The desire to go anywhere, anytime has been around since the invention of these two-wheeled contraptions we love so much, and it’s what has fueled the OEMs to keep producing Dual Sport motorcycles of various displacement sizes and levels of proficiency.
Finding just the right mix of dirt performance and street civility is a challenge, and it has been for as long as Dual Sport riding has been happening. Some manufacturers have hit that target numerous times over the decades while others haven’t nor have they had to apologize for it because the models they’ve produced excel enough in one area to make up for their shortcomings in another.
That said, there are a lot of great choices out there, and trying to make up a top-10 list of classic Dual Sport motorcycles wasn’t all that difficult…until we tried to cut it to just 10. That’s when things got a little bit tricky, especially since we decided to go for the gusto and pick motorcycles from all eras of the sport.
So what follows is a list of 13 classic Dual Sport motorcycles–and actually even more than that–for your consideration. Since we are going back over six decades, this list is in no particular order with the exception of number one. Check it out, and feel free to complain if your fave didn’t make it.
13. Kawasaki KLX250S
The Kawasaki KLX250S replaced the venerable but comparatively pedestrian KLR250 in Kawasaki’s Dual Sport lineup in 2006, and it quickly gained favor for its zippy, carbureted, DOHC, 249cc engine, which offered decent low-end grunt for its displacement and a smooth pull throughout its rev range. Its six-speed transmission is flexible enough for road use while still providing the right ratios for the trial, and its adjustable front and rear suspension provide the right level of plushness and control in challenging terrain. The KLX250S simply strikes the perfect balance for casual commuting and weekend trail riding, and that makes it a classic in our book.