Off-roading on 2 wheels can be tricky—but it doesn’t have to be expensive. There’s a wide selection of modern affordable motorcycles with a degree of off-road prowess. But the best-suited are adventure motorcycles and dual sports. And, if you thought off-road adventures were outside your budget, the bikes described below sticker for under $10,000.
Best adventure motorcycles under $10k
You won’t find much cheaper than the Royal Enfield Himalayan. True, for $4749, you’re not getting traction control or heated grips. But it does have a fuel-injected 411cc single-cylinder and ABS. It also comes with an aluminum skid plate, luggage rack, 9” of ground clearance, and a compass. Plus, the Royal Enfield Himalayan comes standard with crash bars and a trail-maintenance-friendly center stand.
A slightly more expensive adventure motorcycle is BMW’s G 310 GS. It doesn’t have all the top-trim 1250 GS’ features. However, for $5795, you get a bike that’s even lighter than the Himalayan, Cycle World reports. Its 313cc single-cylinder also makes more power, Revzilla reports, and it has adjustable ABS.
The G 310 GS is better-suited for highway riding than the Himalayan, Rider reports, but it can still tackle gravel and dirt roads. And, if you’re riding into more technical terrain, you can upgrade it with Rally Raid’s off-road components, ADVPulse reports. For about $1500, you can give the GS adjustable suspension, skid plates, and handguards.
Or, if you don’t want to purchase additional parts, you can get the KTM 390 Adventure. It’s part of the same family as the Cycle World 10 Best-winning 790 Adventure. The 390 Adventure offers adjustable suspension and ABS, traction control, multiple skid plates, a TFT display, and 7.9” of ground clearance for $6199. Its 373cc single-cylinder makes about the same power as the G 310 GS. And at 382 pounds, it’s also fairly light for an adventure motorcycle.
Finally, there’s the $9999 2021 Yamaha 700 Ténéré. Road & Track describes it as an adventure motorcycle that handles like a dirt bike. It has a 72-hp 689cc two-cylinder, adjustable LED headlights, fold-away levers, adjustable suspension, and disable-able ABS.
Best dual-sport motorcycles under $10k
Dual sports give up some high-speed pavement civility for more off-road agility. They also typically feature single- or two-cylinder engines, Cycle World reports. Dual sports, being closely-related to dirt bikes, are also a bit more stripped-down than adventure motorcycles. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be great off-road companions, RideApart reports.
One of the best affordable dual sports, Motorcycle.com reports, is the Suzuki DR-Z400S. Its 398cc single-cylinder is still carbureted, and it doesn’t offer ABS. But for $6799, you get an easy-to-repair bike with over 11” of suspension travel. It’s basically the 2-wheeled equivalent of the 4Runner TRD Pro. To quote RideApart, “if the DR-Z can’t get you somewhere off-road you might just be better off parking the bike and hiking the rest of the way.”
For $100 less, you can get Yamaha’s WR250R, which Cycle World calls one of the brand’s most capable dual sports. It only has a 250cc single-cylinder, but it’s fuel-injected. Plus, at 295 pounds, it’s about 20 pounds lighter than the DR-Z400S. Its suspension is fully adjustable and offers 10.6” of travel. And with a bit of tweaking, Cycle World reports it makes an excellent off-road pseudo adventure motorcycle.
Finally, there’s the $5949 Honda CRF250L Rally. The base version is $750 cheaper, and the ABS model only costs $300 more. However, Cycle World found the ABS not very well-suited to off-road riding and recommends the non-ABS model. Which still offers some valuable features. It comes with a larger windscreen, fuel tank, as well as handguards, and an aluminum skid plate. And it adds an extra inch of suspension travel. Plus, like the Yamaha, the Honda CRF250L Rally has a fuel-injected 250cc single-cylinder engine.
Off-road motorcycles for slightly over $10k
If you’re willing and/or able to stretch your budget a little past $10k, there are a few other off-road motorcycles you can choose from.
For example, you can get the larger-capacity versions of the CRF250L—the $10,399 Honda CRF450L. The racing-spec version is a CW 10Best winner and also helped the first American rider win this year’s Paris-Dakar. HiConsumption reports the fuel-injected 449cc single-cylinder bike is “one of the most well-rounded dual-sport bikes in the industry.” It has 12.4” of ground clearance, LED lights, fully-adjustable suspension, skid plate, and a titanium fuel tank. That, and a lithium-ion battery, help it weigh just 289 pounds.
For about the same price, you can also get the BMW F 750 GS. Its 853cc two-cylinder makes 77 hp and 61 lb-ft. The adventure motorcycle also offers multiple riding modes, stability control, skid plate, crash bars, and disengable ABS. Plus, basically, every lever and footpeg is adjustable. Options include a quick-shifter, electronically-adjustable suspension, additional riding modes, handguards, GPS, and various luggage cases, Motorcyclist reports.
Finally, there’s the $10,399 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure. The base 650XT is slightly under $10k, but the Adventure trim’s upgrades make it the motorcycle to buy. The $1100 upcharge adds aluminum side cases, a handlebar cross brace, a crash bar, a larger windscreen, and a center stand, Cycle World reports. The V-Strom 650XT Adventure also comes with adjustable traction control, and the 645cc V-twin automatically revs slightly to prevent stalling, Ultimate Motorcycling reports. ABS, though, can’t be turned off.
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