Speed and power are two inseparable words that best describe a 500cc dirt bike. So, if you are looking for a speedy dirt bike to take just any terrain, consider a 500cc engine. But how fast does a 500cc dirt bike go?
Depending on the brand, rider’s riding experience, and riding conditions, 500cc dirt bikes can go at a maximum speed of 90-120mph. That’s what you can expect from the most high-end 500cc dirt bikes.
So, we are talking about a bonafide ass-kicker and a true speed beast.
The only spoiler alert is that most leading manufacturers are no longer making 500cc dirt bikes. Incidentally, they have replaced 500cc engines with 450cc engines, which are safer for the environment.
Therefore, you’ll likely find an older model (though it doesn’t apply to all). Note that we’re not talking about old in working condition but old according to the year of production.
Before we can get to these choices, let’s understand a few things about 500cc dirt bikes.
500cc Dirt Bike Basics
Essentially, the term 500cc means the dirt bike has an engine capacity of 500 cubic centimeters. That’s ten times that of a 50cc dirt bike and five times that of a 100cc dirt bike.
Here are its basics:
1. Engine Strength
A 500cc engine strength is best described by two factors; horsepower and torque.
The horsepower refers to the engine’s power output, and the more it is, the more powerful the engine is and the faster the dirt bike will likely go.
Depending on the brand, 500cc dirt bikes come with a horsepower of 44.5-67.5HP, which is enough to enable you to reach the top speed.
Dirt bikes with higher horsepower are not just speedy, but they also accelerate much faster. That is the case with 500cc dirt bikes. At maximum horsepower, 500cc dirt bikes attain 6,000-8,000 revolutions per minute (RPM).
Often confused for horsepower, Torque refers to the dirt bike’s rotational force expressed in pound-feet.
Usually, the higher the torque, the easier it is for the dirt bike to tackle steeps and roll over obstacles. And with 500cc dirt bikes averaging 31-56 pound-feet, you can expect to do just that.
Note, however, that torque power has nothing to do with the dirt bike’s speed.
An option like Kawasaki KX500, which has a top speed of 120mph, only has a torque power of 48.4 pound-feet, while Honda CRF500R, which has a top speed of 92mph, has a torque power of 55.7 pound-feet.
500cc engines have a 5-6 speed transmission, representing the number of forward gears. Overall, the transmission allows you to stay within the dirt bike’s ideal RPM scale without overworking the engine.
3. Speed and Acceleration
This is where you appreciate the provision of a large capacity dirt bike engine. 500cc engines are not just powerful but equally speedy. Depending on the model you go for, you can easily hit 90mph by most top-end 500cc dirt bikes.
Even more remarkable is the acceleration advantage that you enjoy from the dirt bike. You can accelerate from zero to 60mph in less than 6 seconds, depending on the brand.
An option like Honda CRF 500Rdoes it in less than 3.8 seconds, which is just unbelievable.
4. Rider’s Height
Generally, 500cc dirt bikes come with a seat height of about 35-39 inches, perfect for adults who are 5’10-6’0” tall.
In MPH, How Fast Does A 500cc Dirt Bike Go?
When it comes to a 500cc top speed, it boils down to the engine’s horsepower and acceleration. The engine’s high horsepower and acceleration allow you to get into pace in seconds.
Depending on the brand you go for, your riding experience, and the riding conditions, a 500cc dirt bike can run at a top speed of 90-120mph.
Here’s how the three factors affect the dirt bike’s top speed:
Different 500cc dirt bike brands have different top speeds. For example, while it’s possible to hit a maximum speed of 120mph with a Kawasaki KX5090 and up to 101mph with Husqvarna FE500, you can only hit a maximum of 92mph with a Honda CRF500R.
b) Riding Conditions
So many conditions have a part to play for you to hit top speed with a dirt bike. For one, the terrain should have fewer obstacles and steeps if you want to hit top speed.
The weather should also be calmer, and that means free from strong winds, rain, and heavy snow. Additionally, there shouldn’t be speed limits to reach top speed.
c) Rider’s Experience
Generally, the more experienced you are at handling a high-speed dirt bike, the likelier you are to hit top speed with a 500cc option.
What Happened to 500cc Dirt Bikes?
While 500cc dirt bikes are undeniably powerful and speedy, most manufacturers no longer make them. So, why is that?
Traditional 500cc dirt bikes feature two-stroke engines that are not environmentally friendly. The engines result in unsafe emissions due to incomplete combustion as air goes through a 2-step process.
For that reason, manufacturers are opting for 4-stroke 450cc, which enjoys almost the same torque and speed as 500cc engines but are more environmentally friendly.
Let’s compare the two engines below.
How Does A 500cc Dirt Bike Compare to 450cc?
As mentioned earlier, 450cc and 500cc differ primarily in weight and environmental impact. In addition to the two, there’s a slight difference in horsepower and speed.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Weight – 450cc dirt bikes weigh slightly more than 500cc as they have a 4-stroke engine when most 500cc dirt bikes have a 2-stroke.
