How To Pick The Best Beginner Dirt Bike – [Top 11 Bikes]

What features make the best beginner dirt bike? Is it the the size, weight, or price tag? How do you know you’re not spending all that hard earned cash on the wrong bike that you will regret buying?

In this post we’ll look at the best new and used dirt bikes available if you’re an adult or teen that’s a new or beginning rider. There’s 7 key factors that make a dirt bike great for starting out and learning to ride on that we will reveal. We’ll also look at what bikes you need to stay away from that you are more likely to get hurt on right away, and will cost a lot more to buy and maintain.

Whether you’re buying your first dirt bike, or you haven’t owned one in years, you need to know what to look for in a dirt bike. There are many different models to choose from. You may already have a couple of different bikes in mind that would suit your riding style and the terrain you will primarily ride, but there’s certain features that will make riding easier and more enjoyable.

Table of Contents show

What NOT To Look For In A Beginner Dirt Bike

It’s not uncommon to hear stories from riders that got the “riding bug” as soon as he or she got on their first dirt bike. That’s great for our riding community, but I also hear or see too many stories about people that were immediately scared away from dirt biking and will never consider it again.

This is because they started out on the WRONG dirt bike.

It’s a shame, because if they started out on a proper bike, then they might have actually enjoyed it and made it a lifelong hobby. Let’s look at what the top worst beginner dirt bikes have in common. Then we’ll look at a few examples of dirt bikes to stay away from.

Too Much Power to Handle

Any time you give a new rider a dirt bike to ride, they’re inevitably going to have poor throttle control, let alone clutch control. If you want to have a frustrating time with your first dirt bike, get one that has too much power.

Is A 450 A Good Starter Bike?

The simple answer is no, almost universally. The only 450cc dirt bikes being made today are liquid-cooled 4-strokes that are high performance motocross or Enduro bikes. A 450 simply has too much power to handle.

Unless you already have a lot of experience riding or racing high-powered street bikes, it’s not worth it to start on a big and powerful 450 dirt bike.

Accidents can happen a lot quicker on a 450…

Is A 250 Dirt Bike Good For A Beginner?

A 250 dirt bike can be a great beginner bike, but it greatly depends on which model 250cc you’re looking at.

Generally, 250cc is the max displacement size I will recommend for a bike to start out on. However, a 250cc motocross bike, two or four stroke, is too much power for a beginner to handle.

Is A 125cc Dirt Bike Good For Beginners?

A 125cc trail bike, such as a TTR125, is a great dirt bike for beginners riders that are shorter. The TTR125L has a low seat height, so if you are under 5’4″ then you will fit without being cramped.

A 125cc motocross bike, such as a YZ125, is not a good beginner bike, however.

A grown man can’t even handle the power-band of a YZ125

My Feet Can’t Touch the Ground

Unless you are well over 6 feet tall (182cm), you need to stay away from tall dirt bikes. If you can’t touch the ground with your feet or toes, you’re much more likely to tipover or crash.

As you know, riding only two wheels takes balance to stay upright. This is especially true when riding slow or coming to a stop. Riding a dirt bike at extremely low speeds can actually take more skill to do than riding at a cruising speed.

One Step At A Time

Everybody wants to be the next James Stewart or Graham Jarvis when they first start riding. Did they start out as champions? Nope, they had humble beginnings, just like you are now. You will start out slow, and work your way up to faster speeds.

Those first few minutes and hours are extremely important to gaining confidence, and the last thing you want is a tall, top-heavy dirt bike that is going to cause you to tipover because you stopped on uneven ground and couldn’t put your foot down in time.

What Is Considered A “Tall Dirt Bike”?

Any bike with a seat height over 37 inches is tall. Almost all motocross bikes and high performance enduro bikes fall into this category.

Tall Motocross Bike

With an average inseam of 30 inches, this is going to be a problem. Even though the suspension sags a few inches when you sit on a dirt bike, there’s still a few inches more before your feet can touch the ground.

This leaves you with shifting your weight to one side of the seat and tip-toeing to hold the bike up. Just one more thing you shouldn’t have to worry about while trying to learn how to do six other things.

