Top 10s

Top 10 Enduro Motorcycles of 2019

With autumn just around the corner and trackdays becoming less appealing, Visordown looks at the best bikes to go hitting the green lanes and trails this winter

RIDING green lanes is becoming increasingly popular, with folk choosing the slower pace of a byway as the perfect companion to a two-wheeled autumn or winter day.

But what makes a good green laning machine? First of all, it has to be an enduro or dual-purpose model, green lanes and byways are public roads after all. Any vehicle using them must be fully road legal, taxed and insured with a licenced rider.

After that, you can go down any number of routes, adventure bikes, mid-weight off-road, two-stroke, four-stroke and even electric! Here’s Visordown’s pick of the best motorcycles for green lane riding you can buy, from the new and used motorcycle market

10. Honda XL200 (used)

Cheap, cheerful and easy to maintain. The XL200 is about as low-stressed and easy-going as an off-road motorcycle can get. Built around a four-valve, single-cylinder engine, the bike puts out about 17hp (on a good day) and features air-cooling, a five-speed gearbox, drum brakes and good ‘ol carbs instead of fuel injection. All of this makes for an uncomplicated machine to fix when things go wrong, and on a slippery green lane, they will, frequently!

Used XL200s can be picked up for about £1000 for a rough but usable one and for up to £2500 for a mint example. Insurance should be cost-effective too as the performance is barely any better than a learner legal CBT machine.

9. Suzuki DR350 (used)

With its lurid paint schemes and sporty looking graphics kits, the DR was a machine that excelled in competition endures. At its heart is a 30hp, 349cc four-valve thumper, with bags of torque and a featherweight 130kg to shift, the DR350 was and still is a capable off-road machine.

The only fly in the ointment for smaller riders is the 890mm (and fairly wide) seat height, making a full slide off the side of the machine at a stop a necessity.

Slightly tatty options can be had for around a grand with fully rebuilt examples changing hands for nearly £3000.

8. BMW F700/F750/F800/F850 GS (new and used)

For those that like to take the longer trail, the mid-weight offerings from Beemer could be worth a shout. There are some elements to these big, modern trailies, like water cooling, complex electronics and so on, that put off the green laning community in favour of less complex easier to fix options.

With the extra size of the Beemer though you do have some advantages, with greater luggage capacity and longer range being the two most notable. A mid-weight option such as this would be the ideal companion for taking on the Trans Euro Trail, for instance, something you could do on a smaller bike but in far less comfort.

A brand new F750 and F850 start at £8,225 and £9,875 respectively with older F700 and F800s starting at around £4k to £5k.

7. Zero FX (new)

For those that like to blend in with the countryside, the Zero FX is an extremely capable and popular bike with the green lane enthusiast! Its high-torque (106Nm) motor means it’ll pull you up the steepest of inclines, and with 44hp on tap, the road ride to the next byway will be completed in record time.

As with any electric motorcycle, people always want to talk about range, and I think that’s where the little Zero will really excel. On the highway – dual carriageway and motorway – cruising at 55mph the FX should be good for about 40 miles. But that is when an electric bike drains the most power out of the battery. On a green lane, it’d likely be closer to 60 miles, longer than your average day out in the sticks!

There is another plus point to the electric motorcycle argument, and that’s public relations. Because electric motorcycles are virtually silent there isn’t any upsetting the neighbours or those folks who ride those huge dogs that go chasing after foxes – win-win!

6. KTM 300 EXC TPI (new)

The introduction of the TPI (Two-stroke Petrol Injection) engines from KTM has completely changed the landscape of competitive enduro riding. Gone are the days when you had to constantly fettle the gears to get the thing in its tiny power band to perform, the two-stroke engine is now smoother, cleaner-burning and more accessible for all.

There are some downsides to the pre-mix love affair though, the sound of a screaming two-stroke is like an alarm call to middle England to get on the phone to the local plod and give them something to do. And even for those riding on legal trails and byways within the law, to the untrained ear, a zinging ‘smoker sounds like it’s doing 50mph when actually it’s doing about 25.

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