2020 DUAL-SPORT BIKE BUYER’S GUIDE

Street-legal bikes are evolving quickly. Offerings like the KTM EXC models and the Husqvarna FE dual-sports are pushing the boundaries of performance, while upstart companies like Beta and SWM are providing alternatives that are truly off-road bikes with the bonus of a license plate. Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, SSR and Yamaha are in the game providing their own bikes that get the job done for a lot less than you might think, too. Here are all the  2020 models with prices, info and contact information. For other Dirt Bike buyer’s guides, including off-road, motocross and adventure models, click here.

HUSQVARNA 701 ENDURO: $11,899

The Husqvarna 701 Enduro S features 74 horsepower via a single-overhead-camshaft design that uses advanced electronics, a 50mm Keihin fuel injection and a six-speed gearbox (fit with Easy Shift for seamless shifting without using the clutch), all wrapped around a trellis frame and a rear subframe that houses a 13-liter plastic fuel tank. The suspension is WP, which makes the 701 Enduro quite adept in the dirt.

KTM 690 ENDURO: $10,899

KTM made few changes to its ADV/dual-sport bike for 2020. It features a dual-ride mode (street or dirt), ride-by-wire, Quickshifter (sensors that help with upshifts and downshifts), and is fuel-injected and fit with a slipper clutch. It has traction control, a lean angle sensor, and the fuel tank is mounted rearward and is a structural element of the subframe. The trellis frame is unusual in the off-road world, but the bike is very dirt-worthy.

SUZUKI DR650S: $6699

Suzuki’s DR650S can be called a timeless machine with its air-cooled, carbureted powerplant. The 644cc five-speeder has good travel (10.2 inches) in the suspension, a 21-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels that are fit with dual-sport rubber. It totes 3.4 gallons of fuel and has good range for those long rides with generous sections of tarmac.

 

HONDA XR650L: $6999

The good news here is that the price didn’t go up. And while the XR650L is the most dirt-worthy of the Japanese 650cc dual-sport bikes, the air-cooled five-speeder weighs a hefty 346 pounds and is fit with less-than-cutting-edge technology. It’s normally aspirated via a CV carburetor and has electric start. Incredibly, the suspension’s ability to chew on off-road still earns high marks.

 

HUSQVARNA FE501S: $11,499

This is the big dog of the Husqvarna line with a six-speed, EFI, balanced powerplant that makes superb off-road power and still meets tight EPA regulations. This year the machine experienced big changes with a new frame, lighter subframe, new shock linkage, new fork and shock valving, better-performing exhaust and a lower seat height. The FE501s gets new mapping and motor mods that give the machine better power with a good, light feel.

 

BETA 500RR-S: $10,899

Big changes come to the Beta 500 RR-S. It gets a new frame, an all-new lighter engine, increased fuel capacity, and new Sachs suspension front and rear. The six-speeder is fuel -njected and has electric start and enhanced cooling abilities via high-efficiency radiators and a high-flow water pump, plus twin injectors and new mapping for better fuel economy and increased power. Also, it comes fit with a Trail Tech Voyager GPS.

 

KTM 500EXC-F: $11,199

The KTM dual-sport ringleader gets a huge shot of everything for 2020. The frame is all new (mirrors the stiffer chassis from the MXers last year). The engine received substantial updates—top end, valve train, exhaust. The suspension has brand-new specs, and even the tank and saddle are new for 2020. We’ve been told it runs stronger, handles better and feels lighter.

 

SWM RS500/SM500: $7795/$8495

SWM’s dual-sport line is priced super friendly, especially considering what you’re getting. The engine is a double-overhead-cam, EFI-equipped six-speed. To meet the emission standards, a large charcoal canister hangs off the left side of the engine. The suspension is KYB fore and aft. The brakes are Brembo, and the tires are DOT Michelins. Performance-wise, it’s not quite in the hunt with the upper-echelon machines from Austria and is on the heavy side.

Christini 450, 2019 model shown

CHRISTINI AWD 450DS/EXPLORER: $9595/$9995

Christini’s all-wheel-drive system uses telescoping drive shafts to power the front wheel at a reduced speed so that it only engages when there is wheelspin in the rear. The 450 has an Asian-made engine and chassis that bear a striking resemblance to the Honda CRF450X’s, but it has fuel injection, WP suspension, a skid plate and handguards. The Explorer version has some additional add-ons, which include an extended rear rack tank and Christini’s U.S.-engineered AWD system.

HONDA CRF450L: $10,399

The Honda 450L features a twin-spar aluminum frame, full Showa suspension, electric start and fuel injection. They call it a true trail-to-trail machine. To meet the EPA regs, Honda fit it with a catalytic muffler and technology that keep it quiet and legal. It has a 2-gallon fuel tank and has a fuel-mileage meter that shows current fuel mileage and consumption. It drew raves for its suspension and a few groans for its hefty weight.

BETA 430RR: $10,799

Every Beta dual-sport machine has undergone big changes for 2020. It retains the Voyager GPS, but has a new frame (narrower, less vibration), a techno-polymer subframe, new Sach’s suspension fore and aft, and a larger 2.4-gallon fuel tank. The new engine is lighter, uses new injectors for a power increase, and has a new clutch material for smoother shifting and a new cover for oil-flow efficiency.

SUZUKI DR-Z400S: $6799

The Suzuki DR-Z400S sells for a bit more than the DR650S, justified by the fact that it’s a more modern motorcycle and much more capable in the dirt. While the DR-Z has gone nearly unchanged for years, the carbureted, water-cooled 5-speed is very quiet, makes usable power, and has decent off-road suspension in the (11.3-inch travel) fork and adjustable-link-equipped rear end. It most definitely has a strong cult following.

