How To Choose Dirt Bike For Kids
Dirt biking is one of the most interesting and exciting sports, and of course, it is also the best way to introduce your kids to the world of motorsports. There are many parents (including us) who are in love with their two wheels so much that they wish to impart this passion into their offspring. Sometimes this desire is so strong that they might even introduce dirt bikes to their kids even before they turn 5!
But it is because of their young age that these dirt bikes must have all the necessary safety features. This is why choosing the most appropriate model among the many available in the market is not easy.
In this article we will explain the most important aspects and characteristics of a dirt bike in order to choose the right one for your kid. So, keep on reading further for an in-depth guide.
Dirt biking & kids: Why is it important?
Sports activities like dirt biking have a positive effect on your child’s brain. This is because when your child is busy on the bike, his or her entire body and brain are supplied with more oxygen-rich blood. As a result, your youngster is able to concentrate better and think more creatively.
Watching cartoons, fiddling with smartphones, or playing video games are all major threat to your kids’ development. And they are, above all, the root cause of sedentary behavior. As we all know, obesity can be caused by lack of physical activity, even in children, and being overweight poses serious health problems; Dirt biking can be an effective countermeasure as such. And above all, it is so much fun!
Choosing the right dirt bike for your kids
Finally, the time has come to get your child a dirt bike, and this possibly instigates a sense of both fear and excitement. Most likely the first thought that will come to your mind will be, “How do I choose the right dirt bike for my child?”. While this is a very important question, the trick here is to remain calm and do your research. This is why we will be providing you with some information that will be helpful.
There are different models of kids’ bike available to choose from, based on your little one’s age, size and abilities. However, when it comes to the concept of kid’s dirt bike, most parents immediately associate them with replica two-wheelers made by toymakers, which have a plastic frame and are equipped with pair of wheels at the back for better stability. These are actually electric tricycles, that are not really meant to teach your little one how to ride a two-wheeled vehicle, but are used primarily for fun.
Nearly a decade ago there were not many options, however, being parents ourselves we realize that lately kids have wonderful opportunities to learn in a safe manner by first mastering how to balance themselves and how to get a hold of their bike.
So, from around 2 years, and depending on your little one’s motor skills, you can introduce balance bikes in his activities. Designed specifically to teach the concept of balancing, these cute looking bikes are ideal at this stage.
Thereafter they can learn throttle modulation on bikes that can decelerate and provide them a real dirt bike feel. These are generally battery powered and are particularly built to ensure a safe riding environment. Electric bikes from Kuberg are ideal at this stage.
Now these are the bikes your kid can learn to ride before they even hit the track. You can be out in the backyard as well, since these are silent and they do not make any noise. Nevertheless, these bikes will teach your child the right way to ride and to properly regulate the throttle. Moreover, the speed of these bikes can be restricted, thus making it ideal in case you wish to accompany your offspring on foot.
So once your kid has learnt this basic bike, move on to the next phase of biking. These are either 50cc bikes that are specifically geared to be on dirt track or an intermediate bike like the Yamaha TT-R50E and Honda CRF50F that are excellent bikes for the purpose of training. However, you can skip this part if your kid is trying to get the air as these bikes are not made to jump.
For this scenario, the KTM 50 SX is ideal because the special thing about this bike is that it can be lowered. This way, your kid can ride this bike even when they are 5 years old. It has got three different modes so you can start off on a really slow mode, but still have the ability to go on rough terrains.
The next stage is for kids who are truly passionate about dirt biking and are willing to take this sport to the next level. You can opt for the KTM 65 or the KTM 85 SX that are typically ideal for the age group of 7 and 8 years old.
These are pure dirt bikes and your kid should devote a lot of time in the saddle and learn the skills as well as understand the overall techniques of handling. So, ensure that your kid has excelled in it before sending him on a real track especially where there are other professional riders.
While they are meant to be there in the real world, but you are supposed to be a mentor that ensures a safe learning environment.
Things to look for in a kid’s dirt bike
There are a number of factors you have to pay close attention to when choosing a dirt bike for your little one. The most important ones are:
The very first thing you need to be concerned about is to determine the most appropriate size for your kid. Most parents determine the seat height based on the age of the child. While this is a rational approach, each child is different and one 4-year-old kid might be taller than the other.
So, the surest approach to determine if you are looking at the right sized dirt bike is to have your child sit on the bike with bare feet. If at least one foot is capable of reaching the ground, you have chosen the right sized bike. The other thing you can try is to do it with motorcycle boots on, this way you will know for sure that the height of the bike is appropriate. However, if your kid can put both feet properly on the ground then there is a possibility that they will outgrow the bike quickly. So, keep that in mind as well.
For a kid, it’s best to start with a 50cc dirt bike. These do not have as much power or weight, making it easier for them to come to grips with riding. These 50cc dirt bikes can accommodate kids till they are around 7 years old, post which you can move on to a bigger engine, 65cc or higher.
