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Supercross vs Enduro: What Is The Difference?

Enduro and Supercross dirt bike riding are two very different types of competitive 2-wheel motorcycle riding.

Essentially, the differences are:

Supercross riders compete in a stadium at slower speeds while doing stuntwork as part of their race, while enduro riders compete at higher speeds over numerous miles, with spectators spread out. An enduro event may only be singular, while supercross events may be part of a seasonal race calendar where competitors compete at a number of race tracks each weekend.

It’s considered that enduro riders are speed demons while supercross riders are stunt demons. If you’re looking for entertainment, most people look at supercross while enduro riders truly have it tougher.

Comparing Supercross and Enduro

There are clear and distinct differences between these two forms of riding, yet some similarities too. We’ll cover both the shared characteristics and unique points of differences here.

Close Similarities

There are some obvious things which makes these two types of competitive racing similar:

  • Both riders use dirt bikes and are sponsored by major brands with race teams
  • Competitors must be physically fit to go through the demanding nature of riding aggressively
  • Injuries are quite common and most riders don’t finish a season without some battle scars. Such injuries can be mitigated through wearing some protective gear including neck braces.
  • Most competitors have been riding their entire lives and have a genuine love for the sport. It’s not just about the trophy but about pushing themselves beyond the limits.

That’s on the generic side of things. They are some of the same ideals but are quite different.

Distinct Differences

This is most likely what you’re looking for. What makes them unique?

Well, the diferences between enduro and supercross are that:

  • Supercross riders use smaller dirt bikes. These are typically 250cc 2-strokes.
  • Enduro riders use larger capacity dirt bikes. These may be 250cc but generally are 300cc to 450cc with 4-stroke being much more popular than 2-stroke due to the better gearing ratios. In years gone by, 600cc was more popular with enduro riders but performance benefits and the lower weight of the 450cc class has made them much more popular today.
  • A supercross rider will have obstacles to jump over to impress the crowd, while an enduro rider may or may not have obstacles to conquer including hill climbs and river crossings. Tabletops and jump sections are rare in enduro competitions.
  • Top speeds are quite different. An enduro rider might average 50 miles per hour in a race and might see 70+ miles per hour in open sections, while supercross riders might max out at 45 miles per hour. This is due to track designs.
  • Enduro riders have open track designs which can go on for many miles. On the other hand, supercross riders are fixed tracks inside stadiums.
  • Enduro competitions generally run during the day, though overnight racing is becoming more popular. Supercross riders are there to compete as well as impress the spectators, especially the kids. Therefore, you’ll find them competing in the evening under the bright lights.
  • As an enduro motorcycle has a larger engine, it has a larger fuel tank and sometimes navigational aids. Supercross bikes don’t need large fuel tanks and the focus is on being as light as possible.

There is a difference in the demographics too. Those racing in supercross events are generally 15 to 30, while enduro racing competitors are often 25 to 45.

In Summary

Both ride dirt bikes but supercross bikes are small and are designed for torque, aggressive cornering and jumping over tabletops on the track. Enduro riders have bigger bore motorcycles which are designed for higher speeds and gnarly conditions with many more miles to cover.

The younger crowd prefers supercross while the older folk (competitors and spectators alike) much prefer the enduro racing scene.

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