There are a variety of choices to consider when purchasing a dirt bike. Experience level, brand preference, budget and overall performance go a long way in determining your ideal ride. When you’re dialed in on your expectations of the above and want to take your experience to the next level, speed is the obvious choice!
While power can be a good metric for speed, don’t let engine size fool you. Some lighter dirt bikes deliver fast speeds equivalent to larger, more powerful bikes without the same effort. That’s why TeamMA is back with the top 13 fastest dirt bikes in the world for 2023. Peruse these powerful dirt bikes and pick your poison!
Fastest 250cc Dirt Bikes
Even though 250cc dirt bikes aren’t considered to be the high end of endurance, they still pack a punch for riders of all sizes and experience levels. Since engine power is often balanced with engine size, lightweight bikes won’t have to compensate for the weight of a larger engine. When you’re just getting started on your quest for a speedy dirt bike, the 250cc range is a great place to start.
Top Speed: 70 mph / 113 kph
Dubbed as the nitty gritty upgrade from Honda’s classic CRF250R, the CRF250RX adds a more durable suspension and frame to take your riding to the next level. New handguards for 2022 have been added for better grip and control. Fitted for both racing and off-roading, the 250RX has three different map settings that can be selected with a button located on the handlebars.
The 2023 CRF250RX also features an airbox that’s 78% larger for more power, fewer overall bolts for easier and faster maintenance, and a seat lowered by 10mm. Even though low-end power isn’t exactly kicking on the 250RX, the high-end payoff is worth the impatience. Handling and power delivery are prioritized on the 250RX, so climbing harsh terrain is a breeze.
You may still need a spark arrestor for trails depending on where you’re riding, but this is a small price to pay for smooth, even power. The Honda CRF250RX is especially ideal for intermediate to experienced riders who want a speedy ride both on tracks and in the backcountry.
Husqvarna FC 250
Top Speed: 72 mph / 116 kph* (new 2023 changes not known on improvement)
The Husky FC 250 is at the top of its class in comparison to other models. Combine user-friendly handling with the same powerful engine as the KTM 250 SX-F and you end up on a joyride. The lowered seat height on the FC 250 has been designed with moto veterans in mind, while still being appealing to younger riders with less experience.
Updated in 2021 with a better suspension and lowered seat height, the FC 250 has many engine parts situated tightly in the dirt bike’s center of gravity. This weight distribution helps to reduce rotational forces when it really counts. That’s not all, either. For 2022, the clutch setup has been upgraded to a Brembo system to match the brakes.
The 2023 FC 250 is powered by all-new 4-stroke engines that are designed to be faster, lighter, and play a vital role in enhancing overall handling. Housed inside an all-new frame, a compact, lighter, redesigned engine features a revised Pankl gearbox, ensuring smoother gear changes with a new quickshifter further aiding upshifts, even under heavy load. A new cylinder and CP piston increase the compression ratio to 14.5:1 for improved torque and peak performance on track. Completing the changes for 2023, striking white, yellow, and grey graphics are applied using in-mould technology for an outstanding and long-lasting finish.
The Husqvarna FC 250 has undergone changes in the last few years that all but surpass KTM for best ride. While some riders may stay loyal to the orange achievers, all your competition will be able to see when it’s over is a trail of white and dark blue leaving them in the dust.
KTM 250 SX-F Fastest Dirt Bike
Top Speed: 85 mph / 137 kph
Ideal for riders dedicated to racing, the KTM 250 SX-F is a mean machine on the track. Comparable to its 450cc big brother, the compact & centralized engine on the 250 SX-F is an engineering marvel. Much of the 250 SX-F’s power is at the top end, so hard riding and steady speed is essential for a consistent result.
For 2023, KTM has significantly stiffened the chassis, and improved the engine with the motor at about 8mm shorter from bottom to top. It has a set of tiny finger-followers and double overhead cams, which enable more aggressive valve adjustment. Huge 32.5mm intake and 27.5mm exhaust valves are used. The engine can crank to extraordinary heights—well over 13,000 rpm. That’s not really novel, but every year the mapping gets a little more advanced and the rev limiter gets a little softer.
At its highest, the bike produces well over 40 horsepower. The initial Yamaha YZ250F produced roughly 31 horsepower in 2001, and it was so quick that the AMA thought about banning it from professional competition. The world has evolved.
Traction control is another essential feature on the 250 SX-F that makes gnarly rides more manageable, while launch control ensures an assertive start. Easily switch between two map settings to find the perfect settings for your race. The KTM 250 SX-F is fitting for the dedicated rider that loves to ride for speed.
