The prize for the most bike fun for your buck unquestionably goes to the Supermoto. Historically single-cylinder motocross bikes converted into track racers for a 1970s televised US race series, the concept was picked up in France, renamed ‘supermotard’ and the home-brewed street bikes which followed became so popular they spawned production versions.
The result, although by their very definition of being dirt bikes with street tyres, wheels and brakes, may have limited practicality – no one wants to go touring on a Supermoto – makes up for it with lively, lightweight performance, nimble handling and lots of excitement and hooligan pose value.
There are also lots of different types: 125cc versions for learners; mid-range fun bikes and out-and-out, full-bore 600cc+ track refugees for hardcore riders. But which is the best? Here’s our pick of 10 of the best, both new and used.
10. Husqvarna 701 Supermoto
Engine 690cc single-cylinder Power 73bhp Torque 49ft/lb Weight 135kg (without fuel) Price: £9,349 new
Husqvarna’s 701 Supermoto is based on sister company KTM’s 690 SMC R, but the Husky has taller gearing, and different wheels, suspension and brakes. There’s no rev counter or fuel gauge, but what hooligan cares about that stuff?
Effectively a Supermoto version of Husky’s 701 Enduro, it’s powered by a surprisingly rev-happy 693cc single, which now pumps out 73bhp and has impressive mid-range and top-end power. The motor is complimented by decent handling, too, and as you’d expect from a company known for producing bonkers race-spec supermotos, the 701 Supermoto is quick and eager to turn so it’s as capable of carving up congested streets as it is laying waste to a go-kart track.
Click here to read our review of the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto.
9. KTM 690 SMC R
Engine 693cc single cylinder Power 73bhp Torque 49ft/lb Weight 147kg Price £9,349 new
The KTM 690 SMC R is the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto’s brother from another mother. The 690 SMC R might have been updated and refined a couple of years ago but it’s still raw so even though its 690cc single-cylinder engine is smooth and refined enough for motorway work (although we wouldn’t recommend it), it’s also free revving and hungry to play. Thanks to quality fully adjustable WP suspension, a strong four-piston Brembo front caliper and a slipper clutch, the 690 SMC R is no slouch when it comes hammering into tight, technical bends. In fact, for carving up tight and technical roads or tracks, the 690 SMC R is uncompromised.
Click here to read our review of the KTM 690 SMC R.
8. Suzuki DR-Z400SM
Engine 398cc single cylinder Power 39bhp Torque 29ft/lb Weight 137kg Price £3250-4000 used
True to the original supermoto formula of taking a dirt bike (Suzuki’s effective DR-Z400S enduro) and fitting wider, smaller wheels, grippier tyres, stronger brakes and firmer suspension, the SM was introduced in 2005 as the most impressive of the Japanese supermotos until both were dropped in 2009. Power’s modest but so is the weight. It handles