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How to Convert a Dirt Bike to a Supermoto

Converting your dirt bike to a Supermoto which is street-legal will certainly draw some attention, and hopefully the right attention.

The best part is that you’ll be able to make more use out of your motorcycle. This all starts with the conversion process, and here’s basically how to do it:

To convert a dirt bike to a supermoto, you’ll need to replace the wheels and tyres. Additionally, the gearing ratio/sprockets will need to be replaced different teeth which allow for highway speeds. Lastly, the most often-forgotten replacement when converting to a Motard is the braking system which needs to be upgraded to handle these higher speeds.

That’s the process in a nut shell and most people can do the conversion at home on their own. Simply fire up YouTube and watch some tutorials.

The simple process is:

  1. Place your dirt bike on a stand and remove the front and rear tires.
  2. Replace the gearing sprockets which a ratio which is more road-friendly.
  3. Fit the new motard tires on to your dirt bike and if necessary, replace the brakes.

This won’t take more than a few hours especially if you’ve worked on motorcycles before.

Why Supermotard?

You might be wondering why you’re seeing these perfectly capable dirt weapons being used for riding around on the bitumen. They look a little silly with those low-profile tyres.

The reasons that someone would convert their dirt bike to a supermoto include:

  • Make more use out of their dirt bike. They can use it for commuting to and from work when otherwise their dirt bike may have only been used for weekends exploring trails during the warmer months.
  • They just look mean. Seriously – rocking up to the city centre on a dirt bike just speaks of ‘I own this space’ more than the dude on the bobber or cafe racer. Then again, ADV riders will shake their heads and cruise on past.
  • The process is inexpensive. You can do a supermoto conversion for less than $1,000 which means you don’t need to outlay capital for another motorcycle. Winning!
  • Lane-splitting on dirt bikes is easier than larger motorcycles. If you fancy getting to and from work quicker, then you’ll want to do this ASAP.
  • The only way to ride a 2-stroke legally on the road. While you can ride with those thick knobby tyres on, you’ll feel way more comfortable and confident with some slicks.

They are also used in racing competitions though this industry is quite small. If you are looking to get into racing on the bitumen, then this is a cheap way to have some thrills.

Most Common Supermoto/Motard Motorcycles

So what are riders actually using as a base model to do their conversion? Well, we had a look around and came across these several bikes:

  1. Yamaha WR250F. Yes, this was a popular dirt bike from years ago and has been replaced with the 250R. If you can buy one of the former for pretty cheap, then it becomes the ideal daily commuter weapon.
  2. Honda CRF250F. Of course, the twin-brother of Yamaha is in on the deal too with dozens of bikes having through this conversion. You’ll definitely want to change the sprockets on both these bikes because they’re 250’s and not really geared for the highway.
  3. KTM525EXC. No one knew how good these bikes handled on the road until they started to change them over to supermoto. When it happened, the industry exploded and you won’t need to make that many modifications at all. This also happens to make an excellent base for an adventure motorcycle.
  4. Husqvarna 701. Alright – these aren’t actually a converted bike. You see – Husky realized that so many people were doing these conversions that they released a model that’s already been done. This has been out for around 5 years now. If you’ve been holding off from a conversion, maybe you may want to buy this outright.
  5. KTM690. Yes, twice on this list is a KTM and this dual-sport trail weapon is great for a conversion. Add in an adventure fairing and you have a very road-capable motorcycle that can still keep up on the single track in the right hands.

Final thoughts

There you have it. The process isn’t too hard and there are some good models in which to launch your conversion. The biggest modification is simply replacing the wheels with new slicks.

Now, you may be wondering if you can reverse a conversion. As in, is this change permanent. Fortunately, you can take a supermoto and reverse it back into a dirt bike or motocross machine very quickly. Keep your old tyres.

In fact, what some riders do is supermoto their bike in the winter months, then convert it back to a dirt bike for the super months. This means you have full use of the same bike for 12 months straight. Super winning!

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