What is a pit bike?
Pit bikes are kid-sized bikes for adults. Also great for kids, as long as they’re not too powerful. We first saw pit bikes backstage at races. Dirt bike riders would nip around the racing pits and staging zones during race time. In recent years they’ve come into a league of their own, and right now, there is a reasonable choice of pit bikes on the market.
From cheap Chinese pit bikes to the pricier Japanese bikes, engine size ranges from 50cc – 150 cc, some models even higher. The standard configuration is smaller wheels, tall handlebars, and an air-cooled four stroke motor. Some have a manual clutch, some are semi-automatic.
We recommend buying through importers who have reliable customer service. Consider a professional bike set up before riding for the first time, better to be safe whether you’re playing or racing.
Get clear on what you want in your pit-bike. Is it for competing or playing around the pits?
If you are looking for weekend with your mates, the Chinese manufacturers are more in your price bracket and style. YCF and Pitser PRO cover these bases with style.
If it’s a competitive pit racing bike you’re after, Japanese models are infinitely higher-quality but much pricier with some Italian and Australian contenders in the running. The big four Japanese manufacturers build motocross bikes rather than pit bikes. With some adaptations, however you can build yourself a superb high-quality, and reliable adult pit bike.
All in all, the quality and set-up of a bike are essential. Reliability and style are found in the more prominent names. We’ve weighed up the pros and cons of some of our best pit bike models below.
See how much fun you can have on a pit bike here
Best Pit Bike Brands 2021
1. YCF Bigy 190 X 150 words
YCF stands for the Yannick Coquard Factory, founded by Yannick, an MX rider who aimed to bring cheaper bikes that were lighter, stronger, and better than the ‘big four’. The big four being the expensive Japanese brands. YCF is a French brand with factories based in China, a great concept that helped reintroduce the pit craze back to the world of biking. Although these pit bikes aren’t built for competition, they’re unbeatable value for money as a first bike or leisure bike.
The biggest pro of the YCf is the price; it’s one of the best cheap Chinese pit bikes on the market. Great for a first buy to have some fun around the pits. If you’re a pit-bike fan, you’ll be familiar with the starter chat. The YCF has an electric and kick starter, which is bang on in the pit-bike terms. Plus, the engine is punchy, and the seat height is impressive. It’s clear this bike is the work of a former MX rider, nothing is missed out, and the price is on point.
It’s hard to find the disadvantages of the YCF pit bike. Things that come to mind are the rear part of the bike, sitting slightly too high. With a bit of lowering, the balance would be loads better. Plus, the kickstarter shaft is known to be awkwardly positioned, catching your legs when riding.
- Engine: 187.2cc single-cylinder four-stroke
- Seat Height 35 inches
- Starter: Kickstarter and push button.
2. Bucci Moto FM20MX
Bucci Moto is the premium Italian Bucci brand of minibikes. It’s not just food and fashion the Italians get right. They know how to create high-quality stuff, pit-bikes included. This bike is no joke; it’s been in development for over a year and has the potential for competitive riding. It also makes the perfect leisure bike for whipping around your local trails.
Everything except the engines is made in Italy, and the quality speaks for itself; quality always wins when building a bike. The linkage system has been carefully thought through. It allows the bike to gain traction through acceleration and any bumps. Plus, jumps and landing impact are felt less. We like the rear brake pedal’s location in the inside frame, similar to a KTM – it allows increased movement of the kickstart.
190cc model could be too fast for kids, so be careful if buying for junior riders.
- Engine size: 190cc
- Seat Height: 33 inches
- Engine power: Starter Button
3. Pitster PRO MXR155 Best Pit Bike
Who is Pitster Pro?
Pitster Pro bikes are produced in China but designed in the USA, which means design quality at a reasonable price. Think cheap Chinese bike, designed with big-bike features in a compact and lightweight chassis. Brilliant value for money, not recommended as a competition bike but ideal for zooming around and having some fun.
MCR155 model is a great way to step up to a manual clutch. It has a powerful 155cc engine and has a four-speed transmission; you can pick up a rapid pace. Plus, the MCR has great suspension with a 32” seat height, perfect for any rider. Good value all round.
Manual clutch, some riders like a semi-automatic; it’s a personal preference.
