Tips in Choosing the Right Dirt Bike for You
Dirt bikes come in a variety of styles, shapes, and speeds. While it may be tempting to choose the one that caught your eye, there are several other things that you need to consider.
If it’s your first time to buy a dirt bike, then these factors should help you make a good decision:
Do you have prior experience operating a motorbike? If not, no worries.
For first-time users aged 15 and above, a bike with a 250-cc engine is a good choice. Go for a model with a good clutch system, as you need to get used to it eventually.
But if you’re buying a bike for your kid, then here are the best models:
- 5 to 6 years old – 50 cc
- 7 to 8 years old – 65 cc
If the prospective user is a kid aged 10 years old with a height of less than 5 feet, then a bike with a 100 to 110-cc engine would do good. From here on out, the young rider could progress to a 125-cc engine.
What’s great about kiddie dirt bikes is that they usually come with automatic clutches. This could save the rider from the need to master the complicated clutch system.
Another factor you should consider is your height. This is important when determining the appropriate seat height for your bike.
For kids, the recommended range is between 18 to 34 inches, while for adults, it’s 35 to 38 inches.
Since some people have longer torsos while some have shorter inseams, it’s best to try the bike you think of buying first.
The best way to do so is to sit forward and check if your feet touch the ground. If you find yourself on flat footing while sitting up, then it means that the bike is too small for you. You will end up burdening the suspension, which makes for a rocky experience whenever you hit a bump.
On the other hand, a dirt bike is too large for you if you are unable to stand up straight while on it. It’s also the case if you can only balance yourself by tiptoeing.
In a nutshell, you know that a dirt bike is perfect for you if:
- You can put a third of your foot down.
- You’re not flat-footed while sitting.
- You’re not on your tiptoes.
Apart from your height, your weight will help you determine the best bike for your stature.
If you weigh less than 150 pounds, you should consider a bike with a 250-cc engine. This will help you get used to the feel of bike riding.
For those who weigh more, a bike with an engine between 250 cc to 450 cc is better. Any of these would come with suspensions that provide a comfortable riding experience.
There are 2 kinds of engines, namely 2-stroke and 4-stroke.
2-stroke engine dirt bikes are light but can power up at higher revs. While it provides the best power-to-weight ratio, it’s not that widely available. Due to its emission issues, many manufacturers have discontinued producing this engine.
Another option is a 4-stroke engine dirt bike. It is heavier and it only produces half the power of a similar 2-stroke engine. It’s also more expensive because of the size of the engine.
Type of Riding
The next question you should ask yourself is, what do I plan on doing with my dirt bike?
Well, if you want to take it motocross riding, then you should choose a 250-cc engine. For freestyle motocross riding, you are better off with a 125-cc bike.
If you want to go enduro-riding, then you need to go for a road-registered model that comes with lights, among other things.
Depending on your class, you can choose from any of the following:
- Enduro 1: 100 to 125 cc, 2-stroke or 175 to 250 cc, 4-stroke
- Enduro 2: 175 to 250 cc, 2 stroke or 290 to 450 cc, 4-stroke
- Enduro 3: 290 to 500 cc, 2 stroke or 475 to 600 cc, 4-stroke
If you plan on using your dirt bike in a competition one day, then you should have to choose between a kick or an electric starter.
While a kick-starting bike is fine, electric starters are recommended for competitions. Since it
gives the engine a fast start, it can shave off a few seconds from your time.
In the world of dirt riding, as with any other sport, a few seconds can mean the difference between a gold and silver medal.
After considering the above-mentioned factors, you can work on the most important thing: your budget.
While price doesn’t always equate to quality, it’s safe to say that more expensive models usually come with better features.
Although this is the case, there is a wealth of dirt bikes available, so you need not worry about finding a bike that will fit all your specifications.