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Best Street Legal Dirt Bike 2023
Best Dual Sport Dirt Bike 2023KTM 450 Rally Replica
Best Adventure Dirt Bikes 2023BMW R1250GS Adventure
Best Enduro Dirt Bike 2023Husqvarna FE 350
As we welcome you to our ultimate street legal dirt bike guide, we’ve already set up a controversial situation. The term “dirt bike” means so many things to so many people. To most of us, a dirt bike is usually a motocross or enduro style bike ranging from 80cc to the 350cc bracket. Its key characteristics include lightweight construction, long-travel suspension, off-road tires, and quick acceleration.
Talking about dirt bikes to a wider community leads to quite a different answer. If you’re new to the idea of dirt biking, you may be considering a bike that can be used both on and off-road. Road legal dirt bikes are particularly ideal if you plan to ride trails on the weekend and commute during the week.
Trips that include a combination of mountain trails, green lanes, gravel and tarmac roads would not be ideal for a more traditional dirt bike. Comfort, handling, fuel-range and reliability issues would all eventually come into question. Despite this, the marketing for moto manufacturers may still use words like “enduro” and “cross country” to describe products that don’t quite fit into those categories.
Below we will discuss the typical build and equipment required for a street legal dirt bike, before sharing our top dual sport, enduro and adventure bikes available for 2023.
An Introduction to Street Legal Dirt Bikes
For adults, insurance and license are not required for riding off-road in almost all US states. However, many states have age restrictions for young riders to ensure they are assisted and safe. Certain states also require training certification for minors on their way to their first kids dirt bike.
The same cannot be said for on-road riding. Even areas like car parks or alleys are illegal to ride on without license and insurance. This standard is in place to not only protect you, but every other driver on the road.
So, what is a street legal dirt bike? The term “street legal” means this machine has been modified for road use, but it still has the capacity, weight, and other factors to enter it into a race. Street legal dirt bikes can easily be entered into enduro competitions or scrambled on the trails. However, these bikes have a minimum number of kits fitted to make them road legal.
There are two options for obtaining a road legal dirt bike: convert an existing dirt bike or buy a new street legal dirt bike. Cost, labor, passion and your existing dirt bike will all influence your decision, and this guide intends to help you make the right decision.
If you are considering conversion as a worthy option, read on for some tips.
How to convert a dirt bike to make it road legal
Before you get started, remember road laws are continually changing everywhere. Be sure to check with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), the DOT (Department of Transport) or the DVLA (Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency) depending on where you’re located.
Unfortunately, California does not allow street legal dirtbike conversion as of 2022. Try searching for ‘federal minimum requirements’ for your state to see what’s required when converting your bike to a street legal machine. Also make sure to read our in-depth guide how to make your dirt bike street legal! Be honest with yourself about whether it’s worth the time and investment before diving in!
Certain requirements must be met once your bike is built. Be ready to call around, or pay someone a premium to do this work for you. After this process, get ready for a shopping trip! You’ll need a headlight, taillight, turn signals, mirrors and even a horn to make your bike fully street legal.
Emissions play a huge part in making your dirt bike street legal, and may explain why conversion isn’t yet legal in California. Make sure the exhaust that’s equipped will pass the current emission standard for your state or area. All of these factors are necessary for safety on the road regardless of the law. In addition to possible exhaust modifications, be sure your dirt bike tires are also street legal.
Although speed and RPM may not be a factor for people around you, you’ll need both a speedometer and tachometer to make your dirt bike street legal. Be sure you have the patience, or know someone who does, to safely rewire your bike for these add-ons. Side stands often get in the way for real off-road enthusiasts, but kickstands are essential for on-road driving and parking. A license plate holder is another essential to put on your shopping list.
Lastly, consider your gearing. Different ratios are better suited to off and on-road use depending on the situation. Even fuel tanks are meant to be DOT approved steel tanks, so all of the above will require some further intensive reading.
While it’s possible to convert your current off-road dirt bike, it’s easy to see why buying a dedicated road legal dirt bike may be a better option. We’ll highlight buying options later in this article so you can make the decision that’s best for you.
