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What are the differences between motocross and enduro?



Around 1894, some English adventure lovers, with very precarious motorcycles, decided on one of those tedious rainy Sunday afternoons in England, to go out through the fields to face the mountains, which were certainly very smooth and slippery. 

Little did they know that this ride would become what we now call an off-road enduro, and from then on it would create a range of sports whose main ingredients are the bike and the dirt.

Over the years, off-road enduro bikes have been improving and getting better and better. Along with this improvement, new niches such as Trial, Motocross, Rally and a series of other modalities were born. 

And, for each one of them, specific bikes were created, as well as riders with a skill for each one of them, which today go beyond 10 variations of modalities that can be practised using the off-road principle.

Among the main ones, and which aggregate the largest number of riders, we want to highlight two: understand the differences between motocross and enduro.



In enduro, since the practice is done on trails and some side roads, the bikes need to meet some traffic regulations, depending on the country. Thus, they usually leave the factory with headlights, brake lights and even arrows, since in places like Europe, use on the streets is totally allowed as long as they meet the requirements. 

Usually, they have smoother engines and the noise emission in the exhaust is very controlled. The suspensions of these bikes are of smaller strokes and softer, for use for a long period.


Made exclusively for use on closed circuits, motocross bikes do not need signalling equipment, such as headlights and flashlights, so they are much lighter than enduro bikes. 

Its use on the streets is prohibited, and if you are caught walking with one on the streets of Brazil, you will have serious problems with the law. 

With the priority on power, cross bikes have shorter ratios, using larger crowns and smaller sprockets, in addition to also having exhausts without noise dampers or spark suppressors. 

This allows all the mixture in the explosion chamber to be expelled faster and louder. In competitions, there are some rules that need to be met so that noise does not reach very high levels.

where to use 


Enduro is usually practised on unpaved trails and roads. Throughout the national territory, there are trails where you can ride a motorcycle and reach very cool places. 

Usually, the trails have a distance that can reach up to 80 km, but the idea is that it doesn’t go beyond that.

These trails are generally not maintained at all. This type of “service” is due to the motorcycles that pass by and, of course, the rain that always makes everything more difficult. 

A nice tip for those doing endurance is to periodically change the traces of a trail and let the old path regenerate naturally with the local vegetation.


They say that motocross was born from a group of riders who didn’t have much patience to cover long distances and preferred to keep repeating laps in a small circuit. 

For motocross, the ideal place is circuits built using curves, jumps and undulations. 

In the beginning, natural topography was used, but over the years, this has changed and today the tracks are, for the most part, constructed artificially. 

Unlike Enduro, where there is no maintenance on the motocross tracks, the treatment is constant with the use of tractors to harrow the land and water to keep it always moist. 

For motocross riders, the greater this care for the track, the greater the comfort and fun.



The enduro ended up receiving some variants in terms of competition. Here in Brazil, exclusively, the Regularity Enduro takes place, which consists of making a trail, following a spreadsheet and with a time for this to be done. 

If arriving early, the pilot loses a number of points and, if arriving late, another number of points. The fun of this modality is to bring together in the same package the speed and regularity in time, a very difficult mission.

The Enduro FIM, which even has a world championship, is one that the riders cover a minimum circuit of 50 km, and during this lap, they will find sections that will have a smaller closed circuit, where the objective is to make the lap in the shortest time. possible. These circuits are known as Enduro Test, a natural trail; Cross Test, a circuit that mixes natural and artificial obstacles; and Xtreme Test, usually built with artificial and bulky obstacles, which tests competitors’ skill and balance. 

Normally, the Enduro FIM races last two days, and in each of them, the rider makes two to four laps of the complete circuit. At the start, each competitor will receive a card that suggests the maximum time he has to make the lap, if he exceeds this time he will be penalized. 


In motocross, the competition is done, as mentioned before, on a closed circuit. It is usually counted for an average time of 30 minutes plus one or two more laps at the end of the time. 

Competitors start from the “Gate” which is manually disarmed. Before that, the 30” and 5” second boards are lifted and, from there, this grid can fall at any time. Whoever keeps first place wins the competition.

On average 30 riders can start together, but it will depend a lot on the size of the track which, according to the International Motorcycling Federation, must be at least 1500 meters long, with a width of eight meters between the ends.

There are signs made to the drivers through flags waving along the track:

  • the yellow flag signals an accident ahead and overtaking is prohibited; 
  • green says the circuit is cleared; 
  • the blue flag warns that the pilot must give way to the leader;
  • the red one is to temporarily interrupt the rush for medical attention, which can also be signalled with a white flag with a red cross in the middle;
  • the dreaded black flag signals that the driver is disqualified for some misconduct;
  • white indicates that the race is in the final two laps;
  • the grid indicates the end of the race.


In both enduro and motocross, you need to use safety equipment that basically consists of the following items:

  • helmet, 
  • glasses, 
  • t-shirt, 
  • pants, 
  • socks, 
  • boots
  • gloves. 

However, in Enduro, where the rider spends more time on the bike. Some items are added, such as a jacket; a fanny pack with tools, money and even a cell phone and a hydration backpack.

This last item is essential, after all, during an Enduro you need to hydrate and eat.

Whether in enduro or motocross, it is necessary to remember that safety is very important, and that is why it is essential to pay attention to best practices.


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