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3 Awesome Tips For Mastering Trails and Tarmac On Road-Legal Dirt Bikes

Embarking on the open road, where freedom meets adventure, is every rider’s dream. In the world of motorcycles, road-legal dirt bikes straddle the boundaries, inviting you to traverse landscapes beyond the beaten path. Imagine tearing through urban jungles and conquering off-road trails with equal prowess on a powerful machine that can adapt to both worlds. That’s what a dirt bike built for on-road travel offers.

This blog takes a closer look at the dirt bikes bridging the gap between asphalt and dirt. We’ll unravel the mysteries of road-legal dirt bikes, survey some machines that offer on and off-road adventure, and explore the skills you need to take your street adventure to the untarmacked off-road trails. Off-road trail riding is a complementary, but slightly different motorcycling skill set to street riding.

Ready to discover the perfect blend of on and off-road excitement? Let’s dive into the world of dual-sport and road-legal trail motorcycles.

Exploring dual adventure: are dirt bikes road legal?

In the realm of motorcycles, the allure of tearing through untamed terrains is matched only by the desire to conquer city streets. So you might be wondering, are dirt bikes, renowned for their off-road prowess, street-legal?

Generally, dirt bikes aren’t street-legal, they’re characterized by their agility and off-road capabilities. Standard motocross, enduro and trail motorbikes lack essential components like lights and mirrors, rendering them unsuitable for public roads. Not only that, but the deep-treaded off-road tires, vital for traction on loose surfaces, deteriorate fast on tarmac.

Using a traditional dirt bike on public roads can lead to fines and the loss of your licence. You should always check the rules before hitting the asphalt on an off-road dirt bike.

Can you convert a dirt bike to be street-legal?

It is possible to make a dirt bike street legal, but it’s neither quick nor budget-friendly. The process involves fitting safety equipment like lights and turn signals, alongside the road registration details.

  • Submitting your Manufacturer’s Certificate of Newness from your bike manufacturer to the DVLA to notify them of the bike’s specs.
  • Getting an MOT certificate to prove it’s safe to ride on public roads.
  • Applying for a Notification Of Vehicle Arrival (NOVA) declaration from HMRC to apply for your UK registration number with the DVLA
  • Getting your V5 Log Book
  • Getting your number plate made up.

Beyond the logistical challenges, safety remains a paramount concern, as traditional dirt bikes tend to lack the stability and control that come part and parcel with ready-made street-legal motorcycles.

Opting for pre-built road-legal thrills on an off-road machine

For those craving on-road adventures, investing in a pre-built road-legal motorcycle is the wiser route. Dual-sports motorcycles, exemplified by Ducati’s Hypermotard, offer the best of both worlds. With treaded tires, road-tuned suspension, and durable engines, you get a balance between off-road thrills and on-road legality, stability and safety. 

Sure, you can convert a dirt bike for riding on the road, but it comes with considerable drawbacks to your pocket, time and safety. Purpose-built road-legal motorcycles that can take on rough terrain are a faster track to dual adventures.

Selecting the perfect ride: best dirt bikes for trails and tarmac

Embarking on the thrilling fusion of on-road travel and off-road adventures requires the perfect companion. And that’s a dual sports machine made for tackling all terrains. We’ve listed our favourite road-legal dirt bikes that excel in versatility, adaptability and safety.

Unleash adventure: Honda CRF300L/Rally

The Honda CRF300L/Rally, with its lightweight build and adaptable design, stands out as a top choice. From navigating city traffic to conquering off-road trails, its agility and reliability make it a stellar option for those seeking a seamless transition between the road and untamed terrains.

Honda CRF300L Spec

  • Kerb Weight: 153kg
  • Engine: 286cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder
  • Max Power: 26.9 horsepower
  • Max Torque: 26.6 Nm
  • Notable Features: Versatile for both weekday commutes and off-road adventures, lightweight chassis, long suspension, and reliable Honda quality.

Powerful precision: KTM 500 EXC-F

The KTM 500 EXC-F emerges as a powerhouse designed for both the streets and challenging off-road landscapes. Its lightweight construction and race-inspired features ensure a thrilling ride on this dual-sports machine whether you’re cruising through town or participating in enduro races.

KTM 500 EXC-F Spec

  • Kerb Weight: 115kg
  • Engine: 510cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected, SOHC
  • Max Power: 39.4 horsepower
  • Max Torque: 37.5 Nm
  • Notable Features: Powerful, light, and agile, suitable for both on-road and off-road dirt bike experiences, designed for enduro races.

Italian flair forever: Aprilia RX 125

For those who crave a touch of Italian style, the Aprilia RX 125 delivers. The lightweight design includes ABS for added safety. It’s a dual-sport motorcycle catering to new and young riders, promising an exhilarating experience on both paved roads and off-road trails.

