When I was a kid I read in a biker magazine – not like In The Wind biker, but like Cycle or something – a review of a Honda dual-purpose bike. You know what that is, a bike with enough suspension travel and knobs on its knobbies to be taken off road, but with all the lights and turn signals and whatnot required for street-ability. And the thing that I always remember about that article was that they said the bike, while designed to tackle both on-road and off, was hobbled by the compromises required of that dual personality, and that it did neither task very well.
Ever since then I’ve applied that logic to evaluating all multi-taskers, in determining if by doing too much, they fail at doing anything satisfactorily. Purpose-built dirt bikes lack such compromises and as such can excel at their singular function – rooster tails and trail hopping – while being completely abysmal at doing anything when the path turns to macadam. By the same token, trying to traverse the Rubicon on your Goldwing is an effort that could only end in tears.
Now, I realize that the lede pic is one of those on-road/off-road bikes that the magazine all those years ago so forcefully impressed on my young impressionable mind was meh from all angles, but damn if a Triumph Scrambler isn’t good-looking bike, and that rider looks like he’s having a good time, right? Still, it’s not a dirt bike but a pretender, and what we’re considering today are the real deal – balls to the wall, suspension travel measured in meters, tires you could make waffles on – kinds of dirt bikes. KTMs, Husqvarnas, and bikes from every Japanese maker known to dirt. Which one of those do you think is the coolest ever?
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