Dirt Bikes For 12-Year-Old Kids

By Team Wild Triumph
Dirt Bikes For 12-Year-Old Kids

There are so many activities that a young kid can indulge into. Amongst them, dirt biking is the most popular one, not merely because you can see your kid in action, but also because it is the best way you can bond with your child. And who knows, the next beginner motocross champion might come out from your own house!

But when a kid turns 12, it becomes quite evident how far he (or she) is determined to indulge in this sport. And as a mentor, it is our responsibility to guide and support, as well as make an informed decision in favor of the child. Amongst which, choosing the right sized dirt bike is of paramount importance that allows him to work around his skills and refine his riding techniques.

And while your kid is busy honing his capabilities, you will have to constantly upgrade and invest in bigger capacity engines the moment he outgrows his previous dirt bike. While this may sound absurd, but the reality is that kids outgrow their dirt bikes every 3 to 4 years. So, if your 12-year-old kid is still stuck on a small 8-year-old dirt bike, it is about time you upgrade to a bigger one.

To help you around with this decision, we have shortlisted some of the best dirt bikes, including both high-performing as well as budget ones. So, based on your young one’s riding skills, techniques, and most importantly inseam length, you can shortlist the most ideal one from this list.

Best Dirt Bikes For 12-Year-Old

Honda CRF150R

Honda CRF150R

With its compact size and powerful, lightweight engine, the Honda CRF150R offers a unique combination of effortless handling and incredible responsiveness. Thanks to its unrivalled performance and compelling ergonomics, it is the most ideal mid-sized dirt bike for your 12-year-old. In addition, its heavy-duty, lightweight steel frame with large-diameter tubing offers excellent cornering response and straight-line handling.

The Unicam® single-cylinder 4-valve power unit, based on the CRF450R, outputs a lot of power from its modest 150cc displacement engine. Its rugged, race-proven design offers a high degree of reliability and performance on any kind of track. Further, an automatic de-clutch mechanism makes kick-starting quite easy.

Needless to say, the CRF150R’s 5-speed transmission is designed with closed-ratio gears for efficient power management. An adjustable 37mm Showa upside-down front fork and Pro-Link rear suspension system allows your kid to configure the bike as per their style, which further instils confidence to go “airborne”. And as riders reach higher levels of expertise, handling techniques either on the ground or in the air will come naturally.

Further, the braking system is completely aligned with the power; a single disc 220mm upfront and 190mm at the rear offers a great stopping power in any riding condition.

The CRF150R is designed to give your young rider an edge on the dirt track. It’s not just any off-road bike with a low seat height; it’s a real powerhouse built specifically for junior riders.

To accommodate taller kids, the CRF150R, that comes with a standard 17-inch front and 14-inch rear tire is also offered in a slightly bigger model: The CRF150R Expert model features a 19-inch front tire and 16-inch rear tire which further increases the seat height to 34.1 inches.

All together; the CRF150R is one of the best bikes to polish the skills of future champions. Its high-performance and cutting-edge technology are the primary winning factors that guarantee both satisfaction and success! With its powerful Unicam 4-stroke engine, which makes it easy to ride even on the most difficult terrains, the CRF 150R is designed to guarantee power, handling and total control. Moreover, its race-oriented suspension and lightweight frame facilitates the transition from beginner level to the upper motocross class.

Base Price: 5,249.00 USD

Highlights:

  • Curb weight: 83.9 kilograms
  • Seat height: 32.8 inches
  • Starting mechanism: Kick start
  • Displacement: 149cc
  • Engine: 4 Stroke
  • Clutch: Manual clutch
  • Transmission: Five-speed
KTM 125 XC

KTM 125 XC

Backed with a long-standing history in Motocross, coupled with countless milestones accomplished with the production of unbeatable ready-to-race dirt bikes, the XC series continues to be the prime performer in this segment.

The Austrian manufacturer presented this 2-stroke dirt bike with a Mikuni TMX 38mm flat side carburetor that is equipped with latest technology reed blocks for intake. This ensured optimal functionality with a smooth and controlled power across all rev range.

This year, the 2-stroke KTM 125 XC, designed for closed-track racing, is updated with a new cylinder that features a lateral support exhaust port and a new timing unit for more power in the upper rpm range. And this cylinder works harmoniously with its two-component cylinder head to deliver incredible performance even at lower revs. Further, it is paired with an ultra-compact, redesigned DS clutch that features a revamped cover.

