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What’s The Best Dirt Bike For Tall Riders? [Trail or MX]

Are you a taller guy looking for a dirt bike that will fit you comfortably? Most dirt bikes are fairly tall if you’re average height, but they only make them so big for a variety of reasons.

In this article, I want to give you unbiased and practical advice on what the best dirt bikes are for tall riders, whether you’re a beginner or experienced.

Should bigger guys start on bigger dirt bikes?

Why not just go with a 450 since you’ll be transitioning to it soon anyway, right? Those are the famous last words of many new riders, unfortunately.

If you start on a 450 4 stroke then you’ll either: end up on the ground wondering what just happened, or you’ll be struggling to increase your riding technique because you’re focused on staying in control of the power. This is true whether you’re trail riding or on a motocross track.

Best beginner dirt bike for larger riders

Are you just getting into dirt biking? Starting on a beginner-friendly bike the right size is important to give you confidence right away. Or are you more experienced and want a bike that will pull you around better?

The best beginner dirt bikes for larger riders are:

Honda CRF250F

While the Honda CRF 250F isn’t the tallest dirt bike available, it’s the largest entry-level trail bike from Honda and is noticeably bigger than the CRF230F that it replaced. It has a 250cc DOHC air-cooled engine that makes very smooth power from idle all the way to abut 8000 RPM.

With EFI and electric start, it takes the frustration out of having to kick start or deal with cleaning a dirty carb if you let the gas go bad. There’s no backup Kickstarter, but you can still bumpstart it. As long as the battery is in good condition, you won’t have to worry about it not starting.

2021 Honda CRF250F 3 What's The Best Dirt Bike For Tall Riders? [Trail or MX]

There are also ways to make it feel roomier, such as parts from Hyperlitemoto, but having proper body position can make just as much or more of a difference when it comes to your comfort so it doesn’t feel like you’re riding a pit bike.

Honda XR250R

If you’re on more of a budget, the older XR250R has very similar characteristics to the CRF250F. It has a carburetor, but you can generally find one much cheaper in the used market.

It doesn’t have an abundance of power, but it’s enough to pull you around and learn how to ride even if you’re 250 lbs.

2002 Honda XR250R What's The Best Dirt Bike For Tall Riders? [Trail or MX]

The biggest thing to watch out for is an XR 250 that’s been poorly maintained. There are several important things to look for, such as oil and filter, which give you a good idea of its maintenance record…

Yamaha TTR250

This model was only made for 8 years, but the Yamaha TTR 250 is still a solid choice if you want a taller dirt bike to start on. It’s slightly heavier than the XR250R (less than a 10 lb difference), but the TTR has an electric start button, which is very alluring if you don’t want to deal with a kickstarter.

You don’t get many options for aftermarket upgrades, but it’s a great choice if you want a reliable and easy-to-ride off-road trail bike for casual play riding or trail riding.

2005 TTR250 What's The Best Dirt Bike For Tall Riders? [Trail or MX]

Suzuki DRZ250

A Suzuki DRZ 250 is slightly lower to the ground than the XR250 and TTR250, but it will feel just about as big and stable with similar power characteristics. It was only made for a handful of years, but it’s a great handling trail bike and comes with electric and kick start!

They’re getting harder to find, but you can find them for under $2k in running condition.

DRZ250 What's The Best Dirt Bike For Tall Riders? [Trail or MX]

Kawasaki KLX300R

Kawasaki re-released the KLX300R with EFI and electric start in 2019, but you can buy an older model for much cheaper if you don’t mind having a carburetor and kick-start only.

The KLX 300R has slightly more power than the 250cc air-cooled trail bikes thanks to it’s 292cc liquid-cooled engine. This means you have radiators to worry about, but it’s a very reliable engine that’s based on a street bike engine.

2003 KLX300R 5 What's The Best Dirt Bike For Tall Riders? [Trail or MX]

Honda XR400R

The Honda XR 400 is a great trail bike if you’re taller & bigger and just starting out. It has a lot of potential to be one of the best overall trail bikes if Honda ever decides to update it with fuel injection and electric start without adding weight.

Even though it has 400cc, the engine is super smooth and forgiving. The extra low-end torque compared to the smaller 250-300cc trail bikes helps get you up hills and over obstacles if you weigh 250+ lbs.

2003 Honda XR400R What's The Best Dirt Bike For Tall Riders? [Trail or MX]

Best MX bike for tall riders

Basically any full size motocross bike is going to be tall. So that means that a 125cc 2 stroke up to a 450cc 4 stroke mx bike are all going to be within 1-2″ of each other in seat height. 

Yamaha 4 strokes are often said to feel bigger than other brands. 

Yamaha motocross bikes are good for tall riders in general
Clean 2001 YZ250F that I bought years ago

But, if you’re tall and a new to motocross then you should start on one of these bikes:

  • Yamaha YZ250F
  • Honda CRF250R
  • Kawasaki KX250F
  • Suzuki RMZ250
  • KTM 250SXF
  • Husqvarna FC 250

A 250cc mx bike has plenty of power, even if you’re a bigger guy. You’ll just want to tune the suspension for your weight – this is true on any dirt bike because they’re generally built for a 160-180lb rider.

Best enduro dirt bike for tall riders

Basically all 250 and 450 enduro bikes have a similar seat height. 450s have slightly stiffer suspension to accommodate a slightly bigger rider, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically choose a 450. If you’re just getting dirt biking, please stay away from any 450 dirt bike. It’s way more power than you need. 

With that said, any of these enduro dirt bikes are good if you’re a tall guy:

Why are enduro bikes so tall?

I’m short, so I sometimes struggle on a tall enduro bike, but there’s definitely an advantage to them. For one, they need to be tall to accommodate the maximum amount of suspension travel.

The more fork and shock travel you have, the taller the bike needs to be. Having more suspension also allows for tuning to be plush yet controlled on varying terrain.

250XCW mods for tall rider
My friend on his KTM that has some mods to fit his taller body.

They’re also tall for proper ground clearance. Riding over big logs and rocks would be a lot harder if the frame was only 5 inches off the ground because it would be dragging all the time. 

Best dirt bike for heavier/larger riders that

On the other hand, the best dirt bikes for experienced larger riders are:

  • Yamaha YZ450FX
  • Honda CRF450X
  • KTM 500 EXC

Dirt bike setup for racers

It’s easy to go straight to a taller seat and set of handlebars, but sometimes they don’t help. In fact, if you actually test them on your bike, you may find that it’s harder to corner with taller bars and a tall seat.

A taller seat makes the center of gravity even higher, and you’re more likely to hit tree limbs in the woods on trails, so you have to consider your options.

Try playing with the current handlebar and lever setup, and then work on your riding technique. You shouldn’t be standing straight up and down when standing on the pegs. The attack position is the proper riding form needed to make you a better rider.

How to make a dirt bike taller

Maybe you like modifying your dirt bike and just want to throw parts at it. As you now know, there’s taller bars, a tall seat, as well as bar risers. Those are just the basics to make your dirt bike feel more comfortable and roomy.

In that case, I made a list of the best mods for tall riders (click here).

Ready to ride safer with more confidence?

If you’re struggling with confidence or control on the trails, then I want to help you out today. I want you to not only stay safe, but to be more confident so that you can ride faster and challenge yourself on the trails.

Click here to learn proper off-road techniques to give you more control.