Riding dirty is great, but there are some downsides.
Dirt riding is fun, no question about it. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, though. Detail Corps gives us five reasons why you might not want to buy a bike with knobby tires after all.
1. It's Not a Good "Only Bike"
If you can only have one motorcycle, unless you live in the center of a dirt road wonderland, you're not going to enjoy riding a dual-sport very far on the street. The more dirt-oriented bikes are essentially off-road bikes with lights and a license plate. They're great for tearing up the trails, but not so good on pavement. Knobby tires will wander all over the place, as well as wear out quickly. Some bikes will have a hard time even keeping up with traffic. This is less true for bigger dual-sports like the Kawasaki KLR 650, Suzuki DR650, and the Husqvarna 701, but you still wouldn't want to do a long highway slog on them.
2. They Get Stolen Frequently
When you hear about someone's bike getting stolen, it's often a small dual-sport. Being small and light makes them easy to pick up, which is good for when you drop it on the trail, but bad when someone loads it into their truck and drives away. They're easy to ride and can take a real beating. This is perfect for the thief that steals it, either to learn to ride or to hotwire and commit other crimes.
3. Parts Get Sold Quickly
Even if your bike gets recovered, there's a pretty good chance it will have already been parted out. Despite being tough people break these bikes all the time, and there is always a demand for replacement parts. Thieves capitalize on this.
4. They Require More Maintenance
This applies particularly to two-stroke and high-performance four-stroke bikes. They're made to attack the dirt with maximum performance, not eat up easy miles. Sometimes the maintenance schedule is measured in hours, not miles. Some don't have an oil filter, which means you have to change the oil every few hundred miles to be safe. Piston rings could be considered a wear item, which means an engine rebuild becomes routine maintenance. These engines are tuned to wring every last ounce of power out of them, but this is the price you pay for it.
5. It Will Take Over Your Life
If the maintenance doesn't get you, the riding will. You'll need specialized riding gear since off-road crashes are quite different than road crashes. There will always be some aspect of your bike you'll want to improve, whether it's lighting, adding a GPS, or upgrading your terrible seat. You'll always be trying to find the perfect tires for the type of riding you do. Most of all, you'll always be looking for the best dirt roads and trails to ride. A quick "I wonder where this goes" could turn into a long involved trail ride. It's happened to me.