Trail Enduro Motorcycle: The guide

April 11, 2024

Trail Enduro Motorcycle: The guide

In the world of customization, the scrambler is the versatile model for the road and for tackling trails (a bit).

However, for the more adventurous ones, those who don't like to ride on the road but in the woods, among the vineyards or along the coast, trails are made for you.

Having a trail is good, but having a customized trail, that's even better. This is why we see more and more of vintage trail bike preparations among preparers and on specialized websites.

This type of bike is also called Dual-Sport or Custom ADV.



Because the scrambler is versatile, but you need more. A real bike ready to ride on rough terrain and withstand hundreds of kilometers in a row.

Another advantage of having this type of preparation is to have a more original bike, less common than a scrambler which is becoming increasingly common on the roads.



We will see some examples of bikes prepared in the dual-sport way, before and after, to better understand the characteristic elements of this type of preparation.

There are several inspirations and different styles in bikes prepared in vintage trail bike.



The many bikes (especially old ones) that participated in the Dakar as well as commercial derivatives are logical inspirations for this type of preparation.

This BMW R80 G/S produced in 200 units is a perfect example of inspiration and preparation:

Later we will see that this bike inspired a company to make a kit for a more modern bike.




Vintage Trail Bike Style

We have seen the type of inspiring bike for this type of preparation. Let's move on to a first example on the same basis.

Now here is a BMW R80 G/S, in standard version this time, which has been fully prepared for adventure.

This preparation is close to what is called restomod.




Mark Johnston, the owner of this BMW R80 changed many parts to make it an adventurous bike.

For the most important modifications:

- 43-liter tank

- 48mm WP Suspension inverted fork

- Entire fairing set (headlight, front fender, rear fender)

To learn more about this preparation: Africa Shox: A hard-charging R80G/S from Cape Town | Bike EXIF

If you like this type of preparation on BMW R series, here is another model that will please you: Overlander: A BMW G/S built for serious adventure travel | Bike EXIF


In the same style, here is a Royal Enfield Himalayan prepared by Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles:

Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles

This model is highly appreciated for this type of preparation and for organizing rallies. It is robust and has simple mechanics.

It is the bike used by the famous motorcycle travel agency Vintage Rides in its expeditions around the world.

As the preparer of this bike says, speed is not important in this use compared to the importance of lightness, maneuverability, and simplicity.

It follows the codes of the typical enduro trail bike. We will detail them later.

To learn more about this preparation on

In a different style, the Lyon-based preparer BAAK also looked into this model: Royal Enfield Himalayan 400 I BAAK


We continue with Royal Enfield with these 2 Interceptors which participated in a 2000 km race over 5 days:


This huge KTM fork and these PIAA headlights give an insane look to this bike.



Hybrid Style


Harley Sportster Enduro by LC Fabrications:

Harley Sportster Enduro

Transforming a Sportster into an enduro trail bike is no easy task. Indeed, this base is not the most suitable for enduro riding. It's a custom at heart!

Jérémy Cupp did a lot of work to prepare this Harley. There aren't many original parts left on this machine.

To learn more about this preparation: HIGH FIBER DIET. LC Fabrication’s Carbon ‘SX1250’ Harley Sportster Enduro - Pipeburn

The style is a mix of classic and modern with a very industrial side due to the significant presence of gray and visible metal.


Modern Enduro Trail Bike Style


The VAGABUND V13 based on a Honda NX650:

Honda NX650

Vagabund is a famous Austrian customizer with a modern approach to motorcycle customization. Apart from their beautiful creations like the R100RT V12 or the R9T V15, they are also known for putting their bikes in kits or boxes like toys.

This Dominator, the 13th bike presented by VAGABUND, follows the characteristic style of the brand. That is, a modern-style bike with a short rear and significant customization throughout the bike.

Honestly, it's hard to recognize a 1991 Honda NX650 in this photo!

They used 3D printing to create several parts of this bike similar to Viba Motors, who are specialists in this field.

This bike stands out with the installation of a front luggage rack and 2 jerry cans at the rear on each side.

There is a complete presentation of the project on the Vagabund Moto website.

Vagabund has also started a KTM EXC 350 with the same spirit.


