Enduro vs Trail Dirt Bikes: 21 Pros and Cons

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There is a clear difference between enduro dirt bikes and trail riding dirt bikes, and I am here to inform you of that difference and how it can apply to your riding experience and the dirt bikes one should use according to their riding preferences.

The difference between an enduro and a trail riding dirt bike is that enduros are designed more for racing and for speed built with more power and better suspension, while trail riding dirt bikes are meant more for riding through rough and rocky trails and have more strength in the bike for climbing.

In order to learn more about the pros and cons of each of these bikes and how this can affect the overall ride and needs of riders, read on!

1. Weight


Pro: Heavier because of a larger fuel tank, other features

Con: Heavier, less maneuverable

Trail Bike:

Pro: Slightly lighter, more maneuverable

Con: Still a considerable amount of weight

With regards to weight, both of them are relatively the same weight, with about twenty pounds between them. Enduro dirt bikes are roughly around 225 pounds, which is the average weight for most of them, and trail riding dirt bikes have an average weight of 200 pounds. But these twenty pounds are a key difference that set them off from one another and affects the overall ride and maneuverability of the bike.

Some things that factor into the heaviness of the enduro bike is that there is a larger fuel tank attached for longer rides, plus a thicker kickstand to uphold the weight of the bike. These things may not seem like much, but it can add to the overall weight and maneuverability.

This weight does, of course, depend on the brand of the dirt bike, any customizations that may be added, the desired cc of the bike, and a few other things that can affect the overall weight of the dirt bike. It’s also a good idea to consider all of these factors when purchasing a dirt bike so as to know what works best and is comfortable for the rider.

2. Size


Pro: Large and powerful

Con: Harder to transport

Trail Bike:

Pro: Easier to transport (depending on the cc)

Con: May not be as powerful or quick

The average size of dirt bikes can vary depending on the cc of the dirt bike that you want and the frame that will surround the engine of the dirt bike ranging in higher or lower cc. But it’s also important to note that the frame will be a little different since enduro bikes are built more for speed and trail bikes are designed to be tougher and more durable in cases such as climbing large hills or rocks.

Enduro bikes more often than not come in 450cc, which is a much larger bike, meaning it has more power and more kick to the overall engine when it comes to being a powerful bike. 450cc means a larger engine, so the frame of the bike has to be larger in order to support this engine. This is only beneficial for riders who want to do extreme racing. Each dirt bike is designed with a specific size in mind for stability, endurance, and power.

3. Speed


Pro: Faster, built for speed

Trail Bike:

Con: Not as quick

In the speed aspect between the enduro and the trail riding dirt bikes enduro will always pass-up the trail dirt bikes by a long run. Enduro dirt bikes are specifically created for racing, therefore they have higher horsepower and greater speed for that exact purpose, to race. With their larger gas tanks and higher torque, they have more power to go faster and farther than the average trail riding dirt bike, which is great for riders who want to be speedy.

Trail dirt bikes lag in the horsepower department, with no reason for speed but for more of power in the tires and endurance. Trail riding dirt bikes want to climb hills and ridges, not necessarily go fast. Though they do range in cc, which can vary the horsepower of the bikes and can slightly affect the overall speed. The cc will add some speed to the bikes, but not necessarily enough to compare it to enduro dirt bikes. It simply depends on what bike the rider is looking for because enduro bikes have a sole purpose of speed.

4. Power


Pro: Has lots of power, especially horsepower

Con: Power is for speed not for difficult terrain

Trail Bike:

Pro: Power is easier to handle for young or inexperienced riders

Con: Usually has less cc and torque

Because of the speed of the enduro dirt bikes and the size of their engine, their power is greater than most average trail riding dirt bikes. 450cc means that the dirt bike has a high range of horsepower and is able to speed up more quickly and go at a faster pace than bikes lower than 450cc. Enduro bikes certainly have a reputation for being quick and powerful in order to complete the track with speed and efficiency.

