Dual-sport motorcycle

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A dual-sport motorcycle is a type of street-legal motorcycle that is designed for both on and off-road use. The terms all-road,on/off road, and dual-purpose are also used for this class of motorcycles. Dual-sports are equipped with street-legal equipment such as lights, speedometer, mirrors, horn, license plate mounting, and muffler and can, therefore, be registered and licensed.

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Evolution of dual-sports

Bikes like this 1993 Honda XR600R helped popularize dual-sport motorcycles. Hondaxr6001993.jpg
Bikes like this 1993 Honda XR600R helped popularize dual-sport motorcycles.
The Suzuki DR650 on the left and 1990 DR350 on the right are on a desert excursion including sandy roads, rocky two-tracks, dry lakes and rough single-tracks. DualSportDR650 DR350.jpg
The Suzuki DR650 on the left and 1990 DR350 on the right are on a desert excursion including sandy roads, rocky two-tracks, dry lakes and rough single-tracks.

The concept of a versatile motorcycle equally at home on dirt and pavement is as old as motorcycling itself. Most roads were still unpaved when motorized bicycles first appeared around 1900. In a sense, all motorcycles at that time were dual-sports, intended to be used on dirt as well as pavement. Advertisements well into the 1920s depict motorcycles on dirt roads, raising clouds of dust. By 1940, most roads in developed countries were paved and motorcycles had become heavier and more oriented to the street. In the 1950s and 1960s British manufacturers such as Triumph and BSA offered versions of their relatively light street motorcycles with high exhaust pipes, and called them scramblers. [1]

Yamaha is credited with rekindling popular interest in dirt worthy motorcycles that could also be ridden on the street. In 1968 they introduced the hugely successful DT-1 based on a 250 cc two-stroke engine. Other manufacturers soon followed with similar models called "enduros". These light weight machines were good on trails and adequate on pavement. Some manufacturers approached the trend from the opposite direction, beginning with a street motorcycle and modifying it for adequate off-road performance. For instance, the Honda CL350 Scrambler was a variation on the Honda CB350 street motorcycle with high exhaust pipes, a larger front wheel, dirt-oriented tires, and lower gearing.

BMW changed the game with the introduction of the R80 G/S in 1980, the first large dual sport machine and the ancestor of the adventure sport category that is so popular today. Modified versions of the R80 G/S won the gruelling Paris Dakar race four times in five years between 1981-85, and Helge Pedersen rode one for 10 years and 250,000 miles in an around-the-world journey that helped cement the G/S's place in motorcycling history.

Over the next 20 years, manufacturers began producing heavier and less dirt worthy enduros based on four-stroke engines, as they searched for better combinations of weight, power, durability, performance and comfort. The heavier machines were less popular with “real” dirt riders, who began modifying them to create lighter and more competent trail machines.

Suzuki introduced the DR350 in 1990 and promoted it as a DualSport or “dirt bike with a license plate”. The terms "dual-sport" and “dualie” were quickly adopted by riders and the motorcycle press.

Manufacturers use several different names for their dual-sport models. Suzuki uses DualSport to describe its products. Kawasaki describes its offerings as dual purpose, Honda lists its entry under off-road, and other manufacturers describe machines as enduros, or simply list them as model numbers. A few models are described as "adventure bikes". Despite these differences in terminology, these models can be described as dual-sports, which are street-legal motorcycles that can be operated on pavement, dirt roads and trails. Dual-sport motorcycles are the most practical choice in rural areas in many parts of the world, and when traveling on unpaved trails they can often be a necessity.

Types of dual-sports

Lightweight KTM 525EXC, based on an off-road racing motorcycle DualSportKTM525EXC.jpg
Lightweight KTM 525EXC, based on an off-road racing motorcycle
The BMW R1200GS is in front with a Suzuki DRZ400 behind it. DualSportBMW1200GS SuzukiDRZ400.jpg
The BMW R1200GS is in front with a Suzuki DRZ400 behind it.

Terms such as dual-sport, enduro and adventure bike are marketing descriptions, not strict definitions of weight, power, and intended usage. For example, the lightest dual-sport offered by Suzuki Motor Corporation in 2008 weighs about 250 pounds (110 kg) and has a small single-cylinder engine with barely enough power for highway use. The heaviest dual-sport offered by Suzuki Motor Corporation in 2008 weighs about 460 pounds (210 kg) and has a large two-cylinder engine with plenty of power for long freeway trips. Accordingly, it is necessary to refer to the manufacturers specifications for a particular model to learn more about its intended use.

