2019 Dual Sport Comparison Test – Cycle News

We compare today’s most hard-core dual sport motorcycles: Honda’s CRF450L, Beta’s 430 RR-S, KTM’s 500 EXC-F and Husqvarna’s FE 450.

Dual sport has changed. Once ruled by relatively inexpensive and softer-performing versions of dirt bike’s elite motocross and off-road racehorses, the dual-purpose bikes of the past were a fringe of off-road premium, not the mainstream of price or the tip-of-the-spear of performance we have today.

For the way most people want to, or will, use a dual sport bike, the now aging street-legal performers of DR-Z, KLR, CRF, XR, XT and etc. acronyms of all displacements are perfectly fine. They go off-road just fine. They go on-road just fine. They are insanely dependable and durable, and you’ll tire of them before they tire out. They’re fine. Everything is fine. Like a marriage. It’s fine.

But the bikes in this comparison aren’t exactly like those bikes. These are bikes built on a different level. These are bikes with little attention paid to overall comfort. These are bikes intended to perform. Period.
Before you read further, and if you’re seriously considering the purchase of a dual-sport bike, it’s important to first look in the mirror and honestly ask yourself how you’re really going to use the bike and where you’re really going to ride it.

If you’re considering a motorcycle to shuttle you around town or go riding on logging roads while chasing your kids, you should know that going in. There are a lot of less-expensive models on the dealership floor than these four prize ponies. There are plenty of bikes to scratch the dual-sport itch without dropping ten-grand-plus.
But, if you want to ride more aggressively off-road, stand up through technical trails, are okay with breaking turn signals off and scraping mirrors, fully expect to pick your bike up off the ground on occasion, feel like entering an off-road race or two every year and enjoy wheel-lofting through sand whoops once in a while, then you’re in the right spot here.


n00bHaMmEr says:

Honda neutered the bike “future proof” the 450L for the next 10 years. Meaning they killed the bike’s performance with currently irrelevant emissions standards so they don’t have to pay any extra money for the next 25 years, like they’ve been doing with the XR650L. 39rwhp, heavier by much than it’s competitors, pain in the ass air filter location, almost the same service interval as the rest of them. And all for damn near the same price tag. Typical lackluster dual sport from Honda, new-aged high price tag. LAME. lmao.

mark putnam says:

Cycle news sucks canal water!

Levi Barnum says:

What mirror are you running on the bikes?

805gregg says:

DS means it can go distances on the road none of those qualify


Defucnt test guys….. Honda’s 450L is the largest that brand makes so this fits fine in the shoot out. But putting the Beta 430 instead of the Beta 500 model along with the Husqvarna 450 instead of their 501 model is an illegitimate comparison. Put all the brands top models head to head for a true comparison.

Twister says:

I wote for Wr450F

Moto Sly says:

NONE of these bikes are Dual sports…… all enduro…
EDIT: You guy’s are being BASHED on the ” dual sport’s bikes” …

the sal says:

You get a street legal WR in the USA?

HUKABUKtx67 says:

A dual sport shootout with a DRZ 400?!?!? what the Sam Hill? I’m calling shenanigans. SHENANIGANS !

AJourneyOfYourSoul says:

Enduros with plates, not really dual sports.

suomiman100 says:

honda is so so different to these other bikes it does not play in the same league!

Patrick Burford says:

The KTM and Husq aren’t 450’s. and you compare them to Beta’s 430. Beta has a 500 RR-S (476?) that IS The Machine!

Josh Smith says:

This shootout needs the crf450X not the L!

Mr. Winter says:

Huskwarna, not hoskevana

J says:

I can guess results

Jojo West says:

Total clickbait, thanks for wasting my time you bellends.

Gary Perkins says:

Thanks for the video, I’m reading the article now. I’m glad you put all the bikes on the same rubber. Changing tires transforms bikes, so it is great to see that they are all being tested fairly.

I am amazed by the negative comments about the video, you guys are a print media not video. I am glad you posted the video, some great shots in there.
Big thumbs up

mixflip says:

To me a dual sport has a windscreen for the road….these seem more like enduros… aka street legal dirt bikes.

Michael McKamey says:

I have a Honda Crf450l and I love it. All 4 bike in the video are awesome examples of modern technology. They are taylor made for California where we have to deal with red sticker season. New green sticker bikes have went away, you need a license plate. I chose Honda because I think maintenance will be less(20,000 mile piston change), good dealership network ( not many Beta dealerships) and better street capabilities (passing cars on the highway is easy). I do 30 minute plus trips to get to work or dirt.

Pablo Aranegui says:

I do not understand your “so called” comparison. First the only dual sport is the Honda. Second you only test the bikes off road -without any road commuting- so where is the “Dual Sport Comparison Test” of your title? If you wanna make a fair comparison, please try to match bikes. Finally you just give your final verdict: KTM is the alpha, with no reasons. Sorry but your post does not have anything with Dual Sport bikes, and it is not a comparison either.

