The idea of a ‘dual purpose’ motorcycle that can be ridden both on and off road is not a new one. In the early days of motorcycling, riders would modify standard road going bikes to take on the trails of the countryside. Nowadays, you can buy a bike that is designed to do the job, and most manufacturers include at least one dual sport or enduro style bike in their range. If you are looking for a competition machine the choice is made easier with machines such as Honda’s CRF250X and 450X, KTM’s EXC range, the Husqvarna TC or Yamaha WR. Gas Gas, Sherco and Husaberg also offer dedicated enduro bikes. Derived from motocross bikes, these machines have long travel suspension, torquey motors and are usually fitted with the necessary kit to make them road legal including lights and horn. Biased towards strong off-road performance they are less likely to be used as mile-eating road machines. Dual sport trail type bikes can make great road machines, but are more likely to be focussed on on-road performance than out and out off road ability.
Whilst access to the countryside and ‘Green Lanes’ in general is now very difficult, there are several active clubs across the UK organising enduro or ‘hare and hounds’ type events. Often held on private land, these are a great way to get involved in the sport. If you are looking to buy a used enduro bike make sure you check it over carefully first. Any true enduro or green lane machine will have had a fairly hard life, but in general they are strong and well capable of standing up to the rigours of competition. Plastics are easily replaced, but watch out for signs of engine and gearbox wear, as a full engine rebuild can be expensive.