What Dirt Bike To Buy For My Kid?

Are you thinking about buying a dirt bike for your kid but don’t know which bike to choose or look for? I will give you some background on name brand bikes for kids to help you make a decision. Choosing the right bike for your young rider is very important, especially if they’ve never ridden before. Kids start riding as young as three years old, so once they are able to ride a bicycle without training wheels they should be capable of riding a dirt bike. And please don’t put training wheels on a little dirt bike, that just defeats the purpose.

There are a few factors that come in to play when finding the right dirt bike for a kid. Age, experience, size, and where you are going to ride all come in to play when looking for a bike. There are 50, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 125, and 150cc four-stroke dirt bikes that are mostly meant for off-road and trail riding. For the smaller two-stroke dirt bikes, there are a couple different 50s, 65s, and 85cc bikes. These are used for motocross racing.

Off-Road Bikes

50cc

There are a few different 50cc dirt bikes, but the most common is the Honda CRF50F/XR50R. This is where dirt biking starts for every little kid that has never ridden before. These things are almost bullet proof if you maintain it properly. If you are looking for a first bike for a kid that is under 7 then this is probably the best choice, unless they are bigger/taller than the norm. There is also the Suzuki JR50, Kawasaki KDX50 and Yamaha PW50; all of which are oil-injected 2-strokes that are very light and perfect for the smallest of riders, and the Yamaha TTR-50 which is about the same as the CRF, so it just depends what color you like best.

70 & 80cc

Honda made the CRF/XR70 and 80cc bikes for kids that are just starting, but a little too big for a 50cc. The 70 has a taller seat height with a little more power than the 50, but the 80 has a clutch which is perfect for training the little ones without letting them ride on a fast bike.

100/110/125/150cc

Honda has been known for their XR/CRF100 which reaches to a variety of riders. It has a clutch and is just right for the older kids to learn on if they are too big for the CRF80F. The 100 is a great trail bike because it has just enough power, and it’s also big enough for an adult, so this bike should be easy to find used, and cheap I might add. Kawasaki and Suzuki decided to make the ultimate pit bike for kids and adults. The KLX110/DRZ110 (Parts are interchangeable) has become popular because of how much power it has, or is able to put out, for its size. The 110 is an automatic, so it’s great for smaller riders that want more power than a 70 without going to a clutch yet. Yamaha also has a bigger off-road bike for kids, the TTR-125. The TTR-125 is a popular model for bigger kids just starting out. It has a clutch with enough power to haul riders around, young or old. Honda also has the CRF150F for riders that want more power and a taller ride height than the 100. Although the set-back for the 150 is that it weighs about as much as a full-size motocross bike. These mid-sized off-road bikes are popular for a reason, and this means that they have usually been ridden a lot and probably abused. So if you’re looking at buying a used one then make sure it is clean, it has somewhat low hours, and has been well maintained.

Motocross Bikes

50cc

There are a couple different name-brand 50cc motocross bikes for kids, and they are both KTM two-strokes. KTM has the 50 SX Mini, which is for the smallest beginning racers. There is also the 50 SX which is bigger and suits a little taller beginning racer. These bikes both have a one-speed automatic transmission and are liquid-cooled. KTM 50s are expensive, but they are perfect race bikes for your little kids that are ready to tear up the tracks. There are also Chinese companies with 50cc motocross bikes, which aren’t made with as much quality.

65cc

KTM and Kawasaki are the only name brand companies that still make a 65cc two-stroke motocross bike. KTM has the 65 SX which is more expensive and usually the racers that are serious buy them. Right from the factory KTM puts aftermarket parts on their bikes, such as VForce reeds on the two-strokes, handlebars, and Brembo brakes. The Kawasaki KX65 is what riders that just want to race buy because they are so cheap. That does not mean that they aren’t fast, they just aren’t always as reliable and don’t have a very high re-sale value. Both are great race bikes for intermediate younger riders in around the age 7-10 that have been riding for some time. These bikes are usually not used for trail riding because they are not as easy to ride and lug around as a four-stroke is.

