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The 2020 Dual Sport Shootout by Dirt Bike Magazine. Beta vs Husqvarna vs SWM vs KTM vs Honda. After all this time, we admit: we still don’t know what the heck a dual-sport bike is supposed to be. Manufacturers and riders use the term freely, as if everyone has the same interpretation, yet the bikes sold under that banner are wildly diverse. Just look at the current 500 category. The Beta 500RR-S, Husqvarna FE501S, KTM 500EXC and SWM RS500 represent a broad range of designs and capabilities. We’ve gathered those four to explore their differences and also included the Honda CRF450L as the nearest candidate offered by Japan.
All five bikes are fully street legal in all 50 states. All are quiet and clean, as defined by the EPA and various state authorities. The main point of contention, of course, is dirt versus street bias. These are the most dirt-oriented dual-sport bikes offered in years, but even they cover a wide range of capabilities. For 2020, three of the five are new. The Beta, KTM and Husqvarna have redesigned frames, new bodywork and significant engine changes. The Honda and SWM are completely unchanged, although they were new models in 2019. Here’s how they line up.
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