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trailriders association

Which Bike to choose?

There are many different bikes, from old to new, suitable to use for trail riding. However, the type of bike and your ability will often define which trails you may ride. 

Small capacity single CC bikes are often popular among trail riders. They are reasonably light, have a good choice of tyres for off road use and are simple to maintain. 

Bikes like the Honda CRF, Kawasaki KLX and similar make good entry level green lane machines. Don't worry about the age of it as long as it is mechanically sound.

An extremely popular choice are single cylinder 400cc machines such as the Honda XR400 and Suzuki DRZ400. For similar reasons to the smaller capacity bikes they attract users with their reliability and simple to maintain nature, while still being relatively light to handle. Soft power delivery makes for an easy-to-learn-on machine. 

Enduro based machines are heavily used for this pastime. They tend to be lighter than the slightly more road-biased options, which can make them easier to handle in trickier situations. These would be a machine of choice for more complicated trails that may have rock steps or other tricky, hard to navigate parts. However, they can prove a handful in inexperienced hands.

There is an extremely wide range of options in this category, Honda CRFX, KTM EXC, Yamaha WR to name a few. All of which have a wide variety of engine capacities including 125, 200, 250, 300, 400, 450, 525 and some offering 2 stroke and 4 stroke derivatives.

The market for adventure bikes is extremely broad and varied, with machines from most mainstream manufactures. Most of them are capable of light trail riding and some are more capable than many of their riders think. The mid size 600cc bracket has a lot of capable bikes like the BMW Serteo, Yamaha XT660, as well as a host of older variants still circulating like XT600 and Transalp. All these can often be relatively heavy but, with a reasonable set of off-road/dual-sport tyres on, they'd surprise you where they will go. But these bikes do have their limits when the technical stuff starts.

The large capacity adventure bike is particularly popular with those that like to travel some distance. However, their underpinning design has had some though put into it for off road use and again, like the smaller derivatives, they can surprise you. However, these are extremely heavy and only experienced riders would tackle the more awkward trails, with the very complicated trails being well out of reach of these machines' capabilities. 

However, there are still plenty of stunning trails out there that can be enjoyed on these larger machines and many riders do. If you have something and want to give it a try, get in touch and explain what you are riding so you know it is within the limits of your bike.

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Trail Riders Association is a non-profit organisation. 

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