- Environmental impact – 450cc dirt bikes undergo complete combustion due to their 4-stroke design, thus more environmentally friendly.
- Horsepower – A 450cc engine has a horsepower of about 52-55HP while a 500cc averages 44.5-67.5HP. So, there isn’t a big difference in horsepower.
- Speed – A 450cc averages 75-110mph while a 500cc can hit 90-120mph.
|Specification||450cc Dirt Bike||500cc Dirt Bike|
|Weight||Slightly heavier than 500cc||Slightly lighter than 450cc|
|Environmental impact||More environmentally friendly||Less environmentally friendly|
Who Makes the Fastest 500cc Dirt Bike? Fastest 500cc Dirt Bikes
Though most manufacturers no longer make 500cc dirt bikes, here are the ones you can count on today for the fastest 500cc dirt bikes:
Kawasaki holds the record of the fastest 500cc dirt bike today, and the dirt bike in question is the Kawasaki KX500. This dream race bike, which dates to 1983-2004, can hit 120mph top speed, a speed that no other 500cc dirt bike can equal.
Not only does it have explosive speed, but it also enjoys 48.4 pound-feet torque power. Overall, its high torque enables it to ride over just any obstacle on your path.
Kawasaki KX500 comes with a liquid-cooled 499cc engine with a 5-speed transmission for smooth running. Furthermore, it comes with a seat height of 37 inches and a wheelbase of 59 inches, making it ideal for adults.
Husqvarna claims second sport because of its explosive 500cc dirt bike. I’m talking about the Husqvarna FE 501S, which enjoys a top speed of up to 101.5mph.
Unlike Kawasaki, Husqvarna hasn’t stopped making 500cc dirt bikes. The 2022 Husqvarna FE-501S, unlike traditional 2-stroke 500cc dirt bikes, has a 4-stroke.
It comes with a carbon fiber sub-frame and Chromoly molybdenum frame that give it the natural toughness and aggressiveness of riding off-road.
Plus, it features a 5-speed transmission that makes its maneuverability seamless. So, overall, its build quality and hi-tech specs promise good value for money.
Honda rubs shoulders with the big guys in the 500cc dirt bike sector. On top of its speed chart is the Honda CR500, which can hit a maximum speed of 92mph.
Though Honda CRF450 succeeded this dirt bike after its last production in 2002, it remains one of Honda’s fastest two-wheel beasts and the fastest in the 500cc category.
The first model has a 2-stroke air-cooled engine. It’s pretty lightweight, and that explains its fast speed.
Beta is another top-selling brand alongside Husqvarna, which enjoys a maximum speed of 92mph. Today, Beta is famously known for the Beta 500RRS, which enjoys a top speed of 92mph.
Beta 500RS comes with a 4-stroke liquid-cooled engine, unlike classic 500cc, which featured a 2-stroke. The engine is quite powerful and comes with a 6-speed transmission that lets you hit top speed almost seamlessly.
Plus, it enjoys an electric starter and comes with a backup kick-start the engine pretty fast. With the wheelbase being 58.7 inches long and the seat height 37 inches, Beta 500RS is perfect for tall adults.
KTM, like Beta and Husqvarna, continues to make 500cc dirt bikes. It’s KTM 500 EXC-F, which is not a perfect 500cc but a 510cc, is the closest you can get to a 500cc 4-stroke.
Under ideal conditions, KTM 500 EXC-F can hit a top speed of 90mph, thanks to its compact 4-stroke single-cylinder engine with 6-speed transmission.
Everything from the disc brakes to the clutch and frame is high-end, and the dirt bike enjoys a stiffer head angle for aggressive riding.
This dirt bike is safety-tested and reliable in performance, and you can count on its powerful li-ion battery for extra milestones.
Table Summary of the Fastest 500c Dirt Bikes
Check out how the fastest 500cc dirt bikes compare below:
|Dirt Bike||Potential Top Speed|
|Husqvarna FE 501S||101mph|
|KTM 500 EXC-F||90mph|
People Also Ask
1. Is A 500cc Dirt Bike Safe?
The average dirt bike goes at a 30-35mph top speed. So, for a 500cc dirt bike to hit 90mph plus, you get to go thrice the speed of the average dirt bike.
For that reason, speed can be a concern even though it’s the reason for the dirt bike’s thrill. However, you can boost your overall safety by wearing the right dirt bike safety gear (View on Amazon)
2. How Fast Does A 500cc 2 Stroke Dirt Bike Go?
A 500cc 2-stroke dirt bike can hit a top speed of 90-120mph depending on riding experience, riding conditions, and brand. The more experienced you are and the favorable the riding conditions are, the likelier you will clock top speed.
3. How Fast Does a Honda 500 Dirt Bike Go?
The Honda CRF 500R can hit a top speed of 92mph under perfect riding conditions. However, you are more likely to hit top speed if you are experienced going that fast.
In Conclusion; How Fast Does A 500cc Dirt Bike Go?
500cc dirt bikes are all about speed, and you can count on top-end options to hit 90mph or more. Remember, however, that the speed depends on your riding experience, the brand you go for, and the general riding conditions.