To help understand where Recreational bikes fit in the spectrum of choices, read a short history lesson at the end of this section!
If you are new to dirt biking - this is great place to start. These bikes are less costly, easy to learn on and usually have a more comfortable seat at a reasonable height. They also offer a softer, more predictable overall ride. These types of bikes are highly recommended for Beginners.
Typically, these bikes have 4-stroke air cooled engines, are highly reliable and require less maintenance than their higher-performance cousins. Many of the models in this segment have been in production for many years making parts (both factory and after-market) easier to find.
Don’t let “Recreational” fool you into thinking these bikes are not capable of handling the same terrain as larger, more performance-oriented bikes. With possible exception to the smaller-wheeled bikes in this category, these machines can anywhere a rider is capable of taking them! Typical bikes of this type are the Honda CRF150F, CRF230F; Yamaha TTR-230, TTR125; Suzuki DR-Z125 and Kawasaki KLX140.
While most brands available to us today started production in the 50's, Honda's history helps to best explain the genesis of Recreational trail bikes.
Honda began exporting to North America in the late 50's. At the time, Honda’s reception was anything but wonderful. People were riding Triumphs, BSAs and Harleys. Bikers were divided into 3 basic groups: crazy outlaws, racers or people that used bikes for transport. There was no such thing as "trail" bikes. All bikes were street bikes.
This brought about the most famous advertising campaign of all time, featuring the slogan “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” It was a smart move given the prevailing negative stereotypes of motorcyclists in North America at the time as antisocial rebels.
Interest in "trail/recreational" motorcycles blossomed through the 1960's and most manufacturers responded to the rapidly growing segment of "weekend warriors" who wanted to venture out on local trails with an emphasis on "fun". The Recreational segment of off-road motorcycles is still going strong with many choices available.
- Honda's iconic "XL" series of trail bikes