When it comes to wheels, you will find two different types on these dirt bikes; large wheels and small wheels. The large wheels are more stable, smooth, and reduce the impact of bumps on the road. They are however significantly heavier. Small wheels are lighter which enables you to turn faster. However, you have fewer options to choose from.
Now, the best way to determine the most suitable wheel size is to let your kid sit on the bike. If they can reach the ground comfortably, and cope up with the weight of the bike, then you can choose the larger wheel.
The majority of beginner dirt bikes have an electric start, which means you can start the bike with the push of a button. As you move on to a bike with higher displacement, the kick start comes into play. Both are good, but electric button might worry you in case your kid accidentally starts his bike in your absence. So, in case the bike includes an electric start, make sure it can only be started once ignition key has been pushed to the side.
How much displacement(cc) would be ideal for your kid’s bike?
A bunch of good light-weight dirt bikes are available to choose from if your kid is a beginner. For example, a 50cc automatic, a 65cc semi-automatic, or an 85cc manual.
If possible, take your kid along for a trial. This way you can see if your kid is able to reach the ground with his feet and if he is comfortable or not. This will also allow you to see if the weight of the bike is beneath his/her reach. By doing so you can figure out the best sized dirt bike for your kid.
However, if your kid is below 7 years, it can be risky to let him/her ride an 85cc right away, even if they are comfortable on it. This is because these dirt bikes are quite fast and not that great for learning. For those who really need to get the hang of throttle control and braking, it is better to start with an automatic clutch and a displacement of no more than 50cc.
The following chart will help you choose the most ideal displacement basis your kid’s age.
|Age||Recommended Displacement||Ideal Dirt Bike||Suggested Reading|
|3 - 5 Years||50cc||Honda CRF50F / PW50||Best 50cc Dirt Bikes|
|6 Years||50cc||Honda CRF50F / TT-R50E||Best Dirt Bike For 6 Year Old|
|7 Years||50cc - 65cc||Yamaha TT-R50E / KTM 50SX||Best Dirt Bike For 7 Year Old|
|8 Years||50cc - 65cc||KTM 65 SX||Best Dirt Bike For 8 Year Old|
|9 Years||70cc - 85cc||KTM 85 SX / Yamaha YZ85||Best Dirt Bike For 9 Year Old|
|10 Years||110cc||Honda CRF110F / Yamaha TT-R110E||Best Dirt Bike For 10 Year Old|
|11 Years||125cc||Honda CRF125F||Best Dirt Bike For 11 Year Old|
|12 Years||125cc - 150cc||Honda CRF150R||Best Dirt Bike For 12 Year Old|
Gas vs. Electric dirt bike - which one to choose for kids?
Most kids’ bikes, especially for younger children, are powered by an electric motor operating at 6 or 12 volts. While most of them can run at 10 kilometers per hour, some can go as high as 25 kilometers per hour. Typically, an electric dirt bike is quieter in operation and environmentally friendly, as it does not emit exhaust gases. Moreover, these battery-operated kids’ dirt bikes are quite easy to charge. And since it requires no fuel and has fewer wearing parts, it is usually less costly to maintain. In fact, it is ideal for beginners and young kids alike, and ensures a safer ride than the petrol-powered ones.
- Noiseless operation
- Light weight
- Fewer wearing parts
- Zero exhaust fumes
- Suitable for beginners and young kids (below 4 years)
- Safer to ride
In case of gas-powered dirt bikes, an internal combustion engine is used to generate power. And like any other gas engine, they need to be refueled (usually with a mixture of oil and petrol). However, these petrol-powered kid’s dirt bikes are up and running within minutes, as they do not require long recharging times.
- These are more powerful
- No charging time required
- Ready for use at any time
- Original dirt bike feeling
So, it is up to you to decide which one to choose between these two. However, it is important to note that kids outgrow their bikes very quickly. And this is pretty much higher when they own an electric dirt bike as the power and capabilities are restricted due to smaller motor. It is therefore ideal to consider a gas-powered or petrol-powered dirt bike even if your kid is quite young. This will eventually save you a lot of money in longer run, and your kid will be delighted with the amount of joy this engine can bring. Besides, these gas-powered dirt bikes come equipped with throttle restrictors or speed restrictors that allows them to be used even by kids younger than 5 years old.
New vs Used: Which one to consider?
When it comes to brand new kids’ dirt bike, nothing beats it, except for the fact that investing anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000 may not always be the most viable solution.
Besides, not every parent will be willing to spend so much on a sport they are not so sure about. And even if they are willing to buy a new bike, additional safety equipment like boots, helmets, knee pads, and back protectors will further add to the expense. Plus, any kind of beginner training expense, entrance fees to the dirt park, and transportation cost will further add to your budget.
Another thing to note is that not every kid remains committed to this sport and eventually realizes that it’s not really his/her cup of tea.
Also, a kid outgrows his bike really quickly. So, a dirt bike for a 4-year-old might not be ideal when he turns 6. As such, it definitely makes sense to first look around for a good, used dirt bike. Should your kid decide against this sport over time, you won’t have lost too much money.
