About Our Selections

In making this list, it must be stated that we were biased more towards dual-sport motorcycles over pure dirt or trail bikes. The reason for this bias is that we were looking for bikes that covered all areas of learning how to ride, both on and off the pavement. While a pure dirt or trail bike is tremendous fun, those motorcycles only cover a specific usage type.

These selections considered ease of use, rideability, price, and how effective each motorcycle was in helping the beginner or newer rider learn the intricacies of riding. We are confident that any of these bikes will be superb starter or second bikes for those not afraid to get a little mud on their helmets.

If you haven't already, check out our dirtbike buying guide!

Yamaha TT-R230

Without question one of the greatest small displacement trail bikes of the 21st century

Kawasaki KLX230 S

A dual-sport gem that squeaks in under $5,000, well worth considering if you support Team Green

Honda CRF300L

It breaks the $5,000 budget limit, but there is a very good reason we're listing it anyways

Suzuki DR200S

Despite this bike being discontinued in 2021, it's well worth looking for one on a used lot or private sale

Yamaha TW200

A bike that shouldn't work on paper, but in reality is an absolute blast

Honda Trail 125

Not so much a dual-sport as a mini-ADV, it is a go-anywhere-do-anything little tractor of a motorcycle