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Trail Dirt Bikes 2023 [Best Picks & Buying Guide]

Trail dirt bikes are closely related to the dirt bikes used in Motocross. There are differences, though, as each style of riding varies. This article will look at some of the best trail dirt bikes available on the market. Before we do, we are going to talk about the variations in design. 

Trail dirt bikes – How they differ from MX?

There are two subjects which always start a heated discussion at TeamMA HQ. The first is is a 2-stroke better than a 4-stroke’? A close second is ‘what is the difference between a trails bike and a motocross bike’? If these conversations start, you can guarantee no one is getting any work done for half an hour or more.

When we were discussing this article, it became apparent that opinions are divided. After much coffee, hours of reading other riders’ views, and too many biscuits, we have a definitive answer.

What is a trail bike?  

A trail bike is a dirt bike that handles multiple terrains. These may include pathways, bridleways (UK), fields, tracks, woodland and sand. Rides can last all day and often have a common start/finish point. (Generally, this start/finish will be where the van is parked and near a supply of cold beer).   

Competitive trail riding is known as enduro. In an Enduro race, a rider is competing against the clock, the elements and themselves. 

Trail Dirt Bikes – Main features

  • Wider gear ratios to deal with more varied riding conditions
  • Softer suspension 
  • Lower torque 
  • A greater range (more fuel capacity) 
  • Reliability and durability.
  • A trail bike may have lights for night time riding.

Because trails bikes demand greater reliability and increased flexibility, a four-stroke engine is often preferable to a two-stroke. 

Trail bikes are workhorses that are slightly heavier than MX bikes and favour a lower centre of gravity. 

Motocross Bike VS Trail Bike

Motocross is an entirely different sport. Motocross and super motocross have short, fast circuits. A competitive rider races in heats that rarely last longer than half an hour, although track days may have longer sessions. Motocross bikes are finely tuned and often require trick components to help shave seconds off of laps. Trail bikes have also specific enduro tires which are suitable for all roads. Before buying a trail bike in US, make sure to check your local dirt bike laws.

Motocross bikes are hooligans. Hardcore MX riders often favour a two-stroke engine dirt bike.

Both Motocross bikes and trail bikes are known as dirt bikes.  

Now we have cleared that up, what are the best trail bikes that money can buy for the 2023 season? We have sat and drooled over dozens of bikes. The following are some of our favourites. We list our choices in order of engine size. 

Although trail bikes start at 125cc, we have only reviewed 250cc + in this article. Many reviews provide reams of statistics. (Boring)! We have provided the essential facts figures for you in this best 125cc dirt bike review. How much is it, will it fit me, and what type of engine is it? 

For transparency, we have not ridden any of these bikes for this review. Instead, we sat down with a pad and paper and said, what would our trail bike shopping list look like if money was no object? We want a flexible, potentially dual-sport capable bike for adventure riding and gnarly enough to have some serious fun. 

The opinions are personal, and we have considered the comments of other experts who have ridden these bikes in the last twelve months. We make no money by featuring these models. 

Get your cheque book ready, and let’s dive in and have a look. 

Best 4 Stroke Trail Dirt bikes

Best trails bikes – Yamaha WR250F 2023

Yamaha WR250F 2023 trail dirt bike

Yamaha needs no introduction to serious off-road fans. The Japanese giant has firmly established itself as one of the leading players. The WR250F is an heirloom model which has evolved over decades and so you can be sure that handling, performance and build quality are premier class. 

The WR250F is the smallest of the bikes in our guide. You can expect a lightweight, surprisingly aggressive dirt bike which can be thrown around a circuit as well as ridden around your local trails for an exciting weekend blast. 

Trail bike fans will love the wide-ratio six-speed gearbox which accesses a broad range of power delivery from the four-stroke engine. The suspension is competition standard KYB with a race-winning pedigree.  

Trail features include discreet lighting front and rear, a tough skid plate and a well-balanced aluminium frame. The WR250F (2023) is the total package. From gnarly weekend rides to full-on Enduro competition, the Yamaha provides an excellent way into this exciting sport.  

