Published: February 22, 2021Updated March 02, 2023
What is a supermoto? Well, there was a time in the late 90's and early 2000's when the pinnacle of two-wheeled excitement was a supermoto. It's a simple formula; Pick a dirt bike, fit a stiffer, updated suspension, smaller front wheels, and street tires, and you've got yourself a nimble, light, wheeled superbike.
With short off-road gears and powerful single or twin engines, Supermotos are the ideal bikes to win the traffic light GP in the city center. Plus, you can put Superbike riders to shame on a twisty B-Road race weekend.
Superbikes emerged 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 combined short courses, flat courses and motocross sections.
The show's popularity and huge prize pool attracted cycling celebrities of the day - 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 trackers with smaller front wheels and bigger tires, and the racing was close and exciting.
When the concept reached Europe, the name Superbiker was translated as Supermotard and the bikes became known as Supermotos, giving rise to the racing discipline we know today. The Supermoto riding style is embodied in the way riders "reset" cornering, a technique that allows the rear wheel to break traction while the front brake is applied on the way into a corner.
It wasn't long before manufacturers started building their own SM models along with their MX and Enduro machines. HeSuzuki DR-Z400SMIt is 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 MT and Triumph Street Triple still fly the flag. These bikes retain some of the drama, scalpel-like handling and fun that the Supermoto class offers, although they are no longer true Supermotos.
Supermotos are extremely sharp, downright impractical, and in some cases expensive, but you'll be hard pressed to find a more fun alcove for a sunny Sunday. Here's MCN's list of the best new and used superbikes on the market right now.
The latest supermoto news
Now, in 2023, there's news of more supermotos joining the fray. HeGasGas SM 700 is the newest of the group, which borrows many parts from the 690 family from sister company KTM to make its first entry into the modern street market.
And not be left behindKTM itself has unveiled an 890 SMT(Supermoto Touring) is also on the road!
The best supermoto bikes in 2023
- KTM 690 SMC R
- KTM 990SM R
- Supermoto Husqvarna 701
- Ducati Hypermotard 950 and 950 SP
- Yamaha WR125X
KTM 690 SMC R
- Specifications:693 ccm / 74 PS / 147 kg / 890 mm Sitzhöhe
- Preis:£7,500 (used) - £9,599 (new)
The KTM 690 SMC R does an excellent job as a proper race bike, without losing much of the raw emotion and rough edges that make supermoto riding so fun. Built around KTM's excellent water-cooled 690cc single, the SMC R has plenty of torque for low-end acceleration but really comes to life in the 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 tiny LCD panel. But that's not what supermotos are about.
- Read the full review of MCN's KTM 690 SMC R-Bike here
KTM 990SM R
- Specifications:999 ccm / 114 PS / 192 kg / 875 mm Sitzhöhe
- Preis:£4000 (used) – Rarely put up for sale
If you're looking for a bike that perfectly embodies the hooligan spirit of the supermoto, look no further than the KTM 990 SM R. With its 999cc V-Twin producing an impressive 114 hp, Brembo brakes and an adjustable WP suspension, you've got everything you need. to see. You'll be grinning from ear to ear the entire time you're sitting in the chair.
The 990 SM is more comfortable in tight corners, but tops out at 143 mph if it can keep going, and it would be a total hit on a trackday too.
- Read the full review of MCN's KTM 990 SM R-Bike here
Supermoto Husqvarna 701
- Specifications:693 ccm / 74 PS / 147 kg / 890 mm Sitzhöhe
- Preis:£7,995 (used) - £9,799 (new)
The Husky is based on the same single-cylinder engine as the aforementioned KYM 690, but that's a good thing too. Indeed, under the distinctive white color, there isn't much of a 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 more attractive 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
The Ducati Hypermotard is an older version of the Supermoto concept, but only slightly so. The 950 is the latest version, the successor to the 939 Hypermotard, and while it has enough electronics to house a small branch of Curry's, it still retains the fun factor you'd expect.
You get a TFT panel, tilt-sensitive ABS (which can't be turned off), wheel and traction control, a slider, and three drive modes.
The SP version has Öhlins suspension, Quickshifter/Autoblipper as standard and Marchesini wheels for an additional £3300.
- Read the full review of MCN's Ducati Hypermotard 950 bike here
- Specifications:576 ccm / 52 PS / 142 kg / 910 mm Sitzhöhe
- Preis:£4500 (used)
All supermoto-style bikes are utilitarian and impractical, but the Husqvarna SM610 is the closest thing to a true street racing supermoto. The big single is raw and vibrant, but it measures torque with virtually no revs. Up to 80mph, you'll have an absolute blast before you run out of boost.
The suspension is firm and you have to ride hard to get the most out of it, but it has plenty of grip and brakes well thanks to its unique Brembo caliper and 320mm disc. It also looks as fierce as it should and comes in crazy color options. However, they are not the easiest to find on the used market, and the good ones retain their value.
- Read MCN's full review of the Husqvarna SM610 bike here
- Specifications:124 ccm / 15 PS / 137 kg / 920 mm Sitzhöhe
- Preis:£2400 (used)
Proof that supermotos don't have to be fire-breathing hooligans who can break a leg just looking at it is the Yamaha WR125X. Based on the excellent WR125 off-road bike, this cool entry-level superbike is a fun way to spend your CBT years or get around town.
It's quite tall like the 125 with a seat height of 920mm, which isn't necessarily suitable for 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
And if you are looking for a 125 Supermoto?
For newer riders who want the look without the shocking performance thatSinnis SM-R 125 is an asphalt-oriented and easy-to-learn versionon the SM XE Trailie, so it has to be user-friendly and approachable, as well as looking great.
The American company UM is also offering a DR SM 125 Supermoto.
Other supermoto bikes you might consider
- Aprilia SX50: Imagine being 16 again and driving one!
- Aprilia SX125: A cheap and attractive entry-level legal supermoto
- SWM SM125R: also suitable for people with CBT
- SWM SM500R - Proper SWM Supermoto Skills
- Lexmoto Assault 125 – At £1400 new this is a very cheap option