Things to Consider Before Converting a Dirt Bike:
- Excellent option for those who can’t afford two bikes
- Lighter and easier to maneuver than heavier counterparts
- Conversion can be an exciting project
- Mostly DIY since manufacturers rarely see conversion as a profitable marketplace
- Many legal questions to sort out
- May not handle like an off-road bike once conversion is complete
- Constantly changing laws & hoops to jump through by yourself
- Extra parts on your bike like indicators and brake lights are non-negotiable
All things considered, we would suggest you have a dedicated dirt bike and a separate scooter for commuting if that fits your situation. You can always wear a full-face helmet so that no one recognizes you! Jokes aside, you may find that converting a dirt bike to a road legal dirt bike leaves you with a compromised bike.
With these changes, your dirt bike may be unsuitable for extended road riding, or it may develop annoying off-road traits like reduced handling from road-compliant tires. You may have more fun riding to work on a scooter and keeping your dirt bike pure.
KTM, Beta, GasGas, Husqvarna and some of the Japanese ‘big four’ sell purist dirt bikes with road-legal capabilities. If you have the budget, a late model or brand-new bike from this class may be your best bet. A tiny number of custom bike manufacturers build legal road bikes with dirt bike DNA, like these bikes from UK Custom Shop Kevils Speed Shop.
Should I buy a street legal dirt bike?
The answer to this question depends on your personal choice and circumstances. If you are not racing, or you’ll be riding more on-road than off, a bike that can do both is a solid option.
Road legal bikes are naturally heavier than pure off-road dirt bikes with the extra instruments and kit. Larger fuel tanks further increase that weight difference. In regard to dual sport and adventure bikes, the engine cc rises accordingly. While this can lead to more service charges, having a bike that can easily do both types of riding may be worth the cost.
Thanks to on-bike storage, your belongings can go with you. However, while riding up mountains can be fun, the heavier weight of dual-sport and adventure bikes can spell trouble if you tip over or run into problems. Jumps and obstacles can be negotiated to a certain degree, but they’ll definitely require advanced riding skills and strength.
True motorcycle enthusiasts often have multiple bikes for multiple jobs. In TeamMA’s ideal garage, we would own a dedicated motocross dirt bike as well as a dual-sport or adventure bike for mixed terrain and adventure touring. If you’re unsure exactly what you need, start logging how often you would ride on the road. More time riding on-road may warrant owning an additional street legal dirt bike instead of converting an existing dirt bike.
What are the differences between dual-sport, adventure and enduro bikes?
Above any guidance, remember that brands and manufacturers use the above descriptions to sell bikes.
Dual-sport bikes serve a specific purpose. Riders who live rurally may have a genuine need to regularly ride off-road during their work day, and a dual-sport dirt bike solves that problem. The dual-sport category usually appeals to short distance adventurers or motocross dirt bike riders looking for a second road legal dirt bike for mixed-surface adventures. Dual-sport bikes ship with all necessary accessories (lights, signals, electronics, horn, road-legal tires & exhaust) in place. Fairing, windshields, larger tanks and luggage capacity are optional extras. These machines are considered middleweight, from 250lbs (113kgs) to over 350lbs (160kgs), and their engines can range up to 700cc depending on the bike. Self-maintenance of dual-sport bikes is becoming more difficult, so don’t be shy about taking your bike to a professional when necessary. Be sure to check the exhaust system if you’re buying used, since competition parts may contradict local laws.
- More functional and practical bike for those who want lightweight off-road riding, rally capabilities or on-road tours
- Fun on-road riding with the ability to hit trails anytime
- More sensible than a converted motocross dirt bike
- Extensive engine choices are available
- Road legal and ready to go (in most areas of the world)
- Trade lightweight maneuverability for road performance and distance ability
- Can be very expensive when new
- Aftermarket bikes may not be as common
Adventure motorcycles offer different capabilities and represent a strictly heavyweight, long-distance category. Road legal adventure dirt bikes are built for high mileage in harsh conditions with heavy luggage loads. While these bulletproof dirt bikes are undoubtedly heavy and bulky, off-road fun and far-off locales with an extra passenger make the added weight worth the effort. Adventure bikes ship with all the necessary specs and kit for an intercontinental tour, but they’re not suited for extreme trails, enduro or motocross riding. Longer trips are a breeze with panniers and bag attachments, as well as larger fuel tanks to increase your travel range. Enhanced GPS ensures you’ll always find your way, and high ground clearance coupled with skid plates and metal panniers allows for easy off-road riding.
Engine power and weight are the main differences between adventure and dual-sport bikes. The weight of an adventure bike generally ranges between 350lbs (180kgs) to 600lbs (275kg), and engine sizes are over 700cc. The Yamaha Tenere, mentioned below, technically falls into both categories. Expect to be presented with a large range of optional extras if you’re buying new. Gadget lovers should stay mindful of the budget in advance, and be prepared to stick to it. Check out this comparison of a KTM Adventure R and a Honda Africa Twin for more relevant info.