Coming to the suspensions; the 125 XC offers an optimized 48mm USD air-sprung WP XACT front forks powered with an AER technology and a revised WP XACT shock with a redesigned linkage system that includes machined and anodized components.

In addition, this bike features a redesigned Kickstarter position, an improved narrow seat that reduces the overall width of the bike, a more powerful battery and a new orange colored frame inspired by the original factory bikes. Plus, the revised 6-speed transmission is now smoother and even more responsive.

Aside to this, to ensure that your kid is ready to handle extreme conditions, KTM offers a wide range of high-quality high-performance gear for serious young riders, including a huge collection of casual wear to make sure he or she is ready to race at all times, both on the track and off-road trails.

In addition, KTM offers a wide range of KTM PowerParts that allow riders to customize their bike in terms of looks or performance to further maximize their potential.

Some other noteworthy features include; 4-way adjustable aluminum tapered handlebar from Neken, ODI vulcanized and lock-on grips on the right and left side of the bars, sophisticated foot pegs that feature a self-clean mechanism, Brembo brake calipers coupled with lightweight 260mm and 220mm wavy discs, 2.4 gallons of polyethylene tank, and an easy to access airbox that ensures optimum air flow in the engine.

Base Price: 8,099.00 USD

Highlights:

  • Curb weight: 91 kilograms
  • Seat height: 37.4 inches
  • Starting mechanism: Kick / Electric start
  • Displacement: 125cc
  • Engine: 2 Stroke
  • Clutch: Multi-plate clutch, Brembo hydraulics
  • Transmission: Six-speed
Honda CRF125F

Honda CRF125F

Inspired by Honda’s CRF450R, the overall design of the CRF125F is a reflection of its competitive spirit. Its dynamic design, with downright aggressive features, deliver an exceptionally strong performance and power. Built with a single goal in mind, the engineers at Honda made sure the CRF125F stands out as a winner. In fact, on this bike, Honda has accounted all the desires of young inexperienced riders.

The single cylinder, four-stroke engine with 124cc displacement features a rugged, low-maintenance construction and outputs smooth and powerful acceleration even at low revs. This is a significant improvement when compared to its predecessors, as special attention was given to optimize the flow in the intake and exhaust tracts. As a result, engine characteristics and power delivery at lower revs have been streamlined and made significantly more pleasant.

Its small but powerful 125cc engine, coupled with a 4-speed manual clutch transmission, delivers unparalleled satisfaction in terms of responsiveness and handling. And with its meticulously balanced suspension settings and remarkably lightweight chassis, even an amateur, who is riding for the first time, will be able to control the bike.

As for the filtration, its large cross-section air intake is identical to that of the CRF450R. Further contributing to performance enhancements are the revamped electronic system and upgraded exhaust system. An additional change has been made to the sprocket cover; this is no longer combined with the alternator cover as was the case on the previous model. As a result, it is easier to access while working on the drive pinion.

The all-new electronically controlled fuel injection system from Keihin replaces the carburetor system. Its steel frame with twin spars and heavy-duty structure, inspired by the CRF Performance line-up ensures an optimal balance of both firmness and suppleness to keep your kid comfortable on the trails. Further, the half-waffle grips offer a better fit owing to its reduced circumference. And finally, an electric starter that ensures effortless start-up at all times.

And just like CRF150R, young riders are provided with a Big Wheel version in 125F as well!

So, the 125F is equipped with a 17-inch wheel up front and a 14-inch wheel down the back, while the Big Wheel is equipped with a 19-inch wheel up front and a 16-inch wheel at the back. Aside to the aforementioned, the difference between the Big Wheel and the standard 125F is practically the same.

Base Price: 3,249.00 USD

Highlights:

  • Curb weight: 88 kilograms
  • Seat height: 29.1 inches
  • Starting mechanism: Kick start / Electric
  • Displacement: 124.9cc
  • Engine: 4 Stroke
  • Clutch: Manual clutch
  • Transmission: Four-speed
Kawasaki KLX 140R

Kawasaki KLX 140R

The KLX140 from Kawasaki is the most versatile dirt bike for a 12-year-old and surprisingly is also very popular among adults. The KLX line-up goes back to 2002 when Kawasaki first came out with their KLX 110, a pretty popular kids dirt bike that we have already discussed in our article ‘dirt bikes for 10-year-old’, which is still in production. And then later, the KLX 125 and KLX 140 models were introduced, to cater the requirements of intermediate youth riders.

