2021 DUAL-SPORT BUYER’S GUIDE

With a plate, it’s easy to escape!

HUSQVARNA 701 ENDURO: $11,999
The Husqvarna 701 Enduro sits right between a naked ADV machine and an overcharged dual-sport. It features a 74-horsepower engine 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 helps make the 701 Enduro quite adept in the dirt.

HUSQVARNA 701 ENDURO LR: $12,499
Husqvarna’s 701 Enduro LR mirrors the 701 Enduro, with the exception of the dual fuel tanks. Combined with the 13-liter (standard) rear subframe tank, the LR’s front tank adds an additional 12 liters of fuel capacity. It’s a single-piece construction made from impact-resistant polyamide. The fuel supply can be easily selected (while on board) with a handlebar-mounted switch, since both tanks have their own fuel pump.

KTM 690 ENDURO R: $11,999
The 690 Enduro R’s LC4 single-cylinder engine has two balancer shafts to reduced vibration, Ride by Wire to allow changeable ride modes, and traction control. The electronic systems feature two ride modes: Off-Road and Street and Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC). The ABS system offers an optional off-road mode. The trellis frame is fit with machined triple clamps and WP Xplor suspension, Continental TKC80 tires, and a new look for 2021.

SUZUKI DR650S (2020 MODEL): $6699
Suzuki’s DR650S is definitely a throwback with its air-cooled, carbureted powerplant. The 644cc five-speeder has good travel (10.2 inches) in the suspension and a 21-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel that are fit with dual-sport rubber. It holds 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. While the XR650L is a dirt-worthy machine, 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, has electric start and, incredibly, the suspension’s ability to chew on off-road still rates well.

HUSQVARNA FE501s: $11,699
Last year, the FE501s, a machine fit with a six-speed transmission, EFI, and superb off-road power that meets EPA regulations, got big updates. With a new frame, lighter subframe, new shock linkage, new fork and shock valving, better-performing exhaust, and a lower seat height, the 501s sits atop the list of high-end, dirt-worthy, dual-sport machines. Also, new mapping and motor mods

BETA 500RR-S: $10,899
This year, the Beta 500 RR-S (in fact, all of the RR-S line) gets a new look with an Italian Red layout and black wheels. In 2020, it got a new frame, a new lighter engine, increased fuel capacity (2.4 gallons), and new Sachs suspension front and rear. The six-speeder is fuel-injected and has electric start, enhanced cooling abilities, plus twin injectors and new mapping for better fuel economy and increased power. It comes fit with a Trail Tech Voyager GPS, folding mirrors, handguards and a push-button seat removal system.

KTM 500 EXC-F: $11,599
KTM’s 500EXC-F realizes few updates this year, but only because the 2020 got a major overhaul. The chromoly frame is lightweight and has laterally attached head stays and frame guards for improved grip. At 510cc, the EFI-equipped powerplant makes quick power that is light and nearly vibration free. Both suspension ends are WP; the rear is a PDS design (no linkage) and the front uses a 48mm Xplor fork with separate damping functions.

SWM RS500: $7995
SWM’s dual-sport line is priced smartly, especially considering what you’re getting. The engine is a double-overhead-cam, liquid-cooled, EFI-equipped six-speed. The suspension is KYB fore and aft. The brakes are Brembo, and the tires are DOT Michelins. The RS500 comes fit with a radiator fan and a dual exhaust, and the package is said to weigh 256 pounds sans fuel.

HONDA CRF450RL: $9,999
The Honda 450RL gets a new name (formerly 450L) and features a twin-spar aluminum frame, full Showa suspension, electric start and fuel injection. To satisfy the EPA requirements, Honda fit it with a catalytic muffler and technology that keeps it quiet and legal. It has a 2-gallon fuel tank and has a fuel mileage meter that shows current fuel mileage and consumption. For 2021, it gets factory handguards, new graphics and a new fuel-injection setting to improve the power.

BETA 430RR: $10,799
All of the Beta dual-sport machines have a new look yet retain the DNA that makes them great dual-sport machines. They feature Voyager GPS, a narrower frame, 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 uses a new clutch material for smoother shifting, and a new cover for oil-flow efficiency.