Trail riding dirt bikes are not only not known for their speed, but also not for their horsepower. The average highest cc range for a trail riding dirt bike is 250cc. These are more specifically designed in a four-stroke engine, which has less speed and torque and is more family-friendly than enduro dirt bikes, which is beneficial for riders who want their younger family members to come riding with them. They are more for on the beginner level and are great for taking leisure rides through forests and up hills.

5. Acceleration


Pro: Accelerate VERY quickly

Con: May have too much “zip” for inexperienced riders

Trail Bike:

Pro: Safer for riders not confident using the clutch

Con: Does not accelerate as fast as an Enduro

With bikes that have higher a cc, they have a tendency to have a quicker acceleration rate than dirt bikes that have smaller cc and less power behind them. Dirt bikes with a cc of 250 or greater will have a greater kick of power and most faster than lower dirt bikes, as lower cc is more friendly for younger and inexperienced riders. Again, enduro dirt bikes certainly pass up trail riding dirt bikes in this category.

When releasing the clutch on a dirt bike that has higher cc’s, it’s important to release the clutch slowly because the power is greater and a lot quicker to react. When riders are ready to release the clutch and shift into higher gears to move faster it’s best to be careful and let go slowly. Enduro bikes have great acceleration rates because of their need for speed.

6. Breaking


Pro: Able to brake well when needed, brake pads may last longer

Con: Harder to brake immedietly when going as fast as some Enduro bikes do

Trail Bike:

Pro: Known to have good brakes

Con: Brake pads may be worn out more because of frequent use on trails.

In a comparison between both bikes, they both have exceptional braking systems. For enduro dirt bikes, they need a great braking system if they plan to be street legal, as it’s important to stop on a dime. Being able to stop the dirt bike when obstacles occur or when taking tight turns, especially in a race, enduro bikes need working brake pads to prepare for anything.

Trail riding dirt bikes also come with a great braking system, which is beneficial to stop the bike when coming over a hill after accelerating to get over the hill in the beginning, but now the speed isn’t necessary. It’s important to check the brake pads after going through a tough ride with a lot of stops and then a quick go again because it will wear on the brake pads faster. But in other words, both bikes have great braking and will be safe for riders in lots of situations.

7. Suspension


Pro: More comfortable

Con: Suspensions is meant to absorb the shock of small bumps, big obstacles may be harsh on bike

Trail Bike:

Pro: Better for obstacles

Con: More uncomfortable for long rides

The suspension on an enduro dirt bike is far more comfortable than the suspension on a trail riding dirt bike, and these are the reasons as to why this might be. Enduro dirt bikes are meant to have a smooth ride for riders going on extended trips or races. To go far distances on a stiff bike would really hurt the riders back and be incredibly uncomfortable. The suspension is meant to absorb any minor bumps that will happen and keep the ride as smooth as possible.

Although trail riding dirt bikes do have a good suspension system, it is meant to be more relaxed due to the events of rocks being overtaken, going up and down hills, and other obstacles that riders can overcome in the case that they need to. It does not mean that their suspension is bad, it’s just not as comfortable for riders because of the need for the ability of the bike to get over things should it have to. Otherwise, the suspension is great for both dirt bikes.

8. Stability


Pro: Great stability

Con: Chance of “speed wobbles”

Trail Bike:

Pro: Great stability

Dirt bikes are automatically built with the utensils they need to remain upright and remain stable as they ride through courses or over trails through the mountains as a rider maneuvers and shifts their body to accommodate turns and obstacles as they come. There isn’t necessarily a dirt bike that has better stability than others because of the very similar designs that they all have, as it is up to the rider and how experienced they are to keep the dirt bike upright and moving.

It’s important, however, to keep in mind that dirt bikes only remain upright if the rider is turning correctly, sitting in an upright position so as to not offset the bike and other things such as using their legs to remain upright if the bike is stationary. To be a cautious rider is important and will be a good skill to utilize when riding because it truly depends on the rider.

It is also important to know that as bikes gain speed, things like “speed wobbles” can happen. It comes with time on how to manage these. But, Enduro bikes can go faster, it is important to be more aware of the stability and wobbles you might face on a bike like this as opposed to a trail dirt bike.

