Motocross Bike VS Trail Bike


Motocross Bike VS Trail Bike – Anyone who loves dirt bike riding knows there is a range of options for the activity. This especially applies to those who like to explore different styles of riding. If you are new to riding, there are four types of bikes: dual-sport, motocross, trails, and trials. The type of bike you should get depends on where you’ll be riding it. If you plan to ride on a motocross track, choose a motocross bike. If you’ll be on trails, a trail bike is best. Each type of dirt bike is designed for a particular purpose, so there isn’t one bike that’s good for everything.

Among these types of bikes, there are two types that tend to be compared. These two are motocross and trail. There are many things about the two that, at first glance, looks the same, but there are a set of features that separate them.

Motocross Bike VS Trail Bike: What Are They?

Before we get into whether one type of bike is better on the other and what is their differences, let’s dive into what exactly is a motocross bike and trail bike first.

Trail Bikes

Trail bikes are designed for long-distance travel on trails and have a softer suspension, larger gas tank, and larger radiators. They don’t need to be ridden at full throttle all the time and have a more gradual acceleration. Most trail bikes come with electric start, making them easier for beginners to ride.

Compared to motocross bikes, trail bikes are not as stiff and uncomfortable for long periods of riding. They are also better equipped for longer rides with headlights and larger gas tanks. Trail bikes are more beginner-friendly, but that doesn’t mean they are less capable than motocross bikes.

Motocross Bikes

Motocross bikes are designed for short, intense bursts of accelerating and braking on an MX track. They are lighter in weight and have a stiff suspension to handle the many jumps. However, they can be challenging for beginners to master and have a tall seat height that may be problematic for shorter riders. Motocross bikes have some drawbacks on the trails such as smaller gas tanks, no lights, very stiff suspension, no spark arrestor, and no kickstand. Modifications can be made to make them more trail-friendly, but it may not be worth the expense unless you can do the work yourself.

Motocross Bike VS Trail Bike: The Differences

To figure out the differences between the two bikes, spend some time with each and consider your own biking experiences. Here are a few things to look out for:

Riding Conditions

The main difference between motocross and trail bikes can be seen in their parts and how they are meant to be driven. Motocross bikes are cheaper, powerful, and have great suspension, but they are built for track racing. In contrast, trail bikes are meant for off-road riding and have parts specifically designed for trails. Even though motocross bikes look like they’re built for trail riding, they are not. Motocross is a branch of trail riding that focuses on riding laps around tracks designed specifically for them.


One main difference between trail bikes and motocross bikes is the amount of shielding. Trail bikes have shields to protect riders from debris and natural elements found on trails, such as bark busters to prevent injury from trees. In contrast, motocross bikes are designed for racing and need to be as light as possible, so they typically have little or no shielding. This allows riders to maneuver over obstacles and move around freely to maintain a competitive power to weight ratio.

Narrower Gears

Another difference between motocross and trail bikes is the width of the gears. Motocross bikes have narrower gear ratios because they’re meant for racing on tracks that have sharp turns and twists. On the other hand, trail bikes have wider gear ratios since they’re used for longer stretches and distances.


Another thing to consider is the parts of the bikes and how they work. You can already see that there will be major differences based on the conditions in which these bikes were intended to be ridden. Let’s take a look at how each of these parts differs.


When you ride a trail bike and a motocross bike, you will immediately notice a difference in the noise they produce. Trail bikes are designed to be ridden long distances, sometimes on the highway or public streets, to reach their destination. To reduce noise levels and avoid disturbing others, manufacturers intentionally install quieter exhaust systems.

Motocross bikes, on the other hand, are designed to be driven on tracks, which are self-contained areas. They are usually louder than trail bikes, and the exhaust system is a sign of how powerful the bike is.


The suspension is the most noticeable part that can help you differentiate between trail and motocross bikes. Trail bikes have a softer suspension setup as they’re meant for longer rides on trails or highways. Meanwhile, motocross bikes have a stiffer suspension that can handle quick turns and big jumps on a track. Some people ask if motocross bikes can be used on trails or enduro, and the answer is yes, but you need to adjust the suspension, which affects turning and handling. In general, trail bikes are like cross-country runners, built for distance, while motocross bikes are sprinters, designed for speed and power in small areas.

Even though trail bikes and motocross bikes have many differences, they both provide exciting experiences in their own ways. So, if you ever have the opportunity, I suggest you try both of them out.

If you want to explore bike options, check out 4 Stroke Dirt Bikes For Trail Riding or you can explore options for different parts like the Best Exhaust System and the Best Chain or Wheels. You can even check out specific bike gears like the Best ATV Helmets. Otherwise, you can also explore other bike options like Automatic Dirt Bikes VS Manual Dirt Bikes.

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