Your Riding Buddies Will Be Faster Than You In Less Time

Let’s say you start riding the same time as your group of friends. They all get proper beginner bikes, but you choose to get a powerful motocross bike because you think you’ll get ahead of the game.

You’re having fun ripping around on a sweet bike with the latest suspension and way more horsepower than you really need. But who cares, because you’ll “grow into it”… Right?

Fast forward a little ways down the road and your buddies will most likely have a lot more control over their dirt bike than you. Riding fast is cool, but a fast bike will decrease your learning curve.

Slower Is Faster… If You Want To Get Better

Just because you start out on a slower dirt bike does not mean that you will be riding slower. In fact, quite the contrary is true. If you buy the right dirt bike the first time around, it will be easier to control and allow you to focus on learning proper technique. This will increase your skill much quicker than if you started out on a dirt bike that’s too powerful.

What Makes A Great Beginner Dirt Bike?

Now that you know what not to look for when buying a beginner dirt bike, we need to narrow down what you should be looking for.

Easy To Start

Remember back when you had to manually crank start your car? Didn’t think so. While most dirt bikes may not be that difficult to kickstart, having the “magic button” of electric start is becoming the norm, and for good reason.

Electric start systems are becoming more and more reliable. Just look at street bikes. How often do you see problems with them, other than a dead battery from old age or not getting a charge?

The Magic Leg Is Magic For Beginning Riders

Having e-start over kickstart is a great motivator for continuing to learn how to ride dirt bike. I see so many new riders getting frustrated just because they have to keep kicking their bike over to get it running again after they stalled it for the 27th time, sucking the fun right out of the actual riding.

Riding Made Easy With E-Start

Electric start isn’t a must, but if you’re older and have sore or weak legs, not having to kick-start is a fantastic option. Another place where e-start shines is when you stall on the side of a hill and it’s difficult to pull the kick-start out and kick it while trying to balance. Just press the button and keep riding!

Easy To Ride

A dirt bike that is easy and manageable to ride will not only boost your riding confidence, it will also be much more fun right from the beginning. Let’s look at the factors that make a dirt bike easy to ride for a beginner rider.

Smooth Power

The best way to gain confidence is to start on a dirt bike with smooth, tractable power. This narrows it down to most trail bikes or entry level enduro bikes.

Smooth power is produced by an engine that is tuned for low-end to mid-range RPM riding. Having good torque at an RPM just above idle also helps you learn how to use the clutch because it will be less prone to stalling.

Low Enough Seat Height

We already went into depth of why having a tall seat height is counterproductive to learning how to ride. Having a low seat height will boost your confidence as beginner rider because you can easily touch the ground with at least one foot and balance while riding slow or coming to a stop. You’re also closer to the ground in case you do fall, so you’re less likely to get hurt.

Lightweight

How would you like to start out on a big, heavy XR650L? It has good, smooth power, and is easy to start…

Unless you’re as big as Goliath, starting on that big of a dirt bike is just begging for trouble.

Just because you’re big and strong does not mean you can handle a big, heavy dirt bike, regardless of how smooth the power-band is. Even grown men have trouble balancing a full-size motorcycle because they don’t have the muscle memory.

Seat Height and Weight Correlation

So what is considered light enough for a beginner dirt bike? Well, that is actually not a specific number. If you’ve heard the term “Center of Gravity”, it applies directly to a dirt bike and how it handles, as well as how easy it is to balance.

Having a high CoG (center of gravity) makes the bike feel very top heavy, thus making it more difficult to balance. This is why it’s best to start out on a bike that is as low as you can comfortably ride on.

On the flip side, you can get away with a slightly heavier dirt bike if it has a low CoG. Low seat height generally means lower center of gravity, so keep that it mind when choosing the perfect starter bike.

Reliable

The last thing you want is a dirt bike that you have to work on more than you ride. You’re looking for something that requires low maintenance and is very durable.

Old-Tech Is Still Good Tech

While I am a big fan of technology advancement and how it makes life easier and more convenient, some technology is still proven to work well after many decades.

If you want the most reliable and durable engine to start out with, it’s hard to ignore the simplicity of an air-cooled four-stroke. Not only do they produce smooth power that makes it easy to ride, but the maintenance intervals are much longer than most liquid-cooled dirt bikes.