SUZUKI DR-Z400S: $6899
The Suzuki DR-Z400S sells for a bit more than the DR650S, justified by the fact that it’s a more modern motorcycle and a decent dirt machine. With the black and gray bodywork and contrasting black, silver, and yellow graphics, it looks mean and is powered by a carbureted water-cooled engine with a five-speed gearbox. It’s quiet, makes usable power and has decent off-road suspension in the (11.3-inch travel) fork and adjustable-link-equipped rear end.

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 2021 RR-S line, including a thinner frame, less vibration, enhanced power, fuel injection, focused Sach’s suspension, a Trail Voyager GPS, a dual-map ignition, Michelin Enduro tires, wider footpegs, folding mirrors, handguards and enhanced cooling abilities.

HUSQVARNA FE350s: $11,299
Husqvarna’s FE350s was basically reborn in 2020 and is considered to be one of the most versatile of the dirt-worthy dual-sport machines. It received huge changes with a new frame. It’s lighter and has new suspension damping, lower radiators, new bodywork and a power gain via internal updates. The six-speeder makes 450-like power, and has a more compact exhaust system and linkage that lowers the seat height and improves the ride.

KTM 350EXC-F: $11,199
The 350EXC-F is their lightweight, smoothly powered, mid-bore, dual-sport machine and a big seller. Last year it was fit with monumental changes via a new lightweight frame, new engine for quicker power that’s fuel-injected and a six-speed gearbox. Like the 500, it uses Brembo brakes, Galfer Wave rotors, CNC-machined hubs, Giant rims and Continental TKC80 tires.

SWM RS 300R: $7695
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, hand guards 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.

KAWASAKI KLX300: $5599/CAMO GRAY: $5799
The all-new Kawasaki KLX300 is fit with a water-cooled, fuel-injected, 292cc powerplant that offers rideable performance for both the road and the trails. It has dual-sport-tuned suspension (Uni-Trak rear, 43mm cartridge fork up front), electric start, a radiator fan, dual disc brakes and a low 35.2-inch seat height for enhanced stability.

HONDA CRF250L RALLY: $5949/ABS MODEL $6249
Honda’s CRF250L Rally gets the factory look of a true rally racer. 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 CRF300L: $5249/ABS Model $5549
The Honda CRF300L 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 (2020 MODEL): $5399/CAMO MODEL $5599
The KLX250 is a well-adorned, entry-level, dual-sport machine. It has adjustable suspension (10.0 inches of travel in front and 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 (2020 MODEL): $6699
Of the Japanese 250cc dual-sport offerings, the Yamaha’s WR250R offers good off-road performance via a DOHC, fuel-injected engine with a six-speed gearbox. 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 get 71 miles to the gallon.

YAMAHA XT250: $5199
Yamaha offers two 250cc dual-sport models. The XT250 is the more price-conscious machine and uses a fuel-injected, air-cooled, five-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 nice 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, has 8 inches of front fork travel, is electric start and has dual disc brakes.

KAWASAKI KLX230: $4599/ABS MODEL $4899
This machine features a 233cc, air-cooled engine that is fuel-injected and has a six-speed transmission. The suspension has almost 9 inches of travel. It has dual disc brakes and weighs just under 300 pounds. With a low seat height and a torquey motor, the KLX 230 is an around-the-town scoot with just a pinch of off-road DNA.

SUZUKI DR200S (2020 MODEL): $4649
Although unchanged, this machine is a good around-town machine that has a pinch of off-road heritage. It’s powered via an air-cooled, two-valve, carbureted motor with electric start. It features 8.1 inches of suspension travel, a 3.3-gallon fuel tank and gets a claimed 88 miles per gallon.

SUZUKI VANVAN (2020 MODEL): $4649
This model 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.

YAMAHA TW200: $4699
Yamaha’s TW200 is a classic and powers up via an air-cooled, 196cc, carbureted engine with electric start, a five-speed gearbox, manual clutch and a counterbalancer to keep vibrations down. With a low seat height, decent suspension travel, wide balloon tires and a front disc brake mated to a rear drum unit, it’s a fun way to explore.

 

 

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