Ah, the dual-purpose motorcycle—a match made in heaven for those who crave the versatility to traverse both dirt and pavement. In 2023, these adaptable machines are gaining traction as an increasingly popular mode of transportation and recreation. Among the myriad of options, the Suzuki DR650 has earned its place as a reliable choice in the world of adventure bikes.
Designed for seamless transitions between paved and unpaved surfaces, dual-sport motorcycles come equipped with features such as knobby tires, advanced suspension systems, and powerful lights, making them ideal for off-road excursions. Available in a range of sizes and styles, there's a dual-purpose bike out there for every rider who seeks the thrill of exploration on and off the beaten path.
Without further ado, let's dive into RideNow Powersport’s carefully curated list of the Top 10 dual-purpose motorcycles of 2023. Enjoy!
Our Top 10 Dual-Purpose Motorcycles for 2023
Light, simple, easy to ride, and fuel efficient. That’s what makes the Honda CRF250L stand out. It’s motivated by a peppy fuel-injected 249cc single-cylinder mill that benefits from double overhead cams, a counter balancer that keeps things smooth, and plenty of power for either new or seasoned riders.
The CRF’s party piece is selective ABS, a system that allows you to choose when ABS is active on the rear wheel. This comes in super handy out on the trails when ABS isn’t always wanted or necessary. Then, when it’s time to ride on the road, just flick the switch to activate ABS again and you’re good to go. Pretty cool.
Honda’s dual-sport also offers up solid suspension with plenty of travel, rally-bike looks, and legendary Honda reliability.
One of the best parts of a dual-purpose/dual-sport motorcycle as you might have guessed, is their versatility. Bikes like these are at home both getting dirty as they are hustling your favorite back road. And, one of the staple dual-purpose bikes out there is the DR-Z400 from Suzuki. This particular model is the sportier of the bunch with a clear focus on street riding first, dirt riding second. Of note – the ‘SM’ in the name stands for ‘SuperMoto’. Just so you know.
The SM uses a strong 398cc single-cylinder engine, Showa inverted front fork, and some absolutely righteous spoke-style wheels that are wide and wrapped with quality rubber. The SM is also light and stiff which means it’s adept at tackling a range of terrain and riding conditions.
All those elements work to create a fun handling machine that was born to rip.
The next Suzuki on this list is like the DR-Z400SM, only with everything turned up to 11. Suzuki’s DR650S has a bigger motor, bigger wheels, and an even more intense focus on versatility. One look at the rugged tires and you know that this motorcycle has serious off-road cred, in addition to being a solid street machine.
Holding the DR650S aloft is a set of high-quality suspension that can be adjusted in numerous different ways so you can tailor your riding experience to perfectly fit your needs. That setup also provides a massive 10.2-inches of wheel travel for when you need to tackle the nasty stuff. The DR can be spec’d with Genuine Suzuki Accessories like a skid plate and cargo rack, increasing its already impressive capabilities.
The funky TW200 from Yamaha looks like it fell right out of the late 1980s with that tan and brown paint job and blocky styling. This has to be one of the most unique looking dual-purpose bikes on the road for sure. That’s not to say this diminutive dual-sport is simply all looks. Rather, it’s a proven machine that tears it up and has been doing so since its launch way back in 1987.
There’s a 196cc single-cylinder under that throwback body work that’s counterbalanced and smooth as butter. Those sweet, fat tires aren’t just for looks – they provide great traction both on road and off. The TW200’s suspension setup features 6.3-inches of travel up front and 5.9-inches out back giving you tons of options when deciding what trails to shred.
In short, the TW200 looks like a blast from the past (partly because it is), but is also a capable machine that’s long on both personality and performance.
Give the Yamaha WR250R nothing more than a passing glance, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just a dirt bike. It sure looks like one of Yamaha’s dirt specialists. And while this Yamaha dual-sport does have an off-road bent to it, it’s still definitely a multi-purpose motorcycle that gets down with street riding just as much as riding the trails.