One additional note: Small-framed riders may have trouble controlling these bikes. Adventure models are only suitable for capable riders that are strong enough to handle more weight and bulk. TeamMA’s guide to best beginner dirt bikes is a great place to start if you’re new to dirt bikes!
- Virtually indestructible, super-tough design and build
- Massive mileage capability with extended service intervals
- Comfortable for both rider and passenger
- Range of comfort extras make it feel like a car on two wheels
- Heavy, tall, and cumbersome
- Not ideal for riders who struggle with larger bikes
- Expensive & not ideal for daily commutes
Enduro dirt bikes are considered the competition bikes out of the three categories. Dual-sport bikes actually evolved from enduro motorcycles, and some enduro models may need adjustment to be fully street legal dirt bikes. Enduro dirt bikes are designed to be ridden on specific trails and are tailored to off-road conditions. Power and suspension take the focus on these machines, as well as larger gas tanks for riding longer distances. Compared to dual-sport and adventure bikes, enduro dirt bikes range between 200lbs (113kg) to 300lbs (136kgs) depending on the engine, which usually falls somewhere between 300 and 450cc. They’re more ideal for daily commutes and backroad jaunts than long-winded adventures, and enduro motorcycles are far more lightweight & maneuverable in risky conditions.
- Lightweight build & easy to navigate
- Great for trails and short distances
- Ideal for smaller riders
- High aftermarket value
- May have to make adjustments for road legality
- No luggage capacity
- Not as focused on comfort
Best Dual Sport Dirt Bikes 2023
1. KTM 450 Rally Replica
KTM has dominated the Dakar for almost 20 years, and the 450 Rally Replica is a nod to the winning bike of the 2019 Silk Way Rally. With lighter features and premium KTM design, it leaves off all the unnecessary instruments. The Rally Replica is a bike for a serious off-road and rally enthusiast.
KTM is an undisputed market leader, and as usual this bike is the best of the best. An extra lightweight carbon fibre navigation column sits behind the new design, so that wind and debris easily slide off your visor in harsh conditions. This street legal dirt bike is built to deal with everything you can throw at it. The narrow design keeps it agile, and the subframe-integrated fuel tank sits at the rear with a capacity of 4.2 gallons (16 liters). A more comfortable profile seat comes included with the package.
The Rally Replica is designed for the rider seeking flexibility, durability and adventure.
- Power: Carbon engine protection, and high WP front forks with special triple clamps for high speeds. Durable titanium Akrapovic exhaust with noise silencer. Competition-ready Hinson clutch. (Hinson is the best when you’re asking for multiple gear changes under harsh conditions.)
- Tires: Industry-standard Michelin tires will keep you steady both on & off the track. Stopping is simple with Brembo 300mm brakes in the front, and 240mm in the rear.
- Grips: Rubber mounts ease vibration and soft grips provide hand comfort. Full wrap handguards also protect from trees and foliage.
- Foot pegs: High-mount front fender and fork guards protect from debris and intrusive scenery. Wide foot pegs ensure comfort on longer journeys.
- Electronics: Features such as traction control, speed limiting and navigation all add to the road and touring experience.
After that impressive list of features, you can appreciate why a road legal dual-sport bike may be more suited to those looking for mixed-terrain riding. The KTM 450 Rally Replica is a limited-edition bike that’s designed for long distances, gnarly terrain, and Dakar style rallying. You may have to pay a pretty penny for it, but the Rally Replica is a slice of pure dual-sport heaven that’s worth the cost. For 2023 only 70 units will be available, so if you really want one of these exclusive and desirable bikes, you’ll need to be quick!
|Dry Weight||306lbs / 139kg|
|Approx Price||$27,222 USD plus taxes and delivery|
2. Honda CRF 300L Rally Street Legal Dirt Bike
The Honda CRF 300L Rally is an entry-level dual-sports bike that should not be overlooked. Don’t let the 300cc label fool you, this road legal dirt bike is more than capable of working hard both on and off the road.
