2023 150–300cc Dual Sport Motorcycles To Buy

2023 150–300cc Dual Sport Motorcycles To Buy

Yamaha, Honda, and Kawasaki fill up the pool of small-displacement dual sports, and what’s perhaps most exciting is there are three new models making a splash. Honda and Kawasaki have introduced low-seat-height versions of its key players, and Big Red also unveiled a small XR-L this year. Returning stalwarts like Yamaha’s TW200 and XT250, Honda’s CRF300L and CRF300L Rally, and Kawasaki’s KLX230 and KLX300 complete the roundup. Newer riders, shorter riders, returning riders, or anyone with an inkling of interest for motorcycles that can continue on where the pavement ends have a number of choices in 2023.

Related: 2023 650–700cc Dual Sport Motorcycles To Buy

2023 Yamaha TW200

The Yamaha TW200’s 14-inch rear tire brings fat-tire fun with its 180mm width. The 18-inch front tire isn’t so slim either, measuring 130mm across. (Yamaha/)

Fat tires make the Yamaha TW200 instantly recognizable. One could even go as far to say it’s a two-wheeled ATV because its beefy 130/80-18 and 180/80-14 tires can traverse over just about any terrain. An air-cooled SOHC four-stroke 196cc single-cylinder engine sends torquey, mild-mannered power to the rear wheel, while a Mikuni 28mm carburetor manages fueling. Riders will toe up and down through the five-speed transmission as they adventure across mountain ridges or down Main Street. A single 220mm front disc and 110mm rear drum bring the 278-pound (claimed wet weight) machine to a stop. It’s somewhat low on tech, but does have an electric starter and full instrumentation, and for many trailblazers that’s all the tech they need. The TW200 is available in one color: Radical Gray.

2023 Yamaha TW200 Price: $4,899

Related: 2023 350–400cc Dual Sport Motorcycles To Buy

2023 Yamaha XT250

The XT250 holds fuel in a 2.5-gallon (2.2 for California models) tank. Yamaha claims the 249cc engine has a fuel economy of 76 mpg. (Yamaha/)

The XT250 brings a little more power and slimmer tires to Yamaha’s dual sport lineup. It features a 249cc single-cylinder engine that’s also air-cooled and works with a five-speed transmission, but it touts fuel injection and a larger 74mm bore and 58mm stroke for smooth throttle response and increased performance. Its engine, Yamaha says, is mounted high in the semi-double cradle steel frame to provide a trail-ready 11.2 inches of ground clearance. Tire sizes are “normal” (2.75-21 front and 120/80-18 rear) and single discs provide stopping power at both ends. To smooth out the ride on unforgiving trails, the XT250 uses a 35mm telescopic fork and linkage-style shock with 8.9 and 7.1 inches of travel, respectively. Like the TW200, the XT250 only comes in Radical Gray.

2023 Yamaha XT250 Price: $5,299

Related: 2023 430–511cc Dual Sport Motorcycles To Buy

2023 Honda CRF300L

Two trims of the CRF300L are available including a standard ($5,399) and ABS-equipped version ($5,699). (Honda/)

Honda left us wondering if/when its CRF-L dual sport lineup would be announced for MY23, but here it is. The CRF300L is unchanged for its third year on the market, so it continues to romp down maintained and unmaintained routes with a fuel-injected liquid-cooled DOHC four-stroke 286cc single-cylinder engine, Showa 43mm inverted fork, and Showa shock. Travel is the same at either end—10.2 inches. Both the standard and ABS-equipped versions stop with a two-piston caliper and 256mm disc up front, and a one-piston caliper and 220mm disc out back—the only difference is the ABS version comes stock with the rider aid. These models also contrast in price and curb weight (306 pounds for the base model and 311 pounds for the ABS-equipped option).

2023 Honda CRF300L Price: $5,399

2023 Honda CRF300L ABS Price: $5,699

Related: 2021 Honda CRF300L Review

2023 Honda CRF300L Rally

The same 286cc mill, steel frame, and Showa suspension that’s equipped on the CRF300L is also seen on the CRF300L Rally, but the bodywork and windscreen are primary differences. (Honda/)

At its core, the Honda CRF300L Rally is not much different from the CRF300L (the engine, frame, and suspension are the same), but it does include upgrades like a generous 3.4-gallon fuel tank, hand guards, and frame-mounted windscreen that give it its Dakar-inspired profile. It also has a larger 296mm front brake disc to help in bringing the increased weight to a standstill (331 pounds for the base and 335 pounds for the ABS version). Ground clearance is listed at 10.9 inches whereas the CRF300L is 11.2 inches. The CRF300L Rally’s claimed 35.2-inch seat height is half an inch taller than the CRF300L’s.