With a starting price of $6,699, you get a lot of motorcycle for your money here. It uses a 250cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke, fuel-injected motor that features titanium intake valves, runs through a six-speed transmission, has fully adjustable suspension and disc brakes all around, and was made with a depth of engineering that we’ve come to associate with every Yamaha motorcycle.
It looks cool too what with those spoked wheels, upside down front fork, and classic Yamaha blue paint.
The first Kawi entry on our list is the super cool KLR 650. It looks like a tall enduro bike and a classic dual-purpose had a lovechild that got painted jet black. It blends a bunch of different styling elements into one package and to our eyes, it absolutely works.
The KLR offers riders a host of features that make it unique from some of the other bikes on this list. It has loads of suspension travel, a 651cc four-stroke single-cylinder, a gigantic 6.1 fuel tank so you can ride, like, forever, a windscreen suited for long trips, and enough space for a pillion and cargo.
Disc brakes front and rear slow things down, power is sent through a five-speed transmission, and the starting price is a reasonable $6,699. The KLR 650 goes about being a dual-sport bike differently: Its primary focus is clearly more on street riding what with its looks, rider comforts, and huge gas tank, but it’s a capable off-roader as well.
In the same way the Yamaha TW200 is something of a throwback motorcycle, the Yamaha XT250 is too. It has loads of old-school style but is still a capable modern dual-purpose bike that can get dirty off-road, or take you anywhere on-road as well.
The most striking visual element of the XT250 is that crazy low seat height (31.9-inches) and super tall gas tank. That setup almost makes it look like a trials motorcycle, and the 11.2-inches (!) of ground clearance certainly add to that look.
The beating heart of the XT250 is a 249cc fuel-injected single-cylinder motor with a five-speed transmission. It’s a nimble, easy to ride motorcycle with loads of character and technology packed into it. Best part? The price – only $5,199.
As you might have guessed, the DR-Z400S is darn similar to the other iteration of Suzuki’s DR-Z on this list, the 400SM. The differences between the two machines are actually more significant than the name might imply. Where the SM is a supermoto with street tires, inverted front fork, wider wheels, and a focus on the street, the 400S is the opposite, giving deference to trail riding prowess.
The SM is based on the S, so the two motorcycles share many of the same parts like the 398cc four-stroke single-cylinder powerplant. The S forgoes street focused elements in favor of knobbier tires, long travel suspension, and other off-road goodies.
Suzuki’s DR-Z line has long been revered for its versatility, and the DR-Z400S is a perfect example of that.
Drop a few letters and change the number a bit, and voilà, you have the Suzuki DR200S. Looking an awful lot like the larger DR-Z line, the DR200S is a smaller, lighter, more affordable dual-sport that provides riders with loads of smiles, a great starting price of $4,649, and an estimated 88 miles per gallon.
Powered by a 199cc air-cooled engine, the DR200S offers a lot for its approachable price point. There are 8.1-inches of travel, a strong steel frame, and Suzuki’s 12-month limited warranty. The DR200S is definitely comfortable both on and off the road, and would make a terrific machine for new riders, or young riders looking for a bike they can grow with.
If Honda’s website is to be believed, the XR650L is about as good as it gets for a dual-purpose motorcycle. You can tell Honda is proud of the reputation for reliability and performance both on and off the street that their machine has garnered over the years. And there’s good reason to believe the hype.
The XR250L uses a powerful 644cc air-cooled motor is simple and easier to work on than liquid-cooled engines. It uses dry sump lubrication, long travel front suspension paired with Pro-Link rear suspension, and an obstacle slaying 21-inch front wheel. It also returns near 50 miles per gallon in fuel economy, and works great as a rock crawler or a commuter.
The Honda XR650L is definitely an excellent option for your next dual-purpose motorcycle.
Finally, the best dual sport motorcycles, such as the dual-purpose bikes we've highlighted in this post, offer an unmatched combination of versatility, affordability, and ease of use. With their lightweight design and agile handling, they are well-suited for both on and off-road adventures, making them an excellent choice for both seasoned riders and newcomers alike. Their budget-friendly nature further cements their status as the most useful motorcycles on the market. As we reflect on the heavy-hitters of 2022, we hope your favorite crossover motorcycle made it to our top ten list. Happy Riding!