85/105/150cc

85cc motocross bikes are the start for a young teen aged racer. They have more power than most any kid could use, which makes these bikes a blast for adults or adrenaline-junkies as well. KTM, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha all make an 85cc two-stroke mx bike. Honda put a stop to their two-stroke inventory after 2007, but people still buy their late model bikes. Instead, Honda wanted to start a revolution for mini-bikes with their all new 150cc four-stroke motocross bike. It was well talked about, but once it came out it died slowly. They are powerful bikes and are easier to ride than an 85, but the weight and cost lost it for them. Usually these CRF150R’s (Big and small wheel) were bought by racers with money because they also needed quite a bit of maintenance. If you have money and your kid loves the easy ride-ability of a four-stroke then this would be a good race bike to buy.

If you don’t have a deep pocket, then an 85 or 100/105cc two-stroke stroke is a great choice. Your kid will love you for getting them one of these bikes; before they flip it at least once, that is. If you find someone selling a used 85 that hasn’t been flipped, then you’re either lucky or they’re lying. 85s are pretty much race-only bikes. I’ve trail-ridden with one, and it was not very fun because of the lack of power down low. The Honda CR85R and Yamaha YZ85 hit harder and are more snappy than the others because they don’t have a power valve. KTM’s 85 SX comes with aftermarket goodies from the factory like all of their other bikes, so it’s probably the fastest out of the lot. Kawasaki’s KX85 and Suzuki’s RM85 are very similar and are used by many riders that are on a budget because of how cheap they can be. Honda and Suzuki both have a larger wheel 85, which helps those taller kids that quite aren’t ready for a 125 or 250f.

Kawasaki and KTM have a big-bore 85 to compete in the supermini class (86-112cc). Kawasaki’s KX100 is a big wheel and has plenty of power for any young racer. KTM has a 105 SX which is one of the best power-to-weight ratio bikes you can buy, and also has larger wheels. When it comes down to choosing an 85,100/105, or a 150cc four-stroke motocross bike for your kid, it depends how big your pocketbook is, what fits your kid, and what color you like best.

If you know what bike you want to get, check out my article “How To Buy A Dirt Bike“. Thanks for viewing, and good luck buying the right bike for your kid.

-Tom Stark

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42 Comments

  • Kelley says:

    Thanks for the great article. It gives a lot of description and will help in the future.

  • Daniel Kruger says:

    Goog day,
    I need some good advice on selected a mx bike for myself and my wife! My wife is 1.6m tall and weighs about 68kg and have never riden. I am 1.9m and weigh about 145kg have riden about 15 years back. We have a son 3 years old, and would like to start riding togther. We would like to buy some kind of bikes that would be able to do some outrides but also be able to spend some time on the mx track. E are buying our son a tt50?. Hope you can help with the decision.
    Regards,
    Daniel
    Cape town SA

  • Tom Stark says:

    A 50 would be good to start your kid out on. If you’re looking for a good mx/trail bike, I think a crf450x or wr450f would suite you well if you can handle the power (a little more mellow than an mx bike). As for your wife, I’ve seen a lot of women riders liking the kx100 or ktm 105sx because the seat height is pretty low, and you can de-tune them if you don’t want her going full throttle on it right away. Good luck!

  • dimitris says:

    hi everyone im 1.8 m and im 70 kg will a 80cc kawsaki sut to me ?

  • Tom Stark says:

    I’d suggest getting a 125cc 2-stroke. An 80 would be a little small for you. I’d even consider a 250cc four-stroke trail bike if you aren’t into racing.

  • Chase says:

    Hi, im 15 years old i weigh 101 lbs and im 5ft 2″ tall (46kg 158cm) I am a totally new beginner. Which of these bikes would suit me? Thank you :)

  • mike peters says:

    im only about 4’9 and thirteen years old i am somewhat expiernced. I am looking to race and dont know if i should get a kx 85 or 100

  • Tom Stark says:

    If you think you’re going to grow within the next year or so, I’d probably go for the KX100 since it has the bigger wheels/taller seat height.

  • MOTO~KID~888 says:

    I have ben riding my kawasaki 85 for a while i like it alot before that i was on a honda 150 a good bike to race before 85′s are 150′s but it’s ur choice

  • SugerandSpice66 says:

    Hi, our little boy nr 7 years christmas desarately wants to upgrade from a Quad Bike to a motorbike, he is approx 1.25 meters High and 4 stone, we would take him over a local field and then perhaps later to a proper track. Have you any suggestions as to what style and size of bike we would need to get for him. He had put it on his Santa List and nothing else. We know little of bikes and do not ride ourselves. Any help would be much appreciated. Many Thanks.

