If the pros ride it, then I'll ride it.

Fun to dream, but not always the best followed advice especially when it comes to choosing a dirt bike. But a 450 dirt bike sounds so much gnarlier than putting around on a 125cc dirt bike.

Or is it?

Though often seen on the lower rung of the ladder on the way to the top of the racing profession - the 125 ride may not produce the power of a 450 but far exceeds that of a kids 50cc bike. And, while a 125cc racing class no longer exists at least at the pro level (and we sure wish it did but we still enjoy it at the amateur and local scene), the smaller bore bike actually makes up a large percentage of dirt bike sales. Beginner adult riders should start on a 125 (unfortunately most get their kicks on a 250 or 450) and many veterans return (if they ever left) to a 125cc dirt bike because of the sheer fun in riding but also to hone their riding skills.

A 450 dirt bike has greater torque and faster top speed than a 125 bike, but the bigger ride also has weight and inertia many find hard to control. The much lighter 125 (nearly 40 lbs.) offers plenty of speed to go fast for thrill seekers without scaring off new riders from throwing a leg over. In short, think of the 450 as twisting the throttle and hanging on while the 125 allows you to hang on, enjoy the ride and develop the skills necessary to ride effectively.

Put a rider on a 450 and watch the crash. Put a rider on a 125 and watch skills develop.

How Fast is a 125 cc Dirt Bike?

Ok, so how fast does a 125 cc dirt bike go? Technically, you can gear a 125 to reach speeds of 100 mph and more. Off the showroom floor, depending on your weight, you can probably hit close to 70 mph on pavement.

But you can't think of a dirt bike like a street bike. A dirt bike embraces the dirt and while you won't keep up with a pro level rider, a 125 bike holds the power needed to ride any National track. Don't get fooled into thinking a 125cc dirt bike does not hold the power needed to ride hard. Heard of the 125 Dream Race? Or how about the need for a 125 National level Championship class? The bike holds its own and remains popular for riders and fans of racing.

Overall, the far majority of casual riders and weekend warriors get more than enough power, speed and torque from a 125 dirt bike to last a lifetime and for some reason the pros keep returning to this 2-stroke machine they once learned their riding ropes on.

125 vs 450

The reason why the 125cc dirt bike requires more riding skills comes from the lack of torque. Ah! So it lacks power. Sure, when compared to the output of a 450 which has so much torque you can pop it in third gear and never shift or touch the clutch.

A 125 cc dirt bike requires quite a bit of finesse involving the clutch and shifting up and down gears to keep the engine in the proper RPM range to produce the required power. So, the 125 has the power, you just need to find it through skill and riding technique.