How to Choose a Dirt Bike for My Child

helmet boy child fun dirt bike

Family members who enjoy the outdoors and adrenaline-filled activities will also enjoy dirt biking.

It’s no surprise that your kids will want to join you in dirt biking if you’re into dirt biking.

And if you’ve got a young aspiring rider in your household, I’ll bet you’re now wondering how to choose a dirt bike for your child.

When choosing a dirt bike for your kid, you must consider your kid’s age and size, experience level, and the right size that matches your kid’s needs. You also have to think about the features that come with the bike, such as the engine type, power, suspension, and other advanced features like an electric start. Different dirt bike sizes are available for kids, but the ideal starting point is 50cc bikes, especially for young riders ages three and above.

Now, choosing a dirt bike for your child is twice as challenging as selecting a dirt bike for yourself.

After all, you must ensure the dirt bike you pick is safe and suitable for your kid while also giving them the exciting ride they want. 

If you need help choosing the right dirt bike for your kid, this post is for you!

We’ll discuss the different factors to consider when picking a kid’s bike, the recommended CCs for each age bracket, and how to decide between a brand-new or secondhand bike.

What to consider when choosing a dirt bike

1. Age and size

Image courtesy of Stiven Rivera

When picking the right dirt bike for your kid, their age and physical fitness significantly affect how comfy they’ll be on the bike and how in control they feel.

You want them to easily reach the handlebars, footpegs, and ground while sitting on it. 

Getting the right size bike also boosts their confidence.

A bike that fits makes them feel calm and collected.

And a confident rider is a fast learner!

Matching the bike to their age and size sets them up for a smooth ride on more advanced bikes as they grow and improve.

Starting small prevents them from struggling with a too-big bike and losing the fun of learning to ride.

So which size is right for your kid?

  • 3 to 6-year-olds are a match for a 50cc dirt bike. Tiny and light, they’re perfect for young brand-new riders learning the ropes.
  • 7 to 10-year-olds are into 50cc to 110cc dirt bikes. Slightly bigger and zippier, great for those ready to level up.
  • 11 to 14-year-olds dig 110cc to 125cc dirt bikes. More power, some with gears to shift, perfect for preparing for the next level.

Many dirt bike manufacturers have dirt bikes specifically for kids.

These bikes are tailor-made for your kid’s needs – lower seats, lighter frames, and all the safety bells and whistles.

What age is a 125cc dirt bike for?

Usually, riders 14 and up are good fits for a 125cc dirt bike. Either they’ve got the chops to handle its weight and power, or they’ve been in the dirt game for a while.

The right time for a 125cc bike depends on a few things:

  • Physique – Some kids are tall and tough early on, so they can handle a bigger bike sooner.
  • Responsibility – Dirt biking isn’t all fun; it’s about knowing the ropes and rules. Only let your kid hit the dirt on a 125cc if they’re sensible and safe.
  • Riding skill – If your kid’s been tearing it up on smaller bikes and aced the basics, they might be ready for a 125cc upgrade. 

2. Experience level

Choosing a bike that matches your child’s experience level will help them learn faster, have more fun, and stay safe.

  • For total beginners and younger riders – Beginners need a gentle start. Look for a bike that’s not a power beast—something they can handle while learning the ropes. Think easy-to-start, simple to control, and sized right. Check out Honda CRF50F, Yamaha PW50, or Kawasaki KLX110.
  • For kids with some riding experience – Intermediate bikes bring more challenge and room for growth. Some of these bikes come with a clutch and manual transmission for those who want to learn gear shifting. 
  • For young adrenaline seekers – Older or super skilled, your kid’s gearing up for the big leagues. They need an advanced bike with a high-performance engine, firm suspension, and a tough frame. Think Honda CRF150R and Yamaha YZ125.

Remember, throwing a turbocharged bike at a beginner is like giving a Ferrari to a learner driver – way too much, too soon.

But if you hand a mini-bike to a dirt track pro, they might get bored quickly.

Make sure to ask your kids – they’ll be the rider-in-chief of the dirt bike, after all!

3. Dirt bike size

Once you’ve got the measurements and your kid’s experience level right, the next thing to consider is the size of the dirt bike itself.

Here are some things to consider when picking a dirt bike for your kid:

Seat height 

Your kid’s feet should touch the ground without trouble.

If it’s too high, nerves kick in—too low, and their legs cramp or scrape.

Wheel size

Bigger wheels mean more grip and stability – excellent for rough patches.

Smaller wheels are suitable for tight corners.

Choose what suits your kid’s skill set and preferred terrain.

Handlebar Reach

Your kid’s arms should reach the bars like a relaxed superhero – a relaxed grip, elbows slightly bent, and those handlebars aligned with their shoulders.

Bike weight

Your child should be able to lift and move the bike without strain.

Heavy bikes can make your kid feel like they’re wrestling a bull.

Finding the right size is like finding the perfect pizza slice – no one size fits all.

So if you want to ensure the bike meets all these criteria, let your child test ride the bike. 