There are four ways of creating dual-sports. Some manufacturers add street-legal equipment to existing off-road motorcycles. These bikes are usually light and powerful, at the expense of shorter service life and higher maintenance. This approach is currently taken by European manufacturers such as KTM and Husqvarna. Other manufacturers start with a clean sheet of paper and design a new model designed for a specific combination of dirt and street use. These motorcycles are usually heavier and more durable than the models derived from off-road motorcycles. This approach is currently taken by Aprilia, BMW, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki. Several manufacturers modify street motorcycles to make them more dirt worthy. These bikes are usually more at home on pavement. Finally, owners add street-legal equipment to off-road bikes. In the US, some states license only motorcycles that met highway emissions requirements when first sold, [2] while others allow off-road vehicles to be converted to on-road. [3]

Dual-sports may be grouped by weight and intended purpose.

These types are only approximate and new models that split the boundaries and offer different combinations of features appear each year. However, the laws of momentum and inertia always favor lighter dual-sports for tight, rough trails. Heavier dual-sports that emphasize rider comfort and the capacity to carry luggage are better choices for long highway trips.

Dual-sports, by definition, are compromises - giving up some dirt performance to be ridden on the street and some street performance to be ridden in the dirt. The merits of a particular model can only be judged relative to the owner’s intended mix of dirt and street riding. Although aficionados may argue the merits of different models, versatile dual-sports can be desirable alternatives to more specialized motorcycles that can only be ridden in one environment.

Accessories

It is common for dual sport owners to customise their bike to match the type of terrain or roads on which they ride. Changing tires, handlebars, seats, bash plates or foot pegs are common modifications. Adding large petrol tanks, racks, luggage and wind screens are common for riders intending to travel far. Dual sport aftermarket parts and accessories are manufactured and available worldwide. [6]

When dual-sports are fitted for long-distance travel with accessories such as oversized gas tanks, luggage, and other distance-oriented gear, they are often referred to as "adventure bikes". These motorcycles offer touring capabilities, but are less comfortable on long pavement trips than full-fledged touring motorcycles such as the Honda Goldwing series.

A supermoto (also known as a supermotard or motard) is typically a converted motocross bike with less suspension travel, smaller front and rear wheels (typically 17" at both ends), road tires and an oversized front brake designed to be primarily run on asphalt. When made street legal, these bikes may also be considered to be a type of dual-sport. In this case, these motorbikes could be seen as somewhere between a sport bike and a dual-sport.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Mountain biking Bicycle sport

Mountain biking is a sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, usually using specially designed mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain, such as air or coil-sprung shocks used as suspension, larger and wider wheels and tyres, stronger frame materials, and mechanically or hydraulically actuated disc brakes. Mountain biking can generally be broken down into five distinct categories: cross country, trail riding, all mountain, downhill, and freeride.

KTM Austrian motorcycle and sports car manufacturer

KTM AG is an Austrian motorcycle and sports car manufacturer owned by Pierer Mobility AG and Indian manufacturer Bajaj Auto. It was formed in 1992 but traces its foundation to as early as 1934. Today, KTM AG is the parent company of the KTM Group, consisting of a number of motorcycle brands.

Motocross Off-road motorcycle racing held on enclosed off-road circuits

Motocross is a form of off-road motorcycle racing held on enclosed off-road circuits. The sport evolved from motorcycle trials competitions held in the United Kingdom.

All-terrain vehicle Light off-road vehicle

An all-terrain vehicle (ATV), also known as a light utility vehicle (LUV), a quad bike, or simply a quad, as defined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI); is a vehicle that travels on low-pressure tires, with a seat that is straddled by the operator, along with handlebars for steering control. As the name implies, it is designed to handle a wider variety of terrain than most other vehicles. Although it is a street-legal vehicle in some countries, it is not street-legal within most states, territories, and provinces of Australia, the United States or Canada.

Supermoto Motorcycle racing on a circuit that alternates between track, motocross and road racing

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Types of motorcycles Types of motorcycles

There are many systems for classifying types of motorcycles, describing how the motorcycles are put to use, or the designer's intent, or some combination of the two. Six main categories are widely recognized: cruiser, sport, touring, standard, dual-purpose, and dirt bike. Sometimes sport touring motorcycles are recognized as a seventh category. Strong lines are sometimes drawn between motorcycles and their smaller cousins, mopeds, scooters, and underbones, but other classification schemes include these as types of motorcycles.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 sport touring motorcycle

The Suzuki V-Strom 650 (DL650) is a mid-weight, sport touring motorcycle launched in 2004 with a standard riding posture, fuel injection and an aluminum chassis – now in its third generation since model year 2017. Marketed in Europe, Oceania, the Americas, and since 2018, India, the DL650 is manufactured at Suzuki's ISO 14001 certified final assembly plant in Toyokawa, Japan.

