What is a dual sport motorcycle? Simply put, a dual sport motorcycle is one that is suitable for riding in the dirt or on the road. Some manufacturers focus more on the dirt side while others focus more on the street side. Either way, the rider is able to enjoy the best of both worlds. These models of bikes are able to be fully registered so they're street legal, which makes getting to the dirt tracks much easier. Simply ride on the road to get there.
What are some of the differences between dual sport motorcycles and regular street bikes or dirt bikes? There are so many benefits to these types of on/off road motorcycles. First, they're street legal, as stated above. Second, they're able to cover long distances on the road while offering the rider relative comfort. Not "extreme" comfort such as a touring motorcycle can offer, but somewhat. More comfortable than a full-fledged dirt bike. Also, these bikes are great in the dirt or off road track. They're a pretty good compromise between the two. Obviously, because of the fact that they need to have some sort of comfort for traveling on the road, they can't offer full off road suspension and ground clearance, but they can get the rider around just fine. The best part is, they're able to have cargo or pannier bags attached to them for long distance traveling.
For some models of dual sport motorcycles, it's best to ride mostly on the road and then only go off road when it's necessary. For other models, it's mostly off-road riding and then merely take the bike on the road when you need to get from trail to trail. Obviously, there's a wide variety of these types of enduro motorcycles. You'll need to think about on what type of terrain you mostly ride before you buy.
What are the most popular dual sport and adventure motorcycle manufacturers today? That would be BMW, Honda, Yamaha, KTM, Kawasaki and Suzuki, but a growing number of bike makers are getting into this area of riding, so expect some changes here.
It's important to note there are there no hard definitions for dual sport, enduro and adventure motorcycles. These names were merely created for marketing. As stated above, some of these bikes are better in the dirt than others are and some are better on the road, but all can ride on both. As you begin researching the best motorcycle for you to purchase, you'll see the differences. Some of these bikes look almost as if they're exclusively street bikes while others look like they belong in the dirt all the time.