I want to ride!
But I don't know where to start.
I don't even have a dirt bike.
I guess I need a dirt bike. And so do you, if you want to ride a dirt bike.
Because that's where you start. With a dirt bike.
But it doesn't end with a dirt bike. You need a lot more than just a dirt bike. That is, if you want the authority to go around and say to others, "Do you even ride, bro?"
A Dirt Bike for Beginners
First, the type of dirt bike really depends on the type of riding and your age. Youngsters starting out need a small bike not only in engine size but actual bike size. A 50cc dirt bike works best for four and five-year olds but you'll need to look into perhaps a 70cc or 80cc engine, generally housed in a larger frame, for older kids. Read Kids Dirt Bikes - Choosing the Right Starter Bike for more detailed information on small dirt bikes for kids.
Adults who have never thrown a leg over a dirt bike would be best on a 125cc 2-stroke or even a 250 4-stroke with some instruction from an experienced rider. If you plan on riding trails the Yamaha TTR pretty much ranks #1 but we have additional suggestions you can read in Best Trail Dirt Bikes for Beginners.
Unless your backyard doubles as a Motocross track or entrance to a trail system you need to transport your dirt bike to where ever you want to ride. A van, pickup truck or trailer works best. And, you need to tie it down. Check out How To Tie Down a Dirt Bike which covers the various ways to transport a bike and the best method to tying it down.
Don't even think about riding your dirt bike without wearing the essential riding gear. We call it the Core 4 - helmet, goggles, boots and gloves. You need these pieces of gear to safely operate a dirt bike. Understand you will crash. Perhaps not a serious get-off to start but even a small tip over can result in injury. MotoSport carries a wide selection of gear with varying degrees of pricing and features that will get you ready to ride:
If you have a budget, spend more on the helmet. We always say spend $10 on a helmet if you have a $10 head so first and foremost protect your noggin. Check out these buying guides that help answer some basic questions to narrow your search and offer some suggestions:
But, you can always call us at 888-676-8853 and an experienced rider will give you a personalized approach to get you the right gear based on your age, experience level and style of riding. Meanwhile, read Motocross Protective Gear Guide for supplementary protection you might want to consider.
Riding gear consists of pants, jersey and gloves worn specifically for dirt bikes and we actually sell those as combos along with a price break compared to buying individually. (Riding gear also refers to the overall protective gear noted above but generally refers to the pants, jersey and gloves, if you're taking notes.) Yes, you can get away with a heavy pair of jeans, a thick shirt or other long-sleeved jacket along with general use gloves. You know what? Some people do and if that means the difference between riding and not riding then we say go for it.
However, riding gear makes for a way more comfortable experience that keeps you cool, flexible and comfortable. You exert a lot of energy riding a dirt bike, even on a casual trail ride, so think about going for a run in tight fitting jeans and a heavy cotton shirt. Buried alive much? Riding gear breathes and allows you to comfortably wear additional protective gear like knee braces or guards and a chest protector without suffocating the life out of you.
Just guessing, but you probably didn't wake up one morning and decide to start riding dirt bikes. Hopefully, you know someone who can show you the ropes, help you get started (literally) and teach the basic functions of the throttle, clutch, shifter and braking. How the heck do you work the shift lever with those thick heavy boots on? Well, try shifting and coordinating the clutch lever without stalling.
Someone who has been there and done that and who has patience and wants to see you succeed makes for a great riding buddy.
Patience and Determination
Don't expect to hit a double your first day out. You might not even hit one in that first year but with patience and determination you will ride with the best of them. Maybe not Eli Tomac best but at least you will hold your own on a dirt bike and fully realize what this addiction is all about. Dirt bikes offer a fun and exhilarating thrill ride that keeps you coming back for more. Just remember, when you fall (not if you fall) get right back up and keep going.
Dirt Bike Parts
You don't need dirt bike parts right away but these machines, whether 2-stroke or 4-stroke, have a pretty religious maintenance schedule that you need to keep. The oil and filter need changing often, the air filter after almost every ride and eventually a top end then a bottom end. You can worry about some of that later just keep in mind with dirt bike ownership comes lots of maintenance. Most general maintenance you can do yourself in under an hour, but you might need to call on a professional mechanic for some of the more detailed engine and suspension work.
Finally, you need some tools. If you have a pretty loaded tool chest in your garage already you probably have enough to perform some basic maintenance. However, the more you wrench on your ride the more tools you need to accomplish various tasks specific to dirt bikes like tightening the spokes (spoke wrench), tire change tool (tire spoons and bead buddy), chain installation (chain breaker) and bearing removal and installation (removal and installation kits).
Now that you have everything you need to start riding dirt bikes, whether on the track or trails, go out and have fun. Oh, remember to change the oil and filter after that first ride.