Top Speed: 85 mph / 137 kph
Ideal for off-road and cross-country riding, the Yamaha WR250F is in a league of its own. Expanded from the classic YZ line with extra settings and features, the WR250F offers a powerful dirt bike geared towards the enduro crowd. The included spark arrestor means you can easily take your WR250F anywhere it’s allowed.
Specific engine tuning on the WR250F includes fuel injection and ignition options to suit your riding style. Toggle between standard and race mode depending on your goals that day and get riding. Power delivery is consistent on the WR250F, but it’s at the price of not having a top-end push for big air or massive power.
For 2023, the WR250F receives new radiator shroud graphics for the model year, but nothing else in terms of updates, revisions, or changes.
While Yamaha WR250F may not be ideal for everyone, it finds its appeal in niche riders that know what they want. With some consistent modifications, it’s a competitive dirt bike that offers a smooth, solid ride.
Top Speed: 85 mph / 137 kph
A distant cousin of the Ninja line, the Kawasaki KX250 is responsible for the most wins in its class. Despite boasting less high-end power than its peers in past years, the KX250 of today is no longer bound by these constraints. These changes may not be as popular with novice riders, but they have made the KX250 more competitive in comparison to the current 250cc trends.
For 2023, Kawasaki wanted to increase power from low to high rpm with the adjustments to the cylinder head, intake, and exhaust. To go along with the new engine features, gearbox ratios have also been modified along with the final drive. The improvements are noticeable, with a slight enhancement in the bottom end and notably strong power from the midrange to the top end. Even while throttle response is improved, the quarter-liter green machine may still need a little bottom-end power to compete at the top of the 250 four-stroke motocross market.
Featuring their own KLCM (Kawasaki Launch Control Mode) system, the options are endless for customization and control off the starting line. Add up to three couplers for triple the map choices. From a comfort angle, the Ergo-Fit system helps riders of all shapes and sizes get comfortable and acclimated no matter what their experience level may be.
Between its narrow size and competitive adjustments, the Kawasaki KX250 is finally in fair competition with its class. While it’s not quite a Ninja with a need for speed, it’s already a steady winner that’s sure to keep that reputation.
Fastest 450cc Dirt Bikes
Some of the dirt bikes featured below are considered dual-sport bikes. Dual-sport bikes are super powerful and can usually be ridden on a variety of surfaces. However, don’t be fooled into thinking those factors mean lower speeds. The 450cc dirt bike range is a great compromise between leisurely jaunts and performance racing.
Top Speed: 80 mph / 129 kph
Despite Yamaha being a motocross contender for over fifty years, the YZ450F is still one of their highest rated dirt bikes for its capabilities. This powerful dirt bike is hugely popular with both aspiring riders and racers alike. Reliability is a serious sticking point on the YZ450F, and despite it not being at the forefront of racing, dedication to this model has not waned among its audience.
The 2023 Yamaha YZ450F has seen major updates with 5 pounds weight loss and improvements to engine, chassis and components all over the bike. 500rpm addition to the rev limiter and is the leader of the 450 class in terms of peak horsepower with 54.4 hp.
Deluxe suspension capabilities and an optional Power Tuner app ensure you’re in charge of how your dirt bike functions every step of the way. This is a big perk compared to most other bands, since many dirt bikes require you to purchase a separate transmitter for the same effect. Fit-wise, the YZ450F is ideal for average-to-short statures, and a tall saddle helps pad out the seat for larger riders.
Predictable, effortless and easily managed, the Yamaha YZ450F is capable of keeping up with even the best of the 450 class.
Top Speed: 87 mph / 140 kph
Honda is not new to speed or innovation, and this is clearly evidenced by the construction of the CRF450R. With many minute changes like airbox size and arrangement reconfiguring, Honda has worked hard to ensure the CRF450R is a top competitor in its class. Known for high quality durability, the CRF450R can take on any unsavory terrain that might get in your way.
For 2023, the throttle body diameter of Honda’s CRF450R’s flagship motocrosser was decreased from 46mm to 44mm in order to improve the smoothness of power delivery at low speeds. To increase engine response and torque, engineers also made the intake funnel longer and the intake port shape narrower. To further boost torque, the camshaft profile was modified.
Asserting your dominance and speed will be no problem on the CRF450R with its heavy-duty suspension. Whether you’re riding tracks or trails, the CRF450R will help you right along. Featuring three levels of traction control and map preferences, these can easily be toggled using a switch on the handlebars. Despite these presets, we’re optimistic that Honda will rework these settings to be customizable in the coming years.