Trail Dirt Bikes Specs and Comparison – Yamaha WR250F

Price (Converted from GBP for guidance only. Please check with your dealer for details)

Price$9,649 (£7,699 ; €8,693)
Seat height37,4 inch (95 cm)
Weight253,5 lbs (115 kg)
Ground clearance12,6 inch (32 cm)
Tank Capacity2,1 gallons (7,9 L)
Engine250 cc

Best trails dirt bikes – Honda CRF450RX 2023

2023 Honda CRF450RX - best trails bike

Dealer fresh trail dirt bikes are surprisingly good value when compared to the 125cc entry-level machines. For around a grand more than the Yamaha, you start to get ideas of owning a 450cc dirt bike. Few can rival the all-round capability and legendary reliability of Honda’s larger-engined read beast. 

The CRF450RX 2023 is Honda’s dedicated trail/enduro version of its class-winning Motocross bike. The RX version has trail features such as enclosed disc brakes, skid plate and a larger fuel tank than its flighty sister. Honda has also thought about the kind of riding trail riders face. Consequent, steering is nimble and quick, and the seat unit is smaller. All these subtle features add up to a bike which is easier to control over technical sections at low speed. 

The RX version’s power delivery is managed by an ECU that features switchable power maps, a broader power band, and some real grunt in the mid-range. Honda has even tricked up the decompression to reduce the chance of stalling. The suspension is world-class, with a wide range of adjustment to suit your tastes and more extended travel than the MX model. The 2023 model has shed a whopping 2.5KG, meaning increased power to weight and more control. 


Trail Dirt Bikes Specs and Comparison- Honda CRF450RX

Price (Converted from GBP for guidance only. Please check with your dealer for details)

Price$11,100 (£8,750 ; €9,700)
Seat height37,6 inch (96,5 cm)
Weight249 lbs (113 kg)
Ground clearance13,2 inch (33,6 cm)
Tank capacity2,1 gallons (8 L)
Engine450 cc

Best 4 stroke trail dirt bikes – Kawasaki KX450XC 2023

Kawasaki KX450XC 2023 trail dirt bike

Enter, the mean green machine. Anyone who has spent time around motorcycles will be aware of Kawasaki’s hooligan reputation. MA boss Martin rode Kawasaki machines for many years. We were super excited to see that Kawasaki has a brand new trail bike for 2023. 

Kawasaki’s reputation for aggression may lead you to assume a two-stroke power plant. That would be incorrect. Both their championship-winning, (over 25 in various classes) MX and this beautiful XC are four-stroke. Being yet another heirloom design, tech is tried and tested. 

We have to admit that team green is one of the meanest looking bikes in the pack, and race-ready if you feel lucky. Showa suspension, slim design chassis and components and shorter gearing set the XC up for adrenaline-fueled cross country riding. The engine mapping is trail-specific, with switchable modes. 

Kawasaki seems to have increased its attention to detail over the years, with high-quality third party components like Renthal bars, for example. The overall impression is one of quality finish; a refreshing feature for Kawasaki’s in general. To finish off the package, Kawaski has designed the bike with integral protection, a low centre of gravity and an impressive height adjustment. The KX is ideal for riders who like to be nearer to the ground.   


Trail Dirt Bikes Specs – Kawasaki KX450XC

Price (Converted from GBP for guidance only. Please check with your dealer for details)

Seat height37,4 inch (95 cm)
Weight277,8 lbs (126 kg) – HEAVIEST DIRT BIKE
Ground clearance13,2 inch (33,5 cm)
Tank capacity1,6 gallons (6,2 L)
Engine450 cc

Best 4 stroke trail dirt bikes – Sherco 500 SEF 

Sherco 500 SEF 2023

French brand Sherco is a company that believes in quality, originality and focus. These characteristics shine through in their impressive range of bikes. In a world dominated by large corporations, Sherco brings a refreshing factory team feel to offroad motorcycling. 

