2019 Dual Sport Shootout – Dirt Bike Magazine

Balance is for losers. Any bike that’s “well-rounded” or has “broad appeal” is purpose built to be bad at everything. That’s been the sad truth about dual-sport bikes since the invention of the license plate.
Thankfully, there are people in key places at major motorcycle factories who have come to understand that. The new crop of dual-sport bikes has been designed with dirt as the number one priority. That was never the case in the old days, when the best we could hope for was a 320-pounder with high fenders. Now, the goal is to make a dirt bike that’s legal on the road. Unfortunately, the Feds haven’t made that easy. The regs for DOT and EPA approval are vague and subject to different interpretations. As a result, each of the companies plays by a different set of rules–some very conservative, others right on the edge. We gathered the Honda CRF450L, the Husqvarna FE450, the Beta 430RR-S and the KTM 500EXC for a battle in the dirt. They don’t exactly match in displacement, but this isn’t about a racing class. These are what we consider the four best dual-sport bikes in the world from an off-road rider’s point of view. We will let other publications talk about how well rounded they are for commuters and road riders. For us, the street portion of the test has only two questions: 1. Is it legal on the road? 2. Is it practical on the road? For all bikes, the answers are yes and yes.With our dirt-heavy emphasis, we stripped the bikes of their original tires. The Honda’s IRCs are mostly aimed at street and the Continentals on the KTM and Husky were selected to help pass sound tests. Only the Michelin Enduros on the Beta are dirt oriented, but even they have reduced knob height as required in Europe. We put all the bikes on Mitas tires, which are the most aggressive DOT knobbies we could find. If you don’t know Mitas, you might remember the firm’s parent company: Trelleborg. Then we evaluated them mostly in the dirt. For us, pavement is simply a means to connect trails.

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Comments

Wilbur says:

There is a KTM 450 in Australia I just brought one lol

Adventure Awaits says:

While all these bikes are in your garage doing all the maintenance, I will still be out riding my Suzuki DRZ400s for thousands of miles.

Jeremy Flynn says:

I will stick to the DRZ less maintenance and very reliable.

Michael Finley says:

It’s pronounced Husk-varna

Jay Bishop says:

I’ll stick with my DR650. Very little maintenance will get you 15 years of fun for $5000 new

Natedoc808 says:

Beta for the win. No surprise here.

longshlonglishy says:

Why no wr450f as it’s all new????

Axell Hernandez says:

This review sucks. How about some FACTS?

tosgem says:

You shoyld if included the Drz400, which is the best of all of thems

The MX Guru says:

Why not the FE501?

CycleCruza says:

Make your own bad ass dual sport like I did with a 2019 Yamaha YZ450FX, 256 lbs, no emissions corking bs and *RIPS* off the line harder than my cbr1000rr!! Easy to make street legal (in Ohio) and you can tune the bike with your smartphone! $9,000 OTD!!

Tim M says:

what is this a tire commercial

Emmi San says:

2019 betas are ZF suspension iirc. not Sachs anymore

Rod Z says:

I love everything about my CRF450L and had no interest in buying a dual sport until it came out.

Tim Mann says:

I’m confused with this bias and disappointed that your video characterizes Dual Sport motorcycle riders as needlessly tearing up the landscape. Dual sport riders know how to ride in the wilderness. Dirt Bike testers apparently do not. Because you are Dirt Bike magazine, you completely disregard the Dual usage in a dual sport motorcycle? And you ride like you are on a motocross track? You should change your name to Motocross Bike. What about maintenance intervals? Mileage per tank? I guess it not far to walk back where you ride. After viewing your dual sport comparison video footage, I wouldn’t ride with any of you.

KulaFachi says:

No DRZ???

ALIEN CHASER says:

Why didn’t you use the Husky 501 ?

Rayman VonMetal says:

KTM…….need I say more…naw!

cosmodave69 says:

That cheap light mount is begging to come loose.

KM Productions says:

Klx 250?

Dana Draper says:

The guy at 6:20 needs to cover that rear brake. He must not ride 2 strokes. 🙂

Gozo Moto Adventures says:

Jarvis rides for Husky and loves the linkage he has been quoted several times

Rusty Shackleford says:

The XR650R is king of dual sport and the desert. The maintenance on a 450 four stroke is ridiculous.

DakMoto Dualsport Adventures says:

I got a 2017 6 days 450 when it was new it flamed out multiple times per ride until I did all the mods people do to these bikes. And it’s an amazing bike. Very wild when you delete the emissions, vortex ecu, and all ktmandhusky.com performance mods.

Turbo Blaster says:

I don’t see the WR. Why do I see no WR

Moto Sly says:

these are FULL ON ENDURO’s…… not Dual sports…… get a 690 enduro R and th husky 701 Enduro…. That is dual sport.

Fortnite L's says:

Noice

The MX Guru says:

For all the guys upset, they literally say at the end of the video its ONLY based on how it performs on DIRT.

It’s interesting though because most of us would not choose the Beta no matter how much better it performed on dirt. lol

Jimjum Buka says:

Love my Beta 500 RR-S. They have an awesome BYOB ordering program which allows you to customize your bike from the factory. I ordered stiffer suspension, gearing, killer LED head light etc. https://www.betausa.com/byob/RS/3617#byob-beta-thumbs, even though they give a one year warranty, the factory supports you well after with one on one contact with Beta factory reps in the US and they usually get back to you the same day if not immediately. Customer service is impeccable. The reliability has been outstanding.

natesvg says:

What about Yamaha

Bob the Dealer says:

You must have spent a bit to much time on the glass barbie big fella if you’re saying KTM don’t make a competitor for the FE450 did you forget the 450exc existed?

mopar 1 says:

Over $11 grand out the door. They’re nice but not that nice, fuck that.

dave g says:

I think they’re overpriced for what they are. !!!!

kosteros says:

If they are dualsport… i will just put on some racks, panniers or bags and go on dualsport weekend with tent. At least i got full, big capacity tank cose i’m gonna for a long ride. And after i’m done offroading i will just come comfortability back on pavement. Last real dual-sport were KTM640adv, modified xr650, maybe dr650, klr650. Give me some more REAL dual-sport.

Bigals. ktms. says:

You do know gragham jarvis only rides husky and they run linkage, so the question is how correct is your information at all.

Rahmat Budiarto says:

Legal street

ville v says:

All are very good on the offroad, I get it. But if you have to drive in the city, how do these bikes work there.

Matt Heckenlively says:

I’m drooling.

Kanon 08 says:

Love the Beta, their 500 will be my next bike but I am thoroughly ready for a plastics update. Yearly sticker change just isn’t sufficient after 6 years.

gooface 1014 says:

i wonder why in Australia we get 450 ktms and the US doesn’t

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