When you think of the best street legal enduro motorcycle the word “Enduro” instinctively comes up and conjures images of rugged, high-powered motorized beasts tearing through dusty or muddy terrain, tearing up the track in a cloud of gasoline fumes, and performing spectacular feats of acrobatic genius.
Some of the best options for street-legal bikes that are dirt and road capable for 2022 include KTM 350 EXC-F, Husqvarna 501 FE, Beta 500 RR-S, Honda CRF 300L, and the iconic Yamaha TW 200. Enduro bikes can be categorized based on the type of on or offroad capabilities they have.
Street legal enduro bikes can be seen as the two-wheeled version of rally cars. With both rugged off-road performance suspensions and road registerable safety features, these are dirt-ready bikes that can legally be ridden on public roads. The 2022 catalogs include an impressive lineup.
What Makes a Dirt Bike Street Legal?
AGVSPORT marketing manager and stuntman Denis Grachev in Bali Indonesia
What makes a dirt bike “street” legal really depends on where you intend to ride it. In the United States, this definition is state dependent. But, roughly speaking, the following would apply to ensuring compliance with the legal requirements of road use:
- Tires must be DOT (Dept of Transportation) compliant and bear the DOT symbol as proof.
- A license plate, registered with the state where you reside, as you would have with any vehicle
- The bike must have a rear-view mirror and a horn.
- All the standard lights are compulsory, including head and taillights, brake lights, and blinkers.
All the bikes listed here come street legally ready from the factory and will generally require only registration and licensing. It is always best to check with your local authorities for precise information.
Street Legal Enduro Bikes: The Best of Breed
Determining what makes a street-legal bike enduro capable depends on how much time you intend to spend offroad and in what specific terrain. For example, a single-track mountainous offroad road can be considered truly enduro.
In addition, some bikes are better suited for primarily on-road. This on/offroad split could be classified as 80:20, 20:80, or 50:50, depending on the amount of time spent on either. Bike manufacturers use different naming conventions to denote these classifications, such as Trail, MX, Enduro, Adventure, and Dual Sport bikes.
For this article, we will stick to bikes that could be equally comfortable on any type of road surface, emphasizing excellent offroad capabilities.
1. KTM 350 EXC-F
This four-stroke edition of KTM’s lineup has seen the most sales. It handles like a 250 but with a 500’s power and has necessitated a few enhancements from its predecessor. Overall, the suspension has seen minor damping improvements and bottoming out resistance with better shocks, less prone to wear and deformation.
KTM’s claim that the DOHC fuel-injected engine offers the best power-to-weight ratio on the market is supported by the broad torque curve that delivers power smoothly. You may opt for the 500 model for more raw power, but it might not be necessary as this 350 delivers plenty of horses.
This 2.25-gal fuel capacity bike weighs 238lbs and comes with a lightweight steel frame by Chromoly, Brembo brake, clutch, and signature orange plastics with blue trimmings.
2. Husqvarna FE 501s
Owned by KTM, it’s no wonder that Husqvarna is considered a pack leader. The dual-sport range FE 501s would be well received by those seeking a softer suspension for more prolonged trail ride conditions and a more casual experience.
Like its fully offroad cousins, the FE 501s includes a catalyst converter and all the other EPA and safety requirements to make it street-legal DOT compliant. In addition, the single OHC, liquid-cooled 4-stroker with a 6-speed gearbox provides smooth acceleration and decent handling for a bike in this class.
This Husky is a great option that’s bound to please both novice and experienced riders. Flexible options make it easily customizable to perform equally well on the single offroad track or on the road.
3. Beta 500 RR-S
Beta is an Italian trail bike manufacturer, trading for almost 120 years. Since 2005 they have been making enduro bikes fitted with KTM engines. Comparable to KTM and Husqvarna in terms of performance, this is a good option for those seeking an 80:20 bike in favor of a single-track offroad.
With a wet weight of only 243lbs, this low-end grunter comes with independent high and low-speed adjustable damping for settings for its rear shocks, and the new clutch diaphragm for 2022 provides lighter and more progressive pull on the handlebars.
With a vivid color scheme and new LED front headlight, you will be noticed, regardless of where you choose to ride.
4. Honda CRF 300 L
With a price tag of under US$5400, you would be best forgiven for describing this entry-level bike from Honda as somewhat lacking in modern aesthetics. Looks after all are subjective, and this 286cc, 27 horsepower thumpers weighing in at only 308lbs loves popping wheelies at every opportunity.
Liquid-cooled and fuel-injected, this engine warms up quickly and is geared towards long-distance road riding by not expecting frequent service intervals. Suspension and braking are adequate for all conditions, and ABS comes as an add-on option.
The small 2gal gas tank with fuel consumption of 65 miles per gallon means you won’t feel obliged to stop at every gas station during your weekend trip. Time-tested, this offering from Honda makes for a worthy proposition.
5. Yamaha TW 200
Japanese manufacturers have dominated all motorcycle market segments for decades, and it is hard to find something that truly sets them apart. However, one peculiar yet popular bike that has seen consistently good sales since its introduction in 1987 is the TW 200.
This relatively inexpensive, reasonably slow, fun-to-ride single-cylinder dual sport bike is versatile and built for abuse. It has a low seat for easy hop-on and hop-off access, making it a great learning bike.
Coming in at under $US5000, Yamaha has introduced limited technologies year on year, including electric start and disc brakes but has kept much of it the same, including the fat tires that set it apart from the others, at least visually speaking.
There are many excellent top-of-the-range enduro motorcycles built for biting the dust. Not all high-performance machines, however, come factory fitted with road-worthy tires, headlamps with both high and low beams, and all the other equipment required to make a bike road legal.
It’s always best to check with your local authorities before purchasing any motorcycle, or it could cost much more than you initially budgeted.
Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative Government, educational, corporate, and nonprofit organizations:
About the Author:
Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America, total he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. In addition, he functioned as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.
In 1985, He is the Founder of AGV Sports Group, Inc. cooperation with AGV Helmets in Valenza Italy
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