Off-road bikes are motor cross bikes with added protection and strengthened suspension and larger fuel tanks. It is essential to have a reliable motor. Some endure bikes are also roadworthy, i.e. comply with road bike regulations. The engine size is from 125cc to 360cc for two strokes and between 195cc and 650cc for four strokes.

For wet areas, a small light engine would be the best choice, and for drier, harder surfaces a heavier bike with a bigger engine would probably be the right choice. Possible improvements would be handguards on the handlebars to protect the rider’s hands and a suitably ratio-ed gearbox. There are many off-road bike manufacturers, the better-known brands being Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha.


The first endure event was held in 1913 in England. The requirements for these bikes must be the ability to last out for 1250km and a minimum of 6 days, and the only repairs done to the motorcycle must be by the rider with whatever parts are allowed. The International Six Day Trial (ISDT) usually held their annual events in Britain. Still, in 1973 it was held in the USA, and over the following years, it was twice in Australia, again in the USA, Brazil, New Zealand and Chile. In the last few events, up to 32 countries have been represented.

In the USA the Greenhorn Enduro covered 500 miles in two days which tested riders and bike alike. Some enduros today are competed time trials over two hundred km, on dirt and hardened road surfaces. Although most U.K. endures were for two strokes, the Auto-Cycle Union has a separate event for four-stroke class bikes, and their favourable fuel consumption has allowed for legs of 30 miles between fuel stops.

Suitable Enduro Bikes

Yamaha. The YZ450F 4-stroke was developed in 1997 and was an immediate success, and Yamaha led the way to new time four-stroke motor cross bikes. Following on from Yamaha’s YZ450F, Honda produced the CRF450R. These two bikes competed on a “level playing field,” i.e. they were very similar. Only minor differences in gearing, frames, camshafts and exhaust valve differentiated the two bikes. Yamaha was the first with an electric start, and Honda soon followed suit.

Husqvarna. The TE570 won the world endured championship in 2001, but it has proved itself in desert racing and motor cross. The Husqvarna is street roadworthy, and the components are top of the range. It also compares at a price with the smaller Yamaha and Honda.

Beta. The RR-S are road and track-ready, and these come in four engine sizes from 350cc to 500cc. These well designed and well-built bikes are up there with the KTMs and the Huqvarnas with prices starting at $10300 and up to $10600 for the 500.

Off-Road Bikes