Best Dirt Bikes For Tall & Bulky Riders
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Be it tall riders or big bulky riders, the most difficult problem is to align the long legs or extra weight with the ergonomics of the bike, both of which can lead to poor riding experience as well as result in discomfort around the knees.
This is particularly the case with small displacement dirt bikes, which offer little freedom of movement due to their low seat height as well as low ground clearance.
Furthermore, the bigger and heavier you are, the more pressure, weight and force you will exert on the frame, forks, engine and the wheels of the bike. And this can affect not only the durability of the bike but also impair its efficiency.
In order to meet the needs of tall and heavy riders, dirt bikes must have a high seating position as well as adequate power to carry that extra weight of the rider. And since traditional or standard dirt bikes do not always cater to the needs as such, here are some recommendations on the best available options.
5 Best Dirt Bikes For Tall & Bulky Riders
The first model on our list is the YZ450FX. In the last couple of years, as we all know, Yamaha has built some really great motocross bikes in their YZ line-up. Recently, however, they have updated some of their award-winning YZ models to make them better for off-road use, and relaunched them as the X series.
It was in 2015 that the YZ250FX was first launched post an upgrade, which was an immediate hit as soon as it was released. And in 2016, Yamaha did the same thing with their 450cc engine, which was then followed by the launch of YZ450FX.
But in order to build an all-terrain machine, Yamaha needed to make some changes in their existing models to make them more off-road capable. So, on the latest 450FX you get softer suspensions as well as 18-inch rear & 21-inch front Dunlop® Geomax wheels for better traction and control. Plus, the engine has been fine-tuned to be a lot smoother alongside the transmission which is now 30% wider than that of the motocross version (YZ450F).
In addition, it features an electric start, a skid plate, a fuel gauge, and a folding aluminum kickstand. And even though it uses the standard head and pistons, Yamaha did upgrade the camshafts.
Another thing that we love about YZ450FX is its ECU mapping, which is easy to set. This allows the rider to use GYTR® Power Tuner app on any smartphone to try out different maps or trails.
As for the ergonomics, it is pretty good as well. The four-way adjustable handlebar clamps retrofitted with rubber mounts improve overall comfort while simultaneously allowing the rider to adjust the position of handlebar. This is especially useful for tall riders, as it allows them to sit close to the tank and lean forwards.
Yet another outstanding feature of this bike is its engine; it has a really wide power band in the lower rpm range thus making it really smooth and easy to start. The power unit utilizes a 450cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke engine with 4 titanium valves, complemented by an exhaust and forward-mounted downdraft intake system. In addition, the design of the engine synergizes with the frame geometry to optimize weight distribution which renders the bike inherently sturdier.
As for the suspension, up front you get a KYB® suspension fork with speed-sensitive damping that is fully adjustable and offers 12.2 inches of travel. At the rear, on the other hand, you get a fully adjustable single shock that offers 12.5 inches of travel. Please note that a bulky rider might find this suspension a bit soft, however, a tall rider of average physique is likely to find this suspension very comfortable.
In any case, if you are too tall, we recommend adjusting the spring rates to your weight for optimal performance.
However, one thing you will find different on the Yamaha YZ450X is its brakes. And if you have ever ridden a KTM before, you will quickly realize this as well. So, while the brakes feel nice and soft, they certainly are not as strong as the ones offered on the KTMs.
All in all, Yamaha has done a great job building a competitive off-road bike, and we are sure you won’t complain if you choose this awesome dirt bike!
Base Price: $9,899
- Engine: 450cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke
- Transmission: 5-speed; multiplate wet clutch
- Fuel system: Mikuni® fuel injection
- Front suspension: KYB® spring-type fork
- Rear suspension: KYB® single shock
- Wet weight: 254 lb.
- Overall height: 50.4 inches
- Fuel tank capacity: 2.2 gal.
