The best supermoto bikes: skids and wheelies for everyone! (2023)

Published: February 22, 2021Updated May 18, 2021

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What is a supermoto? Well, there was a time in the late '90s and early '90s when the pinnacle of two-wheeled excitement was a supermoto. It's a simple formula; Pick a dirt bike, fit the stiffer, upgraded suspension, smaller front wheel and smaller street tires and you have a nimble, lightweight, wheeled superbike killer.

With short off-road gears and high-torque single or twin-cylinder engines, Superbikes are ideal bikes to win the traffic light GP downtown – plus you can embarrass Superbike racers on a twisty country road at the end of the week.

In fact, supermotos originated in America in the late 70's and early 80's thanks to a TV show called Superbiker. The idea was to have the best riders from different racing disciplines compete against each other on a track that combines short course, flat course and motocross sections.

The show's popularity and large prize fund attracted cycling celebrities of the time (Eddie Lawson, Kenny Roberts and Håkan Carlqvist to name a few) who modified their own bikes for the job. The field was usually a mix of Japanese crossers and American V-twin flat trackers with smaller front wheels and bigger tires, and racing was close and exciting.

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When the concept reached Europe, the name Superbiker was translated as Supermotard and the bikes became known as Supermotos, leading to the racing discipline we know today. Supermoto riding style is typified by the way riders "back up" into corners - a technique that allows the rear wheel to break traction while the front brake is applied en route into a corner.

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It wasn't long before manufacturers started building their own SM models alongside their MX and Enduro machines. OSuzuki DR-Z400SMis a great example of this type of supermoto. To capitalize on this trend, some manufacturers have developed supermoto-inspired racing bikes with larger engines, such as the Ducati Hypermotard or the KTM 690 SMC R.

The supermoto craze may be dead, but roadsters like the KTM Dukes Yamaha MTs and the Triumph Street Triple still fly the flag. These bikes retain some of the drama, handling and fun that the Supermoto category offers - even though they are no longer true Supermotos.

Supermotos are razor sharp, downright impractical and expensive in some cases, but you'd be hard pressed to find a cycling niche that offers more fun for a sunny Sunday. Here is MCN's list of the best new and used superbikes on the market right now.

The best supermoto bikes of 2021

  • KTM 690 SMC R
  • KTM 990SM R
  • Husqvarna 701 Supermoto
  • Ducati Hypermotard 950 und 950 SP
  • HusqvarnaSM610
  • Yamaha WR125X

KTM 690 SMC R

  • Specifications:693 ccm / 74 PS / 147 kg / 890 mm Sitzhöhe
  • Preis:£7,500 (used) - £9,599 (new)

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(Video) BIKELIFE SWEDEN | KTM SUPERMOTO 🔥

The KTM 690 SMC R does a great job as a proper race bike without losing much of the raw emotion and rough edges that make the supermoto so fun to ride. Built around KTM's excellent water-cooled 690cc single, the SMC R has plenty of torque for low-rpm acceleration, but really comes to life in corners thanks to the excellent WP suspension.

The 2019 version features chassis tweaks and the latest version of the LC4 engine with a second balancer shaft to eliminate chatter. There's very little practicality or convenience, as evidenced by the small LCD display. But that's not what supermotos are about.

  • Read MCN's full review of the KTM 690 SMC R bike here

KTM 990SM R

  • Specifications:999 ccm / 114 PS / 192 kg / 875 mm Sitzhöhe
  • Preis:£4,000 (Pre-owned) – Rarely offered for sale

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If you're looking for a bike that perfectly embodies the hooligan spirit of supermoto, look no further than the KTM 990 SM R. With her 999cc V-twin engine pumping out a wild 114 hp, Brembo brakes and an adjustable WP suspension, you'll be delighted if you sit in the saddle the whole time and grin from ear to ear.

The 990 SM is more at home for whizzing between hairpin turns, but it tops out at 143mph if you hold it, and it would be an absolute riot on a trackday, too.

  • Read MCN's full review of the KTM 990 SM R bike here

Husqvarna 701 Supermoto

(Video) SUPERMOTO | WE OWN IT!

  • Specifications:693 ccm / 74 PS / 147 kg / 890 mm Sitzhöhe
  • Preis:£7,995 (used) - £9,799 (new)

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The Husky is based on the same single-cylinder engine as the aforementioned KYM 690, but that's a good thing too. In fact, beneath the distinctive white paint finish, there's not much choice between the two—although you do get a slightly larger fuel tank on the KTM.

The similarities, of course, come from the fact that KTM owns Husqvarna and both bikes are built on the same platform. All the KTM fun applies here too, but it's a nicer option; like a KTM in a tuxedo.

  • Read MCN's full Husqvarna 701 Supermoto Bike review here

Ducati Hypermotard 950/950 SP

  • Specifications:937 ccm / 112 PS / 200 kg / 870 mm Sitzhöhe
  • Preis:£9,500 (used) - £10,995 (new) - standard model

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The Ducati Hypermotard is a more mature take on the Supermoto concept, but only slightly. The 950 is the latest iteration after the Hypermotard 939, and while it packs enough electronics to stock a small branch of Curry's, it still retains the fun factor you'd expect.

You get a TFT panel, lean-sensitive ABS (which can't be turned off), traction and wheel controls, a slider, and three driving modes.

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The SP version gets Öhlins suspension, Quickshifter/Autoblipper as standard and Marchesini wheels for an additional £3300.

  • Read MCN's full Ducati Hypermotard 950 review here

HusqvarnaSM610

  • Specifications:576 ccm / 52 PS / 142 kg / 910 mm Sitzhöhe
  • Preis:£4500 (used)

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Supermoto-style bikes are all idiosyncratic and impractical, but the Husqvarna SM610 is as close as you can get to a real Supermoto road bike. The big single is raw and alive, but it measures torque with virtually no revs. Up to 80mph you'll have an absolute blast before you run out of traction.

The suspension is firm and needs to be ridden hard to get the most out of it, but it has plenty of grip and braking well thanks to its unique Brembo caliper and 320mm disc. It also looks as wild as it should be and came in crazy color options. They're not the easiest to find on the used market, and the good ones hold their value.

  • Read MCN's full review of the Husqvarna SM610 bike here

Yamaha WR125X

  • Specifications:124 ccm / 15 PS / 137 kg / 920 mm Sitzhöhe
  • Preis:£2400 (used)

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(Video) Wheelies on my New Super Moto Dirt Bike!!

Proof that supermotos don't have to be fire-breathing hooligans who could break your leg just looking at them is the Yamaha WR125X. Based on the excellent WR125 dirt bike, this cool beginner superbike is a fun way to spend your CBT years or get around town.

With a seat height of 920mm it's quite tall for a 125, which may not suit less experienced or smaller riders, but it's also very narrow, which helps. The WR125X only went on sale in 2017 so there must be some good, low mileage examples on the used market.

  • Read MCN's full Yamaha WR125X bike review here

Other supermoto bikes you might consider

  • Aprilia SX125: a cool supermoto for learners, cheap and addicting.
  • SWM SM125R: also suitable for people with CBT
  • SWM SM500R: Proper SWM Supermoto Skills
  • Lexmoto Assault 125: Brand new at £1400 this is a very cheap option

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