  • Tom Stark says:

    Depending on if he wants to use a clutch, crf70/xr70 or crf80 would be good. The 70 is a 3-speed auto, and the 80 has a clutch. Otherwise you could go with a klx110, drz110, ttr110, or crf110. They have a little more power, but are still pretty easy for kids to use and are also a 3-speed automatic (meaning you shift, but there’s no clutch). Hope that helps.

  • SugerandSpice66 says:

    Thanks so much for the info Tom, will look at the models you suggested and let you know which one we decide on, you never know it may be something mom and dad might get into !!

  • Tom Stark says:

    No problem, and best of luck! Dirt biking is one of the best family sports out there!

  • scared says:

    Hey, so i’m startiNG racing again this year (2013) and my dad bought me a WR250F , we’re racing MX. i’m 15 and weigh about 78KG.
    how do you think i’ll go on this bike? i’m really scared that i’ll just be coming last. I’m not too good of a rider, i can’t really jump high and my friend who rides a RM250 can lap me!
    do you think i should be racing MX on this bike.. could i possiably win? or would i have to put in so much more effort then the other riders?? i’ve never ridden the tracks we’re racing and i can’t race start that well and i have to in first gear. Has anyone raaced MX on a WR?

  • Tom Stark says:

    The WR250F is more for off-road racing and trail riding. That’s not to say you can’t be competitive with it in Motocross in a beginner class, but you’ll probably want to re-valve the suspension for your weight. Don’t worry about coming in last when starting out; you have to start somewhere. If you’re only doing motocross racing with the bike, you may want to switch over to a YZ or YZF in the future. As long as you’re having fun and progressing, who cares? Good luck!

  • scared says:

    Okay, thank you (:
    yeah we’re doing enduro aswell as MX..
    is there anything i can do to make it go faster?

  • Tom Stark says:

    If you’re just starting out, these bikes have plenty of power for most any kind of riding. Suspension should be number one on the list. An exhaust and cams will probably make the biggest difference. Check out my friend’s review on the FMF Q4 exhaust on Motocross Hideout. Proper gearing is critical as well.

  • SugerandSpice66 says:

    Christmas is nearly here and we cant wait for santa to bring the CRF70 as recommended by you Tom. Thanks again. Will let you know what our little chap thinks on the day!!!

  • Tom Stark says:

    Awesome! Your kid has some very loving parents!

  • shane says:

    hi tom i am 13 and 5ft 8inch and i want to start bikeing but i am not allow a bike of 65cc so i am wondereing wat 1 to get

  • Tom Stark says:

    A CRF150F, CRF230F, TTR225/230, or XR200 would be a good place to start since you’re fairly tall for your age. Good luck!

  • shane says:

    thanks and yah haha

  • OffroadBeast says:

    Im 13 at 145Pounds and i want a 4stroke offroad bike, what would suit me better, the 110 or the 125?

  • Tom Stark says:

    At your weight, I wouldn’t get anything smaller than a 125cc four-stroke. I would also consider a CRF150F, as well as a 230 if you have enough experience and can handle the weight. Otherwise the 150F or KLX140L would be good bikes to start out on.

  • Teri says:

    I am looking for a mx bike for my son, who is a small 12 year old (4′ 10″ & 73 lbs.), who wants to get back into racing after taking a couple of years off, but has still been riding in the desert, etc.
    He is coming off/outgrown a KTM 65 and has been riding since he was 4 (started on a PW50). I am obviously looking at 85′s, but don’t want to invest a bunch of money to find out it isn’t a winning bike, or will eat me alive in repair costs.
    Is there some kind of “rating” on these bikes (best to worst or ???)
    I would appreciate any and all information you can help me with!

    Thanks SO much!
    ~Teri

  • Cam says:

    ive been riding for about 7 years now, but with a pw50, klx110, and crf80. i have spent time on bigger machines and even can drive an old sports car with manual clutch. i use to be into racing so i do have some experience but i want somthing that will calm down after some hardcore riding, ya know? like a perfect balence between good handling and smoothness. im 13 years of age at 5’8″ and weigh 120lbs. any suggestions?

