Supermoto has rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years, this website will give you information regarding Supermoto models, accessories, buying, selling and product reviews.
What is Supermoto?
Supermoto can best be described as a mixture of Motocross and road racing.
It is a somewhat unique sport when it comes to racing in that the emphasis lies on slower speeds, usually less than 100 mph (160 km/h), on short, technical tracks, where it is more about the skills of the rider than it is about the speed.
The races usually take place on a track that consists of both a tarmac section and also a dirt section, frequently made up of compacted clay.
These dirt tracks make up around a quarter of the track and often feature obstacles such as bermed corners (a corner that has a banked outer edge that runs the entire length of it) or jumps.
The early days
Supermoto is widely thought to have begun in the seventies and in 1979 the American Broadcasting Company in it’s Wide World of Sports era, commissioned a made-for-TV event to be included in the series, titled Superbikers, the intention of which was to find the best all-round motorcycle racer.
This event involved a track that incorporated both tarmac and dirt which enabled them to attract the best from all areas of motorbike racing, both off-road and road-racing.
World champion riders from both sides of the course competed and the event quickly became a big date in the motorcycle racing calendar having secured an annual competition. However, after the show was cancelled in 1985 due to cuts (despite attracting big audience numbers) interest in this cross-breed sport gradually died out within the US.
Fortunately the top European racers who competed in the event continued and the sport’s reputation throughout the continent began to grow.
In 2003 the sport made it’s presence felt in the US again with the creation of a leading competition in Supermoto, the AMA Supermoto Championship and also the ESPN X-Games Supermoto Championship.
The bikes that are used are often custom made combinations of off-road motorbikes/trials bikes with road-racing bike tyres and are known as ‘Supermotard’ bikes.
This affiliation with both road and off-road racing is obvious throughout most aspects of the sport as riders also wear equipment from both sides, typically leathers used more frequently by road-racers and helmets/boots that are more commonly worn by motocross riders.
Before the nineties, Supermoto bikes were converted two-stroke open-class motorcross or enduro (less highly tuned than their motocross counterparts).
However, as the sport developed so did the bikes and the current bikes are primarily single-cylinder, four-stroke powered motocross style dirt bikes. Whilst there are no trees on the Supermoto tracks (for obvious reasons!), the bikes often feature ‘bark busters’ (hand guards) due to the extreme corners and angles.
These hand guards also improve protection for the brake and clutch levers during falls making the bikes resistant to damage and in turn making it easier to get straight back up and on the track.
The first ever dedicated Supermoto bike was manufactured by Italian manufacturer Gilera (now owned by Piaggio) and in 1991 they released the ‘Nordwest’ model. The success of the Nordwest and the increasing popularity encouraged other European manufacturers such as KTM, CCM and Husaberg to release competing models.
However, it wasn’t until 2004-2005 that the larger Japanese manufacturers such as Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki began mass-producing more domesticated models for road use such as the Suzuki DR-Z400SM and the slower Kawasaki KLR650.
The explosion of the sport during the early 21st century even led to Italian giant Ducati entering the market in 2006 with their Hypermotard which is generally considered a more commercial acceptable bike than an actual, race-ready Supermoto bike.
The success of the sport has led to a huge rise in the number of bikes on the market even to the point that there are so many Supermoto fans that bikes are now being released as road legal and then converted for racing use, the opposite of how it was before the turn of the century.