This model replaces the previous CRF 250 with not just and engine size hike. The capacity reaches 286cc, the stroke was lengthened by 8mm. The airbox and exhaust were both rebuilt, and it received new camshafts. It still features a six-speed transmission, but the ratio gaps are closer, especially in the lower gears. A extremely high overdrive continues in sixth. To boost ground clearance, the engine casings also underwent revision. Additionally new, the clutch has an intriguing design that Honda refers to as “slip help.” In other words, this design has characteristics of a power-assisted clutch pull and uses engine torque to assist manual clutch disengagement. It also has characteristics of a slipper clutch to lessen engine braking.
Even though the steel perimeter frame doesn’t appear to be all that new, everything has been significantly altered. It’s a little more flexible and compact. The swingarm has been totally overhauled and the lower trope clamp has been switched from steel to aluminum. The total weight is reportedly down to 333 pounds thanks to all of that plus new bodywork, which includes around 21 pounds of fuel in the 3.4-gallon tank (increased by 0.7 gallons). The previous CRF 250 Rally weighs around 10 pounds more than that.
The CRF 300 Rally is ideal for a lightweight commute, local trip, or adventuring outdoors on the weekends. Even though the power is 27hp (4hp more than previous CRF 250 model) , it’s still an exciting model. Rather than a power band, there is a more linear distribution of power. This means more low-end grunt, and reliable all-round capability for the trek ahead.
The Honda CRF 300 is not designed for high-speed riding. Speed wobble can occur over 65mph depending on the tires used. Long weekends on this dual-sport bike aren’t exactly the purpose. This bike is more for off-road days with some street-legal use.
The power isn’t phenomenal compared to some other models, but it’s more than enough for first-time riders and for those who want to learn trail riding.
The CRF 300L Rally edition
Honda has developed a deluxe big brother to the CRF300L. The notable differences start with a taller windscreen and extra details protecting you and the instruments from the elements.
The CRF 300 Rally is ergonomically designed to be ridden for long distances without feeling fatigued. An engine counterbalancer helps to keep things level and noticeably dampens vibrations on a ride. This street legal dirtbike has a ton of toys for the price, including a trip computer and LED headlights to reduce surprises. Luggage can be attached to the rear of the CRF 300 Rally both for everyday use and touring.
TeamMA ultimately recommends the CRF 300 Rally for anyone on a limited budget. Honda’s levels of build and reliability would make this an excellent buy for anyone considering an off-road bike or a light dual-sport machine. For 2023, Honda has improved much but managed to keep the pricing incredibly competitive.
|Wet Weight||331lbs / 150kg|
|Approx Price||$6,099 USD|
3. Yamaha Tenere 700
The Yamaha Tenere is a long-term favourite with dual-sports fans. A heavyweight and sturdy beast, the Tenere sits at the top end of the dual sports category because of its simplicity, with Yamaha’s stripped-back approach adding only ABS in the electronics department. While other manufacturers continue to add even more gadgets, Yamaha has decided that less is best.
Featuring a 689cc parallel-twin engine from the 2014 Yamaha MT-07, the new Tenere generates 74hp. The engine is comfortable at lower revs around 2500rpm, but it has plenty on the top end too. This road legal dirt bike delivers a thrilling experience both on and off the road for anyone who loves a simple ride. With reliable Japanese engineering and a solid build, the Tenere comes in at a very competitive mid-market price for what it offers.
Yamaha needed to deliver a great package on this heirloom development machine. For road riding, the Tenere returns around 55mpg on fuel economy, and a 4.2-gallon (16-liter) tank for up to 190 miles of continuous travel. Since electronics are scarce on the Tenere, don’t expect traction control or navigation as you would with other bikes.
As far as repairs, the entire unit needs to be replaced if a clutch or brake lever is broken. Dual-sports tour riders should be prepared with spares in their support kit, since finding a dealer in remote locations can be a hefty challenge. Suspension is reportedly a bit firm out of the box, but you can easily adjust it to your desired preferences.
Fewer gadgets on the Tenere mean the probability of service & maintenance for outside issues is low, and the high seat position means visibility is excellent. Overall, the Tenere is a good value dual sports dirt bike that delivers years of fun and reliable mixed-terrain thrills with dual sport tires.
Yamaha Tenere 700 2023 updates
The Tenere 700 from Yamaha has been updated with some of the glitz and technology from the World Raid model that was unveiled in 2022.
The regular model will use the same 5in TFT dash as the WR starting in 2023 instead of the more utilitarian LCD unit from earlier models.
On the regular Tenere, you can now connect your smartphone for the first time thanks to the updated dash. This entails notification of calls, texts, and emails on the bike as well as a variety of information, such as ride data and problem alarms, through your phone.
