Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Best Starter Dirt Bikes - In Our Opinion!

Summer is fast approaching.  Wouldn’t it be fun to get your kids out of the house and on the trails with you?  Here are some guidelines we put together to help you find the right dirt bike for your little one.
Almost all off-road vehicle companies offer smaller versions of their adult favorites.  These Youth Dirt Bikes are smaller with engine sizes ranging anywhere from the 50cc to the 125cc.  So which is the right one for you?

50cc Engine

Perfect for riders between the ages of 6-8, these are our picks for the ultimate beginner dirt bikes; you can even add special training wheels until the rider learns to balance on them!   If you are interested in a 2-stroke engine the best choices are the Yamaha PW50 and the KTM 50 SX Mini.  Both feature a fully automatic transmission which means that there is no shifting required so your kids can just twist and go. The seats are between 19-21 inches high which is ideal if you have a very small rider. The Honda CRF50F is a very affordable starter bike and it’s a 4-stroke.  Another great 4-stroke to consider is the Yamaha TT-R50. 2-stroke dirt bikes are really fun to ride, but they may not be the best choice for a beginner. The 4-strokes, especially the trail bikes, are easier to ride than the 2-strokes. If you're the least bit apprehensive, definitely go with a 4-stroke until your young rider gains some experience.  

60cc, 65cc, 70cc, 80cc and 85cc Engines

These engine classes have higher seats than the 50cc, are slightly heavier and more powerful which make them ideal for kids between the ages of  8-12 who are still beginners but are just too big for the 50cc.  The best 2-stroke models out there are the more affordable Kawasaki KX65 and the pricey KTM 65 SX.   A good rule of thumb to follow is that once you start going up in engine size, the more complex operating the dirt bike becomes.  No longer is there just a throttle.  Now you’ve got to consider clutching and manual shifting.  The 4-stroke Honda CRF80F and the 2-stroke Suzuki RM85 are terrific choices for young riders just starting out on a manual transmission.  The power is controllable and the shifting is super smooth.

90cc, 105cc, 100cc, 110cc and 125cc Engines

It’s easy to do…you buy shoes and clothes this way…you say to yourself, ‘It’s time to buy something that my child can grow into’!  But when it comes to Dirt Bikes, resist that urge!  You still want your rider to be able to touch the ground and reach the handlebars!  These larger dirt bikes have the same handling concepts as the smaller dirt bikes but because of the fact that they have more power they need a more experienced rider to handle them.  These are targeted more toward riders aged 10-15. The Kawasaki KLX110 actually allows parents to adjust the speed on this bike for kids just starting out and let them get used to the power and just ride until they are ready for more. This is also a durable bike with a 4-stroke engine and is a three speed.   The Honda CRF100F is also a great starting point to introduce your rider to greater speed and power.  But the Yamaha TT-R125 might just be our favorite.  It has the long and sleek styling of the YZ’s with a torquey engine.  Mom and Dad could hop on it for fun too because the seat height is about 32’.  It’s fun for the whole family!

Whichever dirt bike you decided to buy your young rider, always keep in mind safety first.  Don’t push the rider onto a more powerful machine then he or she feels comfortable on.  Each level of these youth bikes comes with its own set of skill challenges and the first set should be mastered before moving onto the next.