Made it up a mountain on old technology…

As long as you do your regular maintenance, such as changing oil and filter, an air-cooled engine should last for hundreds, if not thousands of hours.

How Much Can You Afford?

Last, but certainly not least, is the buy-in price point of your first dirt bike. You saved up all that hard earned cash, so you don’t want to waste it on a bike that costs more than a different bike that would work just as well for you.

With that said, you don’t want to cheap out a couple hundred bucks when you could have bought a dirt bike that is a much more capable machine that fits your needs.

So, What Are the Best Beginner Dirt Bikes Then?

Now is the time when we will look at each specific model that make this guide for being the best beginner dirt bikes available, new and used. While this list may go from 11th to number one, the bike that fits you and your needs best may be somewhere in the middle.

While looking at what each model has to offer, here are some specifications to keep in mind that we covered earlier in this post: seat height, wet weight (actual ready to ride weight, as opposed to a misleading “dry weight” without any fluids), electric or kick start, wheelbase, engine size/power, and price.

Dirt
Bike
Seat HeightWeightStarterEngineFuel
System
Price
Yamaha
TTR230
34.3″
(87.1cm)
251lbs
(114kg)
E-Start223cc
4-stroke
Carb$4,449
Honda
XR200R
33.5″
(85.1cm)
240lbs
(109kg)
Kickstart195cc
4-stroke
Carb$500-
2,000
Beta
200RR
36.6″
93cm
230lbs
(104kg)
E-Start190cc
2-stroke
Carb,
Oil-Injected
$8,699
Beta
XTrainer
35.8″
(91cm)
232lbs
(105kg)
E-Start293cc
2-stroke
Carb,
Oil-Injected
$7,699
Honda
CRF150F
32.5″
(82.5cm)
233lbs
(106kg)
E-Start149cc
4-stroke
Carb$1,000-
3,000
Kawasaki
KLX140L
31.5″
(80)
209lbs
(95kg)
E-Start144cc
4-stroke
Carb$3,399
Kawasaki
KLX140G
33.9″
(86)
218lbs
(99kg)
E-Start144cc
4-stroke
Carb$3,699
Honda
CRF230F
34.6″
(88)
249lbs
(113kg)
E-Start223cc
4-stroke
Carb$4,349
Kawasaki
KLX300R
36.4″
(92.5)
282lbs
(128kg)
E-Start292cc
4-stroke
EFI$5,499
Kawasaki
KLX230R
36.2″
(92)
253lbs
(115kg)
E-Start233ccEFI$4,399
Honda
CRF250F
34.8″
(88.5)
265lbs
(120kg)
E-Start249ccEFI$4,599
Best Beginner Dirt Bike Specs Comparison

11: Yamaha TTR230

The Yamaha TTR230 has been out since 2005 and has been their go-to for an entry level adult trail bike. It has a nice, low seat height and electric start. Both of those are ideal for a beginner rider.

Yamaha TTR230

The air-cooled 4-stroke engine is simple and easy to maintain. The power is smooth, but it’s tuned a little more for power in the mid to higher RPM range. It produces good low-end torque, but not as well as other bikes in its class, such as the CRF230F.

The TTR230 is not a race bike, but having more off-idle torque makes it easier to learn the clutch and ride at low speeds.

Aftermarket Availability?

Aftermarket availability is not as vast as the Honda competitor, so it’s a little more limited in increasing performance. You can still buy the basic mods, such as stiffer fork and shock springs, an exhaust system, and intake mods, but the amount

Why The TTR230 Makes The List

Coming in at 251lbs, it’s not a lightweight, but that is actually about average for a dirt bike over 200cc. Having a 34.3″ seat height, it hides its weight well while riding because the center of gravity is lower than most other full-size bikes.

TTR230 Final Impression?

The TTR230’s low seat height and electric start are key factors to making this list of best beginner dirt bikes. In reality, all of the bikes that are on this list are great starter bikes, which is why there are 11 of them.

The TTR doesn’t have a huge aftermarket selection for when you’re ready to start modifying it. The power delivery isn’t quite as low-RPM based as the other 230cc models on this list. This makes it slightly less user-friendly, but it’s still a fun dirt bike to start riding on.

