking in at just over 220 pounds, the SX-F is one of the lightest 250cc motocross bikes on the list. Test users praise the effortless cornering ability, even while standing. As a KTM dirt bike, it is designed as a race bike first, meaning that it is competitive right out of the box. Despite its lightweight design, it has more power than any other bike on this list, clocking in at 41.1 hp and a maximum rpm of 13,700. This powerful ride is better for racers of intermediate to professional levels because of the high horsepower and cost.
Below are some of the key specifications for the KTM 250 SX-F 2023 dirt bike:
Weight 220 lbs (101 kg) Power 41.1 hp – MOST POWER Maximum speed (est) 71 mph (114 km/h) Tank capacity 1.9 gal (7.2 L) Seat height 37.7 in (96 cm) Wheel sizes (front/rear) 80/100-21 / 110/90-19 Engine 4-stroke Clutch Wet multi-disc, Brembo hydraulics Transmission 5-speed Starter Electric Base price $9,999
Yamaha YZ250F 2023 Dirt Bike Review
Yamaha 250cc dirt bikes are known worldwide for their lightweight design and exceptional handling on the track or trail. This Japanese manufacturer was established in 1955 and has earned a reputation as a leader and innovator in dirt bike design. Yamaha bikes have won numerous races and are enjoyed by professional racers and casual riders alike.
The YZ250F 2023 dirt bike leads its class according to publications such as Cycle World. It is engineered to deliver a smooth ride and win races through impressive torque with power delivery throughout the range. The bike has a well-rounded engine, good suspension, and stable chassis, making it the top choice for many riders.
In 2022, Yamaha made significant updates to improve the bike’s overall performance. The latest model boasts a new cylinder head that increases motor performance, particularly in the mid-to top-end power, and bolsters the peak power. This update includes a lightweight frame for superior handling and improved chassis and suspension settings. Finally, Yamaha upgraded the braking system and made durability enhances to ensure that the YZ250F is their safest model to date. For 2023, brought some graphic updates but little else.
Some drawbacks to this dirt bike are the slightly disproportionate ergonomics and loud exhaust. Many test riders are not satisfied with the positioning of the handlebars and seat. Similar to the KTM 250 SX-F, the Yamaha dirt bike requires frequent maintenance. It is also worth noting that the Yamaha bike has the most significant price tag of the 250cc dirt bikes with a base price of $8599.
When placed in a head-to-head against other 250cc four-stroke bikes, the YZ250 comes out on top due to its superior suspension and high-quality parts. Riders enjoy confidence and stability regardless of the terrain that makes the YZ250 stand out. Test riders praised this bike for the most impressive riding comfort. Yamaha is also the only manufacturer to offer wireless EFI tuning for their products, free of charge.
Unlike the KTM 250cc dirt bike, the YZ250 model is suitable for beginners and professionals alike. The top-notch handling means that it is easy to ride and keep at a constant speed which is helpful for those who are just starting. Despite its powerful motor, it is still easy to control. As novice riders become more advanced, they will appreciate the speed and strength that this bike can reach.
Below are some of the key specifications for the Yamaha YZ250 2023 dirt bike:
Weight 234 lbs (106 kg) Power 39.0 hp Maximum speed (est) 65 mph (104 km/h) Tank capacity 1.60 gal (6 L) Seat height 38.2 in (97 cm) Wheel sizes (front/rear) 80/100-21 / 100/90-19 Engine 4-stroke Clutch Wet multi-plate, cable actuation Transmission 5-speed Starter Electric Base price $8599
Husqvarna FC 250 2023 Dirt Bike Review
Although Husqvarna is best known for its lawnmowers, don’t discount them from the dirt bike greats. They have found recent success in manufacturing dirt bikes and have become especially popular with younger riders. This high demand is due to their stylish appearance, lightweight design, and robust engines.
The Husqvarna FC 250 is recognized among the top 250cc dirt bikes available due to its ability to turn on a moment’s notice and maintain stability even at high speeds. Riders seek out this model for its impressive handling around corners, improved suspension, and front tire traction. The latest model of the FC 250 features an even lower suspension than prior models with revised shock linkage. The fork cartridges and outer tube are shortened, making it feel like one of the most straightforward 250cc four-stroke motocross bikes to ride. Finally, the new graphics and seat cover are appreciated by many younger riders.
