Last Updated on April 21, 2022
Riding a dirt bike on sand comes with its own challenges, and some thoughts need to be put in the choice of a motorcycle that can perform greatly on desert trails and sand dunes. Adventure bikes that area meant for off-roading are most suitable for sandy terrains, and many of them are customizable enough to become a well-rounded desert bike for motocross racing. Let’s dig deeper into how to choose the best dirt bike for desert.
As part of the Amazon Associate and eBay Partner Programme, we earn from qualifying purchases.
2 Stroke or 4 Stroke for Desert Racing
Is a 2-stroke or 4-stroke engine better for desert racing? The choice of a dirt bike engine is influenced by many factors, obviously including the type of motorcycle and the type of use for which it is designed. There are advantages and disadvantages for both architectures, but the 2-stroke tends to perform better on sand.
The main advantage of a 2-stroke engine is its simplicity of construction which translates into greater lightness and maneuverability: a 2-stroke motorcycle will be more agile and easier to manage, which is especially crucial when you are off-roading on a soft sand terrain.
The 4-stroke is a technically more complex engine, with cycles taking place over four phases (intake, compression, combustion and exhaust). Compared to 2-stroke dirt bike engines, these are known for their high efficiency in fuel combustion, making the consumption from 4-stroke engine much lower and more eco-friendly. They are a bit bulkier than 2-strokes, which means they will not go as fast on sand dunes, but they will still perform just fine on most types of desert terrain.
Best 2 Stroke Desert Dirt Bike
The 2-stroke Yamaha YZ250 are extremely versatile bikes that can easily be turned into a pretty great off-road desert bike. The customization options are endless which means you can essentially build your own bike according to your needs and the kind of terrain you want to race on. It is also one of the few 2-stroke engine bikes still in production, with the latest model released in 2021.
KTM 300 XC-W
The KTM 300 XC-W is easily one of the most accomplished, top performing 2-stroke dirt bikes for desert and soft sand terrains. This is one of the best enduro motorbikes in the market, desert racing becomes a breeze thanks to its refined bodywork and ergonomics, and the frame helps the rider to pick a line with pinpoint accuracy.
The Honda CR250R is a 2-stroke Honda racing dirt bike last produced in 2007. It still makes one of the most reliable dirt bikes on desert trails and sand dunes. If you are looking for a vintage second hand bike to become your desert rider, look no further.
Best 4 Stroke Desert Dirt Bike
The Yamaha YZ450F is a four-stroke motocross bike designed for racing on any kind of terrain. The Cycle World and Dirt Rider magazines both deemed it as the dirt bike which started the four-stroke engine revolution, which is kind of a big deal!
KTM 450 XC-W
The 450 XC-W is one of the top performing desert bikes on the market. High-tech SOHC 4-stroke technology, which combines low weight and high displacement, is the right option for anyone looking for optimum output. KTM’s most capable desert racer, it has won the most National Hare & Hounds of any dirt bike in recent history.
The Honda CRF450X is an off-road motorcycle with a 450 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine. From tight trails to soft sands, nothing delivers off-road excellence like this dirt bike. The wide-ratio transmission has the perfect gear for any type of terrain and situation, from slow-speed rock crawling to open-desert racing.
Converting your dirt bike to a desert bike
Here are some gear modifications which you can do to your bike for increasing its performance on sand:
- GPR or Scotts Stabilizer
- Hand Guards
- Aluminum Skid Plate
- Large Fuel Desert Tank
- Desert Tires
- Chains for Sand Dunes
- Goggles for Desert Riding
Your n°1 source of information on the world of sandsports and desert adventure travel. Our articles are the result of extensive research, personal experience, and knowledge-sharing within the global sandboarding community.