9. Safety


Pro: Has dash with gauges for when to check the bike

Con: Increased speed means it can be dangerous to inexperienced riders

Trail Bike:

Pro: Usually have great breaks and maneuverability

Con: No dash for when to check bike

Both of these bikes are great for safety reasons. It doesn’t necessarily mean the bike won’t have problems, as all bikes will eventually wear and tear, but it’s more along the lines of the person to stay safe. The enduro dirt bike does come with a dash, which will read the gauges and tell riders what is wrong with the bike, but it is important for riders to check the bike, preferably after every ride, because it ensures that everything is working on the bike and it is ready to go again in the future.

To add an extra safety measure, riders should always wear protective gear when riding their dirt bikes. Things such as helmets, riding boots, wearing long-sleeves and putting on gloves are all good things that every rider should wear in order to protect themselves from debris or branches. Being a safe rider involves a lot of different aspects, and that goes for both of these dirt bikes.

Dirt bikes don’t necessarily come with high ratings of safety, but it is a good idea to read reviews and consult the information in regards to ratings on certain brands of bikes, as some may come with faultier brakes, tight suspension, and so forth.

10. Fuel


Pro: Large tank, less time to fuel up

Con: Depending on the course, you may burn through a lot of fuel in a race

Trail Bike:

Pro: May not have to use much gas when going downhill

Con: Smaller gas tank, have to fill up more often

Enduro bikes are built with larger fuel tanks, which gives them a greater advantage over trail bikes because of the need to fuel up a lot less and go far distances with fewer breaks in-between. With a larger fuel tank, enduro bikes are specifically made to go long distances, as they are racing bikes and also designed for legal street use. With a larger fuel tank means a greater distance can be covered over a longer period of time, which is better for the dirt bike and is cheaper on the wallet.

Trail bikes don’t have larger fuel tanks, which means you are filling up your tank more often, and are usually bringing gas with you just in case you need to fuel up in the middle of climbing the mountains. If you’re looking for a bike that will be more beneficial and save you money, enduro bikes are the way to go, but it also just depends on the type of riding and the specific purpose of the bike.

11. Maneuverability


Pro: Can turn and stop well

Con: Hard time getting around obstacles smoothly

Trail Bike:

Pro: Easier to maneuver

With overall maneuverability, the trail riding dirt bike will beat the enduro dirt bike. With a suspension built to go up-hill and over boulders, the trail dirt bike is sturdy and tough, which the enduro dirt bike can’t necessarily compete against. Trail dirt bikes are specifically designed with the idea to overcome difficult obstacles, no matter the situation, making it a durable and competitive bike in the market.

Enduro dirt bikes do have excellent turning and stopping techniques, as they have racing needs and can be easily turned street legal, which makes it a very reliable dirt bike. But when it comes to tight turns, going over things in its path, and so forth, so it is not necessarily the best for maneuverability against a trail dirt bike, but it still has what it needs to be able to turn and go quickly when the rider desires.

12. Maintenance


Pro: Have gauges on the dash to help you know when maintenance is needed

Con: Routine maintenance and checks still need to be done

Trail Bike:

Pro: Most maintenance will not be demanding

Con: Will need maintenance more often

Because dirt bikes have low mileage, as they only carry a small amount of oil for a smaller vehicle, riders will have to change the oil every ten to fifteen miles, and possibly after every ride due to age and factors of the like. This can be an expense many new riders did not anticipate, so that is something to consider when purchasing a dirt bike.

For the overall dirt bike, the trail dirt bike will involve a little more TLC and inspections because of things like their tight suspension. Because they are designed to go over obstacles and be more durable, they will need to be more continuously checked on to make sure everything is functioning as it should. Enduro dirt bikes were designed with one specific purpose in mind, and should not require as much maintenance, especially if they are more for street use and less for racing use.

A good tip for all riders is to keep a log of all of the things that have been changed, fixed, added, or whatever the case may be to your bike so that you always know when it may need an oil change, or if something you’ve fixed isn’t operating as it should. Be an observant rider so that your bike is always performing at it’s best.