The 2023 500SEF carries on this impressive legacy. Whereas most of the dirt bikes we have listed so far have been developed form MX models, the 500SEF, (and its smaller sister, the 450), is exclusively for hardcore trail/enduro enthusiasts. This dedication to a vision is very reminiscent of the KTM approach, yet the Sherco bikes are 100% Sherco design. Sure, they use trick components like Akrapovic exhausts, Synerjet fuel injection and KYB suspension. 

The 500SEF is a serious bit of kit. Hyper aggressive styling and power delivery, coupled with competition standard tining and components, mean a no-compromise beast of a bike. Unpack, set up and win. They look fantastic too!  

We love Sherco for its individuality. Many smaller companies have been swallowed up by team orange, becoming little more than styling alternatives to the admittedly incredible KTM range. Long may Sherco’s unique, hardcore racing range continue.       

Trail Dirt Bikes Specs and comparison – Sherco 500 SEF

Price (Converted from GBP for guidance only. Please check with your dealer for details)

Price$12,500 (£9,400 ; €10,613)
Seat height37,4 inch (95 cm)
Weight240,3 lbs (109 kg)
Ground clearance13,2 inch (33,5 cm)
Engine480 cc

Best 2 Stroke Trail Dirt Bikes

Having banged on about reliability, manageable power delivery and the wonder of modern four-stroke bikes, you may be surprised by the TeamMA choice. We have made no secret of our love for Team Orange, but the bike that we all agree we want to own is a genuinely unique machine. 

Best 2 stroke trails bikes – KTM 300 Erzbergrodeo LTD Edition

KTM 300 Erzbergrodeo LTD Edition 2023

No one does two-stroke quite like KTM. When other significant manufacturers abandoned the strokers for the four-stroke engines, KTM continued to develop its range. Potentially, KTM has gained a considerable advantage in doing so, as the world drifts slowly back to the idea of advanced two-stroke design. 

KTM has pulled out the stops for this 2023 limited edition trail bike. As with the Sherco, you can roll it out of the crate, set it up and sit on a world-class dirt bike. Sure, all of our picks are insanely capable bikes; but the KTM is on a different level. 

The Erbergrodeo comes from a family of three 300cc two-stroke trail bikes and represents the best money can buy. This limited edition version has all of the tweaks and toys fitted as standard and dedicated custom graphics. 

One of the enormous advantages of a two-stroke is the lighter engine. Power delivery is notoriously harsh on two-stroke bikes, yet KTM seems to have balanced the hooligan element with the grace parkour. Whatever your skill level, you will appreciate the nimble agility coupled with spine-tingling performance. KTM has kept a few goodies in the bag for those that like to add aftermarket upgrades, but there is little need.   

Trail Dirt Bikes Specs – KTM 300

Price (Converted from USD for guidance only. Please check with your dealer for details)

Price$12,649 (£10,500 ; €11,900)
Seat height38,2 inch (97,5 cm) – HIGHEST SEAT
Weight224,9 lbs (102 kg) – LIGHTEST DIRT BIKE
Ground clearance14,6 inch (37 cm) – HIGHEST CLEARANCE
Tank capacity2,1 gallons (8 L)
Engine300 cc

The KTM 300 is top of our 2023 Christmas present list. All donations are welcome. 

If you have the budget and want to experience trail riding at its best, any one of these machines will bring you joy. Of course, you can always look for a dealer refurbished trade-in or even a second-hand model. Many dealers may be offering deals on older 2019/2020 stock, so why not send them an email and start the ball rolling!

If you are looking for a smaller trail dirt bike, then you might want to consider some of these best pit bikes for 2023.

Send us pictures if you buy one. Our Instagram is here. Use #TeamMA 

Have fun out there!

Martin, and TeamMA

This Article Has 2 Comments
  1. Madge Reply

    I blog quite often and I seriously appreciate your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.

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  2. Al Reply

    Careful with the weight: wet versus dry, not the same at all. The Europeans “cheat” by posting only the dry weight, whereas the Japanese post it wet. For perspective, an 8.5 l tank full of gasoline (i.e, wet) adds around 20 pounds to the dry weight. Oops. No matter how you slice it, a full size bike with a tank full of gasoline weighs about 150 pounds, give or take a few which doesn’t show at all in the trails.

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