2022 brings many new possibilities to the youth motocross playing field. TeamMA has been anxiously awaiting the latest gas dirt bikes for kids and they’re finally here! While we’ve been reminiscing about our days as junior riders, we’ve been reminded of just how incredible kids dirt bikes really are. Whether or not you’ve bought a kids dirt bike before, this guide will help you with everything you need to purchase the best youth dirt bike for your junior rider.
Height is the major determining factor when buying dirt bikes for kids. While age may be relevant, it won’t tell you the exact size of dirt bike your junior rider requires. The handy chart below will give both of you the perfect place to start for buying a kids dirt bike.
Dirt bikes for kids size guide
Different price ranges exist depending on the kids dirt bike you’re after. The youth dirt bike market has changed over the years, but TeamMA has all the research you’ll need to make an informed decision. 2022 is sure to be an exciting year for many dirt bike kids, and we’re seeing a significant rise in interest for kids dirt bikes and the hobby overall. Perhaps outdoor activities are more common for families and there’s an urge to try something new? Whatever the reason, now is the perfect time to consider motocross as a fun pastime for your juniors.
Why are dirt bikes a good idea for kids?
I was just four years old when I joined the ranks as a pee-wee motocross rider. Hearing the motor roar on a small dirt bike brings back so many vivid memories. The smell of gas on my dirt bike gloves, the little jumps that I swear were bigger than a triple on a Supercross track, and the sounds of the engines revving would give me butterflies every time.
Learning to ride a kids dirt bike at a young age builds passion that kids will never forget. Riding any dirt bike, even a junior MX, teaches balance, coordination and discipline in a fun & exciting way. Maintaining and cleaning your dirt bike provides many opportunities to grow through learning mechanical skills, focus and commitment. Understanding the ins & outs of maintaining a kids dirt bike isn’t always easy, but the experience will last a lifetime.
While competition may become a significant part of the experience for some riders, junior motocross is not all about competition. Family ride outs, trail riding and exploration all play a role in the learning process. If your child is showing an interest in dirt bikes, encourage them and support this interest as early as you can.
What to look for in a dirt bike for kids
The best kids dirt bikes provide a variety of choices such as tire size, type of throttle control, and engine size. An upgrade path within the brand family is also vital to ensure your junior rider can progress when they’re ready. Once your kids are set on a dirt bike brand, they will often stay loyal for life. TeamMA creator Martin Varrand has been known for riding Kawasaki dirt bikes for many years, while only recently switching to Husqvarna.
Beware of cheap import bikes advertised on the internet by low quality motocross websites. Many of these kids dirt bikes are poorly built and do not feature quality parts. The caliber of the suspension, brakes and other vital components is essential if your junior rider intends to ride safely. Although the lower cost may be tempting, you’ll most likely be replacing your mini dirt bike soon after.
Low resale value (assuming the bike holds up), regular breakdowns, poor handling and safety concerns are all reasons to avoid cheap dirt bikes. As if that’s not enough, cheap imports are not competitive on the track. Your junior rider will grow tired of MX riding if they are continually losing their races or getting dropped at the start. Our ultimate guide to buying a cheap dirt bike will give you useful tools to make the best buying decision on a dependable kids motorcycle. Make sure your pee-wee has a solid setup from the beginning!
For quality’s sake, buy as high in the range as you can afford. This is a golden rule for all MX purchases. With kids dirt bikes especially, it is even more critical that you are assured of safe handling, better resale value and fewer breakdowns. A better mini dirt bike will lead to more confidence, faster progress and ultimately more fun!
The qualities below are most important when selecting the best motocross bike for your junior MX star. Be sure to take notes and keep them in mind throughout your buying journey!
Kids Dirt Bikes tire size
Tire size is one of the best ways to determine the right bike for a small rider. Compact tire size is best with mini dirt bikes. Larger tire and wheel packages will place the seat of the dirt bike higher off the ground, and this may not be ideal for a young rider. Safe riding is all about confidence, and having tires that are too big will compromise your junior rider’s ability to control the dirt bike. Start small to ensure a good fit and secure ride.