2023 Honda CRF300L Rally Price: $6,149

2023 Honda CRF300L Rally ABS Price: $6,449

Related: 2021 Honda CRF300L Dyno Test

2023 Honda CRF300LS

New to the crew, the Honda CRF300LS has a lower seat height that boosts confidence when it comes to putting a foot down on terra firma. (Honda/)

One of the newest dual sports to Big Red’s flock is the 2023 Honda CRF300LS. Because it’s a low-seat-height version of the CRF300L, it’s designed to make the popular dual sport more accessible to riders who would have an easier time swinging a leg over its claimed 32.2-inch-high seat versus the 35.6-inch one of the standard model. Consequently, ground clearance drops down to 9.6 inches and suspension travel is down to 9.3 and 9.0 inches front and rear, respectively. Otherwise, suspension is still a nonadjustable Showa 43mm inverted fork and Showa shock adjustable for spring preload, and the engine is the same fuel-injected liquid-cooled DOHC four-stroke 286cc single that works with a six-speed transmission. Braking package-wise, it copies the CRF300L ABS, antilock braking system ‘n’ all. Compared to the rest of the red CRF300L models, the LS can be identified by its Swift Gray color.

2023 Honda CRF300LS Price: $5,699

Related: 2023 Honda CRF300LS First Look

2023 Honda XR150L

For its first year on the market, the XR150L comes in either black or white for a low suggested retail price of $2,971. (Honda/)

While the CRF300LS attracts riders looking for a lower seat height, the new 2023 Honda XR150L is approachable with its user-friendly carbureted air-cooled SOHC four-stroke 149cc single-cylinder powerplant and value-focused sub-$3K price tag. Although it’s not as low as the CRF300LS, its claimed 32.8-inch seat height is still manageable for many riders. The little XR is poised to navigate urban roads and meander down dirt trails with its steel frame, 31mm conventional fork, and spring preload-adjustable shock. Suspension settings are optimized for a comfortable ride on either road surface, says Honda, and travel is listed at 7.1 inches front and 5.9 inches rear.

2023 Honda XR150L Price: $2,971

Related: 2023 Honda XR150L First Look

2023 Kawasaki KLX230

Full-size 21- and 18-inch wheels are equipped with 240mm and 220mm brake discs on the Kawasaki KLX230. (Kawasaki/)

One of Kawasaki’s street-legal dirt bikes suitable for trail trekking is the updated KLX230. Our first look dives more into its 2023 updates, but in short, the bike has a reshaped front fender and more compact LED headlight, and its fuel-injected air-cooled SOHC four-stroke 233cc single has revised ECU settings. The Keihin 32mm throttle body is designed to help provide smooth, controllable power and precise throttle response. Its focus is on low-end to midrange power and torque with short final drive gearing to match. The KLX230′s high-tensile steel perimeter frame is surrounded by bodywork that’s inspired by the KX line and is narrow between the legs for optimum control. Speaking of control, a Showa 37mm conventional fork and spring preload-adjustable Showa shock offer a plush and planted ride, according to our 2021 review, and travel is close to 9 inches.

2023 Kawasaki KLX230 Price: $4,999

Related: 2023 Kawasaki KLX230 and KLX230 S First Look

2023 Kawasaki KLX230 S

Powering the KLX230 S is the same 233cc engine that’s in the KLX230. It has a 67mm bore and 66mm stroke, electronic fuel injection, a six-speed gearbox, and wet multi-disc clutch. Last we checked, it made 17.4 hp and 13.3 lb.-ft. of torque on our in-house dyno. (Kawasaki/)

Another dual sport that keeps shorter riders in mind is Team Green’s KLX230 S, which is a new model for ‘23. Kawasaki modified the KLX’s fork and shock to achieve the S’ lower claimed 32.7-inch seat height (for comparison, the KLX230 is said to have a seat height of 34.8 inches). Other dimensions follow along with ground clearance down to 8.3 inches and suspension travel at 6.2 inches front and 6.6 inches rear. A dual-purpose ABS disable feature is new and allows riders of the KLX230 S ABS to turn off the rear safety feature via a switch on the left side of the handlebar. Gray is a popular color among the 2023 dual sports. Like the KLX230, the KLX230 S and KLX230 S ABS are offered in Battle Gray. The standard KLX230 S also comes in Lime Green.

2023 Kawasaki KLX230 S Price: $4,999

2023 Kawasaki KLX230 S ABS Price: $5,299

Related: 2021 Kawasaki KLX300 Review

2023 Kawasaki KLX300

Price of the KLX300 varies depending on color. It’s available in Lime Green (shown here for $5,899) or Fragment Camo Gray ($6,099). (Kawasaki/)

When the weekday requires a commuter bike and the weekend needs something that can head for the hills, Kawasaki’s KLX300 checks both boxes. The KLX300 puts the rider in an upright, relaxed riding position. It returns with updated graphics for 2023, so the engine and chassis are repurposed from its previous model versions. The engine is a liquid-cooled 292cc four-stroke that has a 11:1 compression ratio and is electronically fuel injected with a 34mm throttle body. It recorded 23.4 hp and 15.4 lb.-ft. of torque on our dyno, so there’s ample power to keep up with traffic and power over miles of dirt trails and roads. Suspension duties are handled by high-quality KYB units: a 43mm inverted fork (that’s adjustable for compression damping and has 10 inches of travel) and Uni-Trak shock (adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping with 9.1 inches of travel).

2023 Kawasaki KLX300 Price: $5,899–$6,099

Related: 2021 Honda CRF300L vs. 2021 Kawasaki KLX300 Comparison Test

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