Best Budget Dirt Bike For Beginners That Is Reliable

Trying to get your first dirt bike for cheap? If you’re on a budget but still want a quality bike, I want to show you the best budget dirt bikes for beginners that are still affordable and reliable.

Obviously, you’re going to have to buy used if you want an inexpensive first dirt bike, so you also have to find a used bike in good shape. I’ll include some tips for that as well.

Cheap dirt bikes

Unfortunately, there’s not many cheap dirt bikes these days that are of good quality. Some Chinese brand dirt bikes may last a while, but I stay away from them because there’s little to no factory support, as well as aftermarket availability. 

With that said, here are the best budget dirt bikes for adults:

  • Yamaha TTR125L
  • Honda XR200
  • Yamaha TTR230
  • Honda XR250
  • Yamaha YZ125
  • Yamaha YZ250F

Best budget dirt bike

If you’re a beginner, then the 2 dirt bikes that are generally the cheapest are the TTR125L and the XR200. If you’re a short adult, then the TTR125 is a great bike to start on. The XR200 will fit most adults. 


The TTR125 is one of my favorite beginner bikes for teens and adults because it’s small, but the large wheel model is still big enough if you’re an averaged sized adult. It’s super easy to ride and learn the clutch on, and there’s thousands of them out there. Yamaha has 4 different TTR 125 models, including small and large wheels, as well as an electric start option.

ttr125l medium sized dirt bike
TTR125L is a great medium sized dirt bike for kids and small adults.

The TTR125 might be the most affordable and best value dirt bike on the used market if you’re an adult that’s just getting into dirt biking.


While the XR200 hasn’t been made since 2002 in the US, it’s still one of the best beginner dirt bikes for adults on a budget because it’s easy to ride, it has full size wheels, it’s very forgiving, and it’s as reliable as it gets.

With a little bit of suspension tuning/mods, it’s a very capable woods bike for trail riding. That’s why I took it out to Colorado for my first week of riding out there a number of years ago.

Riding on a slower xr200 dirt bike is safer
Riding in the mountains on a “Beginner Bike” built my confidence

Cheap motocross bikes

I’ve owned and ridden almost every dirt bike brand, and Yamaha is always near the top for overall performance and reliability. Yamaha is also the best value dirt bike because they’re relatively inexpensive. The best cheap motocross bikes are the Yamaha YZ125 and YZ250F, but it depends on the model year that you buy. 

YZ125 – Budget 2 stroke mx bike

The YZ125 is still the most popular 125cc 2 stroke dirt bike for many reasons. Unfortunately, the 2005 & newer is still pretty expensive to buy used because Yamaha hasn’t updated it until just recently. 

Which model year?

With that said, this is the perfect reason to get a 2004 or older YZ 125 if you’re on a budget. The demand is lower, but the performance is just about as good. 

An 03 YZ125 is still an excellent 125cc motocross bike today
Typical used ’03 YZ125

The 2002-2004 models are lightweight and narrow feeling to ride. The only possible downside is the 5 speed transmission (if you absolutely need 6 gears). 

The 99-01 year models are great as well and are super reliable. Finding a clean and well maintained YZ125 may be somewhat difficult, but they’re a worthy motocross bike if you’re an adult or growing teen. 

YZ250F – Budget 4 stroke mx bike

Looking to start racing motocross but want a 4 stroke? The YZ250F is not only the most affordable, but it’s the most reliable 250F mx bike. It’s been around since 2001, so you can find them for less than other 250F’s on average.

2006 is when the YZ250F went to an aluminum frame, and they started getting expensive at that point.

How to get a dirt bike for cheap

First, you must know that you may have to wait some time to get an actual good deal on a cheap dirt bike. You may find one within the first week, but if you’re looking for a specific brand and model bike, you may have to wait months.

Knowing what to look for when you get there is half the battle. Being able to spot signs that the bike has been well maintained or not will give you the best chance of getting it for cheap.

Inexpensive dirt bikes

Looking at those pit bikes and dirt bikes for $599 or similar brand new? These may be cheap to buy brand new, but they’re made in China and are poor quality compared to the name brand dirt bikes from Japan and Europe.

I recommend staying away from these inexpensive dirt bikes and pit bikes if you plan on riding for more than a year. They’re not very durable if you’re riding aggressive, and parts will be hard to get in the future.

Why are enduro dirt bikes so expensive?

I consider an enduro dirt bike to be a high performance trail bike. An example would be the Yamaha YZ250FX. They are a lot more expensive than a trail bike, such as the TTR230, because of all of the technology and R&D.

Trail bikes don’t change that much over 5-10 years, so dirt bikes brands don’t have to invest in new equipment to change them. This saves money, as well as time, which equates to more money. 

Enduro bikes continue to get better because the companies keep investing time and money to test and and tune them. This is why they are so expensive compared to a beginner trail bike 

How to get started dirt biking safely

Want to start dirt biking on the right path? Choosing the right bike is the first step, but then you need proper gear and instruction on basic riding technique. Want some riding tips to help prevent common newbie crashes? Tap here to learn more.

Kelley Fager

I help riders learn to safely ride off-road with confidence so that you don't crash and get injured, even if you don't have a lot of time to practice. Learn To Ride With Confidence Here

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