Interestingly, the KLX 140 comes in 3 different models; a standard model (KLX140R) with a 17-inch wheel up front and 14-inch at the back, then we have a larger wheel version (KLX 140RL) with a 19-inch wheel up front and a 16-inch wheel at the back, and lastly a full-size version (KLX 140RF) with a 21-inch wheel up front and 18-inch wheel at the back.

Although the 140RF is pretty close to a full-sized dirt bike, yet its compact frame design makes it very simple for beginners, especially young girls.

KLX 140 also features an electric start, this is especially helpful for young kids who are new to off-road riding. So anytime the bike stalls, there is nothing to worry about. In addition, it is equipped with an air-cooled system, eliminating the use of complex radiators, that further reduces its weight. As a result, KLX 140 is pretty agile since all the mass is located at the center.

And one great thing about KLX 140 is that for all these years, they have remained pretty much the same. Aside to some changes in plastic body, literally everything has been the same right from its first launch. This makes it really effortless in case you wish to buy any additional spare parts.

Coming to the specs; it features a 144cc air-cooled four-stroke engine that delivers plenty of smooth and continuous power owing to its 20mm Keihin carburetor & digital DC-CDI ignition system. Further, its five-speed manual transmission, Uni-Trak® linkage system and single shock rear suspension along with 33mm telescopic fork up front ensures a relaxed and comfortable ride even on the most extreme dirt trails.

Base Price: 3,299.00 USD

Highlights:

  • Curb weight: 93 kilograms
  • Seat height: 30.7 inches
  • Starting mechanism: Electric start
  • Displacement: 144cc
  • Engine: 4 Stroke
  • Clutch: Wet multi-disc manual clutch
  • Transmission: Five-speed
Sherco 125 SE Factory

Sherco 125 SE Factory

The Sherco line-up includes numerous off-road bikes to cater every rider ranging from 125cc to 500cc (two-stroke SE-series and four-stroke SEF-series). When it comes to two-strokes, Sherco offers 125cc, 250cc and 300cc machines. Amongst these, the 125 SE Factory is the most popular one among beginner riders, especially the 12-year-olds.

In fact, the characteristic attributes common with all Sherco models, such as excellent rideability, have been further improved in this dirt bike. Thanks to which, the 125SE is light, agile and fun to ride.

The 125 SE features the same frame design common across the entire range, but with some new additions, such as an electric push button integrated under the engine, eliminating the need for a kick starter altogether.

And in addition to the DC – CDI ignition with digital advance 220 W alternator, 125 SE is equipped with electronically controlled valves and booster for a better throttle response, a Keihin PWK36 carburetor, a liquid cooling system, and a 6-speed sequential gearbox. All of which are designed to deliver a better engine performance and a better fuel economy.

In short, it’s a great bike in the 125cc segment. And, more importantly, it competes big time with KTM in this class. Its build quality and components are right alongside the rivals, and it does this without resorting to cheap compromises. The same is evident while riding as well.

The crankshaft is designed for endurance riding and favors low revs and traction, while the Galfer front brake discs are derived from 4-stroke models coupled along with Brembo brake pads for reliable stopping power.

The engine is powerful, responsive and forgiving, which allows the rider to make mistakes and learn from them. Moreover, a gentle pressure on the clutch is enough in order to shift the gears during a high-speed track event. In fact, the bike is perfectly poised and very easy to handle, so your kid can literally play around corners and bumps at any revs.

Some other noteworthy features include; KYB closed cartridge suspension unit along with KYB shock absorbers, lightweight and performance centric Akrapovič exhaust system, AXP 6mm skid plate, Neken handlebar pad, Selle Dalla Valle seat cover, and an aesthetically pleasing graphic design all over the plastic body.

Base Price: 9,799.00 USD

Highlights:

  • Dry weight: 95 kilograms
  • Seat height: 37.4 inches
  • Starting mechanism: Electric start
  • Displacement: 124.81cc
  • Engine: 2 Stroke
  • Clutch: Multidisc in oil bath
  • Transmission: Six-speed
Suzuki DR-Z125L

Suzuki DR-Z125L

Being one of the most recognized brands in the history of motocross, the DRZ125L’s cutting-edge appearance, powerful and reliable engine, and dynamic lightweight chassis all together contribute to what we have today, a masterpiece!

