This is How Fast Can You Really Go on a 500cc Dirt Bike?

Riders enthusiasts for a fierce speed go for massive engines like 500cc. The top speed of an average 500cc dirt bike is 100mph. Depending upon the models, the speed limit of 500cc varies between 90mph-120mph.

Who can ride a 500cc dirt bike?

500cc is a powerful dirt bike and is not recommended for beginners. These bikes come with a seat of 37-38” in height and are good for riders who are 5.9” tall or above. 

The enormous power of 500cc is difficult to manage even by experienced riders and is not suggested for novice riders new to off-road riding.

Top features of 500cc dirt bike

  • Engine:

Though 500cc is not the heaviest bike, it must still not suit novice riders. A 500cc dirt bike with its term “cc” depicting the cubic centimeters the engine’s piston displaces as it rotates. The more massive the engine, the more “cc” volume is displaced.

Engine Size Top Speed
150cc  50 mph
250cc 70 mph
450cc 90 mph
500cc 100 mph
  • 2-stroke engine

Kawasaki’s KX500 and Honda CR500 are the two most famous 2-stroke 500cc dirt bikes. Kawasaki made its last KX 500 in 2004, while Honda stopped making Honda CR 500 in 2001, making Kawasaki KX 500 the last 2-stroke 500cc dirt bike to be made and sold.

  • 4-stroke engine

KTM 500EXC-F and Husqvarna’s 501FE have 4-stroke engines. KTM 500EXC-F has a super nice feel with the powerful front brake, the Husqvarna 501FE has a taller feel, and the rider feels nimbler due to the tight stuff.

  • Speed

With an impressive speed of 100mph, the 500cc dirt bike is the biggest appeal for agility lovers. Some models, like the Kawasaki KX500, can reach up to 120mph.

While others, with their slowest speed of 90mph, can easily keep up with the standard highway traffic with speed limits of 65-80mph.

  • Torque

Bikes with high torque generate more rotational force and are better at handling inclines and off-road conditions without an increase in bike speed.

Like, the torque capability of the Kawasaki KX500 is 48.4 lbs-ft while that of the Honda CR500R is 55.7 lbs-ft. Honda CR500R, regardless of its greater torque, has a speed of 92mph, less than the Kawasaki KX500, with a top speed of 120mph.

  • Power

The dirt bike’s horsepower measures the bike’s acceleration at a particular engine speed (RPM). Generally, 500cc dirt bikes have a maximum hp of 6,000-8,000 RPM. Once the bike speeds up and reaches the maximum RPM, it will lose some of its hp due to inertia.

Bike’s Model Engine type Torque Hp  Top Speed
Honda CR500R 2-stroke 55.7 lb-ft 67.5 hp 92 mph
Kawasaki KX500 2-stroke  48.4 lb-ft 63.5 hp 120 mph
SWM RS500 4-stroke 18.44 lb-ft 26.8 hp 109 mph
KTM 500 EXCF 4-stroke 27.7 lb-ft 58 hp 90 mph
Husqvarna FE 501S 4-stroke 31.6 lb-ft 44.5 hp 101 mph
Beta 500 RRS 4-stroke 32.6 lb-ft 47 hp 90 mph

Factors that affect the speed of a 500cc dirt bike

  • Design and strength of engine 

When a dirt bike’s engine comprises 4 cylinders of a piston, the bike will generate more power and offer better fuel management. A 500cc dirt bike shall have four parallel cylinders in a single-cylinder block. Therefore, it enhances the speed and allows the exact amount of required fuel to pass away. 

When coming to the engine’s strength, that is not only about the horsepower, but there are undoubtedly other concerns that add up as crucial factors like:

  • Accelerator setup
  • Gear system
  • Turn control 
  • Kinetic energy control
  • Position of the wheel
  • Accelerator setup:

A stiff accelerator affects the speed of a dirt bike. Therefore, changing the spring to a lighter one resolves this issue.

  • Gear system: 

Full-size dirt bikes mostly have 4 or 6 gears on the crankshaft, or in some bikes, they are mounted in the rear wheel. An optimized gear system allows efficient engine performance and optimal terrain traversal opportunities. 

The gear system also enables a varied level of torque and speed and better variation between low and high-speed settings.

  • Throttle control: 

Good throttle control ensures better riding and fewer crashes. Dirt bikes have ¼ turn throttle and turn to 90 degrees around the handlebar in full throttle position.

 It requires a lot of skill, experience, and knowledge to have complete throttle control while riding a bike.


  • Bike’s design

Weight and design play a major role in determining the bike’s speed. 500cc dirt bikes are lightweight with an average weight of 110 kg. The riders decided to ride this bike, keeping the body thinner to barricade the wind at the minimum force.

  • Bike acceleration 

This is another critical factor in managing speed. When accelerated, the bike’s engine works faster, increasing fuel demand. The fueling and controlling system of acceleration plays a key role here. If the acceleration is not controlled, the engine will collapse.

The 500cc dirt bikes require around 4.3 seconds to attain their maximum speed, and their fuel passes through a thermal process, putting the situation under control.

How to improve a 500cc dirt bike’s speed?

While customizing a 500cc dirt bike, consider the following factors to add up more speed:

  • Upgrade the air filters by adding up foam filters with two stages. It will remove a significant amount of dirt from the bike’s carburetor. The lesser dirt that goes to the carburetor, the faster the bike will be.
  • Use the correct tire dimensions to add more power and speed.
  • Recondition the bike’s exhaust by upgrading the muffler. It will improve the airflow and the bike’s overall speed and proficiency.
  • Add a good carburetor and the right fossil fuel to get more out of the bike’s engine.
  • Upgrade the bike by adding race-specific clutches to make the bike go faster.
  • Modify the chain and sprocket. Use a smaller sprocket with a certain number of teeth and a long chain to add more power to the rear wheel.

Frequently Asked Questions | How Fast is a 500cc Dirt Bike

  • How fast is a 2-stroke 500cc dirt bike?

A 2-stroke 500cc dirt bike is preferred for its acceleration and maximum speed of 145-153 kph.

  • How much hp does a 500cc dirt bike comprise?

An average 500cc dirt bike comprises around 45-60hp.

  • Which one is the fastest cc dirt bike?

KTM 450SX-F is the fastest dirt bike with a top speed of 123 mph.

  • What is the hp of a KTM 500?

The KTM 500 has a horsepower of around 70.6 hp.

  • How much is the max rpm for KTM 500?

The peak power of the KTM 500 is 8000 rpm, and the bike goes to a maximum of 10,000 rpm.

  • Why are 500cc not manufactured now?

Dirt bikes are supposed to offer better agility and acceleration rather than speed. These are heavy dirt bikes that are not practical for casual riders. Professional riders also do not prefer 500cc for racing. 

Where 250cc dirt bikes deliver faster lap times and contain enough power to handle, the 2-stroke 500cc has explosive power making it difficult to control even for pro riders.

Moreover, the demand for smaller, easy-to-handle dirt bikes is always higher than for bigger, more powerful bikes.

Concluding How Fast is a 500cc Dirt Bike

The 500cc dirt bikes are large and powerful bikes with speeds up to 100 mph. These bikes are certainly only for experienced riders. 500cc dirt bikes are less common nowadays. Although certain brands are still manufacturing them, they are liked for their speed rather than agility.

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