The most expensive Japanese 250 on this list is also the most capable. With that extra price come fuel injection, wavy disc brakes, and fully adjustable suspension. The WR250R is both the most comfortable at freeway speeds as well as superior off-road, making it the best performer of the small displacement Japanese options. You get what you pay for.
The XR650L is our favorite of the 650cc Japanese dual sports. While the KLR’s strength is in it’s ability to get the job done and have parts available worldwide should it break down, the Honda is just a better bike off-road. With at least 11 inches of travel at both ends, the Showa suspension setup (adjustable for rebound and compression damping at the rear and compression damping up front) is surprisingly nice for such an elderly, basic bike.
The only all-electric dual sport on our list makes 44 hp, weighs 275 pounds, and makes 70 lb.-ft. of torque!. All of that power, delivered instantly makes this an incredible option off-road or on. The FX utilizes Zero’s modular power pack system, essentially allowing you to swap batteries like you would a flashlight. Ever ridden through the woods in near-complete silence?
The 350 EXC-F is basically a race bike with lights and a license plate. Its 15-hour service intervals and poor on-road handling will make you think twice before taking it to romp around the city or down the highway. Off-road is an entirely different story, where the seemingly whacky suspension settings and brakes come to life. The 350EXC-F was built with a purpose: to destroy every obstacle in its dusty path, which it handles with ease.
A single-cylinder dual sport for over $10k! Before you skip past, think about how the addition of fully adjustable suspension, a slipper clutch, and variable fuel maps would aid your off-road riding. Basically, imagine any other bike with all your dream modifications already fitted, as stock. The most capable off-road dual sport isn’t bad on the road either.
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