Pros:

  1. 34″ seat height
  2. Simple engine with smooth power
  3. Electric start
  4. Low maintenance, reliable
  5. Durable
  6. Easy to get replacement parts for

Cons:

  • Lack of aftermarket
  • Not as much low-end torque as other 230’s
  • No backup kick-start
TTR230 Walk-around

Seat height: 34.3″

Wet weight: 251lbs

Starter: Electric start only

Wheelbase: 54.5″

Engine size: 223cc air-cooled 4-stroke

Fuel system: Carburetor

Horsepower/Torque: 17HP

Price: $4,449 MSRP new

10: Honda XR200R

Even though the XR200 hasn’t been sold in the United States for almost 20 years, it’s still one of the best dirt bikes to start out on for many reasons.

Honda XR200 Beginner Dirt Bike
Honda XR200R

The XR200’s lightweight and low center of gravity make it super easy to ride. It handles very well at low to moderate speeds. It’s next to impossible to get into trouble with its buttery smooth and linear power-band. Although it doesn’t have electric start, it is fairly easy to kick-start when properly jetted.

It’s A Honda

The XR200 engine platform has been around for decades. About the only reason you’d need to rebuild the engine is if you didn’t change the oil and filter often enough, or you have thousands of hours on it. These bikes are built to last and have very few issues if you do your routine maintenance.

Do You Belong To The Cult?

Air-cooled 4-stroke dirt bikes tend to have more of a exclusive following, and the Honda XR200 is still one of the leading cults. Aftermarket availability is strong compared to most other brands, and the amount of information on modifications is almost endless.

There’s A Couple Different XR200’s

Honda changed the suspension on the XR200 after 1991. From ’86-’91 it had more travel, front and rear. The rear shock was adjustable and you can rebuild it. The newer shock is definitely a downgrade in performance, and having less suspension travel makes it a rougher ride once you get past first and second gear.

With that said, having less suspension means that the seat height and CoG are lower, making it even easier to handle for a new rider.

XR200R Final Impression?

If you’re looking to stay on a budget by looking for a used bike and don’t mind having kickstart only, the Honda XR200R is an excellent choice for your first dirt bike.

It has enough power to do just about anything, short of extreme riding and steep hills. Even then, you’d be surprised at what this little red Honda can do in the woods with the suspension setup for your weight and riding ability.

Being that the XR200 hasn’t been made since 2002, it might take some time to find a used one in good running condition, but they’re still out there.

Pros:

  • Low seat height
  • Very forgiving engine/power-curve
  • Lightweight full-size dirt bike
  • Shorter wheelbase/tight turning radius
  • Great handling in the woods/singletrack
  • Budget friendly to start out on
  • Still has good aftermarket availability
  • Reliable/durable

Cons:

  • No electric start
  • 18+ years old
  • Difficult to find a nice used one
XR200 Trail Riding

Seat height: 35.6″ (’86-’91)/33.5″ (’92-’02)

Wet Weight: 240lbs

Starter: Kick-start only

Wheelbase: 53.7″ (’86-’91)/53.5″ (’91-’02)

Engine size: 195cc air-cooled 4-stroke

Fuel system: Carburetor

Horsepower/Torque: 12HP/12 ft.lbs

Price: $500-2000 used

9: Beta 200RR

What is a Beta, and where did they come from? They are an Italian made motorcycle company that’s been around since 1948 and have been a major trials bike manufacture since the 80s.

Beta 200RR Beginner Dirt Bike
Beta 200RR

The Up and Coming…

They have grown immensely in the off-road scene on the last 10 years. Beta is still a niche market, much like KTM was 20 years ago, but they are quickly becoming one of the best brands to offer enduro and trail bikes.

Giving The Riders What We Want

The Beta 200RR picked up where KTM left off after discontinuing their 200cc off-road 2-stroke model. The 200RR is an electronic oil-injected 2-stroke, but still has a simple Keihin carburetor.

Beta had beginner riders in mind when designing this bike. The engine is tuned for a smooth and broad power-band, making it easy to ride and handle. The seat height is over 2″ shorter than a typical motocross or enduro bike, and the frame is slightly smaller.

200RR Final Impression?