What is the recommended CC for a dirt bike for kids?

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The 50cc dirt bike is ideal for young riders aged 5 to 7. These mini bikes pack a punch without overwhelming your kid.

These bikes have electric start and automatic transmission and promise pure dirt-digging fun.

They’re also light as a feather and boast a low seat height.

That means they can handle the vehicle easily and confidently with their feet down.

How much is 50cc?

Prices for a 50cc dirt bike vary by brand, model, and shape.

However, the ballpark price is between $1500 – $5000 for brand-new and around $1000 – $3000 for a pre-loved gem.

The popular 50cc dirt bikes are:

  • Honda CRF50F
  • Suzuki DR-Z50
  • Kawasaki KDX 50
  • Yamaha PW50
  • KTM 50 SX Mini – a bit pricier but top-notch for young dirt devils

4. Features

Certain features can jazz up your kid’s dirt biking journey.

Here are some dirt bike features you should watch out for when shopping for a dirt bike for your child:

Automatic transmission

Automatic transmissions are a lifesaver for newbies.

No clutch or shifting gears – just focus on steering and riding skills.

Plus, they offer a smoother, jerk-free ride.

Throttle limiter 

This is like the cruise control version of a dirt bike.

You can adjust it as your kid gains confidence, preventing sudden power bursts.

Electric start

Kickstarting can be a hassle, especially for young riders.

Electric starters eliminate this struggle – one button push, and they’re off! Plus, it prevents engine flooding or kickstart mishaps.

Adjustable suspension

You can fine-tune your kid’s ride with adjustable suspension to suit their weight and preference.

Adjust the preload, compression, and rebound settings for better handling, stability, and cushioning.

Electric vs. Gas Dirt Bikes for Kids

One of the debates I often hear from parent riders is whether gas-powered dirt bikes are suitable for their kids or whether they should go for an electric bike instead.

Both have pros and cons; depending on your kid’s age, skill level, and preference, one might be better.

Let me break it down for you.

Electric dirt bike

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Pros Cons
Quiet operationLimited Range as far as battery life goes
Smooth and linear power deliveryDecreasing battery life
Low maintenanceMore expensive
Easy to useLess powerful

Gas-powered dirt bike

Pros Cons
Longer riding rangeHigh maintenance
More powerfulSome have manual transmission and clutch
Has a wide variety of optionsNoisier
Quick refueling option
Cheaper depending on model

Electric dirt bikes are friendly starters and less intense on power and noise.

In contrast, gas bikes offer range, power, and variety, suitable for kids learning to ride.

If you still can’t decide, try them both.

Borrow or rent, let your kid take it for a spin, and see which ride they’re comfortable with.

Balance Bikes vs. Training Wheels – Which One is Better?

If a young rider aged 3 to 5 needs to master the skill of balance, you have two options: a balance bike or putting training wheels on a dirt bike.

Let me explain the pros and cons of each one and help you decide which is most suitable for your child.

Balance bikes

Image courtesy of Jeremy Miles
Pros Cons
Focused on building balanceNot suitable for rough terrain
LightweightToo easy or small for bigger and older kids
Less intimidating – quieter and simpler than a regular dirt bike

Dirt bike with training wheels

Image courtesy of PXfuel
Pros Cons
Early familiarity with dirt bikesNot focused entirely on balance
Sense of security with the training wheelsHeavier and more complex

The balance bike’s your pick if you’re all about honing balance and coordination for your young rider.

But if your kid’s up for some adventure and you want them to embrace the dirt bike spirit, training wheels on a dirt bike is the winner.

New vs. Used Dirt Bike

Let’s dive into the old-age question when choosing your first dirt bike: should you buy a brand-new or secondhand dirt bike?

Here are the pros and cons of each:

Brand-new dirt bike

Pros Cons
Get the latest featuresMore expensive
Full warrantyKids may feel more self-conscious with a brand-new bike
Longer lifespan
Complete with safety features

Secondhand dirt bike

Pros Cons
CheaperPotential hidden issues or problems
Ideal for beginnersLittle to no warranty
No worries about damaging or scratching the bikeSome features may be outdated already
More options to choose from –

If you want something hassle-free, and money isn’t a problem, go for the latest dirt bike.

All the latest tech, durability, and dealer support make it a solid choice. 

On the other hand, a used dirt bike may be ideal for your kid if you’re all about value and practicality.

You’ll save cash and still get your kid revving.

Wrapping up

Dirt biking is an excellent way to have fun, stay fit, and bond with your family.

But it also requires careful planning, preparation, and supervision to ensure your child’s safety and enjoyment.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for dirt bikes.

Don’t rush into buying a dirt bike that is too big, powerful, or expensive for your kid.

Instead, research, compare different models and brands, and ask for expert advice if you need it.

The most significant thing is to find the right dirt bike for your kid so they can have a blast on the trails and develop their riding skills. 

And who knows, maybe you’ll find a new riding buddy to share the thrill of off-road adventure with!