Enduro, as the name suggests, is designed to test both rider and bike. When it comes to Enduro motorcycles, Enduro is harder to define. There are high-end motorcycles that are used in Enduro racing.
There are also motorcycles that are used for trail riding, rally racing, cross country competitions, off-road riding, and are often road legal. These bikes have also come to be known as Enduro bikes.
For the purposes of this article, we are talking about the latter of the two. The motorcycles are in the 200cc to 400cc range and are perfect for the recreational user, from beginner through to advanced rider.
The Yamaha YZ250F comes out top of this bike category, narrowly beating out the KTM 250 SX-FX. Generally, KTM is considered the market leader in enduro bikes. KTM’s offering is geared toward the top-end rider in this group. Other key players include Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Honda.
Important Considerations When Buying an Enduro Bike
The type of enduro bike you choose depends on a number of factors, including experience, height, and weight. The list we have compiled attempts to cater to different shapes, sizes, experience levels, and types of riding. Price can also be a definitive factor in this range.
1. Street Legal Enduro Bikes
The majority of enduro bikes are street legal. Nonetheless, it is important to check before you take your motorcycle on the road. Giveaway signs that your bike is street legal include headlights, indicators, and an electric start being part of the standard setup. Any enduro bike used on the streets will need to be registered for the road before being used on them.
2. Two Stroke vs. Four Stroke Enduro Bikes
Most of the major manufacturers have a foot in both camps when it comes to the two-stroke and four-stroke enduro bikes. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, with the type of riding and terrain, riding style, and personal preference of the rider being determinative factors.
Typically, motorcycles in this category are four-stroke, with two-stroke motorcycles preferred in the enduro racing category.
3. Four Stroke Enduro Bikes
The engine on a four-stroke is heavier and more complicated than that of a two-stroke. Four strokes have a steady and more manageable output and are a better choice for a beginner. They are ideal for trail riding and racing. A four-stroke bike can weigh up to 50% more than a two-stroke.
4. Two Stroke Enduro Bikes
Two-stroke bikes are less complicated. They utilize around 30% to 50% fewer parts than a four-stroke and although they may require more maintenance, it is usually less expensive. Two-stroke bikes are usually lighter and faster, often with an initial kick as they get going.
Top 10 Best Motorcycles For Enduro 2022
The enduro motorcycles in the 200cc to 400cc range are detailed below. All of the bikes are proven off-road performers while being equally apt on the road. These bikes are aimed at the recreational rider who enjoys testing themselves on the trails.
The list also gives some guidance regarding the experience needed to ride the bike to its potential. A selection of bikes is provided representing the best in the entry-level or beginner category, intermediate category, and intermediate to advanced category.
1. Suzuki DR 200 S
The four-stroke, five-speed Suzuki like its bigger brother the DR-Z 400 S has a slightly retro feel with the same Mikuni carburetor. Despite the non-adjustable suspension, it is a comfortable ride both off-road and on the highway. Although, its top speed of 70mph, may fall a little short on the road.
It is especially suited to the entry-level recreational off-roader, where the stability it offers will be appreciated, THe DR 200 S is best suited to a friendly or moderate trail ride with it likely to struggle on a more technical trail; however, this is in line with its target market.
This is an easy-to-ride motorbike that is cleverly designed to meet the expectations of its target market, the recreational beginner. It is priced competitively, with only $50 between the DR 200 S and its main competitor in this market, the Yamaha TW200.
Like the TW200, the main issue is that a rider may outgrow it quickly as they gain experience. It does offer a slight edge in the power stakes over the TW200.
|Engine:||200cc 4 stroke||Power||20hp|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.3gal||Wet Weight||276lb|
|Transmission:||5 speed||Ground Clearance||10”|
2. Yamaha TW200
The four-stroke, five-speed Yamaha TW200 has a slightly retro feel due to the SOHC two-valve motor that is fed by a 28mm Mikuni carburetor and rear drum brake. It performs adequately off-road. Although those with a few miles under their belt may find the going a little slow, it is perfect for those with limited riding experience.
The 31” seat height will make it appealing to shorter riders that many bikes fail to cater for. If you are planning to use it on the road, then you will have few complaints provided you are not a speed demon. The TW200 is low maintenance which adds to its appeal.
