Best 250 Dirt Bike [2021] – Which Is Right For You?

Looking to get a 250 for your first bike or your next bike but not sure which one is right for you? In this article I’ll cover all of the best 250 dirt bike’s for each type of riding that you could be doing so that you can make the best decision possible. 

250cc dirt bike – Is it the right bike for you?

A 250cc dirt bike simply means that the engine displacement is 250 cubic centimeters (CC), but there’s such a wide variety of 250 dirt bikes available, so how do you know if one is right for you?

First, you need to figure what type of riding you’ll be doing and what your skill level is, then you can more easily choose the best 250 dirt bike for you. Whether you’re riding trails, dual-sport or adventure riding, racing motocross, or hard enduro riding, I’ll cover all of the best options for you in this article.

Is a 250 a good starter bike for off-road riding?

It really depends on what type of riding you’re doing and which 250 dirt bike you’re considering buying. A 250cc 4 stroke trail bike, such as the Honda CRF250F, is a great starter bike if you’re a teen or adult that’s over 5’4” tall.

Starting on a fast and high-performance 250, such as a Yamaha YZ250FX is not a good choice because it’s harder to ride due to the abrupt power, stiffer suspension, and tall seat height.

For beginners

There are a few different 250 dirt bikes that can work well if you’re a beginner, but some of them are going to be older models or they’ll be dual-sport models. I’ll not which ones are built for which type of riding.

The best 250 dirt bikes for beginners are:

  • Honda XR250 – older trail bike
  • Yamaha TTR250 – older trail bike
  • Suzuki DRZ250 – trail bike
  • Honda CRF250F – trail bike
  • Honda CRF250L – dual sport
  • Kawasaki KLX250S – dual sport

All of these 250s listed above are good to start on so that you can practice proper riding techniques more easily. 

For trail riding

There’s a lot of good 250s available for trail riding, and it just depends on what type of trails you’re riding and how aggressive you are. 

The best 250 dirt bikes for trail riding are:

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  • Honda CRF250F
  • Yamaha WR250F
  • Yamaha YZ250FX
  • KTM 250XCW – 2 stroke

The Honda CRF250F is an air-cooled 4 stroke with simple suspension, electric start and fuel injection. This is a great bike for beginners or if you just want a reliable bike for riding around the farm and countryside. 

The Yamaha WR250F is a powerful but comfortable enduro bike with lighting that is good for a mix of trail and enduro riding. 

The YZ250FX has a more aggressive power and suspension setup, so it’s good if you’re a more experienced rider that wants to ride faster on the trails. 

Going to a 2 stroke 250 dirt bike, the KTM 250XCW has set the standard for off-road and trail riding performance. It has electric start, fuel injection, good suspension, and a highly tunable engine. 

For motocross

There’s always been a good selection of 250 motocross bikes, but there’s more now than ever, so how do you decide? Well, if you’re new to dirt biking, then I HIGHLY recommend starting on a trail bike, even if you’re an experienced street rider. You shouldn’t get on a motocross track until you’re comfortable and confident riding off-road.

With that said, first, you need to choose whether you want a 250 2 stroke or 250 4 stroke. If you’re new to motocross, then the 250F (4 stroke) is a great choice because it has pretty good torque and is easier to ride because the power is smoother and more predictable.

250 2 stroke

There’s only a few 250 2 stroke motocross bikes, and here are the top 3:

  • KTM 250 SX
  • Yamaha YZ250
  • Husqvarna TC 250

The KTM and Husqvarna are very similar aside from some minor chassis differences. They both have the same engine, which produces more power than the Yamaha. 

The Yamaha is still good because it’s a proven package that makes pretty good power, has good suspension, and is durable. 

You can’t go wrong with any of these 2 stroke for racing MX. It comes down to your budget and whichever brand you’re more familiar with or prefer. 

250 4 stroke

250F’s are amazing race bikes these days and have advanced quite a bit in all areas in the past 20 years. 

The best 250 4 stroke dirt bikes for motocross are currently:

Yamaha has always been a reliable 250F, but they’ve also had the best overall motocross bike in its class for several years, partly because of it’s powerful engine. 

The KTM and Husqvarna have really come on strong in the past 5 years and are great if you want a more “peaky” engine that likes to be revved. 

Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki all make great 250 4 stroke MX bikes. If you’re a beginner or intermediate level racer, you probably won’t notice a significant difference between all of the 250F’s. 

For dual-sport riding

Maybe you want to do a little bit of everything, including some road riding. A street legal dual sport isn’t particularly great at anything, but it does pretty well at a lot of things. It’s a great option if you want to ride to the trails, do some easy or moderate single track trail riding, then head back home on the back roads. 

The best 250 street legal dirt bikes are:

All of these bikes use a different 250cc 4 stroke engine than the trail bikes use – a more street-orientated engine. It has a wider gear ratio and the power is a little more spread out, making it smoother and more enjoyable for cruising. 

The Honda CRF250L is probably the most popular 250cc dual sport bike. It’s super reliable, durable, and has plenty of aftermarket availability for modifying or setting up for adventure riding. 

The Yamaha WR250R is a good bike as well, it just doesn’t have quite the same following as the Honda. It was actually discontinued in 2020. 

The Kawasaki KLX250 is a solid dual sport/lightweight adventure bike option, and it now has fuel injection so you don’t have to deal with carb cleaning or rejetting. You’ll want a power tuner, though, if you do any exhaust or engine mods. 

Will a 250 make you a better rider?

If you choose the right 250 dirt bike for your experience level and the type of riding you’re doing, then you’re sure to have fun while growing your skills, but there’s one thing that will greatly increase your skills. 

It starts with your riding technique, and I want to show you how to ride with confidence and control off-road so that you don’t get hurt. Click here to learn more. 

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Kelley Fager

I help riders learn to safely ride off-road with confidence by teaching basic techniques so that you don't go too fast too soon and get hurt from crashing. Learn To Ride With Control Here

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