Responsive, lightweight and affordable, the Honda CRF450R is more competitive than ever in the 450cc range.
Top Speed: 89 mph / 143 kph
Despite Kawasaki’s diverse range of products and devices, their dirt bikes are still second to none. The KX450 offers a lush ride that’s built to handle serious punishment on tracks and trails of all kinds. Power and handling are prioritized for both novice and expert riders alike.
No updates for 2023, but there are rumours of a major overhaul for 2024… watch this space!
Featuring powerful flex for your most competitive rides, the KX450 offers robust impact absorption so your body doesn’t take a beating. For both comfort and functionality, there are two optional handlebar & foot peg mounting positions depending on personal preference. Couple these features with the centralized seat height and you’ll see why the KX450 is a highly personalized ride.
Despite the lack of map settings on the Kawasaki KX450, this dirt bike is ultra-easy to ride for almost any experience level or terrain type.
Top Speed: 110 mph / 177 kph
Considered a powerful alternative to KTM, Beta is Italy’s answer to dirt bikes. The 430RR-S is simultaneously a nasty off-road bike neatly wrapped up in a speedy street-legal package. Despite this dual-sport bike being adaptable, it rides like a dirt bike no matter what surface it’s on.
For 2023, updates to traction control ECU mappings, smaller radiator shroud and other minor updates, but no significant changes from the 2022 model.
Perfect for off-roading, the 430RR-S features a handy Trail Tech GPS so you’ll always know where you are and where you’re going. Stalling and overheating are in your past with Beta’s insistence on high quality handling and engine components. Even if disaster strikes, the seat on the 430RR-S quickly pops on and off for easy maintenance.
The 430RR-S is one of the first dual-sport dirt bikes to make a comeback in the dirt bike industry, and it’s influenced other companies like Honda and Yamaha to prioritize their dual-sport models. With reliable features and street legality, it’s no wonder the Beta 430RR-S gives other dual-sport bikes a run for their money.
KTM 450 SX-F Fastest Dirt Bike
Top Speed: 123 mph / 198 kph
Lauded as an out-of-box racing machine, the KTM 450 SX-F is one of the fastest bikes on our 2023 list. It comes as no surprise since the 450 SX-F has always been the model to compete with when constructing a dirt bike. Polishing what’s great is the name of the game with the 450 SX-F, and the 2023 model is no different.
For 2023, as with the 250 version, there have been significant improvements to the chassis and engine which makes the whole bike just better than ever! Stiffer frame, higher revving engine with ECU mapping improvements for mid-range torque.
Featuring an engine that purrs and a rugged steel frame, the 450 SX-F screams power. Hone that power using KTM’s additional transmitter and recently compatible MY RIDE app to make it work for you. Covers on the vented airbox and engine help to reduce debris interference and excessive wear from the active movement of your boots.
With an agile profile and steady power delivery on all fronts, the KTM 450 SX-F is the fastest and most often replicated dirt bike on our list.
Fastest 500cc+ Dirt Bikes
Rounding out the top end of the dirt bike spectrum, these powerful dual-sport dirt bikes aren’t to be underestimated. Built for experienced riders, this 500+ range is ideal for riders that know how to handle massive power with effortless finesse.
Kawasaki KLR 650
Top Speed: 98 mph / 158 kph
The Kawasaki KLR 650 has undergone plenty of changes since its inception in the 1980s. Fuel injection is one of the latest changes, along with a narrower exhaust port. Unlike many of the models above, the KLR 650 features a windscreen that offers some level of protection to the rider and the display.
2023 only sees some cosmetic updates and more graphics/color options.
The no-longer-analog LCD display features the standards: clock, fuel gauge, speedometer, odometer and two trip settings. Larger handlebars, foot pegs and a new seat all include damping for both comfort and protection. Long jaunts at full throttle are a breeze with the KLR 650, and that’s a huge sticking point.
Classic, affordable and reliable, the Kawasaki KLR 650 offers a cushy ride for seasoned riders on and off the road. Mid-range power delivery is reliable as long as you don’t attempt any jumps or ultra-rugged handling.
Top Speed: 101 mph / 163 kph
If you want a performance dual-sport bike, look no further than the Husqvarna FE501S. With a near complete redesign in 2020, the FE501S looks and feels more like a dirt bike than most dual-sport models. DOT-compliant and quieter than ever, the FE501S is ready to go.
For 2023, there are new colors, trim, and eye-catching dark blue graphics with electrifying yellow accents give the Swedish-inspired design a distinctive appearance and attractively embellish it, harmonizing with the new metallic blue of the frame.