The low center of gravity on kids dirt bikes is a huge advantage. This feature ensures your junior rider can balance easier when they’re learning to stabilize themselves. The ability to put a foot down on the ground increases a child’s confidence to no end. Steadying is essential when navigating obstacles, maneuvering tight spaces or just getting it wrong!
Kids Dirt Bike Engine Size & Throttle Control
The amount of power delivered to the wheels of your kids motorcycle depends on the CC of the engine. Higher CCs mean more power is created by the dirt bike motor and more speed is available. Most kids will start off on a 50cc bike to get used to the experience. From there, they will look at 65cc, 80cc and 125cc as they gradually progress to the adult class.
While a kid can use any CC when riding for fun, competitive riding means rules and regulations. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a 125cc dirt bike only to find out they can’t compete with it. Do your homework concerning racing regulations if competitive riding is your kid’s goal. TeamMA will run a dedicated article on this specific subject soon so that you can stay informed.
Small dirt bikes often come with a safety device (called a throttle limiter screw) that restricts the amount of power & speed available. This device enables a parent to reign in the power when a kid is learning to ride their dirt bike. As your junior rider becomes more capable in controlling the gas, the screw can be slowly adjusted until it is completely removed.
Smaller motors on kids dirt bikes have a limited powerband. This means that the ratio of power that the engine creates gradually grows as the RPM rises.
A two-stroke motor has a snappier powerband which creates power quickly and abruptly.
A four-stroke motor is more consistent in power creation as it climbs in RPM, making it more smooth and easier to control.
You can read more about two-stroke v. four-stroke engines in our handy article.
The other major factor to consider is the rider! What is your kid like in everyday life? Shy kids who are more risk-averse will likely appreciate a smaller four-stroke engine. Bullish kids who don’t mind getting thrown around will likely get bored with a tame dirt bike. It’s important that your junior rider has a say in this decision either way.
Reliability of Kids Dirt Bikes
Reliability is going to be very subjective depending on the model of youth dirt bike. Branded models offer a certain amount of reliability because of their commitment to the sport. Every brand wants your kid to have a great experience and stick with their bikes. There is an excellent chapter on top dirt bike brands in Martin’s new Motocross handbook, which you can buy for insane 89% discount.
In the world of dirt bikes, you can find families that “Ride Red” (Honda), “Race Orange” (KTM), or are “Team Green” (Kawasaki). This brand allegiance is often because of the upgrade path available and the reliability these dirt bikes provide.
The ability to upgrade within the same brand is a significant plus. As a young rider moves up in motor and tire size, a factory brand that offers the next step makes sense. The transition from 50cc to 65cc, and 80cc to 100 or 125cc are popular upticks to plan for. Whether your rider lives for trail riding or competitive racing, they’ll be better equipped to select the next mini dirt bike that fits their riding needs.
Cost and Resale of Kids Dirt Bikes
There is a small chance that your child may not enjoy the sport of motocross. Beginner dirt bike riders can occasionally find a dirt bike intimidating, and for some kids that spells the end of their riding career. We may need to swallow our pride as parents or guardians and accept that our pee-wee may be better suited to another sport.
This uncertainty will no doubt influence how much you want to spend on a kids dirt bike. A mini motorcycle geared towards racing is going to have better suspension, a powerful motor and a robust frame. Components will be lightweight to lessen track effort. On the other hand, trail riding dirt bikes are not always built with a competitive edge. Trail dirt bikes will be no less reliable, but they might be slightly heavier and more robust.
A brand-new kids dirt bike off the show floor is going to set you back a couple thousand dollars. This price will be lower than a full adult dirt bike, and will reflect the type of riding (racing or trail riding) that your junior will be pursuing.
Resale is important to consider when purchasing a dirt bike for kids. Kids outgrow everything! The ability of a young dirt bike rider will determine when they can move up in motor size to attain more power and ride faster. As they grow in height, a small dirt bike could become more cramped for their size. For all of these reasons, it’s smart to stick with the highest quality possible. The second-hand kids dirt bike market for major brands is strong.