Compared to the other dirt bikes on this list, Beta has a lot to offer. The suspension is way more advanced and better performing out of the box. Even though it’s a 2-stroke, the oil-injection system keeps things simple for those that don’t like pre-mixing gas and oil.

It also has a sun mode and rain mode that alters the ignition timing. The rain mode basically de-tunes the engine to soften the power so it’s easier to ride in slippery conditions.

It has more peak torque and 2-3 times more horsepower than most of the bikes on this list. But at what cost? Well, that is the downside, being that it’s the most expensive dirt bike on this list.

If you’re looking for a higher performance beginner bikes that will keep you entertained for years to come, the Beta 200RR is an excellent 2-stroke beginner bike.

Pros:

  • 36.6″ seat height
  • Smooth, torquey power for a 2-stroke
  • Electric start
  • Full travel and highly adjustable suspension
  • Great handling; Low CoG
  • Oil-injected: no pre-mixing gas
  • Plenty of horsepower to grow into
  • Multiple riding modes for different conditions

Cons:

  • $8,699 MSRP for a new model
  • 2-stroke; for those that despise smoke
  • Tallest seat height on this list
  • Longest wheelbase; bigger turning radius
Beta 200RR

Seat height: 36.6″

Wet Weight: 230lbs.

Starter: Electric start with kick-start as an added option

Wheelbase: 58.1″

Engine size: 190cc liquid-cooled 2 stroke

Fuel System: Carburetor, oil-injected

Horsepower/Torque:

Price: $8,699 MSRP

8: Beta 300 XTrainer

Moving on to the next Beta, the 300 XTrainer (Cross Trainer) is purpose-built to be beginner-friendly. A 293cc 2-stroke engine sounds like a lot to handle, but it’s tuned for low-end power.

Beta 300 X-Trainer Beginner Dirt Bike
Beta 300 X-Trainer

All The Options & Power You Need

It still has some giddy-up, so a lightweight rider that has no clutch or bike experience may be a little overwhelmed. But, if you’re a power-junky or want a dirt bike that will last many years without growing out of it, the Beta 300XT is a great option.

The chassis is about 10% smaller than a full-size dirt bike, so the low seat height and shorter wheelbase make for a manageable and easy to ride set-up. Coming in at 232lbs wet and fully loaded, it’s one of the lightest enduro trail bikes available.

The 300XT comes with electric start and an optional kick-start for backup. Just like the 200RR, it’s oil-injected, so no pre-mixing gas.

300 X-Trainer Final Impressions?

I don’t normally recommend a dirt bike with this big of an engine to a beginner rider, but all of the specs and the way the bike is tuned for rideability is hard to ignore.

The suspension is nice and plush. The power delivery is buttery-smooth with plenty of oomph to haul you up just about anything. It’s also cheaper than the 200RR, albeit still more expensive than the other models on this list.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • 3″+ lower seat height than comparable enduro bikes
  • Shorter wheelbase, making it easier to turn
  • Low CoG: also aids in handling
  • Used models are more affordable
  • Plenty of power

Cons:

  • $7,699 MSRP for a new model
  • May be a little too much power for a lighter or brand new rider
  • 2-stroke: if you don’t like adding oil to a separate tank

Seat height: 35.8″

Wet Weight: 232lbs.

Starter: Electric start with kick-start option

Wheelbase: 57.8″

Engine size: 293cc liquid-cooled 2-stroke

Fuel System: Carburetor, oil-injected

Horsepower/Torque:

Price: $7,699 MSRP

7: Honda CRF150F (2006-2019)

The CRF150F makes number 7 on the list because it is a great beginner bike for both adults and teenagers. It’s not a full-size dirt bike, so the wheels are slightly smaller (19″ front/16″ rear), and the seat height is extra low.

Honda CRF150F Beginner Dirt Bike
Honda CRF150F

Small Has Its Advantages

The low seat, combined with the short wheelbase set it up to be an excellent handling ride at low to moderate speeds, and in tight riding areas.

Just like we covered earlier in this post, the low seat height and CoG are 2 key factors to a perfect starter bike. The 149cc air-cooled 4-stroke engine is as reliable as it gets, and provides smooth power that is very forgiving.