Yamaha is aiming this bike at entry-level riders, and in that category, it ticks most boxes. Its price is in line with this and competitive with other bikes in this grouping. The only difficulty may be growing out in a relatively short period.
|Engine:||200cc 4 stroke||Power||16hp|
|Fuel Capacity:||1.8gal||Wet Weight||278lb|
|Transmission:||5 speed||Ground Clearance||10.4”|
3. Kawasaki KLX250
The four-stroke, six-speed Kawasaki KLX250 is an ideal motorbike for beginners through to intermediate riders. With 24.1hp available, the bike has more than enough power for the road, hills, and trails, striking a good balance between its off-road and on-road capabilities.
The uni-track rear suspension and adjustable long-travel telescopic USD front fork contribute to the bike’s forgiving nature, while the weight of 304lb and ground clearance of 11.2”, accompanied by full-size tires contribute to the versatility of the bike.
The KLX250 is generally considered one of the most capable mid-sized bikes in this category. It is fun to ride and easy to manage. At $5,399, the KLX250 is well priced to compete with other similar motorbikes in this category.
|Engine:||250cc 4 stroke||Power||24 1hp|
|Fuel Capacity:||2.0gal||Wet Weight||304lb|
|Transmission:||6 speed||Ground Clearance||11.2”|
4. Suzuki DR-Z 400 S
Suzuki has a longstanding reputation when it comes to high-quality novice motorbikes. Despite a cc rating that places it at the upper limit of this category, the four-stroke, five-speed Suzuki DR-Z 400 S is considered ideal for the beginner to intermediate rider.
The DR-Z 400 effortlessly blurs the line between off-road and street riding, proving a more than capable performer in both arenas. This is a fun and reliable motorbike that handles well in all conditions. Given this class is full of EFI motorcycles, there are some who consider the DR-Z 400 with its Mikuni carburetor almost vintage, but it remains competitive in this class.
For the recreational rider, the DR-Z 400 has more than enough power which is complemented by the fully adjustable suspension. The real value of this bike is priced at $6,799, which given engine capabilities is more than competitive…
|Engine:||400cc 4 stroke||Power||39hp|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.9gal||Wet Weight||317lb|
|Transmission||5 speed||Ground Clearance||11.8”|
5. Honda CRF250L
The four-stroke, six-speed Honda CRF250L gives the rider plenty of power in the lower to middle rev ranges. Disc brakes are used on both wheels with the ability to easily switch to ABS braking for road use.
Honda’s decision to reduce the seat height to 32.6” and make it slimmer than other similar bikes increases the CRF250L’s appeal to a wider pool of rides, as it is one of the few bikes that cater to the shorter rider which includes a number of female riders. This does however reduce the ground clearance notably to 9.6”.
The CRF250L has a top speed of 79mph, which is more than sufficient. Adding to its appeal is it is one of the first bikes in this category to have both LED headlights and indicators. The CRF250L is a step up from the entry-level bikes in this category.
|Fuel Capacity:||2.1gal||Wet Weight||335lb|
|Transmission:||6 speed||Ground Clearance||9.6”|
6. Yamaha WR250R
The four-stroke, six-speed Yamaha WR250R presents an ideal intermediate-level bike. With inverted front forks that are fully adjustable and include compression and variable spring preload and similar parameters on the rear, the bike performs well on the trail…
The wide-ratio gearbox contributes to a good balance of off-road responsiveness and highway performance. While offering acceptable speed, it is unlikely to be the fastest bike on the road or trail. The appeal for recreational riders is it is lightweight and extremely agile off-road,
Although the line was discontinued in 2021 in the US and Europe, the earlier models are still available and popular among recreational riders, justifying its inclusion in this list. The WR250R is a good package while providing scope for the enthusiast to modify the bike to their liking.
|Engine:||250cc 4 stroke||Power||29.5hp|
|Fuel Capacity:||2.0gal||Wet Weight||295lbs|
|Transmission:||6 speed||Ground Clearance||11.8”|
7. Beta 350 RR-S
The four-stroke, six-speed Beta 350 RR-S uses a diaphragm clutch which gives the rider a greater level of control and has been shown to decrease rider fatigue. There is the option of adjusting the clutch to one of three different spring settings so it can be aligned with riding style.