The three-mode switchable ABS from the WR is also being transferred to the normal bike to replace the previous on/off model. Riders can now select front-only ABS, front-and-rear ABS, or no ABS at all.
|Wet Weight||452lbs / 205kg|
|Approx Price||$10,499 USD|
4. Suzuki DRZ400S Street Legal Dirt Bike
Considered the foundation for dual sports riding, the Suzuki DRZ400 has existed for 20 years in various forms. Suzuki’s aim for this iteration of the DRZ400 remains the same: fun and reliability at an affordable price. The result is an entry-level bike which stacks up against more serious competition, especially for riders that want to keep it simple.
Featuring a liquid-cooled 398cc engine that delivers impressive torque at 26lb-feet, the DRZ400S excels at low revs and provides excellent handling thanks to the capable suspension. With 11.6″ of travel on both front and rear tires, there’s plenty of room for off-road fun. The five-speed transmission and balanced gearing will push you to near-illegal speeds.
The DRZ400 features an electric start and a concise display on the dash. The distance range is less generous than rivals, with a smaller fuel tank of 2.6 gallons (10 liters). This makes the DRZ400 more suited to trails and short commutes rather than long distance rallying. However, handy storage on the rear fender and optional space for attachments allows you to make this road legal dirt bike into a practical all-round bike. The hard stock seat might limit the number of hours you want to stay in the saddle anyway.
Suzuki ships the DZR400 with Dunlop D208 tires, so swapping for a more durable tire is worth it if you’ll be off-roading regularly. The base model allows you to add accessories like hand & radiator guards, as well as other dirt bike style parts you may require.
This model looks and feels a traditional dirt bike with the added advantage of being street legal. The DRZ400S has been described as a motorcyclist’s motorcycle. It’s a workhorse both on the road and on trails, and it’s agile enough to be thrown around. The DRZ400 is the ideal option for a street legal dirt bike.
|Wet Weight||317lbs / 144kg|
Best Adventure Dirt Bikes 2023
1. KTM 790 Adventure R rally Road Legal Dirt Bike
This Rally edition is a limited-edition premium adventure bike which is not available in North America. However, the KTM 790 Adventure R Rally is an excellent choice if you can find and afford the price tag. It’s aimed at riders who demand the most hardcore performance and very best suspension available.
Looking at the specs, it’s easy to see the thought and prestige that have gone into this road legal dirt bike. Parts are readily available for non-rally owners, even if it’s not quite the same as a collector’s edition. This limited Rally edition features the same 98 horsepower and 799cc.
Race capable XPLOR Pro suspension features 30 mm more travel compared to the standard WP forks on the non-rally R edition. The seat height of the Rally edition now sits at 910 mm, so smaller riders should test this out before buying. The huge 5.3-gallon (20 liter) fuel tank also comes standard on the Rally edition.
Mix KTM premium technology with a lighter Akrapovic exhaust system, carbon fiber trims, and upgraded graphics, and this is a beast of a street legal dirtbike. The Rally features exceptional build quality and design, and it will undoubtedly rank highly on your adventure bike shortlist.
|Approx Price||$19,499 USD|
2. Husqvarna Norden 901
For 2023, the Norden 901 is in its third year of development from its initial 2021 release. Originally unveiled as a concept in 2019, TeamMA agrees with the Norden 901 being dubbed “anti-mainstream” for its unique look. This Husky no doubt sits in the premium section, considering previous successes such as the retro-inspired Vitpilen and Svartpilen road bikes.
The Norden 901’s aggressive, angular design will certainly stand out on the road or the trails. Featuring a large, rounded LED headlight and yellow LED fog lights either side, this trademark look is borrowed from Husky’s road bike line. The bold, protective bars give the Norden an extra-tough look, and the double screen TFT display up front keeps you informed of every nook and cranny.
WP forks on the front, Monoshock WP on the rear, and Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires all add up to a desirable package. Customizable luggage capacity exists in the rear depending on your specific needs. 21″ front and 18″ rear tires are perfect for touring. Included front and rear brake disc guards indicate of off-road capability.
Since KTM now owns Husqvarna, the basic design can easily be compared to the KTM 790 Adventure R, with one standout difference. Power in the Norden 901 comes from an 889cc 2-cylinder parallel twin engine that gives 119 horsepower, which is a full 20hp more than the KTM 790 Adventure R. Overall, TeamMA is excited to see how this street legal dirt bike evolves.
|Dry Weight||204 kg|
|Saddle Height||854 mm|
|Approx Price||Dependent on optional features|
3. Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
Honda only released new graphics for the 2023 version, however, the 2021 Twin Adventure Sports is still a contender for top super adventure bike.