There’s 2 Different Models

The CRF150F first came out in 2003 with an engine that is based off of the XR200 and CRF230F. It is kick-start only. It’s a good beginner bike, but the 2006 and newer model has a new engine design that is lighter, and it comes with electric start. This review is based off of the 2006-2019 CRF150F (they are discontinued after 2019).

CRF150F Final Impressions?

While the CRF150F isn’t a heavyweight, it is a bit porky for its size. With that said, it hides its weight well when riding and feels quite nimble due to the low CoG.

It has e-start, which is great for those that just want to push a button and go. It’s super reliable if you do the simple, routine maintenance outlined in the OEM service manual. The CRF150F is also a cheap dirt bike compared to the others because you will have to buy a used one. There’s plenty of aftermarket parts if you want to upgrade it or personalize it.

Pros:

  • Very low seat height
  • Electric start
  • Easy to ride and maintain
  • Reliable
  • Good handling
  • Has just enough power for most riding
  • Lots of aftermarket options

Cons:

  • Smaller wheels
  • Poor suspension
  • No backup kick-start
Honda CRF150F Trail Bike Review

Seat height: 32.5″

Wet Weight: 233lbs

Starter: Electric start only

Wheelbase: 52.2″

Engine size: 149cc air-cooled 4-stroke

Fuel System: Carburetor

Horsepower/Torque: 10HP

Price: $1000-3000 used

6: Kawasaki KLX140L

The first Kawasaki on the list is the KLX140L, coming in at number 6 for best beginner dirt bikes. The KLX140L is the closest rival to Honda’s CRF150F that you just read about. It has mid-size wheels and a simple, reliable 144cc air-cooled 4-stroke engine.

Kawasaki KLX140L Beginner Dirt Bike
Kawasaki KLX140L

Lightest, Most Compact Package

The KLX 140L has a one inch lower seat height, and almost 2 inch short wheelbase than the CRF150F. Coming in at 209lbs wet and ready to ride, the 140L is the lightest bike on this list. It’s an excellent dirt bike for teens, females, riders 5’6″ and shorter, or if you just want to start out on a nice, compact set of wheels.

Simple, No-Nonsense, Reliable Machine

Much like most of the other bikes in this guide to buying the best beginner dirt bike, the KLX140L is a very basic and homely platform. The air-cooled engine is durable, the suspension is simple, yet plush and friendly to new riders.

KLX140L Final Impressions?

Lowest seat height? Check. Electric start? Check. Cheap to buy? Check. If you’re looking for the best mid-size beginner dirt bike, the KLX140L is as good as it gets.

Pros:

  • Lowest seat height
  • Great handling; lowest CoG
  • Lightest on the list
  • Electric start
  • Simple, reliable
  • Quieter than most dirt bikes
  • Low cost, new and used

Cons:

  • Smaller wheels
  • Small chassis; not good for tall riders
  • No back-up kick-start
  • It’s green?
Kawasaki KLX140L Review

Seat height: 31.5″

Wet Weight: 209lbs

Starter: Electric start only

Wheelbase: 50.6″

Engine size: 144cc air-cooled 4-stroke

Fuel System: Carburetor

Horsepower/Torque: 9HP

Price: $3,399

5: Kawasaki KLX140G

Wait, didn’t I just read about the KLX140? Yep, but the KLX140G is a newer version that Kawasaki updated for riders that want a full-size dirt bike, but still like everything else about the little 140.

Kawasaki KLX140G Beginner Dirt Bike
Kawasaki KLX140G

The 140G has full-size wheels (21/18″), so the seat height and wheelbase are taller and longer. It only weighs 9lbs more, so it’s still lightweight compared to the rest of the pack.

KLX140G Final Impressions?

The KLX140G has the lowest seat height and is the lightest full-size 4-stroke dirt bike on this list. It may not have a lot of power, but it will be the easiest to ride.

With an MSRP of well under $4,000, this is a very affordable beginner bike. They’ve already been around for a few years, so waiting to find a used one can save you even more cash that could be spent on proper riding gear and gas.