Honda XL250

Honda XL250 is a four-stroke 250 cc (15 cu in) motorcycle from Honda introduced in 1972 and manufactured through most of the 1980s. When it appeared it was the first modern four-stroke enduro motorcycle and the first mass-produced four-valve motorcycle.

Honda Africa Twin dual-sport motorcycle

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Touring motorcycle

A touring motorcycle is a type of motorcycle designed for touring. Although almost any motorcycle can be used for this purpose, manufacturers have developed specific models designed to address the particular needs of these riders. Touring motorcycles commonly have large displacement fairings and windshields that offer a high degree of weather and wind protection, large-capacity fuel tanks for long ranges between fill-ups, engines with a great deal of low-end horsepower, and a more relaxed, upright seating position than sport bikes.

AJP Motos

AJP Motos is a Portuguese manufacturer of enduro and off-road motorcycles producing single-cylinder.

Enduro motorcycle

An enduro motorcycle is an off-road racing motorcycle used in enduros, which are long-distance cross-country time trial competitions.

Beta (motorcycle manufacturer)

Beta is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer, specialising in off-road motorcycles. Beta are best known for their popular trials bikes. In 2005, they launched a range of enduro motorcycles using KTM engines. In 2010 they launched the new RR series, with a new engine made in-house. Beta motorcycles have been used by world trials champions such as Jordi Tarrés, Dougie Lampkin, Albert Cabestany and Enduro riders Steve Holcombe and Brad Freeman. Production in 2018 was expected to be in excess of 20,000 motorcycles, ranging in size from 50 cc to 480 cc.

Honda XR250R and XR250L

The Honda XR250R and XR250L are trail and dual-sport motorcycles made by Honda from 1979 through 2004, as part of the Honda XR series. They have four-stroke, SOHC four-valve 249 cc (15.2 cu in) single-cylinder engines.

Motorcycle tyre

Motorcycle tyres are the outer part of motorcycle wheels, attached to the rims, providing traction, resisting wear, absorbing surface irregularities, and allowing the motorcycle to turn via countersteering. The two tyres' contact patches are the motorcycle's connection to the ground, and so are fundamental to the motorcycle's suspension behaviour, and critically affect safety, braking, fuel economy, noise, and rider comfort.

Off-road tire

Off-road tires are a category of vehicle tires that use deep tread to provide more traction on unpaved surfaces such as loose dirt, mud, sand, or gravel. Compared to ice or snow tires, they lack studs but contain deeper and wider grooves meant to help the tread sink into mud or gravel surfaces.

Honda XRE300

The Honda XRE 300 is a single-cylinder dual-sport motorcycle designed and manufactured by Honda in Brazil. It was launched in August 2009 to simultaneously replace the Japanese firm's two South American on/off-road motorcycles: the XR250 Tornado and the NX4 Falcon. Unlike these motorcycles' 250 cc and 400 cc engines, the fuel-injected 300 cc engine in the XRE300 meets Brazil's new PROMOT 3 emissions rules. It has an anti-lock brake (ABS) option.

KTM 950 Super Enduro R

The KTM 950 Super Enduro R is a dual-sport motorcycle produced from 2006 to 2008. It is equipped with a 98-horsepower, four-stroke, V-twin engine, adjustable heavy-duty offroad suspension, and enduro styling. Due to its light weight and offroad-capable profile, the 950SE was perceived at its launch as a radical departure from any existing dual-sport, enduro, or street bike models, while having characteristics of all three.

References

  1. Adams, Carl: (2008) The Essential Guide to Dual Sport Motorcycles", pp. 18; Whitehorse Press, New Hampshire. ISBN   978-1-884313-71-4
  2. "OHMVR Frequently Asked Questions". California State Parks.
  3. "Off-Road to On-Road Motorcycle Conversions in Nevada" (PDF). Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
  4. Domino, Kevin (2009), The Perfect Motorcycle: How to Choose, Find and Buy the Perfect New Or Used Bike, 671 Press, pp. 47–58, ISBN   0-9821733-3-4
  5. Duke, kevin (January 15, 2006), "2006 Adventure Touring Comparo", MotorcycleUSA , retrieved 2011-11-19
  6. "Motorcycle Trends in the United States - Bureau of Transportation Statistics". www.bts.gov.