Best of 2010: Off-Road, Dual-Sport & Motocross

December 31, 2010
By Motorcycle USA Staff
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Want to know the bikes that impressed our editors and ruled the dirt? Take a look at our Best of 2010 Dirt Video.

Best Off-Road Motorcycle: Husqvarna TE 310

The new spread of performance four-stroke dirt bikes is generally confined into the 250 and 450 camps. There are a few bigger and smaller machines along the fringes, but generally speaking the displacement options are limited. In between is even more scarcely populated. Before KTM’s 350 models came out (all of which are ’11 models) there was really only the KTM 400 and Husaberg 390, but Husqvarna is making a major resurgence into the dirt scene and the TE310 turned out to be one of our favorite bikes of the year. The 298cc engine is a wonderful middle ground, though the bike has the same weight as a 450 machine. Aside from a few pounds and maybe a little more fuel capacity, there wasn’t much for us to complain about. Fuel injection is a nice feature,

It just doesnt have the brawn to pull that heavy front end over obstacles in low rpm. - 2010 Husqvarna TE310 Dirt Bike Review
The six-speed fuel-injected Husqverna TE310 was a blast in the dirt and also delivered a strong street package. 

as is the six-speed transmission, electric start and Brembo brakes.

The new Husqvarna offers Italian design and German engineering, plus it costs less than other European brands. Most importantly, the TE310 is street legal. This bike could have been the best dual-sport, and we considered it, but the Husky is a true dirt bike with blinkers, which, by the way, never fell off or melted. All the street hardware is extremely durable. Performance from the Marzocchi fork and Sachs shock is a little harsh at times, but the Husky responds well to  aggressive riding, which is easy to do with the 310 engine. All told it’s a great dirt bike. The fact that it fills the void between 250 and 450 and is street legal only makes it that much better. – JC Hilderbrand

With its well sorted chassis  power sliding the WR250R couldnt be easier.
The little Yamaha WR250R was our favorite dual-sport of 2010.

Best Dual-Sport Motorcycle: Yamaha WR250R

Dual-sports are perhaps the most adaptable motorcycles on the market. And for those seeking the utmost in performance, versatility and of course fun, look no further than Yamaha’s WR250R – the winner of our 2010 250 Dual Sport Shootout. The Yamaha offers a premium full-sized riding experience due in part to its high-end componentry including a fuel-efficient 250cc single-cylinder engine that features liquid-cooling and fuel-injection.

The chassis is equally adept with aluminum frame and swingarm construction and adjustable suspension with strong hydraulic disc brakes. Equally as impressive as its performance on the road and trail is its exceptional build quality. While it certainly can’t be deemed cheap courtesy of its $6390 retail price, quite often you’ve got to pay to play. And play is just what you’ll be doing with the WR250R. – Adam Waheed

Best Motocross Motorcycle: KTM 450 SX-F

The KTM is one of the fastest  most stable  and ultimately fun motocross bikes weve ever tested.
Keeping its Keihin FCR 41 carburetor the KTM 450 SX-F had an enormous power spread and felt planted in the dirt. It claimed the title of most impressive MX bike for 2010.

KTM has been trying to find traction in the American motocross market since it started importing bikes. For 2010 the Austrian manufacturer made a major surge with the much-improved 450 SX-F. We liked it enough to give the orange bike top honors at the 2010 450 Motocross Shootout against some of the most impressive MX bikes in history. As the technology progresses into the new wave of electronic fuel injection, KTM elected to stand by its proven Keihin FCR 41 carburetor, and as a result has one of the most unique engines in the class. First off, it’s a freaking monster. The power spread is wider than any other ’10 motocross bike and it churns it out at every point in the rpm range. It doesn’t matter if a rider bogs the engine or revs the bolts out of it, the KTM has the goods. Most importantly, it’s the right kind of power – usable – which allows the rider to go fast without even trying. A new five-speed transmission made a huge difference and our testers noted that the KTM is not only the best 450 motocross bike, but the most versatile as well thanks in part to the extra legs. Oh, and it’s got an electric start.

The engine has been good for some time, but in 2010 KTM gave the bike a chassis that allowed the engine to really shine. The rear wheel finds traction at all times and the WP suspension components handled every MX obstacle we could find. Not only does it feel super stable, but the ’10 KTM dropped the frame’s mounting point on the steering head which makes the bike rail through all types of corners. To top it off, KTM offers an exhaust resonance chamber, tool-less airbox access, quality grips, top-level Brembo brakes and a hydraulic clutch. This was the most impressive moto bike of the 2010 model year. – JC Hilderbrand

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