Pros:

  • Very low seat height (33.9″)
  • Only 218lbs wet
  • Full-size wheels
  • Electric start
  • Low CoG
  • Reliable
  • Cheap for a full-size dirt bike

Cons:

  • Low power output
  • Similar cockpit size as the KLX140L
  • No back-up kick-start
  • It’s green?
Kawasaki KLX140G Review

Seat height: 33.9″

Wet Weight: 218lbs

Starter: Electric start only

Wheelbase: 52.4″

Engine size: 144cc air-cooled 4-stroke

Fuel System: Carburetor

Horsepower/Torque: 9HP

Price: $3,699 MSRP

4: Honda CRF230F (2003-2019)

Going back to a red machine, the Honda CRF230F is a hugely popular trail bike on multiple continents. It has full-size wheels, but the seat height is under 35″. It has electric start, and the engine is biased towards low-end torque. This makes it easier to learn how to use the clutch and ride at low speeds.

Honda CRF230F Beginner Dirt Bike
Honda CRF230F

Coming in at a wet weight of 249lbs, it may seem like a lot, but it’s just under the weight of the other 230cc bikes. The CRF230 has a low CoG, so it handles and turns very well, which is also aided by the shorter wheelbase.

Another Cult Bike With Mods Galore At Your Reach

The red riders always seem to enjoy modifying their little red pigs. The CRF230F has such a distinct following that has turned this “little girl’s bike” into a “tight woods weapon”. With proper suspension and engine work, it can make grown men on their $11,000 dirt bikes cry in embarrassment and confusion.

CRF230F Final Impressions?

Although Honda discontinued the CRF 230F, thousands upon thousands of these dirt bikes were bought from 2003-2019. They will be around for quite some time, just like its predecessor, the XR200R.

Aside from having lackluster suspension, the 230F is an excellent beginner bike and has great potential if you decide to keep it long-term for a trail bike.

Pros:

  • Low seat height
  • Low CoG
  • Electric start
  • Torquey, reliable engine
  • Super easy to ride
  • Easy to uncork
  • Plethora of mods available
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Poor stock suspension for any aggressive riding
  • A little heavy for its size
  • No backup kick-start
CRF230F Trail Riding

Seat height: 34.6″

Wet Weight: 249lbs

Starter: Electric start only

Wheelbase: 54.1″

Engine size: 223cc air-cooled 4-stroke

Fuel System: Carburetor

Horsepower/Torque: 15HP

Price: $4,349 (’19), 1200-3500 used

3: Kawasaki KLX300R (2020 & newer)

Kawasaki has brought back their KLX300R trail bike, along with some modern updates. Fuel-injection and electric start are the most significant changes to this 292cc dirt bike.

Kawasaki KLX300R Beginner Dirt Bike
Kawasaki KLX300R

This One’s Different Than The Rest

It’s a liquid-cooled dual-cam engine that puts down more power than any other 4-stroke on this list. The power-curve is very smooth, however, giving you a beginner-friendly ride. Combine that engine with a compact chassis with over 11″ of suspension travel that doesn’t feel like a pogo-stick, and you get a pretty solid trail machine.

KLX300R Final Impressions?

You have the KLX140L on one end of the spectrum for a 4-stroke beginner bike, and the KLX300R on the other end. The KLX300 is not a race bike, nor can the suspension handle big jumps, but it has more than enough power if you’re a larger rider.

Electric start and fuel injection are very nice to have, especially if you ride in different climates throughout the year that would normally require jetting changes. The engine is still based on the earlier KLX300R, so it’s a proven and reliable platform.

Pros:

  • Electric start
  • Fuel injection
  • Compact cockpit; more confidence-inspiring if you’re shorter
  • Adjustable handlebar mount
  • Low-end torque-Based engine
  • Reliable
  • Fully adjustable rear shock

Cons:

  • It’s a brute, coming in at 282lbs wet
  • It’s liquid-cooled; more complex and prone to overheating
  • No backup kick-start
Kawasaki KLX300R Owner Review

Seat height: 36.4″

Wet Weight: 282lbs

Starter: Electric start only

Wheelbase: 56.5″

Engine size: 292cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke

Fuel System: Digital fuel-injection

Horsepower/Torque: 25HP?

Price: $5,499

2: Kawasaki KLX230R (2020 & newer)

Down to number 2, the KLX230R is an all-new trail bike from Kawasaki. It is the middle ground between the KLX 140 and 300. It has a 233cc 2-valve 4-stroke engine that is air-cooled, similar to the TTR and CRF 230.