Reworked low-end power is a huge selling point on the FE501S, while mid and high-range power aren’t quite as robust. The dirt bike feel is due to the FE501S being exceptionally light, so it won’t get stuck in ruts or lose traction like larger, heavier bikes will.
Since it’s street legal, the FE501S is required to have necessary mirrors and accessories to play by the book. However, these additions are minimal and it’s clear Husky designed this dirt bike to be as low-key as possible. Seen as the best of both worlds, the Husky FE501S is as close as you’ll get to a lightweight, street legal dirt bike.
Top Speed: 110 mph / 177 kph
Versatile as ever, the Honda XR650L offers a variety of applications across the board. Featuring a simple electric starter, top-level suspension and smooth power delivery, the XR650L yields a dirt bike that performs well in most environments.
The XR650L continues to be unchanged in the 2023 model year apart from some new colors and graphics.
The XR650L boasts a robust steel frame for solid power management and safety on the road. It also comes standard with a passenger seat and fold-out passenger foot pegs that are perfect for showing your friends what cruising is all about. While many dirt and dual sport bikes can’t be easily taken on a road trip, the XR650L excels in this department and offers an effortless ride.
Unlike other dual-sport bikes that hover around $10k, the Honda XR650L comes in at $3k less. The extra-affordable price tag, combined with passenger features and easy handling, makes this powerful dirt bike a no brainer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest 250cc dirt bike?
The title of fastest 250cc dirt bike remains a tie between the Kawasaki KX 250 and the Yamaha WR250F. Both dirt bikes boast a top speed of 85 mph (137 kph) and offer some comparable features. However, if you’re concerned about purely dirt bike expertise, these models have unique differences. The KX 250 is better suited to motocross and more aggressive riding, while the WR250F is better for enduro and cross-country endeavors.
What is the fastest 450cc dirt bike?
The fastest 450cc dirt bike on our list is the KTM 450 SX-F. With a whopping top speed of 123 mph, the 450 SX-F leaves any competition in the dust. Beyond the 450cc category, the 450 SX-F technically beats out all 500cc+ dirt bikes for the overall fastest rating. Even though going fast sounds fun, it’s important to have experience thoroughly handling your dirt bike so that you’ll be able to maintain control at these speeds.
What is the most powerful dirt bike?
This answer all depends on how you define power. Large engines like the Honda 650XR generate a ton of power and have a higher top speed, but it’s all dependent on how you use it. While 2-stroke dirt bikes offer a ton of low-end power, they can’t always sustain this same power level over a long ride. Shooting out of corners quickly is one thing, but steadily keeping up with your competition is another.
4-stroke dirt bikes, on the other hand, offer serious sustained power. They may take longer than 2-strokes to get to this higher threshold, but they’ll keep going at that level for a long time. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Getting to know your dirt bike before you compete or go for a long ride is absolutely necessary. Like any piece of technology, you’ll be able to notice small changes in the moment and have more control when it matters.
What’s the fastest 2-stroke dirt bike?
Out of the above brands, KTM makes the fastest 2-stroke dirt bike on the market. The KTM EXC 300 nearly matches up to the fastest dirt bike on our list (KTM 450 SX-F) in terms of top speed. The 2-stroke engine yields more rapid power that gives the rider a low-end boost when they really need it.
Are 2-stroke dirt bikes faster than 4-strokes?
2-stroke dirt bikes are definitely quicker off the starting line and generate power sooner than 4-strokes. Since 2-strokes only have two parts to their engine power cycle, there’s less fuss to generating fast power. 2-strokes are most useful for starting off strong in a competitive race or speeding quickly out of corners. However, since power is available so quickly, handling them is another story. You don’t want your bike getting away from you when you push too hard!
In comparison, 4-strokes deliver lasting power and endurance. Holding a top speed for an extended period of time is the most ideal situation for 4-strokes, since their power is steadier once it’s been held consistent. Ultimately, your preference will depend on the type of riding you’ll be using your dirt bike for.
What is the fastest dirt bike?
While there may be other motorcycles that boast higher speeds, many of these choices can’t be purely defined as a dirt bike. With that in mind, there’s only one clear-cut winner according to TeamMA’s calculations.
The overall fastest dirt bike on our list remains the KTM 450 SX-F. It’s no surprise that KTM would produce such a dirt bike since they’re well known for having high standards for speed. The 450 SX-F offers both substantial power and user-friendly handling for experienced riders looking for a fast ride.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our take on the fastest dirt bikes of 2023. Learning how to manage high speed takes some work, but it’s worth putting that effort into your moto journey. TeamMA will be back soon with more info!