When it comes to choosing a street-legal dirt bike, or dual-sport motorcycle, the decision can be as diverse as the riders themselves. These versatile machines are designed to tackle both city streets and rugged off-road trails, blending the best elements from both worlds. We’re going to compare some of the top players in this category: the Honda CRF250L, Yamaha TW200, Suzuki DR-Z400S, KTM 500 EXC-F, and Kawasaki KLX250.
These bikes have earned their reputation in the world of dual-sport motorcycles, each bringing unique features to the table. They vary in terms of engine size and type, horsepower, weight, and the level of rider experience they’re best suited for. So whether you’re a novice rider looking for a manageable first bike, an experienced rider seeking power and performance, or someone in between, one of these street legal dirt bikes could be the perfect fit for your dual-sport adventures. Let’s dive in and compare these machines side by side!
- Honda CRF250L: Ah, the good ol’ Honda CRF250L. This bike is the Swiss Army knife of dirt bikes. Can handle both a downtown commute and a dusty trail without breaking a sweat. It’s got a liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine that’s smooth and reliable – pretty typical of Honda’s craftsmanship. If you’re just starting out or want something that doesn’t fuss, this one’s a solid choice.
- Yamaha TW200: The Yamaha TW200 is like the friendly giant of dirt bikes. It’s got these chunky tires that look funky but give you a stable and comfy ride, both on and off-road. The power’s not intimidating, and the bike’s got a low seat height – great for beginners. Plus, the air-cooled, four-stroke engine is easy to maintain. So if you’re into something that stands out and is easy to handle, the TW200 could be your ride.
- Suzuki DR-Z400S: The Suzuki DR-Z400S is a bit of a beast. It’s got this 398cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine that offers some serious power. The suspension on this bike? Top-notch. It’s perfect for experienced riders who want a bike that can rip through trails and still behave on the street. If you’re looking for a bike that offers the best of both worlds, give the DR-Z400S a look.
- KTM 500 EXC-F: Now, if you’re after power, the KTM 500 EXC-F is a rocket on two wheels. This thing’s got a 510.4 cc engine that just screams. It’s light, has great suspension, and can conquer rough terrain like a pro. But it’s also street-legal, so you can hit the pavement after thrashing the trails. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but if you can handle it, you’re in for a wild ride.
- Kawasaki KLX250: The Kawasaki KLX250 is the jack-of-all-trades. It’s affordable and versatile, perfect for a daily commute or a weekend trail ride. The liquid-cooled four-stroke engine is reliable, and the bike’s light and nimble. If you’re looking for a do-it-all bike that won’t break the bank, the KLX250 is worth a look.
Comparing the Top 5 Street Legal Dirt Bikes
Here’s a fancy comparison table if you prefer to scan:
|Dirt Bike Model||Engine Size & Type||Estimated Horsepower||Estimated Weight||Who’s it best for?|
|Honda CRF250L||250cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke||~24 hp||~320 lbs||Beginners and riders wanting a versatile and reliable bike|
|Yamaha TW200||196cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke||~16 hp||~278 lbs||Beginners, riders appreciating stability and comfort|
|Suzuki DR-Z400S||398cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke||~40 hp||~317 lbs||More experienced riders, those wanting power and off-road capability|
|KTM 500 EXC-F||510.4cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke||~58 hp||~244 lbs||Riders looking for a high-performance, powerful dirt bike|
|Kawasaki KLX250||249cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke||~24 hp||~304 lbs||Riders seeking a versatile, affordable, and manageable bike|
What makes a factory dirt bike street legal?
While the exact requirements can vary by location, there are a number of common features that a dirt bike generally needs to have in order to be considered street legal straight from the factory:
- Headlights: The bike must have at least one functioning headlight.
- Taillights and Brake Lights: The bike must have at least one taillight and brake light.
- Turn Signals: Most states require motorcycles to have functioning left and right turn signals at the front and rear.
- Mirrors: At least one rearview mirror is generally required, although some states may require two.
- Horn: A functioning horn is usually required.
- Tires: The bike must have DOT-approved tires that are suitable for street use.
- Exhaust System: The bike’s exhaust system must meet local noise restrictions and emission standards.
- License Plate Bracket: The bike must have a way to securely mount a license plate.
- Speedometer/Odometer: Most states require a functioning speedometer and odometer.
- VIN and Title: The bike must have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and a title that allows it to be registered for street use.
Remember, these are just general guidelines and the exact requirements can vary by location. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles or another authoritative source to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Conclusion – Which should you buy?
Come on now, you know we can’t tell you which bike to get! In all seriousness, each of the above street legal dirtbikes is a great option and will offer you practicality along with some thrills. Which bike you buy is a personal decision, but hopefully what we’ve outlined above will point you in the right direction and save you a bit of time. Happy riding!