Many people around the world love dirt bikes, especially younger people. Due to such high demand, many companies are trying to gain a share. Usually, such kind of competition is beneficial for consumers like you and me as in the process of outperforming their rivals, the companies lower the prices and enhance the performance and quality of the product. But sometimes so many choices can be confusing too and arises question like, which dirt bike brand is best? Do all the bikes from different brands have the same performance or not?
You will find many people suggesting you should buy a dirt bike from Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, KTM, or Yamaha. Most people disregard the fact that you might have different requirements as opposed to theirs. Birt bikes have different power, size, speed, design, and price. It is nearly impossible to find two identical bikes from different brands.
If you are into an eco-friendly electric dirt bike, then you certainly won’t appreciate a 2-stroke 250 cc bike. Similarly, if speed is what you prefer, than brands like KTM, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, etc. are for you.
Here I am going to list top dirt bike brands in 2020 with information about their offerings and the opinion of other dirt bikers on that specific brand. I would recommend reading this article before committing to any brand.
10 Best Dirt Bike Brands
Below are the top 10 dirt bike brands, they all are capable and in no means inferior to others.
When it comes to motorcycles, Yamaha is a household name. The company was founded in 1955 by Torakusu Yamaha.
The manufacturer was the first one to introduce monoshock suspensions to a motocross back in 1975. Even though today, they are not as innovative as they used to be. Despite that, their products are among the best in the world and are highly sought after by the dirt bikers around the globe.
The Yamaha YZ250F is their top dirt bike, which has been crowned top 250cc bike for four years consecutively. Their other models, like WR250F (Enduro) and YZ125 (Motocross), YZ250FX (Enduro, trail), and PW 50, for young beginners, are also good options to consider.
The company was founded in Hamamatsu, Japan in 1946 by Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa. Thanks to Japanese engineering and the quality, Honda is not only a prominent car manufacturer, but it also dominates the two-wheelers market worldwide. It should be no surprise that they also have a significant market share in the dirt bike industry. Honda is manufacturing dirt bikes from the 1960s, and over the time, they have refined their design to such a degree that their rival Japanese brands are following their footsteps.
In the past, Honda was a dominant player in the 2-strokes motocross era, but due to the European environmental laws (EEL), they stopped the production in 2007. So, if you want to get your hands on such a vehicle, it’s better to go for KTM bikes.
CRF50F is popular among the newbies, while experienced users prefer CRF450R and XR650L.
KTM is an Austrian company that is very popular among dirt bikers. KTM has transformed from being the company mocked for its poor quality, as compared to its Japanese rivals, back in the early 1990s to a brand admired by many riders. KTM offers an expansive lineup of dirt bikes with various specifications that will fit anyone’s needs.
It is a relatively newer brand when we compare it to the industry leaders such as Honda and Yamaha. Its success in the motocross competitions despite being a new company is a testament to the quality dirt bikes it produces. They produce some of the most stylish and fastest dirt bikes. If you are looking for a lightweight bike, then you will find KTM bikes to be among them. They focus more on the 2-strokes dirt bike, which thanks to their fuel-injection system, is thriving despite environmental laws. But due to anticipation of further tightening in regulations, KTM has started focusing on electric dirt bikes.
Some top of the line KTM bikes is following.
- 250/450 SX-F (Motocross)
- 125/250 SX (Motocross)
- 50/65 SX (Kids)
- 250/450 EXC-F (Enduro)
- 250/300 EXC TPI (Enduro)
Beta is an Italian manufacturer with a long history with trial bikes dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. They have recently started focussing more on the off-road race and trial bikes. They have made their place in the market due to their unique design and usage of cutting edge technology. Beta is continuously evolving its dirt bikes to remain competitive.
Initially, they were using KTM engines in their dirt bikes, but in 2010 they introduced their in-house designed engines. They have a wide range of tail and enduro bikes. If you want a stylish yet comfortable dirt bike experience, give them a try.
A tried and tested brand with a cult-like following. Many dirt bikers claim that once you ride a Kawasaki, you won’t be satisfied with any other brand. I don’t know how true this statement is, because I never got a chance to ride this revered brand. But if I ever got a chance, I would try my hands on it.
Their new offerings have proven their worth in 2017 and 2018 AMA Motocross. Their KX250/450 (Motocross) and for kids KX65 are excellent options.