- Seat height: 37.6 inches
KTM 450 XC-F
The second dirt bike on our list is KTM 450 XC-F. And if you are wondering why, it is because lately most of the major changes have been made to KTM’s SX and XC models – few of them were much needed, to our delight.
Some of these major changes include a new frame for greater rigidity, a longer swingarm to allow for more adjustments, all-new bodywork and a new shorter cylinder head to reduce the overall mass of moving parts (which honestly was a bit of a pain).
That said, one thing you might have noticed is that there are a lot of reviews online for the 450 SX-F motocross model, but very few for the XC-F, even though these two models are closely related in terms of design. This is mainly because the XC-F is often mistaken as an off-road bike.
Technically, however, it is a racing bike designed for closed course competition. But unlike the SX-F, the 450XC-F features an 18-inch rear wheel, a side stand, a large fuel tank that holds 2.25 gallons of fuel (compared to 1.9 gallons) and few other features essential for off-road riding.
In fact, you will get pretty much the same feel as the SX-F, with just one difference: this bike is made to race.
The latest version of the bike incorporates two more upgrades; firstly, the fork features a new configuration with a more conventional valve system that includes a center valve, and secondly, it now has a larger gear ratio of 13/48.
Speaking of ergonomics, anyone who has ridden a KTM before will find XC-F up to the mark. It offers a very comfortable, responsive, and a swift ride owing to its slim, sleek look throughout.
Featuring a special off-road tread pattern, Dunlop’s AT81 boasts a softer rubber compound that provides better resistance to flats in case the rider goes over sharp rocks. And in general, they perform extremely well on both sand as well as dirt roads.
This means you can take the bike straight to either a motocross track, a desert race, or even to a high mountain climb without any worry.
As for the suspension, the WP XACT forks might look the same from the outside, however, they now feature improved oil bypass notches and a new air seal with additional bypass openings. Together, these two attributes address pressure spikes, resulting in a smoother and more predictable fork response.
In addition, the forks are equipped with an enlarged crossover bleed slot that enables the air pressure to pass from the positive to the negative chamber quite easily.
And thanks to the 449.9cc single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, this bike certainly doesn’t lack in performance at all.
So, if you consider yourself a true off-road rider who enjoys moto-cross racing, desert riding or hill climbing, you have got yourself a great option to think about. But remember, if you are more of a technical rider who prefers to ride in extreme trails, this probably isn’t the best bike for you.
Base Price: $11,649
- Engine: 449cc SOHC 4-stroke
- Transmission: 5-speed; Wet, DDS multi-disc clutch
- Fuel system: Keihin EMS
- Front suspension: WP XACT-USD, Ø 48 mm
- Rear suspension: WP XACT Monoshock with linkage
- Dry weight: 227.7 lb.
- Fuel tank capacity: 2.25 gal.
- Seat height: 37.5 inches
To mark its 50th anniversary, Honda recently launched upgraded models for its 450cc segment; the CRF450R, the CRF450RWE (where ‘WE’ stands for Work Edition) and the limited edition 450R.
The limited edition 450R features gold rims, gold handlebars, a gray metallic triple clamp and commemorative graphics that are a clear homage to the CRF models with which they (Honda) dominated AMA motocross and supercross in the 80’s. And of course, you can also opt for the standard CRF 450R or the 450RWE, both of which are offered in standard Honda colors.
Based on Team HRC’s expertise and insights, engineers at Honda have made numerous improvements to the chassis and engine to improve handling on this latest edition.
Furthermore, Honda effectively centralized and lowered weight wherever possible, resulting in precise cornering and stability at high speeds.
But as before, the CRF450R retains many of the features that have established it as the leader in its class. For instance, Honda’s signature Unicam cylinder head still contributes to its strong and efficient power delivery.
Its 450cc single-cylinder engine is liquid-cooled, while the engine mounts are made out of steel to optimize frame rigidity. In addition, the durability of the frame has been enhanced by increasing the density of the material both at the front as well as at the upper shock mount. These modifications have made it possible for the front and rear suspension to function more freely thus improving the overall handling performance.