The Africa Twin comes standard with cruise control, large touch screen and Apple Carplay™ compatibility. The ES model comes with electronic suspension, adjustable windscreen, and heated handgrips.
There’s a grunt from the powerful 1084cc parallel-twin engine as soon as it’s fired up, and that’s 84cc higher than the previous model. Honda has put careful thought into the sound of this street legal dirt bike, and this engine sounds incredible on the road.
Once onboard, you can’t help but notice the 6.5-inch screen. This display’s got everything you’ll need for long rides, including six-axis IMU and a Showa Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment (EERA), features that were notably lacking in previous models. The Africa Twin comes with an optional quickshifter as well.
New wheel designs and stainless-steel spokes mean that previously-reported rusty wheels should be a thing of the past. The 21″ front wheel is excellent for off-road use, while lower ride position and slimmer build show that ergonomics have been improved. At 4 kilos lighter than its predecessor, the Africa Twin is relatively light for a super adventure bike.
Honda has thoughtfully delivered a beautiful adventure bike to ride, with the continual perfecting of engine mapping for a smoother all-around ride. While it won’t be as quick as some competitors, the Honda Africa Twin is a top contender in the adventure bike market, especially when compared to the BMW GS.
|Wet Weight||501lbs / 227kgs|
|Saddle Height||871mm (adjustable)|
|Approx Price||$14,499 USD|
4. BMW R1250GS Adventure
True enthusiasts already know that the BMW R1250GS is The Daddy, and ultimately the benchmark that all other adventure bikes set out to imitate. Adventure fanatics will recognize the R1250GS as the main weapon of Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman in “The Long Way Round”. Behind the legend and hefty price tag, this road legal dirt bike gets the job done in an incredibly efficient manner. The hefty 7.9-gallon (30 liter) fuel tank will get you where you need to be with fewer stops.
Fans of the R1200GS will be glad to know that much of the bike has gone unchanged, including the styling and chassis. That being said, there are plenty of new features when you dig a little deeper. The engine now features ‘Shift Cam’ variable valve timing, which ultimately gives the rider more power. Shaft drive is another unique feature, which means lower maintenance than a chain.
Plush seats and riding position, easily adjustable windshield and years of development have helped BMW to provide an airflow that places you in a comfortable zone. For prolonged adventures, comfort is king.
BMW has added Dynamic ESA, which builds on the intuitive suspension by adding a new layer of responsiveness for added comfort. In addition to front forks, there’s a front-mounted mono-shock that is electronically controlled and continuously adjusting as you ride. One of the benefits, especially off-road, is that the front end does not nosedive when braking. This feature helps maintain control and aids cornering on twisty roads.
One unique feature of the legendary flat-twin is the low center of gravity. This road legal dirt bike handles like a dream, but you may want to invest in the optional engine casing if heading off-road. Torque is delivered throughout the RPM range, meaning the engine has bags of performance from low grunt to the top end.
The BMW R1250GSis a reliable beast. On top of that, these bikes have strong residual value for future resale. Weighing in at 549lbs, it’s one of the heaviest adventure bikes available. Higher weight means you may struggle with certain single-track trails and technical cross-country riding. For pretty much everything else related to adventure biking, the BMW R1200GS has you covered.
|Weight||549lbs / 249kgs|
5. Yamaha Super Tenere Raid Edition
Yamaha has been improving the Tenere since 2010. The Raid edition is a culmination of over a decade of research and development.
The Super Tenere Raid Edition features a 2-cylinder parallel-twin liquid-cooled 1199cc engine that totals 111 horsepower. The engine is ultra-reliable, breakdowns are rare with this bike, and a 270º crank layout gives incredible torque and power response.
Like the BMW R1250GS, this street legal dirt bike also has shaft drive. Shaft drives equate to less maintenance and more direct power with clutch and shaft dampers. A whopping 6-gallon (23 liter) fuel tank will take you plenty of miles before stopping to refuel.
The Raid edition comes standard with electrically adjustable suspension that gives 190mm of travel. Side panniers increase luggage capacity to a total of 74 liters. There is a further capacity for strapping on top of these panniers if need be.