13. Versatility


Pro: Can be used for racing and can become street legal, somewhat versatile

Con: Not really meant for rough terrain

Trail Bike:

Pro: Can be used on tough trails and more open trails

Con: Not a great bike for the street

Both dirt bikes are excellent in being able to do some other tasks than what their title specifically says. As most know, trail riding dirt bikes are meant for going on tough trails and being able to overcome objects in their path and other more difficult tasks, but that does not mean they can simply be ridden through wide open fields and go for a joy-ride. They can’t necessarily race, but they are great for those few things and being a good family activity.

Enduro dirt bikes are not simply for racing. As stated before, they can become street legal, which can be a less expensive way of getting a vehicle, as enduro dirt bikes are much less expensive than a car. Racing a dirt bike is exciting, but it can also be great for going down to the grocery store in the state that it’s legal in. Enduro bikes are not necessarily meant to go over trails, as their suspension won’t be able to support that, but a few simpler tasks can be done, which makes these bikes quite versatile for a few things and can greatly benefit younger riders in experiencing different things.

14. Customization


Pro: Easy to customize and commonly are

Con: May be expensive

Trail Bike:

Pro: Easily customized, a wide variety of options

Con: Pricey

All dirt bikes are customizable, but it depends on the kinds of customizations that are allowed on dirt bikes. All dirt bikes can have things such as bolts, bolt pads, valve clamps, and even kickstands in various colors to make their bike match or even rainbow because it’s exciting to make it varying colors for fun. Most dirt bikes can be customized to have larger gas tanks, different colors for the body, and so forth. Enduro bikes are customized more often because they are used for races

Both of these dirt bikes can do these things, as they are geared to be enjoyable and fit the riders wants and needs, which is a fun way to make the dirt bike your own. This is certainly a pro for both dirt bikes.

15. Comfort


Pro: More comfortable, thicker seats

Trail Bike:

Pro: Can add customizations to make it more comfortable

Con: Not designed with comfort in mind

Enduro dirt bikes certainly pass up trail riding dirt bikes in this particular department. Because of their racing capabilities and need to ride for long periods of time, they have thicker foam seats that are designed specifically for comfort and providing support for the riders. Thicker foam seats are great for long and bumpy rides.

Trail riding dirt bikes aren’t particularly known for being comfortable, but it can depend on the brand that one may pick over another. For example, the Coleman CT200U Trail Bike is not known for comfortable seating, so if you are looking for something that will be a comfortable ride for your behind when trail riding, it may be a better option to look for another brand of the bike than the Coleman. It all depends on the type of riding style that you prefer and where you plan to go on your dirt bike for how long.

16. Types of Tires


Pro: Tires can be for racing or on the streets

Con: Traction is not as great

Trail Bike:

Pro: Built withstand hard terrain

Con: More expensive

One of the first things to think about when fitting your dirt bike with tires is that there are three different types of tires to choose from, all depending on the type of landscape that you are riding over. There are soft, intermediate, and hard terrain tires, which all serve different purposes.

Hard terrain tires will have more tread and be more durable for longer periods of time, which is ultimately something you will want for your trail riding dirt bike so that it will be able to more easily grip the ground and get over other things. However, these tires can be expensive and should be something to consider when purchasing a trail dirt bike.

Enduro dirt bikes don’t necessarily need a lot of treads, as they aren’t going over giant rocks or needing to climb hills, so hard terrain tires are not necessarily the best option. Riders should go for more of an intermediate tire, as they have the proportionate amount of tread that is spread out enough to catch the dirt, or road when street legal, enough to propel the bike without caking too much dirt in the tread.

Picking a dirt bike tire is really up to the rider and the information they have gathered in regards to the best tires out there for their particular bike and what purpose their dirt bike serves so as to get a tire that best suits them and their adventurous needs.