BETA 390/350 RR-S: $10,699/$10,599

Both of these bikes are built on the same platform and are fit with all of the changes to the 2020 RR-S line: a new frame, new engine and new suspension. The 350 has a bore and stroke of 88mm x 57.4mm, and the 390 measures out to 88mm x 63.4mm. That gives the 350 a lighter feel. Both come equipped with a Trail Voyager GPS and a dual-map ignition. They use Michelin Enduro tires, are fuel-injected and have new, wider footpegs and enhanced cooling abilities.

HUSQVARNA FE350s: $11,099

Of all the street-legal dirt bikes that we tag as dirt-worthy dual-sport bikes, the Husky FE350s is a true off-road weapon. This year it underwent huge changes, getting a new frame. It’s lighter and has new suspension damping, lower radiators, new bodywork and a power gain via internal updates. The 6-speeder has a revised exhaust system and all-new linkage that lowers the seat height and improves the ride.

KTM 350EXC-F: $10,799

The 350 EXC-F is a big seller and is considered to be at the top of the food chain in the dual-sport world. For 2020, it has received a bevy of changes in the chassis, suspension and bodywork, and focused updates to the engine. Like the 500, it uses Brembo brakes, Galfer Wave rotors, CNC-machined hubs, Giant rims and Continental TKC80 tires.

 

SWM RS500 pictured

SWM RS 300 R ENDURO: TBA

This is another of the bikes that was originally designed by Husqvarna prior to the KTM relationship. It’s fit with KYB suspension, Brembo brakes, a cooling fan on the radiator, a lithium battery, handguards and Michelin DOT tires. The electric-start machine is fuel-injected and is priced very competitively in this era of pricey street-legal dirt bikes.

HONDA CRF250L RALLY: $5949/$6249 (ABS MODEL)

Honda’s CRF250L Rally is one great-looking machine all dolled up with a look that is exciting. Nestled under the rally fairing is essentially the same budget-minded, Thai-built, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 249cc four-stroke. It has 10-inch-travel suspension that is soft yet compliant and targets the street guy looking to do just a modicum of off-road.

HONDA CRF250L: $5199/$5499 (ABS MODEL)

The Honda CRF250L is manufactured in Thailand to keep the price down, but is built to Honda’s standards. The engine is fuel-injected, has a counterbalancer to cut vibration, is liquid-cooled and has a six-speed gearbox. Both suspension ends offer just under 10 inches of travel, and it tips the scales at just over 320 pounds.

KAWASAKI KLX250: $5399

The price went up a little this year, but the KLX250 is a well-adorned, entry-level, dual-sport machine. It has adjustable suspension (10.0 inches of travel in front, 9.1 inches in the rear), a low seat height and smooth, easy-to-manage power. Engine-wise, the liquid-cooled machine is fuel-injected and has a six-speed gearbox. The camo version is $5549.

YAMAHA WR250R: $6699

Of the Japanese 250cc dual-sport offerings, the Yamaha’s WR250R offers the strongest off-road performance in both the motor department and the suspension. The chassis uses a main frame of cast-aluminum sections with steel downtubes. The fork and shock have 10.6 inches of travel. The dual disc brakes use Wave rotors, and it gets 71 miles to the gallon.

XT250 USA CAN 2018

YAMAHA XT250: $5199

Yamaha offers two 250cc dual-sport models, and the XT250 is the more price-conscious machine with a fuel-injected, air-cooled, 5-speed powerplant. It features electric start and has decent travel in the suspension—8.9 inches up front and 7.1 inches in the rear. It comes fit with dual disc brakes and gets 76 miles per gallon.

SSR XF250: $3399

The SSR XF250 has an air-cooled motor, a very low seat height, uses an 18-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear wheel, and is fit with a rear rack. It is carbureted, is a five-speeder with a manual clutch and weighs 328 pounds.  The machine makes 18 horsepower and has 8 inches of front fork travel, electric start and dual disc brakes.

KAWASAKI KLX230: $4599/$4899 (ABS MODEL)

This machine features a 233cc, air-cooled engine that is fuel-injected and has a 6-speed transmission. The suspension has almost 9 inches of travel. The machine has dual disc brakes and weighs just under 300 pounds. With a low seat height and a torquey motor, the KLX230 is designed to ride from home and hit the trails.

SUZUKI DR200S: $4649

Although unchanged, this machine is a very capable commuter and minor off-road excursion machine. The bike has an air-cooled, two-valve, carbureted motor with electric start. The new grey color runs through the DRS line, and looks great with 8.1 inches of suspension and a 3.3-gallon fuel tank. It gets a claimed 88 miles per gallon, and is affordable and capable in its element.

Suzuki VanVan, 2019 model shown

SUZUKI VANVAN: $4649

This model has only been in the U.S. market for a couple of years and is clearly inspired by the long-term success of the Yamaha TW200. The VanVan is very retro, with a low seat height and balloon-style tires. It features electric starting and is fuel-injected, targeting campground-level recreation and around-town street use.

TW200E TW 200 USA CAN 2018

YAMAHA TW200: $4599

Yamaha’s TW200 is a classic that has been around since the late 1980s. The air-cooled, 196cc, carbureted engine features electric start, a five-speed gearbox, a manual clutch and is counterbalanced to keep vibration down. With a low seat height, wide balloon tires and a front disc brake mated to a rear drum unit, it’s a fun way to explore. o

 

 

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