The brand-new 4-stroke engines that power the 2023 FC 250 are intended to be faster, lighter, and play a significant role in improving overall handling. An entirely new frame houses a small, lighter, redesigned engine with an updated Pankl gearbox that ensures smoother gear changes and a new quickshifter that makes upshifts even during periods of high load possible. For enhanced torque and peak performance on the track, a new cylinder and CP piston raise the compression ratio to 14.5:1. An exceptional and long-lasting finish is achieved by applying eye-catching white, yellow, and grey patterns using in-mould technology, completing the revisions for 2023.
Although the suspension has seen many improvements, it still lacks larger impacts. It is also not suitable over the same range of rider weights and abilities as other bikes. The shock tends to ride low when driven by heavier riders. Although Husqvarna’s dirt bike has the same powerful engine as the KTM 250 SX-F, this model experiences reduced bottom-end power. This is due to the closed-off airbox, which reduces airflow and dampens the potential of the motor.
Overall, the FC 250 model is very user-friendly, with neutral handling and ergonomics that are easy to pick up. The suspension technology and chassis are compliant and handle neutrally. Comparing with the other bikes on this list, Husqvarna’s FC 250 is the lightest option at 223 pounds, making it easier for beginners to handle. Although riders over 150 pounds may notice some pitching, lighter novice-level riders will appreciate the comfortable suspension set up even at the stock setting.
Below are some of the key specifications for the Husqvarna FC 250 2023 dirt bike:
Weight 223 lbs (101 kg) – LIGHTEST DIRT BIKE Power 40.3 hp (2022 figure) Maximum speed (est) 71 mph (114 km/h) (2022 figure) Tank capacity 1.90 gal (7,2 L) – BIGGEST TANK Seat height 37.0 in (94 cm) Wheel sizes (front/rear) 80/100-21 / 110/90-19 Engine 4-stroke Clutch Wet multi-plate, hydraulic actuation Transmission 5-speed Starter Electric Base price $10099
Honda CRF250R 2023 Dirt Bike Review
As one of the largest car manufacturers globally, Honda is also known for its motorcycles and dirt bikes. The top-notch engineering ensures that the bike will not break down. Also, Honda dirt bikes are revered for their strong engines and smooth ride.
The Honda CRF250R was completely redesigned in 2019 to provide a more responsive, powerful, and broader motor. The new updates, such as a smooth powerband and good traction ability, allow the bike to ride more effortlessly, even in rough terrain. Many enthusiasts praise the free-revving engine that makes the bike fun to ride. Compared to other bikes on this list, the CRF250R has the most reasonable price tag at $8199 but does not compromise superb ergonomics or tight cornering.
Unlike the other bikes on this list, Honda did not update their model for 2023, releasing the same CRF250R as previous years. This caused it to drop in rankings for many test riders, who believe that the model still needs more work to compete with hit and torque. If the RPM dips too low, it can take some time for the engine to get up to optimal power. Although the bike does well around corners, it can be a little unstable in straight lines and has the most challenging clutch pull among others in its class.
Due to the low costs and easy manoeuvrability, the Honda CRF250R is an excellent option for beginners. The impressive traction and cornering will allow riders to feel more secure even on bumpy trails. The bike needs some updates in torque and acceleration to be a competitive choice for professional racers. Test riders observe the least low-end power and torque feel throughout the RPM change for this model compared to competitors.
Below are some of the key specifications for the Honda CRF250R 2023 dirt bike:
Weight 237 lbs (107,5 kg) Power 39.0 hp Maximum speed (est) 67 mph (107,8 km/h) Tank capacity 1.60 gal (6 L) Seat height 37.8 in (96 cm) Wheel sizes (front/rear) 80/100-21 / 100/90-19 Engine 4-stroke Clutch Wet multi-plate, hydraulic actuation Transmission 5-speed Starter Electric Base price $8199 – CHEAPEST OPTION
Kawasaki KX250 2023 Dirt Bike Review
Kawasaki is a legendary company that makes an impressive line of rugged, durable, and powerful dirt bikes. They are best known for their racing and street motorcycles, although their dirt bikes are a popular choice because of how fun they drive.
In 2022, the Kawasaki KX250 model went through a massive overhaul with plenty of updates that set it apart from the competition. It is great at handling both cornering and straight lines and an impressive chassis. The latest model updated everything from the lightweight frame to the brakes for improved functionality and safety. Besides, upgrades were made to the bodywork, engine internals, and hydraulic clutch assembly that ultimately boosted the peak rpm to 14,500. New features were added, such as an electric start which makes riding the bike easier than ever.