With an oversquare engine, the bike offers plenty of power, while the relatively lightweight makes it agile and easy to maneuver on trail rides. The latest editions feature an LED lighting system which is equally useful on the road or if riding the trail later in the day
The 350 RR-S certainly has plenty to offer and is clearly designed to be an alternative to the Yamaha YZ250F, KTM 250 SF-XF, and Honda CRF250R, its price of $10,999 is considerably more than any of these models. They also edge it out in performance. The Beta bike is street legal off the shop floor which is the only thing lacking in the other bikes.
Although Beta claims the bike is targeted at the casual off-road rider who is looking for more than a play bike, the pricing would seem to suggest otherwise. While the 350 RR-S has some excellent features it is too expensive for the average rider and is likely to appeal only to the true Beta fan.
|Engine:||350cc 4 stroke||Power||38hp|
|Fuel Capacity:||2.4gal||Wet Weight||260lbs|
|Transmission:||6 speed||Ground Clearance||12.6”|
8. Honda CRF250R
The 2022 model represents a major overhaul of the four-stroke, five-speed Honda CRF250R. Initial testing suggests it is a dream to ride off-road, on the trails, or in the motocross arena. The handling capabilities of the CRF250R are impressive. Its cornering and maneuverability stand out features, especially at the speed where there is only very minimal instability.
It is notably lighter than previous year’s models which contributes to a more balanced ride. While it may fall just short of the Yamaha YZ250F in the mid-range, overall the power delivery and throttle response are excellent. The overall design is thoughtful and rider-focused including the way the seat is installed to stop it from releasing when the seat bounces,
The CRF250R is not for the beginner, it is best suited to the rider with a few miles on the clock. Although only recently released, initial feedback is that it is very similar in what it offers to the KTM 250 SF-XF and the Yamaha YZ250F. With a price of $8,099, the scales may even start to tip in its favor.
|Engine:||250cc 4 stroke||Power||39hp|
|Fuel Capacity:||1.7gal||Wet Weight||229lb|
|Transmission:||5 speed||Ground Clearance||13.1”|
|Street Legal:||No requires a street legal kit||Price||$8,099|
9. KTM 250 SF-XF
The four-stroke, five-speed KTM 250 SF-XF offers all the features that KTM has become synonymous with, including a powerful and fast engine, best-in-class Brembo braking system, and a tunable suspension. Weighing in at 218lb, its lightweight body and ergonomically designed seat contribute to its mobility and excellent handling capabilities.
Beginners will struggle with the 250 SF-XF, it is best suited to the intermediate to serious recreational rider. At the high end, its engine is capable of 41.1hp, its high rpm powerband contributing to its popularity. However, its low end is a little disappointing. The poor low-end performance is likely due to the bike’s long gear ratios. Its 1.9-gallon fuel tank is a little on the low side.
The KTM 250 SF-X is a top performer; however, it is also the most expensive motorcycle on the list at $9,299, more than $1,000 more than the best in class, Yamaha YZ250F. The 250 SF-X is one of a minority of bikes on this list that will require additional work to make it roadworthy.
|Engine:||250cc 4 stroke||Power||41.1hp|
|Fuel Capacity:||1.9gal||Wet Weight||218lb|
|Transmission:||5 speed/chain||Ground Clearance||14.7”|
|Street Legal:||Requires street legal kit||Price||$9,299|
10. Yamaha YZ250F
The four-stroke, five-speed Yamaha YZ250F stands out as the best-in-class motorcycle.
At 234lbs it offers a stable and planted feel over all terrain. The KYB Speed-Sensitive System fork and KYB shock offering 12.5” of suspension travel has been a positive talking point among riders.
With high-end power capabilities of 39hp, it is the strong performance of the YZ250F across the spectrum from low to high end that makes the bike a standout. It offers a quick throttle response and acceleration. The 1.6gal fuel capacity is one of the few disappointing features of this motorcycle.
The YZ250F is a premium performance machine, and like the KTM 250, SF-XF is best suited to the intermediate to serious recreational rider. It is not street legal at purchase, although a street legal kit utilizing plug and play technology can easily be added to this bike to make it ready to hit the highway.
|Engine:||250cc 4 stroke||Power||39hp|
|Fuel Capacity:||1.6gal||Wet Weight||234lb|
|Transmission:||5 speed||Ground Clearance||13.2”|
|Street Legal:||Requires street legal kit||Price||$8,299|
About the author: Michael Parrotte was the Vice President of AGV Helmets America, and a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, Sparx Helmets. In addition, he is the founder and owner of AGV Sports Group.