- Engine: Four stroke ZS 155cc
- Seat Height: 32 inches
- Starter: Kick Start
4. Thumpstar 230 Best Pit Bike 2021
Thumpster is a pit bike manufacturer founded in Australia over 16 years ago by a former motor-cycle dealer and racer, Timothy Hunter. Thumpstar isn’t messing around. They’re passionate about motorcycling and bring high-quality bikes to an affordable market. Ultimately designed to race competitively but they make for fantastic value as a first bike.
Thumpstar 230 looks slick and ready to race, plus it has some real power. With a 230cc, it’s ideal for adults and experienced riders looking to maximise their fun. You can ride hard and fast on this beast. It’s a top-quality bike, not necessarily cheap, but you get what you pay for.
230cc can also be a disadvantage for the wrong rider, much too powerful for kids, so be aware of who/what you’re buying for.
- Engine: 230cc TY | 4 Stroke
- Seat Height: 35 inches
- Starter: Electric Start
5. Kawasaki KLX110
Who is Kawasaki?
Kawasaki is a Japanese brand well known in the biking world for producing some of the best bikes around. High-quality parts with lots of power and performance, engineered by experience. Kawasaki bikes win a lot of races and have more championships than any other manufacturer. Essentially they make top bikes for winning races. The Kawasaki KX is a kids MX model, which means high-quality parts for a pit bike. A kids model to fit kids’ and adults’ needs.
Kawasaki is high-quality and reliable; you know what you’re getting with Japanese motorcycles. And it’s always top-notch. Competition heritage is a huge pro for Kawasaki; they’ve won loads of races meaning their bikes are made to win. In every sense of the word. They’re widely known, and therefore manufacturer support is easy to find. It ticks all the boxes.
Price-wise it’s not cheap. The Kawasaki is pretty expensive for a bike to throw around at the weekends. Team Green has built a kids’ competition MX bike. Adults might need to consider upgrades, which means more money.
- Engine size: 110cc, 4-stroke single
- Seat Height: 34.3 in
- Starter: Kickstart and push button
6. Honda CRF150
Honda is a key player in the motorcycle world, one of the biggest Japanese bike manufacturers. Honda builds bikes to race, and more importantly, they build bikes to win.
You know you’re buying into a winning brand with the Honda CRF-150. Like the Kawasaki, it’s not strictly a pit-bike, more a kids’ dirt bike. You can still turn one of these bikes into a cool pit bike, given some upgrades to bars and rear suspension.
Honda is a big name; you’re buying into a brand for future champions, so you’re getting high-quality, reliable bike models. This includes the CRF150 or the ‘pocket rocket’ as suitably named.
Again the competitive performance is high, with multiple world championships with top-level riders. The CRF is your bike if you’re looking for a junior race bike to hone your skills or a well-built pit bike conversion.
A high-quality, world-renowned brand means high prices. Fairly pricey if you’re looking for a non-competitive pit bike. Plus, it is a bike made for kids; if you’re competing as an adult, you may need to make some adaptations. Something to consider on your buying mission.
- Engine: 149.7 cc 4-Stroke 4-Valve Unicam Single
- Seat: Height 34 inches
- Starter: Kickstarter
7. Yamaha YZ85
Last but certainly not least, it’s no secret that Yamaha is one of the largest and most successful motorcycle manufacturers in the world. The Japanese are in a league of their own. Any aspiring rider might have dreamt of having a YZ125 125cc dirt bike at one point in their life. Maybe KTM has stolen that crown, but ‘team blue’ is still a force to be reckoned with in the MX world.
The YZ85 is a legend in the youth motocross scene, the first bike for many now established MX riders. We like to start as we mean to go on.
Another firm favourite in reliability, the YZ85, is popular with the kids and has a punchy performance. The proof is in the thousands of competition wins taken by the YZ85 riders. The equipment level is impressive, which isn’t surprising.
The Yamaha power valve system delivers a wide spread of explosive power, giving you an advantage over the competition. It’s an ideal platform for competitive racing, it looks good and rides even better. The yamaha has the tallest seat height of our top picks.
The price reflects the quality; it’s expensive and not a cheap pit bike in any shape or form. More suited to competitive junior racers. For larger adults, upgrading costs may be an issue.
- Engine: Single cylinder, 2-stroke, 85cc
- Seat Height 37 inches
- Starter: Kickstarter
There really is a surprising amount of choice in the pit bike/mini bike classes. With Chinese build quality on the up and more traditional Japanese bikes easy to convert, you can end up with a cool pit bike. From weekend fun in the fields to mini bike competitions, there is something here for all riders.
Have fun out there
Martin and TeamMA