A Japanese maker, with a history dating back to 1952, that requires no introduction when it comes to bikes. They are dominant in motocross championship, and at one point for a whole decade, there was no one good enough to compete with them.
Their 2-stroke bikes, along with Honda’s were dominant back in the days, but like its counterpart, they too closed the production line due to environmental laws. Those regulations hit them the hardest, and they have yet to recover from it, and unlike the other Japanese manufacturers, they don’t offer a small range of dirt bikes. They are heavier bikes, which makes the other brands such as KTM more desirable.
Some of their decent offerings are RMx450Z, RMZ250/450, and kids friendly DRZ50/70 and RM85.
Bultaco is a Spanish company headquartered in Barcelona, Spain. Francisco Xavier Bultó founded the company in 1958. With motorcycles as their core business, they have invested heavily in R&D.
Such vast experience and the company’s drive to remain innovative and in touch with the latest trends, drove them in the manufacturing of dirt bikes. Using their knowledge and cutting edge technology, they have produced some of the best dirt bikes and have attracted many racers from the USA.
Husqvarna, a rifle producer, manufactured its first motorcycle back in 1903 and continued till 1987. After failing to compete with Japanese brands, they sold the bike division to Cagiva.
For some time, the brand disappeared, but in 2013 a majority shareholder in KTM bought the company. By using the later’s 2-stroke fuel injection technology, the company has been revived and is thriving in the dirt bike market.
The TC125/250 for motocross and their TC50, TC65/85 are excellent offerings and considering their identical design and material to that of KTM, you can expect decent performance from them.
# 9. ALTA
A relatively new and obscure brand in the world of dirt bikes. They have crafted their niche in the battery-powered bikes market.
The Alta Redshift with the waterproof motor is creating quite a buzz in the community. If you are looking into a road-legal dirt bike, their 42 horsepower EX enduro is a decent option worth considering. Top racer Nate Adams has praised their dirt bikes, which is a good sign for their future. And with the surge in usage of electric dirt bikes, they can be expected to be seen more commonly.
Their costs can be little off-putting, and for that reason, I have ranked them so low. Their Redshift MX, MXR for motocross, and Redshift EX, EXR series are good choices for enduro.
And as for the last but not least, I would recommend another Italian dirt bike manufacturer TM. They are by no means less than their competitors. The company, founded in 1976, is comparatively a small scale manufacturer on this list.
They are not as recognizable as their competitors, and that is one of the reasons they are so below in this list. But don’t write them off, as three world championship teams are using their produce. The design of their dirt bikes makes them stand out when compared to the brands. Due to their exotic-looking aluminum frames, people call them Ferrari of motocross.
They offer a vast range of 2-stroke and 4-stroke bikes for motocross and enduro lovers.
Their motocross MX250, MX125, along with their EN250, EN300 enduro, have a high number of positive reviews. If you are looking for something to buy for your child, then their MX85 is the one.
How to Choose the Right Brand For You
You should take the rankings above as a guide and see which brand offers a bike perfect for you instead of blindly following a brand. There are some factors you should take into account before investing in any bike. For example, if you are a beginner, a 250 cc bike won’t be a good starting point for you. On the other hand, an electric dirt bike like Razor MX 650 will be much easier for new entrants.
Similarly, pricing also should be a major factor while contemplating a purchase. If KTM is offering a 110cc dirt bike for an exorbitant price and Beta is offering a comparable bike for far less go for the later instead of remaining a brand loyalist.
Another factor is the comfort, and there is a possibility that your favorite brand won’t have the perfect fit for your height. In that case, your satisfaction should be your first priority. If you are buying a dirt bike for the first time, consult this guide for a more suitable choice according to your height and weight.
Consider all the brands and their offering and narrow down to a few choices and then write down their pros and cons, and based on those factors, make a final decision.
All of the mentioned above manufacturers produce the top quality dirt bikes. You might disagree with the rankings, but you can’t deny the fact that these brands are reputable and have a dominant share in this industry. A manufacturer with sub-par quality isn’t going to keep selling the products, so without a doubt, all the brands discussed are worth your money.
There are other brands too in the market that are worth considering, but they are not up to the quality of the manufacturers discussed here. In my opinion, instead of blindly following a brand, you should buy a dirt bike that is more fitting for you.
If you are looking forward to buying a dirt bike, it is a good thing to buy a dirt bike that fits your height, check out this interactive dirt bike sizing chart, and select the bike suitable to you.