Since many parents understand the importance of quality, you will usually have a choice between buying used or new. There are plenty of mini dirt bikes on the secondary market that are still in great condition. A new-to-you dirt bike can be just as much fun as a brand-new model off the showroom floor, and it comes with a hefty price break.
Top Kids Dirt Bikes for 2022
Whew, so many considerations to think about! While many pieces go into this buying equation, the team at MA headquarters has thankfully done much of the hard work for you. We sat down and scoured the internet for the best dirt bikes for kids.
The following list details our top choices of kids dirt bikes for the 2022 season. We have factored in all of the information shared above, and we make no money for these recommendations. Rest assured there is no bias here aside from our own preferences!
While you may find many other dirt bikes that fit your size and budget needs, the following kids dirt bikes are our suggested shortlist. We have listed them in order of height, with the lowest first.
1. Honda CRF50F
Seat height: 548mm
The Honda dirt bike family is one of the most trusted in the industry. The CRF50F specifically has been around forever, primarily due to its robust design and ease of use for beginners. Even the smallest dirt bike riders will enjoy this 50cc dirt bike.
50cc kid’s dirt bikes will always be staples for the younger generations. Honda dirt bikes for kids feature the right level of power, control, and ease of riding to ignite a young rider’s passion for motocross!
Honda CRF50 Specifications
This dirt bike is mini in size, with a ground clearance measuring only 5.8 inches (14.7 cm). Maneuverability and control come easy with small 10-inch (25.4cm) front & rear tires. Even the smallest pee-wee can comfortably put their foot down on this mini monster.
A four-stroke, 49cc motor generates a steady powerband that is easy to control.
The CRF50 has three gears and no clutch. Itty bitty riders can pop this bike into gear and go. Simple controls allow your junior rider to develop other vital skills like stopping and balance with no need to worry about a clutch. Honda’s got one of the best dirt bikes for kids in the CRF50.
Honda CRF50 Throttle Limiter
The twist throttle comes standard with a throttle limiter screw, so parents can easily control how much gas their kid can grab. This feature means less stress for you and more control for your pee-wee rider.
Honda CRF50 Upgrade Path
Honda is a great brand to start your young rider off with. The next sizes up include a 110cc, 125cc, 125cc big wheel, 150cc and beyond. Since the Honda range does not offer 65cc or 80cc engines, you may have to switch brands on your upgrade path if 110cc is too much for your young rider. A switch could prove frustrating if your kid is looking to compete, and is used to their Honda.
Check out the specifications here to see if the CRF50F is right for your junior rider.
2. Yamaha TT-R50E
Seat height: 556cm
The Yamaha TT-R50E is another outstanding option for kids new to motocross. Ground clearance on the TT-R50E measures in at just 5.3 inches (13.5cm) with a wet weight of 128lb. This Yamaha kids dirt bike is another contender that’s both lightweight and easy to handle for beginners.
Yamaha TT-R50E Specifications
The 50cc dirt bike motor can take the sometimes-rough abuse of inexperience and keep on going. Helpful accessories like a folding side stand and grippy foot pegs allow your junior rider to customize their ride whether it’s competitive or leisurely.
Yamaha TT-R50E Throttle Limiter
Much like Honda’s CRF50, an included throttle limiter screw curbs how much gas is delivered to the mini dirt bike motor. No new rider needs the threat of crashing to freak them out. These restrictions make it easy to adjust the TT-R50E so that you can cruise alongside your pee-wee rider. Simply loosen the screw a bit more and adjust accordingly when they’re ready for more speed.
Yamaha TT-R50E Motor
The TT-R50E features a four-stroke engine and a three-speed automatic transmission. This makes the Yamaha a solid choice for best kids motorcycle, since it offers ample opportunity to learn basic throttle control, braking, and balance.
The Yamaha is easily sourced especially on the secondary market. The TT-R50E stands apart from the Honda CRF50F because of its electric starter. A kickstart may be more authentic, but we feel the electric start is best for the beginner class that will be using this mini motorcycle.
Yamaha TT-R50E Upgrade Path
Yamaha has a new range of finishes for 2022, and that means plenty of options for upgrading. The next sizes up include a 65cc, 85cc, 125cc and beyond. Unlike Honda, there would be no need to stray from the brand for mid-range power. As long as your pee-wee rider loves their 50cc dirt bike, Yamaha will have options the whole path through.
