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What’s The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?

Looking for the best dirt bike for short riders but not sure where to start? Whether you’re a shorter female, a guy with short legs like me, or just want an enduro bike with a low seat height, you’re in the right place!

In this article, I’ll show you why you may or may not want a dirt bike with a low seat height, what dirt bikes are best based on your needs, and then some practical tips for riding if you’re short to quickly build your confidence!

What is considered a “Short Dirt Bike”?

If you’re an adult that’s sat on or ridden a typical full-size dirt bike, then you understand how tall they are, making it difficult to not only swing your leg over the seat, but also to ride if you need to put a foot down.

The average enduro bike or motocross bike for adults has a seat height of 37-38 inches tall, which compresses down a few inches when you sit on it, but that’s still probably taller than your inseam length.

For a full size dirt bike, I consider anything 36 inches or less to be a “short dirt bike”. For medium size dirt bikes that have smaller wheels, they’re all ‘short’ because they’re in the 30-34 inch seat height range.

Why you may not need a “short dirt bike”… at least not forever

As a beginner, being able to touch the ground with a foot will boost your confidence. It helps when you come to a stop or lose your balance at low speed, but you won’t need to worry about that forever.

Nate Crash Uphill What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?
What happens when you can’t reach the ground at slow speeds

As you learn how to control your dirt bike by using the fundamental techniques, you’ll build your skill and confidence. Eventually, you’ll be able to handle a taller dirt bike with better performing suspension and handling.

Pros & cons of low seat height dirt bikes

Hopping on and riding a full-size dirt bike (or even thinking about it) is intimidating if you’re a relatively short rider that’s new to dirt biking. I often ride a smaller full-size bike for this very reason, and now I want to show you the best dirt bike for short riders, whether you’re a guy or girl.

The Honda CRF230F is one of the best dirt bikes for short riders if you're a beginner or casual trail rider
Having a short bike is nice when riding in the mountains with short legs


As a general rule, the shorter a dirt bike is, the smaller the cockpit will be. In other words, the seat will be closer to the handlebars and foot pegs.

This can help if you’re short, but you can also start to feel cramped if you sit down a lot. Setting up your bars and levers can make a big difference in your comfort whether you’re sitting or standing while riding.

Alex Martin I Theilman May 2023 What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?
Got to say hi to Alex Martin on a trail ride (YEP – he’s really 5’4″!!)

Ground clearance

When you have a smaller dirt bike, the frame is naturally going to be closer to the ground. This won’t make much difference to most people, but if you ride technical trails with big obstacles or deep ruts, this will affect your riding.

With less ground clearance, your bottom frame rails and foot pegs are more likely to drag on stuff, making it harder to ride at times. This is just a tradeoff that you have to take in mind for having a lower seat height.

Best dirt bike if you’re a short female rider

Full size dirt bikes are pretty blasted tall, which means that if you’re an average-sized girl then you’re going to have a hard time touching the ground. 

That’s why I start or recommend all females ride one of these dirt bikes if you’re short:

Honda XR100/CRF100

Are you on a tight budget? The discontinued Honda XR 100 or CRF 100 is still an excellent choice if you’re a smaller lady looking for your first dirt bike.

It’s a good size if you’re in the 4’10”-5’2″. The only downfall is that it doesn’t have electric start compared to most newer trail bikes.

2003 Honda XR100R What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?

Yamaha TTR125

Whether you’re buying new or used, the Yamaha TTR125 is a great dirt bike for short riders, and I’ve used them to teach girls how to safely ride. There are a few different size options depending on the year, as well as an electric start option.

2016 Yamaha TTR125LE What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?

Honda CRF125F

Want the latest midsize trail bike with e-start and fuel injection? The Honda CRF 125 comes in a small wheel or big wheel, depending on your height. It’s super easy to ride, and EFI is nice because you don’t have to deal with annoying carb or jetting problems.

2022 Honda CRF125FB What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?

Kawasaki KLX140

The Kawasaki KLX 140 is one of my favorite beginner dirt bikes, especially if you’re a short rider. Not only does it have electric start and is easier to ride, but there are 3 size options based on your height and preference.

The KLX140L is great if you're a short dirt biker rider, which is what I started my wife on.
I got my lovely wife a KLX140L because it’s short enough and easy to ride!

All of these are 4 stroke trail bikes that are super easy to ride because of their low seat height and practical engine. The power is very smooth and forgiving, so you’re not going to get into trouble and crash easily. 

Choosing the right first bike is extremely important if you want to prevent bad crashes. The next important step is learning how to properly ride with safe techniques so that you stay in control.

You’re a guy with short legs

Maybe you’re like me and have short legs. I’m 5’6″, but my inseam is only about 27″, so it’s hard to touch the ground on just about every full size dirt bike unless I hang my butt off to one side of the seat and tiptoe. 

The tall enduro and MX bikes are too much to handle, but you probably don’t need as small of a bike as the ladies that I listed above. Fortunately there’s a few good midsize and shrunk down full-size bikes that are great to start on with enough power to have fun!

So, these are the best short dirt bikes for guys:

KLX 140 – 3 size options

The KLX 140 is still a great choice, especially when Kawasaki has the large wheel and full-size wheel option. It’s perfect if you don’t need much power because it’s lightweight, easy to ride, and a blast in the woods!

2021 Kawasaki KLX140G edited What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?
KLX140R F – full-size wheels for adults

CRF150F – midsize trail motorcycle

While Honda may have stopped making the CRF150F, it’s still a great trail bike if you’re not ready for full-size bike. The ’03-’05 years have kickstart, while the ’06 and newer have an updated engine with electric start.

Honda CRF150F edited What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?