17. Storage


Pro: Easy to add storage space onto the bike

Con: Have to buy storage add-ons

Trail Bike:

Con: No real storage on the bike

Because the enduro bike can be made street legal, it is easy to customize the bike with saddlebags to add storage, which is great to put anything in to keep your phone, maybe clothes, or whatever you are traveling with dry and safe for extended periods of time. Saddlebags are largely found on motorcycles because those are street legal and are designed to go far distances so riders need somewhere to put their things, but so are enduro bikes, which is great for people who want to travel and simply add customization to their dirt bike.

Trail dirt bikes do not come with saddlebags, as they are specifically designed for trails, but adding some simple and smaller saddlebags isn’t difficult for the dirt bike. However, because this dirt bike isn’t necessarily street legal and doesn’t have the frame for things like saddlebags, it’s important to keep in mind they would have to be smaller and more for storing little things.

18. Availability


Pro: Easy to find

Con: No options for inexperienced riders

Trail Bike:

Pro: Available in a wide range, for all types of riders

Both of these dirt bikes are readily available, but there is a difference that should be understood between these two. Trail dirt bikes are more available for a range of ages, where enduro dirt bikes only come in larger cc and are not meant for younger and inexperienced riders. Picking a dirt bike can be difficult.

Enduro dirt bikes are not meant for the whole family. They are built for speed and going on tracks, or to be made street legal. This could be a major con for those looking for a dirt bike for the whole family. In that case, look more towards trail dirt bikes, as they are versatile and come in various sizes for all ages and speeds for younger audiences and even inexperienced riders.

19. Street Legal


Pro: Easy to make street legal because of speed

Con: Adjustments to the bike need to be made

Trail Bike:

Con: Difficult to make street legal

In regards to enduro dirt bikes, they are considered to be street legal. They require a specific type of tires, a special exhaust system to lower the noise and emission level, which is both beneficial for the riders and the people who make noise complaints. It can be difficult to make dirt bikes street legal but considering enduro bikes are designed with speed in mind, it is easier to make these street legal and get plates, licensure, and so forth.

With trail riding dirt bikes it’s considerably different to have these street legal. They don’t have the lights enduro bikes do, they don’t have the specific tires, exhaust system adjustments, and especially speed. Most states want street-legal dirt bikes to have a certain top-speed in order to be safe and do close to what motorcycles can do. These dirt bikes are meant just for trail riding and not much else. In some states, it is possible to make them street legal, but it simply depends on the laws of the state and the speed that is required for the bike.

20. Night Use


Pro: Already comes with lights and signals

Con: Some adjustments may need to be made on some models

Trail Bike:

Pro: Modifications can make this bike ridable at night

Con: Not really meant to for dark rides

Trail riding dirt bikes are not originally meant for night use. They do not already come with lights, brake lights, and the necessary equipment needed to make it ready for night use. However, it is relatively simple to make your trail riding dirt bike night ready by simply placing lights on the front and back so that others can see you, you can see others, and when you brake that notifies others to either stop or avoid you. This is very important for safety reasons.

Enduro dirt bikes win this round, coming already designed an built with lights affixed to the bike. There are front headlights, rear lights, with handlebar signals to indicating turning, and a few other things that make the bike more available for night use. Enduro bikes aren’t simply just for racing, and not even just racing in the daytime. This bike is great a few more uses than trail riding dirt bikes.

21. Price


Pro: High-quality

Con: More expensive

Trail Bike:

Pro: Cheaper options

Con: Some models are pricier

Dirt bikes range in all prices, anywhere from $500 to $15,000 or higher. It all depends on the brand that you’re looking at, any customizations, and how new the dirt bike is.

On average, a trail riding dirt bike is around $3,000, which is fairly inexpensive for a dirt bike. They don’t come with a lot of customizations or anything incredibly fancy, so they are a budget-friendly dirt bike.

With enduro dirt bikes, they will be more expensive because they are racing dirt bikes that can also be made street legal. Their average baseline price is about $8,000, which is a little more expensive than what most people are looking for. It all depends on the purposes that your dirt bike is serving which bike you want to choose.

Jim Harmer

I'm the co-owner of Dirt Bike Planet. I live in Star, Idaho and enjoy dirt biking with my wife and two boys throughout the Idaho mountains.

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