The LMTG 450 RALLY by Le Motographe:




Here we have the WR450F but in a completely different livery.

Indeed, the French workshop has done a massive job on this bike. It now boasts a beautiful aluminum frame and fairings.

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, this bike is genuinely designed for adventure.


100% Functional 100% Adventure Style


Here is the ultimate Harley for adventure.

It was prepared by American engineer Jim Carducci over several years. He gradually improved this bike, trying out various suspensions, exhaust systems, different types of brakes, etc., to achieve the best possible dual sport equipped with a Harley V-twin.

The chassis has, of course, been thoroughly redesigned for off-road riding.

The engine is not left behind with the installation of a NRHS 1250cc kit paired with an Andrews N4 camshaft and other parts. Jim claims to expect 100 horsepower from his engine preparation.

With the significant work on the chassis, Jim managed to reduce the weight of the bike to around 200 kg in the configuration with a fiberglass fuel tank, plastic headlight, and a few other adjusted elements (Baja model).

This gives us a very decent weight-to-performance ratio for a dual sport.

The SC3 adventure is currently for sale at a price of $48,000.



Vintage Enduro Trail Bike:

XT500 Paris-Dakar

 In this comparative photo, you can see the elements that have been changed during the preparation to give it a retro look.

The front headlight, the tank, the seat, and the paint are among the characteristic elements of this type of preparation.

This bike is inspired by the 1981 XT500 Paris-Dakar.




The KTM Neo Retro by Roland Sands:

KTM Neo Retro


It's a real surprise when you find out the base used for this preparation. Indeed, the difference is striking.

Here's a before and after to see it clearly:



Roland Sands has created the perfect design to transform a modern trail bike into a more civilized modern retro motorcycle.

The changed elements are the same as the previous bikes to transform the look: tank, front headlight, seat, fairings, and fenders.

With this type of preparation, we realize the potential of certain motorcycles.





Now that we have seen different types of preparations and several examples, we can list the distinctive elements of this type of motorcycle.


Large Capacity Tank


Enduro Tank


Adventure means long distances without seeing a gas station.

A large capacity tank is important to enjoy the journey without feeling like you're refueling 3 times a day.

Above is the tank of a handmade aluminum Husqvarna FE501. Its shape follows that of vintage tanks.

This is a significant expense item; depending on your project, other alternatives can be found to increase capacity. Think of jerry cans like those offered by Vagabund on its Dominator.


Low Exhaust

We prefer a low or mid-level exhaust for this type of preparation to avoid any contact with the rider and reduce heat.


Low Exhaust


A bash plate is often added to protect the low-positioned exhaust and prevent damage.

The exhaust pipe typically ends with a large muffler.


Appropriate Tires


Adapted Tires


This Ducati Alaskan is equipped with PIRELLI SCORPION tires.

Appropriate tires are essential for adventure.




If you're going to cover 50% road / 50% off-road, the ENDURO 3 SAHARA model from Metzeler is your ally.


Saddlebag Support




When embarking on an adventure, being equipped is essential. Thus, having storage elements on your motorcycle is crucial.

The motorcycle can be equipped with a luggage rack, panniers, or saddlebags.

In the illustration above, the customizer Crooked opted for a luggage rack and two side saddlebags on this DR650.

Enough to go on a road trip for thousands of kilometers without missing anything!


Hand Guards

Here's another element in the array of accessories for an adventure motorcycle.

Hand guards, as the name suggests, protect the hands from stone chips, dirt, and cold by cutting through the wind.


Hand Guards


This BMW R80 uses plastic hand guards from the brand ACERBIS.


Headlight Plate

The headlight plate is often associated with a windshield on an adventure motorcycle.

 Above is a 90s enduro-style headlight plate extended with a windshield.

There are many choices for this part. A small aluminum windshield can be installed or even a complete fairing descending on the sides of the motorcycle.

This choice will depend on the objectives and style of the motorcycle.


Shock Absorbers

An essential element in most projects. Indeed, original shock absorbers are not designed to endure so many challenges.

Unless your base motorcycle is a trail enduro motorcycle, of course.



