Motocross, Enduro & Dual Models for 2015
By Guido Ebert
The Off-Road motorcycle market in the U.S. is once again realizing growth after five years of downturn and stagnation.
Here, the term “Off-Road” will include three types of motorcycle – Motocross, Enduro and Dual.
Of the three types, Dual model sales were least impacted by the sales downturn experienced in the wake of The Great Recession while Motocross and Enduro model sales experienced the brunt of the economic fall-out.
Lets take a look at the numbers, provided by Minneapolis-based research firm Power Products Marketing.
Making up the largest portion of the overall Off-Road market, Enduro models include a wide breadth of bike, from 50cc youth models to 500cc desert travelers. Apparent in this market is the popularity of smaller displacement “play bikes” that can be used by youth and adults alike. Also, in many states, larger models can be utilized on-road with alterations. Major brands sold 45,620 Enduro models in 2014, up from 39,600 units in 2012 and 41,875 in 2010, but still down from 84,225 units in 2008.
Best-selling Enduro models in 2014 were the CRF50F, CRF110F, TT-R50E, PW50, TT-R125LE, 500 EXC, TT-R230, 300 XC-W, 350 XC-FW and CRF230F.
Sales of Motocross models – high-strung off-road-only bikes suited for competition – had been declining since reaching their zenith in 2004. It appears the troubling economy made an impact on this relatively expensive sport, the investment in which may have swayed increasingly frugal families and individuals away. Nevertheless, the Big Four manufacturers from Japan continue to dominate the market with the 250s and 450s that are popularized in televised Supercross and Motocross races. Major brands sold 39,720 Motocross models in 2014, up from 32,050 units in 2012 and 39,550 units in 2010, but still down from 62,850 units in 2008.
Best-selling Motocross models in 2014 were the YZ250F, YZ450F, KX250F/N, KX450F, CRF450R, CRF250R, RM-Z450, RM-Z250, KX85 and CRF125F.
Sales of Dual model motorcycles were on a growth course up until a two-year downturn during the Great Recession, after which these do-all bikes bucked the overall sales trend and continued to grow in market share. Apparent is the market’s desire for both low-priced small models and fairly expensive large displacement “Adventure” models that can be taken on and off-road. Major brands sold 29,770 Dual models in 2014, up from 27,485 units in 2012 and 22,050 units in 2010, but still down from 44,225 units in 2008.
Best-selling Dual models in 2014 were the CRF250L, KLR650, R1200GS Adventure, R1200GS, XT250, V-Strom 650, TW200, 1190 Adventure, Super Tenere and DR650SE.
Now lets take a look at the Off-Road – or, Off-Road flavored – motorcycle models offered to us in 2015.
By Guido Ebert
BMW offers six Adventure-flavored bikes that, while capable of off-road travel, really are more street-worthy. The line-up includes the G 650 GS ($7,895), F 700 GS ($9,990), F 800 GS ($12,190), F 800 GS Adventure ($13,695), R 1200 GS ($16,175) and R 1200 GS Adventure ($18,340).
Honda’s 17 Off-Road models include two Dual Sport bikes, 11 Trail/Enduro models, three Motocross models and one Trials bike. The offerings include the CRF250L ($4,999) and XR650L ($6,690); CRF50F ($1,399), CRF70F ($1,960), CRF80F ($2,470) CRF100F ($2,880), CRF110F ($2,099), CRF125F ($2,799), CRF125F Big Wheel ($3,199), CRF150F ($3,699), CRF230F ($4,199), CRF250X ($7,410) and CRF450X ($8,440); the CRF150R ($4,990), CRF250R ($7,599) and CRF450R ($8,699); and the Montesa Cota 4RT260 ($7,799).
Husky’s 14-bike KTM-inspired line-up for 2015 features eight Enduro models and six Motocross models: the TE125 ($7,649), TE250 ($8,449), TE300 ($8,649), FE250 ($8,649), FE350/S ($9,649/$10,049), and FE501/S ($9,949/$10,249), and the TC85 ($5,499), TC125 ($6,649), TC250 ($7,349), FC250 ($8,149), FC350 ($8,849) and FC450 ($9,149).
Kawasaki’s 11 Off-Road offerings include five Motocross models, four Off-Road models and two Dual Sports. Choose from the KX65 ($3,699), KX85 ($4,349), KX100 ($4,599), KX250F ($7,599) and KX450F ($8,699); the KLX110/L ($2,299/$2,499) and KLX140/L ($3,099/$3,399); and the KLX250S ($5,099) and KLR650 ($6,599).
KTM’s 31 off-road worthy motorcycle models supplied this year include 10 Motocross models, 17 Enduro, one FreeRide and three Travel bikes. They are the 50 SX/Mini ($3,899/$3,349), 65 SX ($4,599), 85 SX ($5,499), 125 SX ($6,599), 150 SX ($6,699), 250 SX ($7,299), 250 SX-F ($8,099), 350 SX-F ($8,799) and 450 SX-F ($8,999); 200 XC-W ($7,699), 250 XC ($8,399), 250 XC-F ($8,599), 250 XCF-W ($8,599), 300 XC ($8,599), 300 XC-W/SixDays ($8,599), 350 EXC-F ($9,999), 350 XC-F ($9,599), 350 XCF-W/SixDays ($9,599), 450 XC-F ($9,699), 450 XC-W ($9,699), 500 EXC ($10,199), 500 XC-W ($9,899) and 690 Enduro R ($10,499); Freeride 250 R ($7,899); and 1190 Adventure/R ($16,499/$16,799) and 1290 Super Adventure ($20,499).
