The 15 Best Enduro Bikes for Some Off-Road Fun
The Enduro bike world is a world like no other. It’s fun, it’s challenging, it brings more freedom than what street has to offer, and it’s got plenty of motorcycle types you could ride into the wild.
There’s the pure enduro bike, the kind you take on a trailer and then unleash its wild side on the trails, and then there’s the street legal variant, the dual-sport, which you can ride from home to the trail and way beyond into the horizon.
In between there’s a myriad of bike choices, from small to large displacement engines, from lightweight to heavy duty and adventure ready machines, with or without fairing, but all of them have in common the fun. And that’s what we choose to ride them.
Before jumping in on the best enduro bike your money can buy, know a few things. Usually, bikes made for enduro, especially those designed to be the most competitive, come with a very high maintenance cost, since they’ve got quite an intense maintenance schedule.
Most of the times you’ll need to change the oil and various parts after around 1,000 km or 600 miles, or after a certain (and quite small) number of functioning hours. That includes parts such as an engine’s piston. All in all, it’s costly.
On the other hand, dual sport motorcycles are made to function well both on and off the road, with a heavy inclination for off-road. That means the service intervals are much longer, with even 6k to 7k miles in between, which automatically keeps maintenance costs down.
Also, dual sports are also very reliable, since they’re designed to function in tough conditions.
These being said, let’s take a look at what we think are the best enduro bikes for some off-road fun.
15. Honda CRF300L
A upgrade from the 250cc engine to a bigger 286cc also brought a change in name from CRF250L to Honda CRF300L, plus some other updates to the chassis and suspension.
The new Honda CRF300L is an improved off-road machine, with more power, more suspension travel, and more fun on the trails. The six speed transmission received some upgrades as well, with the first five coming in with a closer spacing, while the sixth got taller, making the bike fit for high speed cruising when needed.
The weight of the bike was reduced despite the increase in engine capacity, which, combined with the increased power, makes for a more fun bike. The bike is predictable, which translates to better handling. The suspension might be a little too soft for some, especially heavier guys, and can’t be adjusted unfortunately.
It’s a low budget entry level dual sport bike after all, so they had to make some compromises. A very good bike overall, almost 23 hp, very agile, and one that delivers a lot for only $5,500 with ABS.
14. KTM 250 XC-F
KTM is very well known for their enduro motorcycles, and the 250 XC-F is a very good example of that. It’s not their biggest and not their most powerful off-road machine, but it’s one that provides a good balance between weight and power.
The bike is powered by a 249cc four stroke engine, which is well handled by an electronic management system, which allows for engine map switching on the fly via a handlebar switch. What that means is you could program several maps to be used in different situations. For example, you could have high torque and low horsepower for climbs, or a more balanced map for flatter surfaces.
Among other features, there’s a six speed transmission, Brembo hydraulic clutch, WP shocks and competition spec brakes, making this a high performance off-road machine.
13. Kawasaki KX450
The Kawasaki KX450 is a very competitive supercross motorcycle, with more wins in Supercross and Motocross championships than any other bike manufacturer. As the flagship of the KX lineup and dubbed the most powerful dirtbike ever, it’s no wonder that this is a very good option for off-road fun.
The 449cc four stroke engine comes liquid cooled and ready to race from the factory, ready to unleash its 53 horsepower and 33lb-ft of torque. That’s quite a lot for a bike that weighs only 246 lbs wet.
The KX450 might be the non-competition version, but differences between this one and the actual KX450SX are few and little, which makes it highly appealing.
12. Yamaha TT-R 230
Coming from Yamaha, you know it’s good. They’ve got some of the best non competition off-road bikes in the world, and their TT-R 230 proves that. Based on the YZ250F motocross competition bike, the TT-R 230 boasts a very good 223cc four stroke engine, derived from its competition-ready cousin.
It outputs 14 lb-ft of torque, which is linear no matter where on the rev range you are. That, combined with the new fuel injection, legendary reliability, 250 lbs wet weight, and a large 2.1 gallon fuel tank, make for one of the best trail bikes available today.
The bike is super easy to ride, very maneuverable, ready to take on any trail, and counting in the price of under $5k, it’s a steal.
11. Honda XL200R
This bike may be a little bit old, launched way back in 1983, but the Honda XL200R is still one of the best trail bikes out there, known for its legendary simplicity and durability.
Though it’s a bit underpowered, producing only a shy 18 horsepower and 12.3 lb-ft of torque, it’s still good enough to get it to a top speed of 68 mph. But it’s not something you should concern yourself with, since you won’t be riding the trails at that speed anyway.
The bike is lightweight at 251 lbs, features a large 9 liter fuel tank, has a comfortable seat with a decent height of 850mm, and would look right at home on the back of an adventure campervan.
With good manners and predictability, this little Honda delivers plenty of carefree fun wherever the twisting trails might take you.
10. Suzuki DR350
Another old-timer, the Suzuki DR350 has acquired a lot of fame in the 90’s in the motocross world. A small four stroke 349cc engine, paired with Suzuki’s Advanced Cooling System, dry-sump lubrication, and a six speed transmission, does a good job on the trails.
The legendary motorcycle is simple, rugged, and affordable, which make it a good choice should you find one. It was in production until 2001, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
The bike is modest, has a few too many kilos, but overall it’s fun and enduring.
9. Husqvarna TE250i TPI
Moving on to the more modern side of off-road machines, we’ve got the Husqvarna TE250i TPI, a bike that calls dirt trails home. It’s got a fuel injected two stroke engine which has no less than 50 horses available for play.
