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There are over a dozen different categories of dirt bikes and that confuses a lot of people. To help you understand the differences, the team at MX and Off-Road Tours made up this easy-to-understand list. 

Pee Wee

Bikes with an engine displacement of 50cc or less are typically called PeeWee class dirt bikes. These are typicall for kids 4-8 years old, before they graduate to a 65cc machine or an electric motorcycle.  Examples of Pee Wee machines are the original pee wee race bike the Yamaha PW50. the Honda CRF50F, the Yamaha TTR50E, the KTM 50SX, the Cobra CX 50, the Honda CRF-E2 (Electric), the KTM  SXE5 Mini (electric)


Play bike

This really refers to a non-competition model. These are typically among the lower-performance machines with less suspension travel and fewer horsepower to others of the same physical stature. Examples of play bikes are the Yamaha TTR 125, the Yamaha TTR 230,, the Suzuki DRZ 125 and the Yamaha TW 200.



These are some of the most-competitive and potent two-wheel off-road machines, and typically have really responsive motors, lots of torque, stiff suspension, and come in both two- and four-stroke engine types. A motocross bike is what most people typically associate with dirt bikes.  Examples of motocross bikes are the Honda CFR450R, the Gas Gas MC450F, the Husqvarna FC 450, the Kawasaki KX450, the KTM 450 SX-F, the Suzuki RM-Z450,, the Beta 390RR, the Yamaha YZ450FGas Gas MC250F, the Husqvarna FC250, the Gas Gas MC250F, the Honda CRF250R, the Husqvarna TC250, the Husqvarna FC250, the Kawasaki KX250, the KTM 250SX-F, , the Beta 250RR, the Suzuki RM-Z250, the Yamaha YZ250 and the Yamaha YZ250F



These are basically motocross bikes with faster throttle response and overall stiffer suspension. These bikes race on man-made tracks inside stadiums at locations like Anaheim, Daytona, Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Minneapolis, New Jersey, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and Atlanta, plus internationally in England, France, Spain, Dubai, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and more. No specific models. Supercross bikes are based on motocross bikes with modifications to the gearing, suspension and more.



These are typically larger displacement motorcycles with softer suspension, larger fuel tanks, wider handlebars, steering stabilizers and softer seats. These bikes are typically designed for substantially higher speeds, and in some cases, go faster than 100mph. These bikes also have much beefier skid plates, chain guides and other components because of the rocky conditions in which they are used.  No specific models. Desert bikes are based on motocross bikes with modifications to the gearing, suspension and more.


Dual Sport

These are dirt bikes that have a license plate and are street legal. In most cases they have turn indicators, headlight and taillight, mirrors, and a keyed ignition. They are designed to legally link dirt trails by public roads. Most dual sport bikes are under 500cc and typically have four-stroke motors. Examples include the Honda CRF300L, the KTM 450 EXC-F, the Beta 390 RR-S, the Suzuki DRZ400S, the Honda CRF450L and the Husqvarna FE350S 


Adventure Bike

These are similar to dual sport bikes, but are much larger and feature bigger engines, typically 650cc or more. They are designed for higher speeds than dual sport bikes and typically are used more on the street then on dirt. Adventure bikes are also designed to carry a lot of off-road luggage in hard or soft-sided cases. Examples include the Kawasaki KLR 650, the BMW F750GS, , the Aprilia Tuareg 660 Adventure, the Yamaha Tenere 700, the Suzuki V-Strom 650,XT, the Suzuki V-Strom 800DE,  the BMW F850GS, the MotoGuzzi V85TT, the KTM 890 Adventure, the Triumpg Tiger 900GT, the Husqvarna Norden 901, the Ducati Desert X, the Suzuki V-Stron 1050DE, the Honda CRF1100L, the Triumph Tiger 1200GT, the BMW R1250GS and the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R



Woods Racing

These bikes are motocross bikes, typically less than 500ccs. They tend to feature larger fuel tanks, narrower handlebars, handguards and beefy protection items such as skid plates, fork guards and chain guides. They typically races through a lot of trees and are generally associated with the East Coast of the United States and the Pacific Northwest.  No specific models. Woods bikes are based on motocross or dual sport bikes with modifications to the gearing, suspension and more.


Straight Rhythm

This is a special race promoted by Red Bull which is a Supercross Race without any turns. It basically is a one-lap drag-race style course run two riders at a time in an elimination format.  No specific models. Straight rhythm bikes are based on motocross bikes with modifications to the gearing, suspension and more.



These are typically motorcycles under 450cc that are run in man-made courses, either indoors or outdoors that feature unique obstacles such as concrete blocks, concrete pipes, water holes, telephone poles, used car tires and much more. Speeds are typically under 30 miles an hour, and although there are double jumps, they are substantially smaller than those found in AMA Supercross.  No specific models. Endurocross bikes are based on motocross or dual sport bikes with modifications to the gearing, suspension and more.


Rally Bike

These are generally very expensive race weapons designed for competing at high speeds for long distances. The most-famous race is the Dakar rally. These bikes typically have a windshield to protect the rider from wind at high speeds, and they are loaded with all sort of high-tech navigation equipment since the courses typically have few markers. These bikes also run taller gearing, a longer wheelbase for stability, and wider handlebars and steering stabilizers for more control.  Examples include the KTM 450 Rally Replica the Gas Gas RX 450F and the KOVE FSE 450R Rally


Trials Bike

These are highly specialized motorcycles for riding over extreme obstacles without dabbing your feet. These are typically associated with Trials competition which can feature natural or man-made obstacles, either indoors or out, where the riders are times on short sections. The rider with the fastest time, with the least amount of penalties for dabbing a foot, elbow, hand, etc., is the winner. These are incredible to watch and a lot of fun to ride. Speeds are typically less than 12 mph.  Manufacturers of the very specialized machines include Gas Gas, Beta, Sherco, Scorpa, Montessa and the Electric Motion (electric)


This is one of the most-unique aspects of motorcycling and features highly modified dirt bikes equipped with shortened suspension, massive oversize front brakes, and aggressive street tires. These bikes are designed mostly for competition and for man-made tracks that feature a combination of asphalt, concrete and dirt. Some of the tracks include jumps and in most cases speed exceed 90mph in the 450cc classes. SuperMoto bikes are based on motocross bikes with modifications to the gearing, suspension, tires, and more.

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MX & Off-Road Tours | Dirt Bike Definitions

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