2-Stroke vs. 4-Stroke dirt bike
4-stroke engines are much quieter than 2-stroke engines and above all much more pleasant to ride. 4-strokes do not require high revs as compared to 2-strokes and have reasonable performance even in the lower rev range! So, it is also easier for beginners to learn on it. Besides, 4-stroke dirt bikes run on normal petrol without mixing any additives.
2-stroke dirt bikes on the other hand are lighter, faster and have a powerful thrust from the engine. As a result, it’s easier to whip around the corners and do all kinds of maneuvers. However, due to their characteristics, these bikes are sometimes harder to control.
Of course, this is all a matter of personal preference, as no engine is technically better than the other. But before you make your decision, do consider such factors like maintenance costs, size of the bike, comfort, speed and handling. While each engine has its own advantages and disadvantages you should do your due diligence beforehand.
How to determine the right seat height for your kid's dirt bike
The inseam length (length of the inner leg) of your kid is a decisive factor in choosing a kid’s dirt bike. It is used to determine if your child can reach the ground with either of his foot (contact with the paws is sufficient) when the bike’s saddle height is set at the lowest possible level. This contact with the ground on either side of the saddle is essential, particularly during the initial riding sessions, as it imparts confidence and security to the young rider.
In this respect, the overall height of your child can also be used as a guide when choosing a suitable dirt bike, since the body height and inseam of children are in a constant proportion. But nevertheless, you should certainly take a look at the inseam length to avoid disappointing your kid.
To measure the inseam, you will need a measuring tape or a long thread that can be placed on the measuring scale. Have your kid stand upright with his or her back against the wall. Now measure the distance from the crotch and the floor. This way you will be able to determine your kid’s inseam length.
Now based on these measurements, you can choose between different dirt bikes depending on your kids experience and age. For instance, a 5-year-old with an inseam length of 50cm can easily ride a CRF50F that comes with a seat height of 54cm. And these bikes also offer few options to adjust the saddle height as and when required.
Tip: Ideally, most bikes will allow you to lower the saddle by 3cm and in some others you can ask the dealer for additional tweaks.
So, before you head to the nearest dealer or settle on a model from the web, it’s best to figure out the inseam length of your child and shortlist a handful of options as you review the bike’s saddle height.
How old do kids need to be to ride a dirt bike?
A common query among parents is to know the right age for their kids to start riding a dirt bike. Truth be told, there is no particular answer as it completely depends on your child and his/her skills.
Toddler and young kids are always in their growth phase, undergoing both physical and psychological changes. And as they are still in their developing stage, they might need assistance both psychologically and physically while they are learning such types of sports. Gradually with time, they will improve their balance, agility and motor skills.
So, if you think your 4-year-old is quite proficient in handling his electric bike and is demanding a more advanced version to improve his skills, go for it! And if you think that your 6-year-old kid is still struggling in maintaining his balance, we would suggest you to give him/her more time before advancing to the next level.
Is dirt biking dangerous for kids?
Being a parent, you may have concerns regarding the risks associated with dirt biking because of the extreme nature of this sport. And this concern is natural, being parent ourselves, we do worry as the bike often weighs twice as much as the kid.
There are many different ways to practice dirt biking and enjoy this sport in a safe manner. In fact, by making certain changes in the way we ride, the risk of injury can be drastically reduced and it can become a much safer sport, especially for beginners and young children.
To be honest, there are risks involved in dirt bike riding. As a matter of fact, dirt biking, motorcycling, or engaging in almost any challenging sport, does have risks. But the real question is, are you willing to keep your kid indoors all day long? Most probably no. And if you really want your kid to build confidence and enjoy his life, you should take this risk. In fact, any kind of outdoor sport including football, baseball, or even ice-hockey pose the same level of risks if played without undertaking safety precautions.
So, yes dirt biking comes with its own set of risks and dangers, but as a parent it is your responsibility that your offspring is well geared up and protected at all times. Further, as a responsible parent, always keep a check on the speed and the level of aggression your kid is experiencing.
Like all sports, dirt biking comes with certain set of safety regulations. And the child is required to follow them in order to avoid unnecessary injury. Dirt bike helmets, chest & back protectors, riding jackets, gloves, boots, neck brace and goggles are the basic protective gear that should be purchased along with the bike.
Read more: Dirt Bike Gear For Kids
As a parent, it is also important to sensitize your kid with the dangers associated in such types of sports. In addition, it is ideal to enroll your kid into a beginner’s club so that he or she can gradually develop the skills in a protected environment.
And since riding any kind of dirt bike (and this includes kids’ dirt bike as well), is prohibited on the public roads, always take your kid to one of the many approved circuits or private tracks (mud or flat tracks) reserved for this sport.
So that is all for now. Hope you gained some knowledge by going through our comprehensive guide. Do let us know if you need any kind of assistance, we will be happy to help! Happy Parenting! 😊