Suzuki’s 12 models adept to the dirt include two Off-Road models, three Motocross, four Dual Sport and three Adventure models: the DR-Z70 ($1,799) and DR-Z125L ($3,199); RM85 ($4,099), RM-Z250 ($7,599) and RM-Z450 ($8,749); DR200S ($4,499), DR-Z400S ($6,599), DR-Z400SM ($7,189) and DR650S ($6,499); as well as the V-Strom 650 Adventure ($10,049), V-Strom 650XT ($10,399) and V-Strom 1000 Adventure ($13,999).
Triumph’s six Adventure offerings come as four versions of the Tiger 800 – the XR ($11,399), XRx ($12,499), XC ($12,399) and XCx ($13,499) – as well as the Tiger Explorer/XC ($15,899/$17,499).
Yamaha’s 17-model stable for 2015 features five Motocross models, eight Off-Road/Enduro models and four Dual models. The line-up includes the YZ85 ($4,090), YZ125 ($6,390), YZ250 ($7,290), YZ250F ($7,590) and YZ450F ($8,590); the PW50 ($1,440), TT-R50E ($1,540), TT-R110E ($2,240), TT-R125LE ($3,290), TT-R230 ($3,990), YZ250FX ($7,890), WR250F ($7,990) and WR450F ($8,290); and the TW200 ($4,590), XT250 ($5,190), WR250R ($6,690) and Super Tenere/ES ($15,090/$16,190).
Dual Sport Tutoring with BC Moto Adventures
By Stuart Shakespeare
Dual Sport bikes are not at all new, but over the last 10 years the type has become more and more popular, with ever-increasing lines of dedicated “adventure” gear and accessories to support both bikes and riders. Like me, you may have been swept up in the craze, and perhaps bought yourself a Triumph Tiger or a BMW GS, and even attempted some gravel road riding. It may not have been the experience you wanted though. Instead of gravel spitting from your tires while you sweep the back road curves, perhaps you found yourself perched atop the seat while the motorcycle skittered and jumped about like Coco the clown drunkenly skating over a bunch of marbles.
Perhaps you received some advice along the lines of “stand on the pegs” and “in sand and loose gravel just give it more gas” – but chances are that this didn’t help you much. What to do? There are a lot of people out there enjoying off road riding, so how do you go about safely joining in?
The answer is training. Modern Dual Sports are heavy and powerful machines. No one should assume they can take one of these beasts off pavement and expect to get the best performance or enjoyment out of it without some tutoring.
This is where BC Moto Adventures, a small business owned and operated by Bill Conger, comes in. Bill graduated from the BMW Instructor academy in 2006, and was an entrant in the 2012 Dakar rally. He still regularly competes in off-road racing, as does Liz Allen, Bills assistant instructor, also a graduate of the BMW academy and a lifelong accomplished rider.
Bill recognized that there was a growing need for specific training for riders of Dual Sport machines, and so he created the two-day “Off Road Foundations” class providing instruction in piloting motorcycles over off road terrain and obstacles. This class is not about motocross or speedway, but safely taking control of a dual sport motorcycle in off-road situations, and navigating obstacles with skill, control and balance rather than muscle.
Each day consists of six hours of riding and two hours of “class” – which actually takes place trailside. The days are broken up into a series of demonstrations and drills, focusing on different obstacles and challenges that gradually increase in difficulty and build on the lessons taught in previous segments.
Each segment follows a format of discussion, demonstration and then practice. In this way, the unique difficulties of a given obstacle, and how the bike controls and rider’s body and balance are used to negotiate the obstacle, are made clear. During the demonstration one instructor rides, while the other again points out the techniques being used. This approach of “hear, see, do” really drives home lessons and gives confidence to even novice off road riders, and the gradual increase in complexity means that more basic and fundamental skills continue to improve over the two day period.
Classes are carefully limited in size – a maximum of 12 students for the two instructors – and in this way each student receives specific guidance and instruction based on their own individual needs and performance during the riding portion of each segment.
The final part of the course is a 40 to 50-mile dual sport ride, taking in all the lessons learned and featuring deep ruts, washboards, deep water crossings, dirt roads, mud and gravel roads. This ride is very important – it is a demonstration of the ability of each student to take what they have learned and apply it to a real world scenario. The ability to navigate these successfully finally cements the skills and techniques in place. This ride is no Dakar or desert race, but for the new rider is an important step in becoming comfortable in riding gravel and dirt routinely.
While the class is physically and mentally demanding, and has the student sweating in short order, you’ll soon learn that it is skill, not brute force, that makes a successful off-road motorcycle pilot.
Bill and Liz are amazingly talented riders and instructors, with an easy going and friendly manner. If you do fall, they are there immediately to pick you up (literally and figuratively), and if your confidence falters along the way as mine did, they will quickly convince positively of your ability to continue, and have fun too. To prove it, after completing the course, I headed to the Flint Hills region of Kansas for a ride which featured 170 miles of gravel and dirt roads, some of which were slick and muddy. This was a ride that I would have abandoned very quickly previously, but which I was now able to thoroughly enjoy. Sweeping gravel curves became a joy, the slick mud pools challenging obstacles to overcome, rather than to be avoided.
The value of good tuition cannot be overstated. Not only did my off-road motorcycling become a lot more enjoyable with training, but so did my on-road riding – the more precise control learned for off-road riding is a huge benefit to road riding.
So, if you want to get out on the road less travelled and see the sights, get some good education. The BC Moto adventures foundations course is an excellent starting point, and will open the world of all-terrain riding to you.
Bill Conger can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. BC Moto Adventures can put together a custom foundations skills class for you, or set up an advanced class or exciting all-terrain tour.