Aprilia RX 125 Spec

  • Kerb Weight: 134kg
  • Engine: 124.2cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, 4 valves
  • Max Power: 14.9 horsepower
  • Max Torque: 10.9 Nm
  • Notable Features: Lightweight Italian design, ABS for safety, sporty appearance, and suitable for new or young riders.

Electric adventures: Zero FX

Embracing the future, the Zero FX introduces an electric dimension to dual-sport riding. Expect futuristic aesthetics, impressive torque (thanks to the electric motor), and eco-friendly credentials. It’s a silent yet powerful contender for those seeking a unique blend of on-road and off-road exploration with the sound turned down.

Zero FX Spec

  • Kerb Weight: 112kg/131 kg
  • Engine: Electric powertrain with a 46-mile range or 91-mile range
  • Max Power: 27hp / 46 hp
  • Max Torque: 106 Nm
  • Notable Features: Futuristic electric dual-sport, two engine options, high torque, and practical for various adventures.

In the realm of road-legal dirt bikes, these dirt bikes for on-road riding deliver the perfect balance for riders yearning for weekend off-road adventure and a comfortable commute. Which you choose will depend on the trails you plan to travel, your motorcycle licence level and the depth of your pockets. Choose your road-legal off-road machine wisely to ensure a smooth adventure on and off the asphalt.

Navigating UK roads: Can I ride a dirt bike on the road?

In the realm of dual-sport dreams, the allure of tearing through UK roads on a dirt bike is undeniable. However, the legal landscape adds twists and turns to your adventure. To bring your off-road thrill onto the asphalt, you need to meet certain rules.

Understanding road legality for dirt bikes

Dirt bikes, designed for the untamed trails, face road legality challenges. Standard trail motorbikes lack essential road equipment, like lights, mirrors, and number plates, so they’re unfit for public roads. Even with the desire for on-road escapades, using an unmodified dirt bike can result in penalties.

While converting a dirt bike for road use is feasible, it’s a meticulous process. Equipping the bike with lights, turn signals, and mirrors, and then undergoing registration, MOT, taxation, and insurance processes is both time-consuming and costly. Safety concerns arise as converted dirt bikes may not match the stability of purpose-built street-legal motorcycles.

Legal clarity for dirt bikes on roads is crucial

Before embarking on on-road adventures, thorough checks with the DVLA are imperative. Proper equipment, registration, and adherence to road-legal specifications are non-negotiable. Riding without compliance can lead to fines, loss of your licence or worse. Even off-road riding requires a UK motorcycle licence if you’re riding on Green Lanes. These trails are considered public highways, so the usual licencing rules apply.

3 Awesome Tips for Mastering Trails and Tarmac

Embarking on the dynamic journey of trails and tarmac requires more than just jumping on and twisting the throttle. Whether navigating the rugged wilderness or cruising down city streets, these tips ensure an exhilarating and safe dual-sport experience.

#1 Dual mastery: know your bike inside out

Understanding the nuances of your dual-sport machine is crucial. Grasp the unique features that make it a versatile companion on varied terrains. From tire traction to suspension settings, knowing your bike enhances control and confidence. Be aware of how it behaves on different surfaces too. That makes each ride a seamless transition between the untamed trail and the open road.

#2 Technique triumphs: adapt your riding style

Mastering both worlds demands adaptive riding techniques. On trails, hone your off-road skills—weight distribution, precise turns, and conquering obstacles. Get comfortable standing on your pegs and remaining supple as you ride.

On the tarmac, embrace smooth cornering, efficient braking, and the road-craft mindset. A dual-sport aficionado seamlessly switches between these techniques, creating a delicious dance with the bike’s capabilities.

# 3 Safety first: gear up and ride responsibly

Safety is the compass guiding every dual-sport odyssey. Equip yourself with quality safety gear—a specialist off-road helmet, goggles, gloves, and armour —and ensure your bike meets road-legal standards.

When you’re on the tarmac, prioritise visibility with reflective elements in your gear. Switch helmets for a robust street-safe lid and consider different clothing to protect you on UK roads. Respect traffic rules on roads, and when conquering trails, be an eco-conscious rider—leave no trace and respect other nature-lovers.

Prepare for the ultimate dual-sport experience

For a seamless transition between road and trail, book a trail riding day and obtain the right licence for the dirt bike you wish to straddle. Navigate the legal terrain wisely, ensuring your dirt bike adventure stays thrilling, legal, and unforgettable. Get in touch with our team to learn more about road-legal dirt bikes, our trail riding days and UK motorcycle licence training.

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