  • Tom Stark says:

    You’re in a gray area, unfortunately. If you want good handling, you’d have to get a motocross bike. However, for something more docile, it’d have to be a trail bike that is fairly heavy. You are still rather young, too. It depends on your budget, but I would look into an XR250, KLX300, KDX200, DRZ250, or possibly a CRF150RB (Expert model). I would also consider a CRF150F since it is smooth, reliable, and has decent power for play riding.

  • Erin says:

    We are looking at getting my son a dirt bike. He is used to riding 4 wheelers but this would be his first bike. He is 4’9″ and about 75lbs. Do you think the Honda CRF 70F would be too small for him?

  • Tom Stark says:

    Yes, if you want Honda I would look at a CRF80F or CRF100F.

  • Kevin says:

    Hi,
    My 7 Yr. old son is out growing his crf50 and I need to get him something bigger. He is 4′ 5″ and 74 lbs.

  • Kevin says:

    Hi,
    My 6 1/2 year old son has outgrown his crf50 and I need to get him a bigger trail bike. He is 74 lbs. and 4′ 5″ tall. He can ride excellent and has a 110 4-wheeler as well. What so recommend I look for?

    I am also looking for a trail bike for myself to join him! I have lots of 4-wheeling experience but no dirt biking experience. I am 5′ 11″ and 200 lbs. What do you recommend for me?

    I thank you in advance. The advice you have given here is truly a gift to so many people!
    Kevin

  • Tom Stark says:

    I would recommend looking for an XR/CRF100 if he can reach the ground, otherwise a ttr125 may work as well. A KLX/DRZ110 may also fit him well, but it doesn’t have a clutch to learn on. Any of those bikes you can find relatively cheap used. Just try to find the cleanest one possible. Stock is best so you know it hasn’t been messed with.

    As for you, there’s a lot of bikes that may suit you. I’m guessing you’d more than likely want a 4-stroke? Honda has a few bikes; XR200R, CRF230F, and an XR250R are great bikes that require little maintenance. There’s also a KLX300, DRZ250, and TTR230. Let me know if you need any more help. Good luck!

  • Kevin says:

    Thanks Tom, His buddies drz110 is in our garage and he can barely touch the ground. Before I had talked to you, that alone had me leaning toward taking the very small step of going to an 80 size. Do you think that’s too small a jump?

    I had been looking at drz400 before talking to you. So the on/off capability of the 250R is interesting, but I will certainly investigate the others.
    Thanks again!
    Kevin

  • Kevin says:

    Oh and Tom, I should also mention that I rode a Harley for 10 years.. so I am not a beginner on mopeds! Just on Dirtbikes…
    Kevin

  • Tom Stark says:

    No prob, if he’s not tall enough then something like an xr80/crf80 would be good since it’s short and has a clutch to learn on. If you don’t mind a little heavier bike, the DRZ/KLX400 is a good and reliable bike. The XR400 is great as well.

  • tybo says:

    ok im 12 and weigh 100 pounds what bike would fit me best

  • tybo says:

    and im 5 feet tall

  • Tom Stark says:

    An XR100 and TTR125 are very popular bikes for someone your age and size. They’re easy to learn on and ride with a clutch, reliable, and smooth on power.

  • Mariano Vertiz says:

    Hi Tom. I’m 12 and i’m pretty tall (5ft 2in) I was wondering if I should get a Yamaha TTR-125LE or should I get the TTR-230. I think i’m gonna hit a growth spurt soon. This would be my first dirt bike, I have a ton of experience on a quad bike, but only about 30min riding time on a small dirt bike about 2 months ago. Thanks for the advice.

  • Tom Stark says:

    Hmm, it’s hard to tell, especially since you might grow again soon. Both of them will work fine right now, but they 230 will be noticeably heavier. I would also consider a CRF150F or KLX140L. I recommend test riding one or multiple bikes before you decide if possible.

  • Mariano Vertiz says:

    Hey Tom, so I went for a test on the honda earlier today and I really liked it… But, it did feel a little bit overpowered for me as a beginner. I mean of course I love the oomph it has but I am afraid someday i’ll mess up and crash at high speed. I didn’t ask the dealer but would it be possible to set a throttle control so I couldn’t use it 100% ?

  • Tom Stark says:

    Yes, you should be able to put some sort of governor/stop on any bike, whether it’s on the exhaust or the carburetor itself. If the dealer can’t help you, ask a friend that is knowledgeable about dirt bikes to help show you how.

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