Four years ago, I bought my first real dirtbike (the 1978 Suzuki TS185 my friends and I passed around as kids didn’t count). It was a 2009 Kawasaki KX250F modified for desert trail riding. Foolishly, I bought that bike before I had a way to transport it to the desert that it had been modified for, or anywhere else really. At that point, I hadn’t owned a truck or any other four-wheeled vehicle for nine years. As numerous motorcycles made their way in and out of the garage over that time, I hadn’t felt the need or interest to own anything more than a few streetbikes thanks to southern California’s year-round riding season.
The team and I have been grounded longer than usual this year. It’s not all bad. Some of us actually enjoy being with our family, and it’s given us time to complete those long-standing projects around the house while simultaneously creating new ones. That said, it’s only a matter of time before the antsy feeling of wanderlust starts to creep in. Nothing quite satiates a much-needed break from the day-to-day (especially the day-to-day of 2020) like a lil’ camping and a lil’ motorcycle riding.
I must preface this review with the disclaimer that this is the first Beta I’ve ever ridden. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time on various other two strokes in this genre, but the 2021 Beta 300 RR is the first from the Italian brand that I’ve had a chance to get out and ride. So don’t expect a thorough year-to-year comparison. I just can’t do it, captain!
Trials is an incredible sport. What those competitors manage to do on two-wheels seems to disregard the laws of physics. I have to admit though, while I find the feats of trials riders’ gravity-defying moto acrobatics mind-boggling, I’ve maintained only a passing interest in trials that has rarely strayed further than spending more time than I should watching videos of Toni Bou, HRC’s 26-time world trials champion, on Instagram. That said, when the invite came through the MO inbox from GasGas to attend its inaugural California Trial Invitational in Murrieta, CA, I was more than willing to accept the assignment.
With Honda being the first of the Japanese to bring a true performance dual-sport bike back to their line, we sincerely hope the trend continues from the Big Four. Times are good and getting better for the category. After taking a look at the current dual-sport offerings from each manufacturer making them, we as consumers have a pretty nice spread to choose from this year. Since we love writing and publishing Top 10 lists here at Motorcycle.com, I thought I would throw together a list of the top 10 dual-sport motorcycles of 2019, the way I see it.
With a history dating back to 1907, the Isle of Man TT stands alone as the most exciting event in motorsports. But beyond the racing, it is the total, immersive nature of the fortnight that makes the TT a singular experience. There is nothing virtual about the reality of being on the Isle of Man for the TT.
The Mojave desert ain’t nuttin to mess with. Intense UV radiation, gale-force winds, 120+ degree summers, but ironically well-below freezing last night. In other words, it’s an off-road enthusiast’s paradise, a Martian terrascape resplendent in blasted rock, jagged peaks, and tight boulder-filled canyons. Quite simply, this is a place that breaks humans and machines of every stripe.