2017 Honda XR650L

Honda gets serious about dual sport motorcycles with the XR650L. Riding trails with 40 horsepower and 47 lb-ft of torque might sound like fun, but you need to be prepared for it. The 2017 Honda XR650L does its best to help out. It’s just 346 pounds wet, so it’s easy to maneuver. It has over 11 inches of suspension travel and 13 inches of ground clearance, so you won’t get stuck. The XR650L has a 2.8-gallon fuel tank and 52mpg EPA rating, so you won’t run out of fuel.


Honda touts the XR650L as a good commuter, even though it has knobby off-road tires. I’d expect that a 644cc engine will likely find itself on the road more often than not.

2018 Yamaha WR250R

Some of the best dual sport motorcycles are more intended as an off-road bike that’s legal to ride to the road. The Yamaha WR250R is that type of bike. The 250cc is liquid cooled for ultimate reliability on the dirt and has 10.6 inches of suspension travel with three-way fully-adjustable shocks. At just 295 pounds, it’s a lightweight to throw around.

But don’t expect any glamor on the road. It has the tools to do the job, but none of the refinement. You’ll be chattering your teeth long after you get off the 36-inch-tall seat because of its knobby trail-spec tires.

2018 Kawasaki KLX 250

Kawasaki advertises the 2018 KLX 250 as a good motorcycle for new riders, but I think experienced riders will still have some fun on this one. The KLX 250 has a 249cc single-cylinder four-stroke that is extremely efficient. That’s why the fuel tank only needs to carry two gallons at a time. Nearly 10 inches of suspension travel and over 11 inches of ground clearance make the 2018 Kawasaki KLX 250 a thrill to throw over the odd dirt jump.


On the road, it has manners. The stock tires are aggressive but not overly so, and the four-stroke attitude keeps you in control. At 35 inches, the seat height puts the rider in a decent position for comfort and capability.

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