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In these best street legal dirt bike reviews, we’ll cover five dirt bikes that you can safely and legally ride on the pavement as well as the trail. Keep in mind, though, that the laws for street legal qualifications are ever-changing. They also happen to be different from state to state. While the dirt bikes listed here are street legal in most states, it’s still your responsibility to check that your state is among those.
The 2015 Husqvarna FE501S is the street-legal version of the FE501 model (hence the added “S” to the model name). On it is a 95mm bore, 510.4cc 4-stroke engine with titanium intake valves and steel exhaust valves. Using linear power delivery, it can get up to 58 hp without strain. A counterbalance shaft reduces vibrations and a damped diaphragm steel clutch delivers smooth control. This electric starter has 6 speeds, liquid cooling, a chrome molybdenum frame, and a 113.3 kg weight.
- Rear suspension is great
- Huge torque
- Excellent clutch action
- Seat is a bit stiff
- Stock gearing is too high for the trail
The FE501S is a great dual sport bike. It has a few quirks, like the slightly stiff seat and the super-high stock gearing. Fortunately, both are fixable, so they’re not really deal-breakers. Once geared right and with a softer and less slick seat, this baby will give you truly impressive off-road action as well as it does street riding. It runs around 10 grand, but is money well spent.
One of the most powerful Enduro models in its class, this machine is low in weight but high in displacement, at 510.4cc. It has a single cylinder, 4-stroke engine with a 95mm bore and 72mm stroke. It sports Brembo hydraulics, a DDS clutch like the FE501S, and a dry weight of 111.5kg.
- Shifting is very smooth
- Big, 2.25gal fuel tank
- Great suspension
- A bit tough for long periods of pavement driving
This KTM bike has a lot in common with the Husky above, and actually handles more or less like it. It’s strong, has huge torque, boasts great handling on the trail, shifts like a dream, and has a sufficiently subdued snarl to pass for street usage. It’s even around the same price range. The only real difference worth mentioning is that this one is slightly less comfortable on the road than the FE501S—that’s because it just happens to be a street legal off-roader that’s still primarily an off-roader.
The TW200 is one of the best-known street legal bikes, and is immediately distinguished from the rest by its slender, lightweight frame and fat, high-traction tires. It has a low seat height, an electric start, and a 4-stroke, air-cooled 196cc engine with an automatic cam chain tensioner for easy maintenance. The engine has a counterbalance for minimal vibration. It has a 5-speed transmission and is passenger-ready.
- Great, grippy tires
- Slightly underpowered
This is the most beginner-friendly bike of all the ones listed here. It’s not only friendly to the greenhorns handling-wise but also in terms of pricing, given that it can actually cost as little as half the two previous bikes in this lineup. That’s a fantastic price, especially when you consider that the TW200 still performs brilliantly enough to please many an expert rider. That’s even with an underpowered engine; mind you, which should attest to the overall quality of its riding experience. It’s also super-light, so if you do topple over, it’s a simple matter to get it up and going by yourself. Besides, it’s a bike meant to take hits without a flinch—truly something many a beginner will appreciate on the trail.
With its inverted front forks, the Suzuki DR-Z400SM introduces less unsprung weight and smoother handling to the Suzuki DR-Z400S design. It is also equipped with wider rims and grippier tires than the 400S. It also has a compact 4-stroke liquid-cooled 398cc engine. It can put out 32HP at 7850RPM and 24ft-lbs at 6750RPM.
- Fun and easy to upgrade
- Relatively low maintenance
- Decent stock suspension
- Seat can get slightly uncomfortable after long periods of use
- Somewhat small gas tank
This is another fun little beginner’s bike, typically running anywhere from $6,000 to $7,000. It’s not hugely powerful but has pretty nice handling and can still put out enough power to keep most users happy. It’s also one of the easiest-maintained and easiest-upgraded bikes available. It could use a better seat and gas tank, but it’s still a solid little bike with a lot of fans—give it a spin and you might find you’re one of them, too.
This bike has a 4-stroke, 4-valve single cylinder 650cc engine married to a 5-speed transmission. It has a large 6.1 gallon tank, a multi-contour seat, a composite cargo rack, and a 41mm telescopic fork. The front brakes are twin pistons and the rear single-pistons. It also has frame-mount fairing.
- Quite cheap for a big adventure bike
- Better stock suspension than the old KLRs
- Decent gas mileage
- Still a bit slow for a 650cc
- Has a lot of “past tech” elements, like a carburetor instead of fuel injection
This hasn’t changed much from the old days, but what has changed about it has done a lot to make it very attractive as a street legal adventure bike. It may be on the big and heavy side but it’s actually a pretty good off-roader—although of course its bulk means it tends to perform a bit better on the pavement, especially acceleration wise. It does have more off-road-ready suspension than before, though, which is a real boon. Considering it costs only about $6,500, a lot of people will be giving it a good look right now, particularly when most of the other big adventure bikes cost three times what it does.
These are all great street legal dirt bikes, but it falls to you to choose one based on your needs. Beginners who don’t need a lot of power may want to go with either the Suzuki or Yamaha—they’re really nice riders despite not giving you loads of muscle, and in many situations can actually be more fun than the big boys. The Husky and KTM yield bigger power for the trail, although if you really want a huge bike and are willing to put up with a bit of dinosaur in its makeup, the Kawasaki may be the best option.