The intelligently positioned fuel injectors, together with a twin-valve controlled power valve and some other mechanical wizardry, get an incredible amount of power instantly available.
The bike isn’t made for comfort, but handling is a breeze. It’s light and graceful on the trails, any trails, so if you’ve got the chance, take it for a ride into the wild.
8. Beta 500 RR-S
The Beta 500 RR-S is the biggest brother and sales leader in the Italian manufacturer’s street legal lineup of off-road capable machines. It does one thing very well, and that’s off-roading. It’s a dual-sport bike, but a hard-core kind of dual-sport.
With a 478cc engine and 243lb wet weight, this is no slouch. It’s one of, if not the most powerful dual-sport ever. The Sachs suspension is doing a great job both on the front and the back end, and given the weight, it’s easy to handle even on hard-core technical terrain.
One very interesting thing most other manufacturers don’t offer is something like Beta’s Trail Tech Voyager GPS, which is a very handy feature, especially if you plan on having off-road adventures of any kind.
The only thing you might hate about it is the high price tag of over $11k.
7. Kawasaki KLX450R
The Kawasaki KLX450R is light, responsive, reliable, and fast. And it comes in at a more affordable price than others.
The KLX450R is a proper off-road machine, weighing in at 278 lbs, with around 41 horsepower and plenty of low to mid range torque so that it delivers what you need whenever and wherever you need it.
6. Suzuki DR-Z400S
The Suzuki DR-Z400S is a legendary dual-sport bike. If you’re not new in this world, there’s chances you’ve at least heard or read about it already, because this bike is a true icon in the world of dual sport and adventure enthusiasts.
The 398cc liquid cooled four stroke engine is literally bulletproof. The bike itself is not new, so it’s been time tested through some of the most varied and roughest terrains, from city streets to backtrails and mountains. The result everybody came to was that this is the bike to have in case that zombie apocalypse finally comes upon us.
The engine runs smooth and keeps on delivering all of its 39 horsepower and 39 lb-ft of torque no matter what. The suspension the DR-Z400S comes equipped with makes it one of the most agile dual sport bikes out there, and one of the most cherished by riders as well.
You know it’s good when even Suzuki has kept it almost unchanged through the years, and it’s their flagship dual sport bike. They even started to make a supermoto variant based on it, the DR-Z400SM, so it’s that good.
And when you factor in the price of only around $6,750, you can’t help but think it’s probably the best motorcycle in the world to have. If you’re tall enough to ride it, that is.
5. Yamaha WR250F
Based on the competition ready YZ250F, the Yamaha WR250F comes in as its street legal sibling, with little more than the headlight, stoplight, and signal lights added to make it so.
Its performances speak more about race than about enduro, but it’s something many riders love about this bike. The more you twist that throttle, the more rewarding the riding gets.
With a tall seat height of 37.6 inches, this isn’t for everyone, but you can’t do anything about it. The 2022 model gets some tweaks to the engine, the frame, clutch, and brakes, making it the best iteration so far.
4. Husqvarna TX 300i
This Husqvarna TX 300i is a do-it-all cross country dirt bike that got upgraded. The little “i” trailing behind its name signifies the fuel injection Husqvarna introduced back in 2020 for this model, improving its fuel consumption and emissions and making everyone happier.
The bike’s 293cc engine outputs 40 hp and 25 lb-ft of torque is more than plenty for anyone who wants to have as much fun as possible on the trails. Though getting fuel injection means added weight, the bike is as nimble and as stable as ever in the corners, adding to the fun and subtracting from the worries.
3. KTM 350 EXC-F
Another very popular bike in KTM’s lineup, the 350 EXC-F brings together the 250’s maneuverability and the 500’s power, making for a very balanced enduro bike.
Going for the saying that if there’s nothing broken, there’s no need to change it, the new 2022 model doesn’t have many modifications compared to the previous one. The only notable one is in the WP suspension, with some tweaking to improve wear and damping.
The engine of the 350 still has the best power to weight ratio on the market, in KTM’s eyes at least, so it keeps on delivering the fun you’d expect out there.
2. Zero FX
Since the electric future is almost upon us, we couldn’t ignore what some of you already know. The Zero FX is one of the most capable off-road electric motorcycle so far.
It’s more of a dual-sport bike, but it’s got enduro capabilities as well, and it delivers plenty of juice, especially in its 7.2 kWh variant, which gets a nice range of 91 miles and a decent curb weight of 289 lbs.
What might take some by surprise is the impressive torque this bike has, 78 ft-lb of torque available instantly. And then, there’s no clutch, one gear only, and a bizarre silence when you twist the throttle.
It might be a little bit weird, but we’ll have to adapt at some point.
1. Honda CRF450RL
It’s no wonder why the Honda CRF450RL got the first spot on our list. It’s the most well rounded of the dual sports out there, with a reliable and punchy 449cc, which outputs almost 42 hp, and 23. lb-ft of torque.
The bike is an improved version of the 450L, with modifications that make it ready to tackle any kind of terrain anywhere in the world and with long-term reliability. That means it’s got long service intervals and it rides well enough on the tarmac in between trails.
There’s a six speed transmission, improved suspension, larger fuel tank for better autonomy, and all that for under $10k.
No matter if you want to conquer the world on some of the toughest terrains out there, or just want to have some weekend fun on local tracks, these are some of the best off-road enduro bikes that fit the job description.
I’ve got a 94 Jeff fredett built top end on my kdx200 that sticks and gets the best 450 four strokes on trail and sand any day of the week. Just need another gear to match top speed on the straight aways.