What Makes and Models of Motorcycles Typically Win the Dakar Rally?

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What makes and models of motorcycles typically win the Dakar Rally?

For those of you who need a refresher course on this amazing event, the Dakar Rally (formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally) is an absolutely brutal, annual off-road rally race.

From 1978 to 2007, the Dakar ran from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal, phased in stages ranging from a 100-600 miles per day (approximately 6,200 miles total distance).  The race was not held at all in 2008 due to security concerns in Mauritania, and since 2009 the race has been moved and maintains its course through the southwestern portion of South America.

So, what makes and models of motorcycles typically win the Dakar Rally?

YearsMakesModels
1979-1980, 1991-1993, 1995-1998YamahaXT500, YZE750T, YZE850T
1981, 1983-1985, 1999-2000BMWR80G/S, R100G/S, F650RR
1982, 1986-1989HondaXR550, NXR800V
1990 & 1994CagivaElefant 900
2001-2017KTMLC4 660R, LC8 950R, 690 Rally, 450 Rally

As you can see, only five different makes (and thirteen different models) of motorcycle have ever one the Dakar Rally.  Yamaha and BMW exerted dominance in the early years of the Dakar with Honda taking over in the middle years.

Since, 2001 the race has been absolutely dominated by KTM.

Something interesting to note is that in 2011, the rules for motorcycles were changed, limiting the motorcycle engine CC size to a maximum of 450cc.  Additionally, there are a few different classes of entrants – broken down essentially into professional and non-professional and those allowing major maintenance during the event (i.e. engine, frame, suspension) and those where this kind of maintenance is not allowed.

So that is my post on what makes and models of motorcycles typically win the Dakar rally.  Please forgive any typos as I wrote this blog post from my cell phone.

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1 thought on “What Makes and Models of Motorcycles Typically Win the Dakar Rally?”

  1. I believe the rules should favor the consumer ultimately …A “stock” class where there IS NO engine changes! AND An option for any competitor to claim any winning bike for like the price of a new motorcycle it is based off … other such claiming rules might let the victim of the claim keep only tuning secrets contained in intake/ignition components or some such … the idea being to keep deep pockets from hand making machines …. a brutal way to keep it real. Hey what if the rules said each team had to start with a crated motorcycle purchased randomly by governing body….They say, here is your bike you have one week to ready it. With tamper proof seals on engine cases and top end Frame has to remain 90% unmodified etc …I’m thinking so that it is not just factory teams racing but the ENTIRE manufacturer of the brand/model ITSELF becomes totally key whether it is even possible to finish or win…. I am thinking I would want to own the brand/model that is dominating under THAT kind of restriction! Truth!

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