Crooked used a mono shock absorber YSS for its DR650 adventure project detailed in the Instagram photos above.

In addition, the shock absorbers are changed to provide greater ground clearance.

For this, the new shock absorbers are generally longer than the original shock absorbers.


Front Forks

Depending on the chosen base, the donor motorcycle, the fork is either improved or replaced.

An original fork can be improved using a kit consisting of springs, valves, and tube caps.


Otherwise, the fork can be completely replaced. For this, customizers take a fork from a suitable motorcycle and adapt it to the base.

If your base is a Transalp, you can keep the original fork.

If it's a Bonneville, it's better to change it.

Above is a Yamaha YZ 250 fork installed on a Harley Sportster.

Changing the fork can also allow you to recover the front wheel and braking system from the donor motorcycle.


Fork Boots

Fork boots protect the fork tube from sand, dirt, and other elements that can hinder proper damping.


Fork Boots


On inverted forks, fork protectors are installed instead of fork boots.



Adventure means mud, projection, which means big fenders!




Here's a perfect example of a fender made for this type of motorcycle executed by Gasser Customs.



The saddle must first and foremost be comfortable. That's the watchword when you know you're going to ride for hours on barely passable terrain.


The saddle made by RSD for its R1200GS project in an 80s style looks very comfortable.


With the list of characteristic elements done, let's move on to the preparation.

For your preparation, you can use parts scavenged from here and there, or you can opt for complete kits made by customizers.







If you own a Ducati Scrambler, the Californian company EARLE MOTORS offers a kit to turn it into an adventurer. The code name is Alaskan.


The kit includes:

  • A custom 22-liter tank.
  • A set of 21 and 18-inch wheels
  • Kevlar protection plates
  • A low front fender
  • A powerful lighting system.
  • Protection bars.
  • A more ergonomic solo seat.
  • A system to extend the swingarm by 7.62 cm.
  • As well as a sturdy luggage rack.


For BMW R nineT fans, Unit Garage offers a kit to transform your bike into the legendary R80 GS Dakar from the 80s.


It also offers a wide range of parts for preparing your bike in ADV style.


And here's the complete set for the RnineT Dakar:

It also offers a kit for Ducati Scrambler.


If you prefer the original, you can check with @siebenrockbmw who offers parts for the R series.




Crispy Club on this side, offers a kit for the YAMAHA TENERE 700 called Heritage:


It is a "plug-and-play" kit made in France and composed of the following elements:

- x2 tank scoop
- Headlight plate with integrated LED lamp
- Speedometer offset
- High front fender
- High fender kit
- Complete paint



French company BONVENT offers a kit for Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. The parts are also available separately.

The kit includes:

  • A tank cover
  • A headlight fairing
  • A pair of fenders
  • Side covers
  • A leather seat
  • A taillight with a license plate holder
  • A luggage rack
  • A handlebar with its risers.



Baak, with their BAAK AVENTURES experience, has just presented the Triumph 1200 AVENTURES. They also offer the parts of the off-road adventure motorcycle kit for sale.

It's a customization based on the Triumph XC or XE equipped with:

  • Leather seat
  • 25-liter aluminum tank
  • A complete fairing kit
  • License plate holder

They offer to carry out the complete customization for €8900.

If you're ready for adventure and you like the raw geometric style, this customization is for you.



If you appreciate off-road adventure motorcycles, here's an Instagram account to follow:

Umberto Mongiardini (@umbertomongiardini) • Photos et vidéos Instagram

This person is the ultimate fan of this type of motorcycles and even customizations.

English speakers can also follow the ADV PULSE website, which is a mine of information:

ADV Pulse - Adventure Bike / Dual Sport News, Reviews, Tests & Tips

Are you tempted by this type of customization?

What is your favorite model among the selection of off-road adventure motorcycles?


Ride on, Rémi

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Blog Remmotorcycle


May 03, 2024

Read More
Honda Scrambler: Off-Road Motorcycle with a Retro-Futuristic Style!
Honda Scrambler: Off-Road Motorcycle with a Retro-Futuristic Style!

April 26, 2024

Read More
Harley Bobber
All you need to know about Bobber Harley

April 25, 2024

Read More