The Difference Between a Street and Trail Bike


When shopping for a street and trail bike, riders have a number of options. They can choose a fully off-road-ready, purpose-built dirt bike such as the KTM 500 EXC-F, or a more lightweight dual-sport bike such as the Honda XR650L. In addition, today’s manufacturers offer a full lineup of street-registerable bikes that provide off-road capabilities and allow riders to expand their riding horizons without the need for special permits.

What are dual sport bikes good for?

The difference between a street and trail bike can be broken down into several technical and design features. For instance, street bikes are designed to travel over paved roads at high speeds. As such, they must be able to handle the impact of road debris with ease. For this reason, they usually have a wider tire with deeper treads to maximize grip on loose surfaces such as gravel and dirt.

Dirt bikes on the other hand, are primarily used off the beaten path. They must be able to maneuver over rough terrain and traverse rugged surfaces with minimal effort. To achieve this, dirt bikes often have wide bars to allow quick steering. They also have a larger fuel tank to help with stability when traveling long distances.

Fortunately, most dirt bikes can be made street legal to avoid potential fines from park rangers. To convert a dirt bike to a street and trail bike, the rider must replace the stock tires with road tires and add DOT (Department of Transportation) approved accessories such as a headlight, mirror, horn, tail light, and brake lights. While this is not an expensive process, it does take time and expertise to ensure that the new bike will function properly on the streets and trails.

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