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Top 5 Trail Riding Motorcycles

Vic Womersley September 21, 2023

Dirt biking is a thrilling experience. The adrenaline-packed days with a trail riding motorcycle are very more-ish. There’s just something about getting mucky on two wheels and enjoying the great outdoors that’s undeniably exhilarating. You’ll most likely want to do it again. And again.

So, if you’ve tried trail riding with Phoenix a few times and want more of the excitement, you’ll need your own dirt bike. Size matters – your bike’s engine size needs to match your licence type. That’s because you’ll need to ride your motorcycle on public roads to get to the best Green Lanes in the UK. And Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs) are technically public highways too.

Trail riding motorcycles usually have softer suspension than high-performance enduro bikes. Trail riding motorcycles also have slightly smoother and quieter engines and wider gear ratios that make them a little easier to navigate Green Lanes. We’ve included a mix of engine sizes to make sure there’s something to sate your trail riding hunger!

#1 Honda CRF300L trail riding motorcycle

Honda makes great off-road motorcycles. Their CRF300L is touted by many as the ultimate trail riding motorcycle for the UK’s Green Lanes and BOATs, this machine is ideal for new and experienced riders. It’s reliable, lightweight and easy to maintain. You’re unlikely to find yourself stuck pushing it home. Because it’s so reliable and great for trail riding, these motorcycles hold their value well.

The light and agile design makes navigating tricky corners, tight spots and narrow winding trials fun rather than frustrating. The supportive seat and upright position required of the rider means you can easily enjoy a demanding day of dirt biking without getting too sore or fatigued.

The 250cc engine provides a great balance between power and control. Smooth, easily managed power delivery is a hallmark of this trail riding motorcycle. Because precise throttle control is a must when you’re trail riding, it makes this dirt bike ideal for green laning. Being a 250cc engine, you’ll need an A2 or A motorcycle licence to legally ride it on public roads.

#2 Fantic XEF 250 dirt dike

Tall, light-weight and lean are the three words that spring to mind when describing the Fantic XEF 250 trail riding motorcycle. The electric fuel injection gives riders precise throttle control and greater fuel efficiencies too.

This trial riding motorcycle comes with Michelin off-road tyres that love the mud. Fantic USD front forks, piggyback rear mono-shock, aluminium swinging arm and CrMo steel perimeter frame make it ideal for tricky lanes and rocky paths. The arrow exhaust system with silencer ensures you won’t bother other outdoor enthusiasts when you’re enjoying the UK’s BOATs.

As this dirt bike is another 250cc engine variety it’s really for A2 and A level motorcycle licence holders. CBT and A1 licence holders are only able to ride machines up to 125cc, so check out the next few bikes for some great rides on the Green Lanes.

#3 Honda CRF125F dirt bike

Of course, Honda doesn’t only cater to riders of bigger bikes. Their CRF125F is a great all-rounder for small and large riders on lower UK motorcycle licences. With a manageable 9 horsepower, it’s got enough power to comfortably navigate England’s BOATs and Green Lanes. The seat height is around 29 inches with great suspension travel —you’ll get 5.9 inches in front and 5.5 inches at the rear.

Like its bigger brother, the CRF125F is a reliable machine. The whole range of CRFs also has some great genuine Honda accessories that make trail riding more comfortable, safe and fun.

#4 Suzuki DR-Z125L trail riding motorcycle

Suzuki developed their DR-Z125L as a lightweight trailblazing bike with awesome manoeuvrability for tight trails and even taking on jumps. The bike’s 124cc air-cooled engine and five-speed gearbox, get it up to speeds of 45 to 50 mph. It’s a great choice for CBT and A1 licence holders. Delivery riders who want to develop their skill with a little outdoor fun will get a kick out of this trail riding motorcycle too.

The Suzuki DR-Z125L delivers great throttle response and maintenance is fairly straightforward, thanks to the Mikuni VM20SS carburetor. The seat is a lot higher than other dirt bikes in this category. It sits at around 32 inches, helped by an adjustable preload on the rear shock absorbers. You’ll be able to explore BOATs, tracks and trails safely and confidently on this machine.

#5 Kawasaki KLX 110R small trail riding motorcycle

Kawasaki’s KLX series of trail riding motorcycles goes all the way back to the late 1970s. If you’re looking for an exhilarating trail riding experience for young and old, The KLX 110R is a great choice. It’s the smallest dirt bike of our picks so better suited for lighter riders, although its still got plenty of go.

It’s easy to manoeuver and the 26.8 inch seat height gives confidence to new riders getting to grips with the slips and turns of trail riding. The four stroke engine generates 7 horsepower. An automatic clutch on the four-speed gearbox lets new riders focus on balance, technique and the joy of riding without distractions.

A great trail riding motorcycle makes exploring the 6,000 miles of UK Green Lanes all the more enjoyable. Remember to choose a dirt bike with a low rough seat to enjoy the thrills without too many spills. Keep within your engine power range for your UK motorcycle licence too — even though you may feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, Green Lanes are a category of public road. And don’t forget to share some pictures of your Green Lane adventures with us on Instagram!


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