10 cheap dirt bikes, sports duals and trail bikes we’d swing a leg
Dirt bikes come in all shapes, budgets and sizes. One thing they all have in common is that they are great fun to drive. Modern dirt bikes can be quite expensive, and buying used can sometimes feel like a lottery due to how difficult these bikes are to ride. There are, however, a few models that are mostly safe bets.
Dual-sport bikes had waned in popularity for a while, but have had a minor resurgence as people are starting to recognize the value of owning a bike that you can just ride to the trail, instead of loading it onto a van or trailer. Some brand-new dual-sport bikes are genuinely affordable, used bikes even more so.
ten Yamaha YZ250
The venerable Yamaha two-stroke has now been around for nearly 20 years, only receiving updates to its chassis and suspension, but retaining the same engine.
In short, getting an older bike won’t leave you lacking power, and most enthusiasts will have already upgraded the bike and performed the necessary maintenance (which with high performance two-strokes involves an engine rebuild ).
9 Kawasaki KDX200
The old dual-sport was just brilliant in every way, the fact that they made these bikes road legal was a stroke of genius.
It’s a relatively capable two-stroke machine, just like the YZ, you have to be prepared to rebuild the engine once in a while, but the fact that you can ride it on the track makes it much more versatile.
8 Honda XR650L
To put the longevity of this bike into perspective, one must first came out in the early 90s and hasn’t changed much.
As a result, you get incredible value, costing only a few hundred dollars more than the new CRF300 Rally.
seven Yamaha DT125
Few bicycles in this world are as reliable and simple as the old DT two-strokefor a small, lightweight bike, it has plenty of power, too.
One thing you’ll need to modify for the trail is its gearing, which is large for street use, but we suspect if you’re in the market for something like this you won’t be using it as a commuter (although that you could if you wanted to).
6 Suzuki DR-Z400S
Like the Honda, you can always get one of these new, but for the DR-Z, there’s a pretty good case for going with a used bike instead.
So many of these things have been made in the last 20 years that they’ve been in production and so few updates have been made that getting one from the 2000s will cost half as much and still offer just as much capability and performance.
5 Yamaha TW200
The TW is the ultimate trail bike, with a solid top-end grunt it will go just about anywhere, slow enough.
So as long as you don’t mind its speed, it’ll negotiate even the most technical trails and odd main roads, because it’s still perfectly road legal.
4 Kawasaki KX450f
By the mid-2000s Kawasaki had more or less perfected the four-stroke off-road bike, it was and still is a high-maintenance performance bike, but it delivers incredible power.
On paper, it might have about the same power as other bikes, but just as it dominated on the track in the 2000s, it will also give you an edge. Just make sure it has at least a straight frame, these bikes take incredible abuse and the cheaper they are the more likely something is wrong with them.
3 Husqvarna XC500
If you’re looking for something a little more exotic and a little more classic in nature, you can find one of these beautiful bikes for next to nothing.
They were developed to be the best desert racers of the time, and while they lacked the technology of their contemporary competition, they made up for that with sheer speed. These bikes have outdated suspension, awful brakes, but are capable of 100 mph. They’re terrifying in the wrong hands, but incredibly fun if you’re able to hold on, you’ve been warned…
2 Honda CRF450L
The CRF has been around for a few years now and offers exceptional value on the used market, often priced to match the new CRF300L.
It’s kind of a chalk-and-cheese comparison and considering how reliable Honda is in making this 450, it’s well and truly a safe buy.
1 Yamaha XT350
What sets the old XT apart is how advanced it was for its time, although it was still air cooled it had a DOHC engine so it revs strong and looks much more like one high-performance off-road motorcycles of the time.
It had super tall gearing from the factory, so if it hasn’t installed a larger cog yet, this will be your first purchase to make it trail-ready.