LED fog lamps help light your way at night, while carbon fiber side panels save weight and look stylish with enhanced graphics. A skid plate with side extensions keeps the engine safe underneath. The Raid Edition features a tall & adjustable windshield to keep the wind & debris away from your face. The LCD display is simple but effective with a gear position indicator.
The Raid model now has a unified brake system, with advanced electronics like traction control, cruise control, and drive mode functions. Drive mode (or D-Mode) offers three rider settings: standard for general riding, sporty engine response, and sensitive throttle operation.
This improved road legal dirt bike is fully prepared for some long-distance adventure biking. Even in standard form, the Yamaha Super Tenere was an under-appreciated marvel with many positives, so this bike should be a worthy consideration.
|Wet Weight||584lbs / 265kgs|
Best Enduro Dirt Bikes 2023
It’s important to remember in this section that only one dirt bike in this category (the CRF450RL) is street legal at purchase. The rest will need extra modifications to make them street legal dirt bikes!
1. Beta RR 300 Street Legal Dirt Bike
For those who want a lightweight ride, Beta’s RR 300 is a 2-stroke monster. The 2.6-gallon (9.7 liter) tank stacks up to some other non-enduro contenders for long backcountry jaunts. While some adventure dirt bikes can set you back a hefty 20 grand, the Beta is available for only half of that cost. Even though you’ll have to make this dirt bike street legal, more cash to play around with is always preferred.
With many dual-sport and adventure bikes boasting stable power, the RR 300 is one example of untamed energy. If you want a bike that can shoot out of corners and still be functional on the road, the RR 300 may be for you. The midrange seat height, 95mph (153kph) top speed and 40 horsepower make it an ideal step up for experienced riders seeking the best of both worlds. Plus, the included counterbalancer and liquid cooling ensure you’ll have smooth, fast power at the flick of your wrist.
|Dry Weight||103.4kgs / 228lbs|
|Saddle Height||927mm / 36.6in|
|Approx Price||$9,899 USD|
2. GASGAS 300 EC
Imported from Spain, the GasGas 300 EC offers another affordable 2-stroke engine that doesn’t compromise power or performance. This model specifically features a high-grip seat cover so that you’ll stay steady no matter what kind of terrain you’re riding on, and the reduced vibration and Neken handlebars will only help make your off-road rides more pleasant. While there’s no 4-stroke GasGas alternative, the 300 EC packs a punch that’ll keep you going.
Although you’ll have to make some adjustments to make it a road legal dirt bike, the 50 horsepower and 83mph (134kph) top speed make the ride well worth your efforts. Even though the tank is considered to be smaller on the 300 EC, 2.25 gallons (8.5 liters) isn’t exactly tiny. You’ll easily be able to see how much fuel is left as well, since the tank is transparent. GasGas was recently acquired by KTM’s parent group, and this shows through on the build quality of the 300 EC.
Overall, the 300 EC is an excellent upgrade for anyone that requires a trail-heavy bike for a reasonable price tag.
|Wet Weight||106.2kgs / 234.1lbs|
|Saddle Height||950mm / 37.4in|
|Approx Price||$10,399 USD|
3. KTM 350 EXC-F
Some of the setups above can weigh you down since they’re designed for serious distance travel. This is not the case with the 350 EXC-F, since it packs most of the power of a 450cc bike into a 250cc package. Although this dirt bike ranks as one of the pricier enduro models available, it’s worth it for all the extra features and power included.
The 4-stroke engine on the 350 EXC-F offers a steady 35 horsepower and a 70 mph (113kph) top speed, all for a midrange enduro machine. The 350 EXC-F is a more solid upgrade from the 300 EXC TPI, and the reliability metric can’t be beat with KTM. Featuring the same transparent tank and Neken handlebars as the GasGas 300 EC, you’ll be riding in style whether you’re on the trails or road. Adjustments to make it a street legal dirtbike will be necessary, but the starting package is great for riders looking for hefty power & solid off-road capabilities.
|Wet Weight||107kgs / 236lbs|
|Saddle Height||960mm / 37.8in|
|Approx Price||$12,149 USD|
4. Husqvarna FE 350
Since Husky and KTM are made in the same factory, the FE 350 is comparable to the 350 EXC-F at a lower price point. This is a pleasant surprise, since traction control and navigation come standard on the FE 350. This monster is ready for an off-road cruise right out of the box.