Please note: UK riders will need to look at the Yamaha PW50 if blue is your colour.
3. KTM 50 SX
Seat Height: 686mm
The KTM 50 SX is a pint-sized speed demon, built for young and competitive riders that show confidence on the track. The KTM brand, in particular this smaller model, has created a culture of little racers worldwide. This dirt bike is the choice of champions if your mini racer embraces an aggressive riding technique. This dirt bike is a best fit for a 8 year old kid.
KTM SX50 Specifications
One of the stand-out features to this pocket rocket is that it has no gears to mess around with, so your junior rider can twist and go. This competitive change on the 50 SX is essential so that your kid can concentrate on developing those all-important skills like braking, cornering and jumping.
Changing gears is undoubtedly crucial later on, but having this basic know-how will give your pee-wee the confidence to learn about this skill when they’re ready. It makes sense to pick up fast riding before changing gears, since high speeds are harder to master. The 50 SX is sure to give your junior rider an ambitious advantage that will stay with them as they grow into a motocross master.
No two young riders are exactly the same, and that remains true with kids dirt bikes as well. The KTM 50 SX seat height hits around 27 inches (68.6cm), which is great for our long-legged kids. The aggressive nature of this 50cc dirt bike sits much higher than its competition, and because of this, it features stiffer suspension and better weight distribution. KTM offers mini motorcycles that are almost identical to their larger models, so the 50 SX will give your junior rider a taste of the big leagues.
From its lightweight frame, limited tank capacity, and 12-inch front / 10-inch rear wheel sizes, this dirt bike is deceptively easy to handle. The 50 SX has a two-stroke engine and weighs in at 100 pounds with a full tank, proving this power-to-weight ratio stays true to KTM’s racing heart.
KTM SX50 Upgrade path
Orange Brigade! KTM has one of the most engaged racing communities in the dirt bike collective. From model-specific classes at almost every motocross track, to providing the perfect platform as your rider graduates in motor size, KTM is king.
KTM’s next sizes up include 65cc and 85cc models depending on how your pee-wee is adjusting to their newfound love for speed. Later on, 125cc and 150cc models will be on standby until the time comes. The Electric E5 is a zero-emission option for the new-wave or eco-conscious rider that’s ready for a twist on a classic gas-powered dirt bike for kids.
It is no secret that KTM owns Husqvarna, and this means you have even more options. The 50 SX is featured on the KTM website, and the Husqvarna website offers a similar take (the TC 50) within their range.
Best Kids Dirt bikes Over 50cc
65cc, 85cc and 125cc dirt bikes are the next sizes up in terms of a competitive upgrade path. These updated kids dirt bikes are miniature versions of an adult machines, with high-quality components, trick race parts, and some serious power.
4. KTM 65 SX
Seat height: 750mm
Stepping up from the small-wheeled KTM 50 SX, the 65 SX brings the responsibility of six gears and a clutch. This feature is for the greater good of becoming a dominant motocross racer. The term “racer” is intentional because KTM is associated with more competitive riders. This is especially true for the 65cc class and beyond.
The KTM 65 SX is a great in-between model for 10 year olds who are ready for the challenge of riding fast and staying efficient. The 125cc big dogs will be ready whenever your rider is, but it’s safe and preferred to not overload your youth rider with too much power.
KTM 65 SX Specifications
The limitation of these kids dirt bikes is more so based on wheel size rather than engine power. A step up from the 50 SX, there are now 14 inches at the front and 12 inches at the rear, compared to 12 and 10 inches on the 50 SX. In MX terms, “those holes are getting smaller”, meaning your junior champ can blaze right over them and not feel it.
KTM Ready to Race Philosophy
KTM provides a motor, transmission, and suspension package that is ready to send your kid shredding around the track, no upgrades necessary.
The 6-speed transmission with wet clutch allows even the smallest dirt bike rider to get comfortable with handling their 65 SX. Your young rider will easily learn to control the power of an impressive two-stroke powerband.