Kawasaki KLX230R Beginner Dirt Bike
Kawasaki KLX230R

KLX230R Final Impressions?

Simplicity and technology may seem like two sides of a coin, but that’s what new riders are looking for in a beginner bike. The KLX230R is a good step in that direction because it’s easy to start, ride, maintain, and there’s very little to no tuning required with fuel injection.

Unfortunately, some new owners of the KLX230R have complained of the head pipe getting red hot at idle. While this isn’t necessarily a major issue if you don’t let the bike sit at idle for long, it should be corrected if Kawasaki or your local dealer won’t do it for you.

Aside from that issue, for under $4,500, you get quite a bit for a brand new dirt bike. Unless you don’t like the color green, the KLX230R is a great trail bike that is built for a beginner adult or teen rider looking to have fun while learning how to ride.

Pros:

  • Nice and compact chassis
  • Electric start
  • Fuel injection
  • Adjustable rear shock
  • Low MSRP
  • Reliable

Cons:

  • Somewhat heavy to pick up for new/young riders
  • No back-up kick-start
  • May need a fuel controller to correct lean running condition
Kawasaki KLX230R Walk-around

Seat height: 36.2″

Wet Weight: 253lbs

Starter: Electric start only

Wheelbase: 53.5″

Engine size: 233cc air-cooled 4-stroke

Fuel System: Digital fuel-injection

Horsepower/Torque:

Price: $4,399 MSRP

1: Honda CRF250F (2019 & newer)

The CRF250F has taken over the Honda’s entry level trail bike position since discontinuing the CRF230F. It is not related to their Motocross bike, the CRF250R, in any regard other than the fact that it’s a 249cc 4-stroke dirt bike.

Honda CRF250F Beginner Dirt Bike
Honda CRF250F

While it’s more closely related to the CRF230F, it’s a completely new design from the ground up. Electric start isn’t new, but electronic fuel-injection, dual-disc brakes, a newly designed frame, and a 4-valve engine are some of the major updates to Honda’s premier air-cooled beginner trail bike.

CRF250F Final Impressions?

Honda took what made the CRF230F popular and updated some things to make it even better. The suspension is the biggest thing lacking, but with a retail price of well under $5,000 there’s only so much Honda can update.

Fuel injection and a 4-valve engine are great upgrades. The fuel-injection make the bike easier to start, and with an EFI tuner there’s great potential for easy power. The EFI also compensates for changes in climate so you don’t have to keep making changes or get frustrated with a poor running bike.

The 4-valve engine breathes better than its predecessor, increasing power while still keeping enough torque down low to make it easy to ride. The new engine design also allows for a bigger bore without major modifications. Aftermarket parts are still being tested and produced, but the market for big bore kits are expected to be high demand for the CRF250F.

Why Is It The #1 best beginner dirt bike?

The CRF250F is number 1 on this guide to finding the best beginner dirt bike for many reasons. It is easy to start in all conditions with the electric start and fuel injection, it is easy to ride because of the low seat height and smooth power, and it’s affordable and reliable.

Being able to easily upgrade your CRF250F is another benefit of choosing the Honda. This dirt bike will be an excellent first bike for you if you’re an adult or teenager.

Pros:

  • Low seat height
  • Torquey 4-valve engine
  • Electric start
  • EFI
  • Reliable
  • Low CoG; hides its weight well
  • Plenty of mods will be available sooner or later (they’re already out there on other continents)
  • It’s a Honda

Cons:

  • Suspension didn’t get much of an update
  • It’s a little on the heavy side
  • No backup kick-start
Honda CRF250F Ride & Review

Seat height: 34.8″

Wet Weight: 265lbs

Starter: Electric start only

Wheelbase: 55.9″

Engine size: 249cc air-cooled 4-stroke

Fuel System: Electronic fuel-injection

Horsepower/Torque: 20HP

Price: $4,599

So, which bike did you choose? Head on over to Facebook and post a picture of your new dirt bike! Like Motocross Hideout to get updates on the latest tips and reviews to help you ride more and spend less time fixing your bike!

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