Chris Dunsire says:

If you’re going to make a comparison video then why wouldn’t you make it a level playing field beta and husky both have 500’s it’s silly to even rate them when you’re not testing comparable bikes

MAD Free Speak says:

They are really enduro bikes not dual sport.

Warren Yeager says:

what a crappy video

AJourneyOfYourSoul says:

Dual sport equals 50/50 off and on road. Where is the on road testing and how can the bikes with the worst on road manners take top slot?

HeyDude93gt says:

If the KTM is the dominant Alpha bike then the Beta wouldn’t ever have a chance in this shootout. Unless you’re riding strictly on a college campus

Roadstar 1963 says:

Why did I actually waste my time watching this video. This is not a comparison test it’s a promo video for Cycle News. So disappointing

David Tysdal says:


DGETHIS01 says:

No DRZ, no real test.

Rad Raven says:

Dual Sport… hahahaah! Love to know what your ass will tell you, after riding for a few hours on tarmac, on any of those…
; )~

Ryan Williams says:

For years I thought my DRZ was uncomfortable, about an hour on my ’19 500 EXC-F and I decided to also keep my DRZ. After some minor tuning, the EXC is a dream machine but like everyone here said, it’s an enduro not a dual sport. I trailer it to most rides that are further than 20 miles and even if I could deal with the pain of road riding it, I’m not wasting the wrench hours and parts wear to just ride it up and down the road. It was nice for Honda to introduce the L and tune it down a little for more engine reliability. It’s close enough to that 30 pounds lighter 6th gear EFI DRZ with 8 more HP we’d all like but it’s 10 grand. Maybe it’s worth it but I’d rather let a few years go by for the aftermarket to catch up and to generate some more feedback about the platform.

Chad Foust says:

=like these bikes? Buy our magazine.

RocketDog 64 says:

I just got back from a ride on my KTM 450 EXC……50/50 and 140 miles without getting off the bike. Full knobbies, Acerbis tank and seat concepts saddle, Quit whining about riding on the street and be glad these bikes exist AT ALL in a Communist State like Kali!

SmurkyToast says:

This is enduro…not dualsport

Juv-Husky says:

The FE 450 is a pure Enduro bike. The fact that it has a # plate and a set of blinkers doesn’t make it a dual-sport.

Cameron K says:

FTFW-2019 Enduro Sport Comparison Test

greg smith says:

Knobby tires on wet pavement.. really!!!

Philip P Day says:

as someone who is poised to buy one of these bikes in the next couple of months… this was some serious clickbait-waste of time-nonsense… and seriously, what a random smattering of bikes… you say “450-class” then throw in a 500cc and say it was the best? REALLY? no 450 exc-f 6 days??? this was weak, try again guys


Not dual sport bikes except the Honda, bloody ktm saddle looked like a strip of kitchen lino. Just race bikes with electrics. Need bigger tanks and longer service schedules and a subframe of some use and all have poor quality Chinese dashboards and electrics and fuel systems that will cost the earth to replace next year. None of these bikes except the Honda will hold value or be on the road in a decade like older bikes. Mere toys for rich kids that will use them as disposable objects trying to do back flips and gay show pony shit.

Los Pinche Gringos says:

Every motorcycle is a dual sport if you’re brave enough

Michael McKamey says:

MLD it sounds like you have a lot of experience with KTM with great success. I knew they made some powerful engines but I am happy to hear they also make dependable motorcycles. I recently sold a Ninja which I put 37K on and it never broke down. It is all about how you take care of it.

Brian Harrigan says:

Lousy review / comparison !
Try again with bikes you could actually spend some time on tarmac !
Also, there’s no way given for carrying even a small amount of gear ! (rack) ?
So, in summary , these air large dirt bikes .

Art Vanden Berg says:

That was a shit assed trailer, not a review. I’m never watching anything from Cycle Not News Just Ads again. Assholes, thanks for wasting 6 minutes of my life for nothing. You guys are complete assholes. I can forgive bad videos when the poster can’t do any better, but this was complete click bait and nothing more than an ad. You guys suck and I hope your channel dies. I came away from this video learning only that I had to buy something a magazine perhaps to get the review. That makes this an ad not a review, and you should be posting it as an ad not a review. What you are supposed to do on YouTube is post what you say you are posting and then get money from the clicks and subscribes, because you have good content. Not post nothing and then ask people to buy something. Complete asswipes.

I’m guessing if I do buy the magazine it will be equally useless and mostly filled with ads. Therefore all this video did was tell skeptical people that they shouldn’t buy, because they won’t get what they expect, indeed a lot less if anything at all.

You are doing media wrong. Better figure it out before you go broke.

The Falkor says:

Beta 490 should have been here instead of the 430 if you’re comparing it to the KTM 500

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