From the infamous KTM Junior Supercross challenge to an international motocross field at Loretta Lynn’s, the KTM 65 SX has created a demand for specific classes at every motocross track in USA and worldwide.
Young riders on this model will have plenty of competition.
KTM 65 SX Power to Weight Ratio
Weighing in at 122 pounds with a full tank and 65cc of two-stroke power, the KTM 65 SX is easily controlled even by the smallest dirt bike riders. This model has a super light and slender frame to help with developing your kid’s racing ability throughout their learning process.
KTM Upgrade Path
The upgrade path from the 65 SX includes every type of MX bike imaginable, but most notably the 85 SX and two different 125cc models depending on your young rider’s preferences. The KTM ready to race philosophy is second to none, and that’s why the KTM range remains our top choice for 2022.
5. Honda CRF125F
Seat Height: 740mm
Released in 2013, the CRF125F is one of Honda’s newest models. We’ve been thoroughly impressed with the platform it provides for kid dirt bike riders looking for a more trail-oriented bike. Compared to a typical motocross bike, the CRF125F is great when you want more speed, low ground clearance and a controllable powerband.
Honda CRF125F Specifications
Introducing a clutch lever to kids can be intimidating. Featuring only four gears and an efficient powerband, the clutch lever on the CRF125F won’t be so scary to control as some other mini dirt bikes. This model’s long gear set up allows the rider to stay in the same cog for longer, pull from lower revs, and still wind that grin up.
The CRF125F comes with both an electric start button and a kick start. We love the ability to kick to start, and it’s super convenient if the battery dies. We also like the fact that junior riders get used to both ways of starting their 100cc dirt bike. Traditionally, trail bikes have push start, while MX bikes have a kick start. If your pee-wee is undecided on which way they want to go, your junior will learn both options.
14-inch rear tires and 17-inch front tires are the ideal size combination for handling and maneuverability. Honda also offers the big wheel edition, known as the CRF125FB, which provides the exact same motor package and setup. The big wheel comes with a 16-inch rear wheel and 19-inch front, perfect for the taller junior riders.
Honda provides an excellent platform to grow with kids dirt bikes. There is a reason families choose to “ride red”, and many bikes end up handed down rather than sold off.
Frequently Asked Questions
What age should a kid get a dirt bike?
Kids can get started on a dirt bike at any age, but the youngest TeamMA recommends is 3-4 years old. I started on my first kids dirt bike at the tender age of four, and I haven’t looked back since! It’s generally a good idea to get a kids dirt bike with training wheels to ease your junior rider into balancing by themselves at this age. Riders that start later can forgo this option if their balance is comfortable, but always remember to wear your safety gear no matter how old you are!
Does age matter more than height when selecting a dirt bike?
It’s actually the other way around! Since seat height is one of the major determining factors for buying a dirt bike for kids, you’ll want to make sure that your pee-wee can sit comfortably on their dirt bike with their feet touching the ground. This is especially true since we all hit growth spurts at different ages, so what works for one 6-year-old may not work for another of a different build.
What age is a 50cc dirt bike good for?
The answer to this question ultimately depends on the question above, but since 50cc dirt bikes are the lowest power available, they can be good for kids as young as three years old. This decision depends on rider height and comfortability as well, since seat height and experience are two factors that will also shape your decision. Generally, 50cc dirt bikes are good for the age range of 3-7 years old depending on the specifics.
Are electric dirt bikes worth it?
Electric kids dirt bikes are great gas-powered alternatives to consider, and we even have a guide for kids electric dirt bikes and buying an adult electric dirt bike at these convenient links. Despite the mixed messages, you’ll find the truth about their performance in these articles, not to mention our top three picks currently on the market. If you’re looking for a 4-stroke dirt bike for your junior rider, you might want to consider some of these mini motocross bikes.
Be sure to educate yourself about the essential dirt bike gear that your kid needs before getting them on a dirt bike! From choosing the best dirt bike gear, to selecting the safest motocross helmet possible, Motocross Advice makes your life easier by providing you with reliable reviews and valuable feedback.
I hope you enjoyed the article, and we’ll be back soon with more advice.
Have fun out there!
Martin and the crew at TeamMA