XR200 – cheap used full-size bike

Honda hasn’t made the XR200 since 2002, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad dirt bike. In fact, it’s still one of the best beginner off-road motorcycles if you want a lower seat height and don’t mind kick-starting it.

Dirt Bike Compression Test What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?
Kick Starting An Old Honda XR200


Like the size of a Honda XR200 but need electric start? The CRF230F is an excellent choice if you’re a beginner or casual rider that wants a shorter full-size trail bike – there are plenty of mods, too, if you want to make it faster and more comfortable!

Modded 2005 Honda CRF230F
CRF230F with Bruce Triplett modified forks.


Yamaha is still making the TTR230, which is very similar to the Honda 230. The main difference is that it doesn’t have quite as much low-end torque. The advantage for you is that they’re usually easier to find and cheaper in the used dirt bike marketplace.

2007 Yamaha TTR230 What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?


Want a more updated trail bike that’s still shorter and easy to ride? While the newer Kawasaki KLX230R isn’t high-performance, the fuel injection and electric start make it fun and less frustrating to start and keep running compared to a carbureted dirt bike.


2022 Honda CRF250F What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?

These are all beginner trail bikes that are great for learning how to ride. The suspension is plush, and the engine has predictable power and is very reliable with simple maintenance. 

Most of these bikes have electric start, which is to have if you have a bum leg or simply don’t want to kickstart. 

Best enduro dirt bike for short rider

An enduro bike is basically a high-performance trail bike in today’s era. For example, a YZ250FX or 300XCW are enduro bikes. If you’re a beginner, please do not start on this type of dirt bike if safety is a concern.

2016 KTM 300 XCW What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?
The ultimate enduro bike – 300 XCW

It’s wiser to start on a slower bike, even if you think you’ll outgrow it too fast. Learning proper techniques on a “slow” is much easier and will advance your skills faster than starting on a big and powerful bike. 

With that said, being able to touch the ground is less of a problem as you gain more experience and skill

What does that mean?

Just because you’re short, you don’t need to be able to touch the ground with both feet because you know how to stay balanced on the bike

However, these are the best enduro bikes if you’re short:

2017 Beta XTrainer 300 What's The Best Dirt Bike For Short Riders?
The Beta CrossTrainer 300 opened up a new market for enduro riders

Best 450 dirt bike for short riders

Basically all 450 dirt bikes have the same seat height, so choosing the shortest one won’t make that much of a difference. If you’re looking for your first dirt bike, please stay away from any 450 unless you’re just 

With that said, here are the shortest 450 dirt bikes based on seat height:

  • Husqvarna FC 450 – 37.0’
  • Kawasaki KX450 – 37.6”
  • KTM 450 SXF – 37.8”
  • Suzuki RMZ450 – 37.8”

Best dirt bike with a low seat height for beginners

The best dirt bike to start on if you’re new to dirt biking is one that fits your height and is easy to ride. This means that a smaller bike with less power is going to be the best choice, even if you have a riding buddy that thinks you should start on a faster bike because you’ll “quickly outgrow” the ‘beginner bike’.

The best low seat height dirt bikes for beginners are:

The TTR125 has four model options based on wheel size and electric start or kick start. 

The KLX140 has three different model options based on wheel size. That means it can work if you’re short, super short, or ultra-short for an adult. 

Maybe you’re a little bit taller but still too short for a full-size bike and want to build your confidence. The newer Honda CRF250F is a great beginner bike for adults and teens because it’s easy to ride, has enough power to have fun, and is super reliable. Electric start and fuel injection take the frustration out of starting and maintenance.  

Short dual sport bike

Looking for a dual sport motorcycle or adventure bike to ride on the street and off-road? You have to expect that they will be considerably heavier than a typical dirt bike, but that’s the difference when you want to legally ride on the road.

These are the best short dual sport bikes:

The Honda CRF250L is a good short dual sport bike for beginner adventure riders

Best dirt bike for the money

It really depends on what your needs are. If you fit a Honda XR100 (30.5” seat height), it’s a really good dirt bike for how cheap they are. The TTR125 is also really good, as well as the XR200 or XR250 if you’re a beginner.

Here’s my video if you prefer to watch instead of reading

Why are these dirt bikes so good for the money?

Because they are some of the cheapest used dirt bikes you can buy, they are cheap and easy to maintain, and they are reliable if you’re just trail riding or riding for fun with your family and friends.

Best dirt bike brand

Nowadays, all of the name-brand dirt bikes are really good with just about every bike they make.

When I say name brand, I mean these brands are the best dirt bike makers:

How to ride with confidence if you’re short

One quick tip that will help if you’re riding a dirt bike that’s a little bit too tall is something that I do on almost every bike (because I have short legs).

I have to basically leap onto the bike when I swing my leg over the seat. Then, why I’m on the bike, I shift my butt over to whichever side of the seat I need to touch the ground on.

So when I come to a stop, I shift over to the right or left to put one foot down. You only need to put one foot down or you’re doing it wrong.

It all comes down to your riding technique to stay balanced, whether you’re a short or tall rider, and I want to help you get started so that you don’t make the common mistakes that most new riders make. Click here to quickly learn proper riding techniques to stay safe and help prevent serious injuries.


Sunday 14th of May 2023

I am a 5 foot 5 man (stocky) and want to buy a bike like an Yamaha XT 500 or similar Honda 500 enduro. A street legal enduro for a short rider. I'm all ears !? (not legs) Please reply.


Tuesday 16th of May 2023

@Kelley Fager, I can spend say 6K. I really want to ride back country roads, hiways in northern MN

Kelley Fager

Tuesday 16th of May 2023

Hey David, those are some old models you mentioned, which means they'll be hard to find parts for. What kind of riding will you be doing and what's your budget?