In fact, the DR-Z125L was specifically developed to allow younger and smaller riders to ride in the dirt with confidence. It features large 19-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels with a disc brake at the front to deliver superior performance that compliments its size.

DR-Z125L exemplifies Suzuki’s moto of “Passion. Performance. Brotherhood. Ride” with powerful, well-controlled braking system (disc brake single rotor upfront and drum brake at the rear), wide-range torque that delivers plenty of peak power owing to its Mikuni VM20SS single carburetor, and a strong, lightweight and agile frame with telescopic front forks and link-type rear suspension.

Owing to its class-leading performance, high speed cornering capabilities and more precise maneuvering is guaranteed.

On top of that, its state-of-the-art aerodynamic body, exquisite styling and unparalleled dependability makes it a perfect dirt bike machine. In addition to its race-specific appearance, the DR-Z125L offers sharp handling and responsive power even at mid & low-engine revs.

As for the specs, it features a robust steel pipe frame and beam-style rear swingarm, a rack-and-pinion manual clutch, a digital CDI ignition system with an air-cooled engine, and an SCEM-plated cylinder. Furthermore, it is also equipped with large lightweight aluminum rims so that even small riders can ride through the dirt with ease.

Inspired by the styling of Suzuki’s champion models, the RM-Z and RMX, this bike combines aggressive styling with off-road characteristics including smooth handling and low-rev capabilities.

Base Price: 3,349.00 USD

Highlights:

  • Curb weight: 89 kilograms
  • Seat height: 32 inches
  • Starting mechanism: Kick start
  • Displacement: 124cc
  • Engine: 4 Stroke
  • Clutch: Wet multi-plate
  • Transmission: Five-speed
Husqvarna TC 125

Husqvarna TC 125

And finally let’s talk about Husqvarna, a KTM AG owned motorcycle brand. The TC 125 is one of the several revamped dirt bikes featuring new technology, high quality components and aesthetically pleasing design that is loved and appreciated by young enthusiasts.

First of all, we would like to highlight the engine. This two-stroke liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine features a 125cc displacement and is extremely light in weight (17.2 kilograms) that further assists the rider in getting started.

And thanks to the abundant amount of torque delivered from it, both seasoned as well as amateur riders are able to achieve the best results. Moreover, this engine features shaft arrangements that help centralize the rotating mass, thus allowing extra comfortable maneuvers with minimum vibrations across the handlebar.

On the latest TC 125, you get WP XACT front & rear suspension, 260 mm & 220mm front and rear disc brakes, and a central double-cradle-type frame design made from chromium molybdenum steel to improve the overall handling.

Further, the subframe is made from 70% polyamide and 30% carbon fiber, allowing the TC 125 to weigh less while still ensuring an exceptional strength. These characteristics alone indicate the quality of the construction and level of engineering employed.

Some other noteworthy features include; a sleek and ultralight ProTaper handle bar that eliminates any cause of fatigue due to excessive riding, robust foot pegs with self-cleaning mechanism, Brembo hydraulic clutch, 6-speed gear box from PANKL Racing Systems, MIKUNI TMX carburetor, and precisely positioned airbox that ensures unrestricted air-flow at all times.

Altogether, the 125 TC might be small in terms of displacement and speed, but it compensates for that with its outstanding performance and control. By utilizing the latest 2-stroke technology, which underwent countless hours of extensive testing, your kid will experience far more power and torque than any other bike in this class.

Base Price: 7,899.00 USD

Highlights:

  • Curb weight: 89 kilograms
  • Seat height: 37 inches
  • Starting mechanism: Kick start
  • Displacement: 124.8cc
  • Engine: 2 Stroke
  • Clutch: Wet multi-disc DS clutch
  • Transmission: Six-speed

Bottom line

The techniques involved in dirt biking can vary from one child to the other, depending on their interest level, schedule, fitness level, and also their motor skills. The art of dirt biking cannot be developed overnight and your kid may need a little time to practice. You should allow your youngster all the time he (or she) needs in order to progress. A child’s dirt biking experience should be pleasant and he should feel happy and excited about it.

And if you notice that the child is not yet ready for a larger displacement bike, keep the new bike aside for a while and switch to the previous one until he is ready to ride it.

A bad experience will more likely prevent the child from learning. Happy parenting! 😊

Suggested reading: Dirt bike for 11 year old kids