Plus, you get 49mm inverted Showa fork with 13-position rebound and 15-position compression damping at the front, a Pro-Link Showa shock with adjustable spring preload at the rear and fine-tuned shock springs to adapt with the new settings.
The diameter of the throttle body has also been reduced to 46mm for smoother power delivery at low rpm.
Owing to these enhancements, the CRF450R is now easier to ride even for a beginner rider, who is looking to achieve faster lap times.
And that’s not all; a hydraulically operated clutch and easily switchable ignition characteristic give the rider precise control over power delivery, resulting in improved rear-wheel traction.
Meanwhile, a single 260mm brake disc with dual-piston calipers up front and 240mm at the rear further enhance handling. Plus, its design incorporates a dynamic approach by utilizing a slim body to offer a smooth transition in between acceleration and braking.
On top of that, its 38-inch-high seating position makes maneuvering extra comfortable for a big, bulky rider. And as always with Honda Power Sports line of products, this model also stands out for its durability, quality and reliability. In short, Honda has put 50 years of know-how into this latest 450R!
Base Price: $9,599
- Engine: 450cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder
- Transmission: 5-speed close-ratio
- Fuel system: Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
- Front suspension: Inverted Showa fork (49mm)
- Rear suspension: Pro-Link Showa single shock
- Curb weight: 245 lb.
- Fuel tank capacity: 1.7 gal.
- Seat height: 38 inches
KTM 300 XC-W TPI ERZBERGRODEO
For all the two-stroke fans out there, we have some good news for you as well! The all-new 300 XC-W TPI Erzbergrodeo Edition developed by KTM is specifically geared for all the off-road enthusiasts who simply cannot think beyond a two-stroke engine.
So, a technical rider can really outshine on this dirt bike.
Moreover, in the latest model, KTM has incorporated some of the features that were desperately needed for quite a while now. For instance, the entire frame geometry of the bike has been changed, and it now feels more balanced than ever before.
Featuring a one-piece aluminum swingarm designed to reduce its overall weight and improve the flex behavior, this nimble and lightweight enduro spares no obstacle.
But that’s not the only good thing about this 300 XC-W: KTM has also upgraded the fork and optimized the valves, making it almost unbeatable in this category. As a result, the forks are soft and plush, absorbing all the sharp impacts, even when you ride extremely fast.
In addition, the fuel mapping has also been revised: So, gone are the days when the bike struggled to crank up on a cold day. With these latest advances, all you need to do is focus on yourself.
Speaking about its engine, outfitted with a sophisticated power valve, the power unit comprises of a 293.2cc single cylinder engine that outputs exceptional power and low-down torque owing to its more efficient combustion and TPI fuel injection technology.
In fact, compared to other dirt bikes in this segment, this XC-W is clearly not derived from any motocross bike, rather, it has been carefully designed to be an absolute off-roader.
Following this approach, KTM has also reduced the weight of the frame which makes this bike feel like an e-mountain bike. So as a beginner or an advanced rider, you will certainly enjoy riding this lightweight and maneuverable motorcycle as you work towards improving your technical skills.
In fact, after riding this bike, the only thing you would wish for would be to put a license plate on it!
But like any other dirt bike, there are some strong as well as some weak points on this bike as well. For instance, if you are a fast rider who loves to hit the sand at over 80 mph, this bike might not be an ideal choice for you, as it is made specifically for technical riding and not simply for racing on the track.
However, if you prefer to be on the trails or off-road tracks, this bike has the potential to become your ultimate soul mate!
We personally were amazed by its low-speed capability, it’s technical off-road riding command, and its power delivery. In fact, there is nothing left to chance on this XC-W. All in all, a great bike for any tall rider who prefers technical riding more than racing.
