A 250cc dirt bike is a very fast motorcycle which is idea for teenagers and adults alike, both for trail riding and touring the world.
KTM, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki 250cc dirt bikes can reach between 70 and 76 miles per hour (110km/h), though with some performance modifications, can reach 85 miles per hour. That said, these dirt bikes aren’t really designed for top-end speed and are best suited for tight technical trails through the forest, as well as motocross racing and stunt shows.
If outright speed is your preference, then we’re inclined to recommend a big bore 450cc KTM or even a 600cc dirt bike. For the more adventurous riders, a 1200cc motorcycle from BMW would be even more exhilarating.
Higher Speeds on the 250
In the dirt bike world, we refer to 250cc dirt bikes as a ‘250’. Such motorcycles are really designed to be fast enough that it puts a smile on your face, yet light enough in that you can get through the twisty tracks and trails.
Their suspension allows them to be ridden by both adults and teenagers, and we’re often seeing females riding the 250’s given the lighter weight of these motorcycles compared to the 450cc monsters.
While the 250cc dirt bikes are certainly up to highway speeds, they’re actually not the best at these speeds and aren’t so comfortable to ride. If you’re the type that’s going to ride these often on the highway, then we’d recommend a more powerful motorcycle paired with an adventure fairing.
Achieving higher speeds on your 250cc dirt bike is certainly possible, so let’s see how that can be done.
To get higher top speeds on a 250cc dirt bike, we’re recommend the following enhancements:
- Replace the stock air filter to one by a reputable aftermarket brand
- Change the rear sprocket so the rear tyre isn’t maxing out so early
- Reduce the weight of the motorcycle as much as possible
- Use premium fuels. We’ve noticed a mild performance upgrade from choosing 95/98 gas
- Change the tyres to a fresh set. Older tyres can actually drag your speed down a notch
- Use an adventure fairing to deflect the wind and create a personal wind tunnel
We can also recommend that you wear all your protective gear, even if it slows you down a little. Your riding stance also places an important factor as you cut through the wind while placing more weight on your rear tyre.
The Reality Behind a 250cc Dirt Bike
As we’ve noted, 250’s are generally best for those who aren’t looking to claim speed records on the dirt but rather those who enjoy the simple nature of cruising around on offroad forest tracks and trails.
While some people have used 250cc dirt bikes to see the world, they are only just able to keep up with highway traffic. Even the very popular Honda CR250L isn’t the best highway machine but certainly is a reliable piece of work that is light enough to get through most obstacles.
Essentially, if you want to maximize top speed and you’re above average on the weight scales, then you’ll want something a bit beefier. You can still get a 250cc dirt bike but consider a 2-stroke instead of a 4-stroke as they are seriously fun to throw around on the tracks.
For the adventure rider, the upgrade to highway gearing will be a lifesaver as will an adventure fairing. Certainly, you can keep up with highway traffic though you’ll probably be out of revs for fast overtaking maneuvers. For many riders, they simply cruise quite comfortably behind the trucks until they reach a great offroad riding spot.
If this is your first dirt bike, then a 250cc motorcycle is certainly enough for most people. They’re light enough to throw around yet there’s enough on the throttle to have some genuine fun.
For most people – they never actually outgrow the legendary 250. Technology for these smaller motorcycles has improved year after year, with performance often surpassing that of 450’s from 20 years back.
These are an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned riders, and we wouldn’t yet the top speed as the sole metric in choosing the right size motorcycle. Take one for a ride and we’re sure there’s enough on that throttle to keep a smile on your face for years to come.