Despite all the improvements, the latest model’s suspension is on the stiff end compared to others in its class which can be less comfortable for riders. In addition, the stiffness makes it harder for lightweight or novice riders. Other options on the list, such as the FC250 or YZ 250, are better options for those with limited experience with dirt bikes. Although the KX250 is the heaviest bike at 238 pounds, it still feels agile on the motocross track. The latest model, including the numerous upgrades to the framework and engine, make it a competitive option for intermediate to pro-level riders.
Below are some of the key specifications for the Kawasaki KX250 2023 dirt bike:
Weight 238 lbs (108 kg) – HEAVIEST DIRT BIKE Power 39.6 hp Maximum speed (est) 76 mph (122 km/h) – BEST MAX SPEED Tank capacity 1.60 gal (6 L) Seat height 37.4 in (95 cm) Wheel sizes (front/rear) 80/100-21 / 100/90-19 Engine 4-stroke Clutch Coned-disc spring, hydraulic actuation Transmission 5-speed Starter Electric Base price $8499
Frequently Asked Questions About 250cc Dirt Bikes
For those that are new to dirt biking or considering upgrading, there are many factors to consider in ensuring that a 250cc dirt bike is the right choice. This includes the rider’s experience level, size, and usage of the bike.
Is a 250cc dirt bike good for a beginner?
Motocross and trail riding beginners typically start with bikes that match their overall skill level. The correct choice also needs to align with other attributes such as body size and environment. For most beginners, it is better to start with lower-powered bikes and not go above 300, as these models will have unnecessary power. 250cc dirt bikes are fun and not too heavy for novice riders to control. They are ideal for riders of average height and weight and do not produce excessive power.
Although it might take some time to get used to the increased power provided by a 250cc bike, in comparison to a 125cc, beginners can still master the 250 dirt bike with practice. It is important to go slowly at first to prevent falls and injuries. Four-stroke bikes tend to have a milder power curve which makes them a good choice for beginners. This option is also more convenient on trails because they are easier to ride and control.
How fast can a 250cc dirt bike go?
250cc dirt bikes have powerful acceleration and strong motor performance. Depending on the specific brand and model, riders can reach a maximum speed of 55-80 mph on their bikes, along with the engine being used. Other factors will also play a role in top speed, such as rider weight, tires, exhaust system, skill, track layout, engine stroke, and gearing. Top speed is a less critical consideration when choosing a dirt bike because it can only be reached on long straight roads or in the desert. Check out the fastest dirt bikes in 2023.
How tall should you be to ride a 250cc dirt bike?
Making sure the dirt bike is adequately sized is essential for safety and comfort while riding. Most seat heights for 250cc dirt bikes range from 35 to 40 inches which would, on average, fit those 5’7 and above. However, there is no specific height requirement as it depends on an individual’s leg length and personal comfort.
The best way to tell if you are tall enough to ride a 250cc dirt bike is to sit on the bike in question and see if both feet can touch the ground. If the rider can balance the bike without difficulty while starting and stopping, it is ideal for seat height. In general, a good rule of thumb is that if you can start it, you can ride it. Besides, there are ways to adjust the seat height to be taller or shorter as needed. This can be achieved by shaving the seat down or using a taller seat foam.
Is a 250cc dirt bike street legal?
Riding dirt bikes off-road doesn’t require an operator’s license in most states, although there are age restrictions or training requirements on a state-by-state basis. Dirt bikes are designed to be ridden off-road and are typically not considered street legal. They do not come with headlights, taillights, brake lights, rearview mirrors, or horns necessary to drive safely on the road alongside other motorists.
It is possible to modify a dirt bike to be street legal, although the exact requirements vary from state to state. This process is time-consuming and requires riders to know the specific guidelines for their state, perform dedicated research, and have the technical know-how to install new parts onto their machine. They will have to make any modifications to their bike, including the electrical system, gearing, exhaust, and more. Each state’s transportation authority will have the necessary information on making a dirt bike into a street vehicle legally. However, this is not allowed in every state, and the DMV may disapprove even if the bike meets all the requirements. This process is becoming more and more complex with tightened regulations and decreased availability of the necessary parts.
250cc dirt bikes combine impressive power with great suspensions and reliable parts. They are an exhilarating way to explore new terrains and trails, or possibly even to outrace competitors. Brands continue to evolve their dirt bikes to impress riders, introducing new features and abilities to best suit each rider’s needs. It is essential to consider your desires and environment to determine which option is right for you. With dirt bikes available from top manufacturers such as KTM, Yamaha, Husqvarna, Honda, or Kawasaki, you are sure to find a great and reliable ride.