Base Price: $12,399
- Engine: 293.2cc 1-cylinder, 2-stroke engine
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Fuel system: Transfer port injection (TPI)
- Front suspension: WP XPLOR-USD, Ø 48 mm
- Rear suspension: WP XPLOR PDS shock absorber
- Curb weight: 229 lb.
- Fuel tank capacity: 2.3 gal.
- Seat height: 37.7 inches
Kawasaki KX 450SR
Finally, coming to the last dirt bike on our list, which probably is one of the best-looking special editions we have ever come across: The KX450SR from Kawasaki.
The Kawasaki KX450SR, where the SR stands for “Special Racer,” is actually a designation given to factory bikes since Kawasaki began its production.
It was designed to deliver enhanced performance, increased durability and better styling to the already race-proven KX450 and to continue refining the existing model by collaborating with some of the most respected names in this sport.
So, the first thing you will notice is that this bike has some serious “brass” and a lot more power than the standard machine. And if you are someone who needs more horsepower or the one who is constantly running around looking for tweaks to make the bike faster, this is a great option.
Fueled by a liquid-cooled 449cc DOHC four-stroke engine, this bike has remained a very popular motorcycle since its initial introduction in 2019 and is based on the standard KX450.
It features a new Pro Circuit Ti-6 titanium exhaust system, a new cylinder head with polished intake ports, optimized ECU/DFI settings, D.I.D Dirt Star ST-X rims, Renthal sprockets, D.I.D Gold chain and most importantly KYB suspension units instead of Showa that are a part of standard version.
In addition, it is equipped with brand new XTRIG ROCS-TECH triple clamp with progressive handlebar damping system, which prevents impact from traveling straight to the hands. Thus, providing a more comfortable riding experience.
All of these features really give this bike a much more dynamic feel making it truly ideal for someone who loves racing or who is serious about honing his riding skills.
However, all these improvements do have a downside. The cost of this bike is about $2800 more than the standard model. So, most likely, this type of motorcycle will be preferred by someone who is either a seasoned rider or a dedicated racer who is really looking for a good platform to start his or her career.
That said, if you look at what you are getting, it is definitely a good bang for your buck. For instance, the exhaust system itself costs around $11,000 if purchased separately from any retail store. So, it is pretty reasonable if you look at it this way. Plus, it costs almost the same as 300 XC-W TPI we discussed above.
Furthermore, compared to the standard KX450, which by the way has a great engine, but is more focused on everyday rider, the KX450SR makes way more horsepower all over the board. So, the moment you pull the throttle, you will never notice any loss of power across any rev range.
Other notable features include the DFI® clutch, electric start assist, coned disc-spring hydraulic clutch, ERGO-FIT® adjustability, semi-floating 270mm petal brake disc with double-piston caliper upfront and 250mm petal brake disc with single-piston caliper at the rear.
All in all, the KX450SR is a high-performance bike with responsive and dependable handling. Backed by decades of expertise, the KX450SR offers superior technology that instils confidence all the way from start to finish.
Base Price: $12,399
- Engine: 449cc 4-stroke single, DOHC, liquid-cooled
- Transmission: 5-speed
- Fuel system: TDFI® with 44mm Keihin throttle body
- Front suspension: KYB Front fork, 12.4-inch travel
- Rear suspension: KYB Rear shock, 12.1-inch travel
- Curb weight: 242.9 lb.
- Fuel tank capacity: 1.64 gal.
- Seat height: 37.6 inches
So, there you have it, a selection of 5 of the best dirt bikes for tall and heavy riders. All of the dirt bikes featured above are versatile and can be ridden by any beginner, intermediate or expert rider. However, if you are completely new to dirt bike riding, we suggest sticking to 300cc displacement or less (best to opt for a used one) before riding a full-sized motocross.
Also note that riders who exceed the weight range of 450cc engine, or who are exceptionally fast, might have to do some additional modifications on the suspension to make the bike more responsive.
If you need any help or advice in choosing your next dirt bike, please leave us a mail or connect with our experts directly over the phone. Good luck!