What Do You Like?
Book’in down the hi-way with the wind in your hair (er… helmet) no strings attached and fully engaged in the adventure? Or attacking the back country throwing mud and gravel, going places that most riders never see? Well… I kind’a like both if you know what I mean. The problem is we are talking about two completely different rides… or are we?
I Would Like To Introduce You To
The Street Legal Dirt Bike or what is known commercially as the Dual Sport Bike. Yes the best of both worlds in one awesome machine. What could be better? A lighter and yet powerful ride, completely street legal and yet able to take you where no hog has gone…lol.
I have nothing against bikes that are designed strictly for hi-way use or the other side of the coin, off-road use but owning and maintaining two separate machines can be somewhat of a pain. Also the riding styles and techniques are completely different. For someone like me who has trouble chewing gum and walking it just seemed a better idea to have one bike that was balanced between and could do both.
Is This Something New?
Dual sports have been around a while but have never really caught on with the riding public up till now. I am not sure why they were overlooked in the past, some great machines were available but whatever the reasons then, things have changed and Dual Sports are being noticed now. All the major manufactures are designing and building dual sports for this expanding market. And the bikes available have been improved so much that they are rivaling the pure dirt machines for power, agility and overall performance. Something hard to do while maintaining “street legal” status!
You Will Have To Decide
What riding style do you favor, street or dirt? And get the dual sport bike that complements your riding style. For example bikes that are larger, above 400 cc, and heavier, 325 lbs plus are better adapted to road conditions. Good solid rides that are not so easily overtaken or pushed off the road by our 4 wheeled competitors. But still “dirty” enough to take you on the occasional off-road trail.
Or if you favor trail riding I would suggest sticking with a bike that is 200 – 400 cc and less than 325 lbs to maintain a higher agility and nimbleness required for continued use in the off-road environment. These are still able to handle most on-road conditions with the possible exception of Freeway riding. If you are trying to lessen fuel cost these are also great for commutes with some getting as high as 75 mpg (if you keep your hand off the throttle!).
Tailoring Your Choice
No matter which riding environment you spend the bulk of your time, the dual sport you choose will still have to be tailored to your personal needs. For example, Someone weighing 200 lbs or more would require a larger bike than someone who weighed well below 200 lbs. If you are below the 175 mark a 200 – 300 cc machine would do good by you. Where as if you are above 175 you might want to consider something above 300 cc, maybe up to 400 for a “dirty” bike and up to 600 for a machine that is “roady” As a side note, some dual sport machines reach the 900 to 1100 cc mark… BIG BUCKS!
Bike price is another factor to consider, but guess what… I am out of article space so I will address that in a future article.