Buying a dirt bike for your kid is no easy task. Choosing the right model can make the decision daunting.
Finding the right dirt bike for your kid whether he or she is just starting out or in need of a new one is paramount to their continued success and enjoyment. We've covered Choosing the Right Starter Bike so if you're just starting out in the buying process, check out that article first.
When it comes to the best dirt bike model a variety of choices exist. If you or your child is bent on sticking with a favorite brand it of course narrows your selection but it also might not be the right fit. Foregoing a time honored family tradition in brand riding makes the decision hard as does looking at the competitor to your child's favorite rider. Always look to the future and buy the right bike for your kid's current needs.
As stated in Choosing the Right Starter Bike, don't go big on the engine, and buy a dirt bike your child can touch the ground securely with his or her feet and reach the handlebars with ease while sitting. This criteria should help favor some models and eliminate others. A lot of advice and information exists and since your 8-year-old could be smaller in size than someone else's 6-year-old finding the right dirt bike for your kid means whichever one fits him or her and matches their ability.
The following dirt bike suggestions take into account the age of your child and probable height. Take your child with you when shopping to get accurate sizing needs.
Dirt Bikes for Kids Aged 6 and Under
Look at a 50cc dirt bike whether it's for Motocross or off-road riding. The Honda CRF50F is a solid choice in off-road and the KTM 50SX Mini is a good option for racing. Children just starting out but a few years older might be better off with the Honda CRF70 or 80 for off-road and the KTM 65SX for racing.
KTM 50SX - Photo: KTM.com
Dirt Bikes for Kids Aged 7-10
Since children tend to get growth spurts around these ages, you'll want to upgrade from a 50cc if your kid started young or is just beginning to ride. The 70 and 80cc range provide good options and as stated earlier look into the Honda CRF70 or 80 and also the XR70 or 80 for off-road. The Kawasaki KX65 offers good value for the money and the KTM 65SX is a good choice but more expensive. Both the Kawi and KTM are two-stroke machines.
Honda CRF80F - Photo: Honda Powersports
Dirt Bikes for Kids Aged 10 and older
At this age your child can graduate to a faster, larger bike. Even a pre-teen just starting out will need to start on a bigger bike because the smaller engine bikes, aka mini cycles, are also small in size. Bikes for kids 10 years and older range in size as low as 85cc to 150cc. Once again, check your child's ability to reach the ground and grab the handlebars. Don't buy a larger bike for him or her to "grow" into - it's just not good practice.
The throttle really opens as far as options for the pre-teen in your life especially in off-road riding. Your primary dirt bike models start as low as 100cc and gradually increase to 110cc, 125cc and 150cc bikes. Even you can have fun on these bikes since they are generally around the size of the larger 250 and 450cc dirt bikes. Check out the Honda XR and CRF models as well as Kawasaki KLX110. Yamaha manufactures the great TT-R125 which is also popular for older kids just getting into the sport. For taller riders, check out the Honda CRF150F
For Motocross riding, try the 85cc models for size and follow up with 105cc and then a 150cc bike. All the major manufactures make 85cc 2-strokes though Honda stopped a few years back but you could probably get a deal on a used one. Honda replaced their 85 with the CRF150R.
Yamaha TT-R125LE - Photo: YamahaMotosports.com
A final note on dirt bike models for kids, if you find that an off-road model fits your Motocross racing child best then go with that bike. The same is true for a Motocross oriented bike for an off-road rider. The last thing you want to do is discourage your kid from riding, and buying the wrong bike is an easy way to do just that.