Skip to Content

Honda Dual Sport Bikes : From Pavement To Trails

Honda have always been at the forefront of producing motorcycles in each category that are simply brilliant; they have a knack for beating the competition to the post for new styles, designs or technology.

When it comes to their dual sport motorcycles they are no different, whether you consider their first dual sport bikes or the latest in the line up.

Honda offers some of the best modern dual sport bikes on the market, with decent power, good off road capabilities and offering the perfect balance between off road and street riding features.

Let’s take a short look at the best Honda dual sport bikes available today.

Honda XR650L

Honda XR650L Dual Sport
Honda XR650L Dual Sport

The Honda XR650L is a staple in Honda’s dual sport offerings. It is a model that you expect to hear in any discussion when talking about dual sports.

It is a pretty simple 644cc, single-cylinder thumper, a workhorse that does the job and does it well. It has a 30 plus year heritage now having first been released in 1992. You don’t get many motorcycles that last that long, and those that do are pretty damn good.

Not much has changed for the latest model except a fresh new paint scheme nodding toward the XR heritage.

There is enough room for luggage or to carry a passenger on the long well-padded black seat. The long suspension travel does the job as well as any trail bike and is equally suited to around town for commuting.

The steel frame is tough and solid enough to withstand anything that riding off road can throw at it.

The engine provides enough power for all the circumstances you could find yourself riding the bike in, it is a versatile motor with enough performance in all the right areas to make things easy.

Simply put the XR650L is a benchmark of really good solid dual sport bikes. The biggest compliment for the XR is that after 30 years it is still called upon today as a bike worth considering when looking for a dual sport.


  • MSRP – $6,999
  • 644cc air-cooled, dry-sump, single-cylinder
  • Seat Height – 34″
  • Curb Weight – 346lbs
  • Max Power/Torque – 43.6hp/51.9Nm

Price: $6,999 – More info

Honda CRF450RL

The CRF450L
The CRF450L

The CRF450RL is a motorcycle that has been carefully crafted to meet a riders expectations from a modern dual sport motorcycle.

Honda based the model on the CRF450X platform, so at its heart is a true and capable dirt bike. On top of that Honda have only added the necessities needed to make the model a street legal dirt bike.

The chassis is lightweight, nimble and stable which is the winning combination for off-road riding. The subframe has been optimised for its rigidity and helps make the bike more than capable for carrying tools and luggage.

It is not only the frame that keeps things lightweight, but the fuel tank, hand protectors, and light compact dash and LED lights. Even the battery has been switched to a lithium-ion battery which saves both space and weight.

In terms of engine performance you have a bright, punchy single-cylinder that packs enough torque for all off road situations, equally when on the streets you have the power to keep up with all traffic and then some.

The CRF450RL is a lean, mean, aggressive motorcycle that epitomises what a dual sport is all about.

It hasn’t been overloaded with electronics that would air on the side of the road side of things, instead it remains stripped back and ready for the rider to tailor as required based on their needs.


  • MSRP – $9,999
  • 450cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder
  • Seat Height – 37.2″
  • Curb Weight – 291lbs
  • Max Power/Torque – 52.9hp/48Nm

Price: $9,999 – More info


Honda CRF300L Rally
CRF300L Rally

In 2021 Honda updated their popular CRF250L and CRF250 Rally models by increasing the engine sizes to 300cc and like the smaller versions, both are brilliant in their own right.

Unlike the XR650L and the CFR450RL both of these 300cc models are available in the UK as well as the US.

The CRF300L Rally is more tailored to riders who want to get that bit further; it touches on the Adventure motorcycle segment with some of its features.

You take one look at the CRF300L Rally and you can instantly see the nod to the Dakar Rally race bikes. The bodywork helps give the rider some protection from the elements and this is paired with a nice big windscreen which proves itself useful both on and off road.

The Rally is fitted with a long motocross style seat which allows for all day riding comfort as you can move around as needed.

There is also enough space for you to load up with all the essentials needed for a weekend trip or your everyday carry for work and it has been fitted with special cargo hooks especially for this purpose.

The dual headlights almost make the bike look like the windscreen is wearing goggles and for a dual sport machine it is quite a cool styling point.

The Rally has a slightly shorter seat height for easier use than the standard CRF300L and it does weigh in a bit more too due to the extras like the bodywork and windscreen.


  • MSRP – $6,099/£6,499
  • 286cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder
  • Height of seat – 35.2″
  • Curb Weight – 331lbs
  • Max Power/Torque – 27hp/26.6Nm

Price~: $6,099 – More info

Honda CRF300L

One of the most popular Honda dual sport bikes is the CRF300L

If the CRF300L Rally is the all singing, all dancing model then the standard CRF300L is the stripped back, no frills get the job done dual sport.

It is taller and lighter than its sibling with a definite stronger focus on the off-road side of things. There is far less plastic bodywork than on the Rally and there is no windscreen, just a small plastic dash cover.

The engine in both bikes is powered well in the low-end ready for the dirt, but there is enough mid range punch for getting the rider around town and out on the backroads.

Brakes on both are hydraulic discs for really good stopping power and in the US you can opt for an ABS version or not.

Both motorcycles are fantastic for what they offer, and the only choice is how comfortable and minimalistic you want to be.


  • MSRP – $5,349/£5,749
  • 286cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder
  • Height of seat – 34.7″
  • Curb Weight – 306lbs
  • Max Power/Torque – 27hp/26.6Nm

Price: $5,349 – More info


Honda dual sport bikes are a great choice for anyone who loves the outdoors and wants a go anywhere reliable machine to explore with. They offer an impressive balance of power, performance, and durability that can take riders through any terrain.

Plus, Honda dual sport bikes are great value for money because they will last you for years to come and with the above four models to choose from, there’s a Honda dual sport available to suit any budget or lifestyle.

History of Honda Dual Sport Motorcycles

As a company Honda were quick to realise in order for worldwide domination of the motorcycle industry the key was to crack the US market. Therefore, this led them to constantly have their finger on the pulse of what US customers wanted and expected out of a motorcycle.

By the early 1970’s the industry had cottoned on that riders were looking for a bike that could do it all, essentially a street legal dirt bike.

The Honda SL350 from 1969 was one of the most popular off road bikes the Japanese giants have ever released with a following still to date. It retained most of the weight and styling of a normal roadster but was aimed solely at off-road riding.

Photo by Tancey Mae with permission via Creative Commons 4 licence

Trail bikes were popular but riders wanted a bike that they could ride to the trail instead of loading it on the back of a truck, riding the trail and then riding home again.

The first motorcycle that was truly a landmark machine for Honda in this sense was the XL250. A four stroke, single-cylinder that was rock solid and capable in a variety of riding situations.

The Honda XL250 and later XL350 laid the foundation for the dual sport revolution that took place throughout the 1970’s.

1976 saw the release of the MR250, a hardcore enduro but this only lasted a year, it was 1979 before another big hitter in the form of the XR250 was released, it was similar to the XL but with less of the street legal necessities.

By the early 80’s Honda had some bigger capacity bikes in their line up in the form of the XR500 and XL500. Much heavier but much more powerful too. These were later adjusted to a single shock format and were a big hit with the customer base.

Following the 500cc bikes a 600cc XR was released and would later go on to dominate the Baja 1000.

The XR400 had a popular run during the 1990’s until 2004 when the XR was finally discontinued and the modern day CRF-R and CRF-L series took over proceedings for the motocross and dual sport segment respectively.

Please support by sharing