While many of the enduro dirt bikes above come standard with fuel injection and a counterbalancer, the FE 350 lacks those features. It makes up for these shortcomings with a heavier weight, and a larger 2.4-gallon (9.1 liter) tank for more stability and fuel on longer jaunts. The carbon fiber subframe doesn’t hurt when you’re taking heat, but if you’ll primarily be riding off-road, the lack of counterbalancer may be a deal breaker.
Performance wise, the FE 350 mirrors the 350 EXC-F as far as solid performance, with only a slight weight difference. With 37 horsepower and an 86mph (138kph) top speed, more power isn’t a bad thing if you know how to handle it. The FE 350 is ideal for riders looking for a heavier, robust model that’s ready to go. All that’s left is to upgrade it to a street dirt bike and you’ll be all set to ride wherever you want.
|Wet Weight||109.3kgs / 241lbs|
|Saddle Height||950mm / 37.4in|
|Approx Price||$12,249 USD|
5. Honda CRF450RL Street Legal Dirt Bike
Street legal out of the gate, the CRF450RL is the one enduro dirt bike you won’t have to modify for the road. Compound that with also being the most affordable 4-stroke enduro, and you have a winning combination. The CRF450RL is ideal for anyone that wants to get down to business and not worry about modifying what’s already great.
While the reduced 2-gallon tank may be a hindrance to some, the CRF450RL makes up for this with solid fuel injection settings and a standard counterbalancer. Vented handguards help keep you cool and steady no matter how much heat your competition is serving. The increased weight only helps to hold its own when it really counts.
Featuring 38 horsepower and a 90mph (145kph) top speed, the CRF450RL is as powerful as it is sturdy. Skip hauling a trailer next time and ride wherever you want to on this road legal dirt bike!
|Wet Weight||132kgs / 291lbs|
|Saddle Height||945mm / 37.2in|
|Approx Price||$9,999 USD|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a street legal dirt bike called?
This is really going to depend on your preferences in a bike. Road legal dirt bikes go by many names, but they are most often referred to as dual-sport (for both on and off-road) or adventure bikes (for long-distance travels). It’s important to hone in on what exactly you’re looking for in a bike before purchasing or modifying your existing bike. That answer will lead you to the ideal type of street legal dirtbike for your goals.
What is the fastest street legal dirt bike?
Many of the above adventure and dual-sport bikes boast tons of horsepower because they’re carrying a ton of weight between bike parts, riders and (possibly) luggage. However, this isn’t always an indication of how fast a road legal dirt bike will go or how soon it can dash off the starting line. Based on testing, the BMW R1250GS is the fastest street legal dirt bike off the line, going from 0 to 60 in about 3.16 seconds. The Husqvarna 701 Enduro is a close second at 3.8 seconds.
Can I ride my dirt bike in my neighborhood?
Riding in your neighborhood is a risky move. Checking your local dirt bike laws before riding is your best bet, since most off-road dirt bikes are not considered street legal. Most vehicles on the road must be licensed, insured and feature head and tail lights as well as turn signals to be street legal, and many dirt bikes do not meet these expectations. It’s best to be sure before riding so you don’t get a ticket or fine just for cruising around. It may be worth buying a road legal dirt bike if this is what you plan on doing.
There is more than meets the eye with the term “street legal dirt bike”. Most people who use this phrase may actually want a dual-sport or adventure bike. Think about what you really want out of your bike before shopping around. If you want to balance off-road riding with regular local use and occasional weekend trips or tours, a dual-sport could be for you. If you intend on hitting long tours, to rough, remote environments, go for the big guns! You’ll need an adventure bike to do what you want.
If you are a motocrosser or enduro rider at heart, keep your dirt bike pure. The cost of converting an existing dirt bike to a road legal dirt bike will be more than a commuter, and the changes may ruin your off-road fun. Whatever you do, don’t ruin a good dirt bike just so you can legally pop to the shops!
Have fun out there.
Extremely helpful article, thanks so much for writing. It seems Im in the market for a dual-sport 🙂
The difference between a Dual Sport and a lightweight Adventure bike it a truck. Dual Sport bikes, even “plated” ones, cover most of their miles in the back of a truck.
Being from Europe, you picked all European bikes.
Thanks a lot for your comment!
When we talk about adventure, then there are more Japanese brands in the TOP than from Europe.
Speaking of enduro bikes, then certainly there are mostly European brands. The simple reason is that European brands dominate enduro today. KTM, Beta, Husqvarna etc have been very focussed on developing their Enduro line and the Championship titles prove that. That’s just how it is and unfortunately Japanese brands are left behind right now.