Everyone knows you only get to do something for the first time, once. This fact is no more true than with the first bike that takes you through a passionate career as a dirt biker.
It can be easy to see the greats on TV and want to get a bike just like theirs, but they will have put in years of training and practice to be able to ride the most powerful of bikes and it’s pretty much impossible to do that when you start.
Instead, when you’re still learning the fundamentals of off road biking, it’s much better to have a less powerful beginner bike to get you through.
We know it might seem like a chore to have to use a smaller bike at first, but we promise you that every pro biker on the planet had to start this way too.
In this article, we’ve found some of the best beginner dirt bikes you can get online and reviewed each one in detail. A lot of beginner bikes are designed for kids and are therefore pretty small, but there are plenty of options on our list that are adult appropriate too.
Later, we’ll go through all the key features and specifications you should look out for when deciding what your first bike should be.
OUR TOP PICK
The first bike we’re looking at on this list is definitely designed to be a beginner dirt bike and is a great way to start learning if you’ve never ridden a motorcycle of any kind before.
The miniature size of this particular bike definitely suits it more to kids use, however customer reviews have claimed that adults can ride this bike just fine.
Of course, if you want to learn how to do the fundamental techniques needed to move up to a more powerful bike, this is not the best one for adults.
You should always be using a bike that is appropriate for your size, but we’ll talk more about that in the guide at the bottom of this article.
The MX650 is an electric off road bike, so is definitely a lot cheaper to maintain and better for the environment than a gas-guzzling bike. The motor puts out 650 watts of power which gives the bike a top speed of around 17MPH.
Like we said, this definitely isn’t the most powerful bike in the world, but it does have a lot of features that make it really beginner friendly.
For example, the front and rear suspension systems make going over rough terrain a lot less intensive on your arms and legs.
Not to mention, the bike’s specially designed knobbly tires provide a high level of grip over any surface to help avoid accidents.
In general, this is a very simple dirt bike that will not require much maintenance and is probably best suited for a child to learn how to ride properly before moving onto a bigger bike.
Durability will likely be an issue with a bike this simple in design and the electric motor in the engine has its own flaws too.
The manufacturer specifies that if the battery is not recharged at least once a month, it may stop working altogether. That’s definitely not something you want to hear about a machine that costs a few hundred bucks!
- Electric motor engine - This system is much more environmentally and budget friendly than a regular gas powered engine
- Dual suspension system - Makes the ride a lot smoother and more comfortable
- Knobbly tires - Provides a great level of grip to avoid you falling off on rough terrains
- Miniature size - The size of this bike mens it’s only really appropriate for younger children
- Flawed battery - You’ll need to charge the battery at least once per month or it might stop working altogether
This dirt bike from Fit Right Products is another that’s designed with young bikers in mind, but uses a very different approach to the previous one we looked at.
First off, this is a gas powered bike rather than electric, which does make it a lot less environmentally friendly but also gives it a little bit more power.
The 40cc 4-stroke engine produces a top speed of around 18MPH. That’s not a lot higher than the top speed of the electric bike but this one will get there quicker.
Some issues you might have with the gas powered engine might be resolved by the fact that this bike is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, which means that it won’t cause any unreasonable adverse health effects to users.
Also, the bike is designed with fuel efficiency in mind, so it’ll be able to run a lot longer than an electric bike before needing to refuel.
The overall design of the bike also makes it very beginner friendly. It features the same low-pressure, pneumatic knobbly tires that we saw on the previous bike to provide a smoother ride.
The only thing it’s really lacking is a good suspension system, so riders might notice a bit of a strain on their arms and legs if the terrain gets too rough.
However, FRP has also given this bike a kids-friendly handlebar, comfortable seat and a sturdy metal frame which provides extra stability.
These features, combined with the dual brake system and rugged clutch, mean the bike is not only appropriate for kids to be using, but it also ensures the maximum possible safety.
It’s another bike that won’t be too beneficial for teenagers or adults who want to learn dirt biking fundamentals but customer reviews have proven that even adults can ride this bike for fun if they want to!
- Gas powered engine - This engine is EPA approved, fuel efficient and produces a little more power than a similar electric engine
- Designed for safety - Plenty of features on this bike have been added with safety in mind
- Low-pressure knobbly tires - Provides a much smoother ride over rough terrain
- Miniature size - This is another bike that won’t be appropriate for adults who want to take dirt biking seriously
- Lack of suspension - The tires will make the ride a little smoother but the presence of a good suspension system would have added to this greatly
As we take a look at this bike, we move away from ones that are designed with smaller kids in mind and onto something that’s more appropriate for teenagers and adults to use as a beginner bike.
The first thing to note is that this bike has a much more powerful engine than the previous ones we’ve looked at.
A 125cc 4-stroke engine will be way faster than any kids bike, producing a higher top speed and better acceleration.
You might be thinking that a more powerful bike might not be as appropriate for beginners and, while you’re right, we think that 125cc is still an appropriate amount of power for a beginner to use.
Of course, this bike will be too big and powerful for younger kids to use, so everyone who fits on this bike should be a lot stronger and be able to handle a lot of power more easily.
The best part about having a larger bike with larger wheels like this one does, is that it provides a lot more ground clearance.
This not only makes the ride more comfortable for your legs, but also means you can speed across even the bumpiest terrains without worrying about falling off or damaging the bike.
It’s worth bearing in mind that this bike does not come preassembled, so you will need to roll your sleeves up and do some of the work yourself.
If you’re pretty handy with tools and know how to follow an instruction manual, customer reviews have said they only needed about 90 minutes to assemble it on their own.
However, if you’re a little bit less versed in mechanical assembly, you might want to enlist someone else’s help to initially put it together.
It’s always better to make sure it’s assembled properly to ensure safety, rather than try to do it all on your own.
This bike also has a 4 speed manual transmission system, which is something you’ll need to practice with if you’ve never used one before.
The tires themselves are a little higher pressure than on a kids bike but still have that knobbly texture to give them extra grip.
Also, this bike uses a dual suspension system to make up for the slightly tougher tire pressure and will ensure a comfortable ride that will allow you to keep riding for hours.
Overall, this is definitely a slightly more advanced bike than the ones we’ve previously looked at.
Because this one is designed for teenagers and adults, it does have some more complicated mechanical parts than a kids bike.
All this means is that you’ll probably need to practice using the bike slowly at first and gradually work your way up to the top speeds.
We promise that when you do, you’ll be glad you got a bike this powerful!
- Larger size - Even if you do want to get a starter bike for a younger kid, it’s not a bad idea to get one this size that they can grow into
- 125cc 4-stroke engine - Provides a good deal of power to make riding more enjoyable when you’ve mastered the basics
- Dual suspension system - Ensures the ride will be comfortable and allows you to keep going for longer
- Good ground clearance - You won’t have to worry so much about damaging the bike or falling off because of large bumps
- Some assembly required - While you don’t have to assemble the entire bike from scratch, you will need to put a few of the parts together
- Complicated mechanisms - Being a slightly more advanced bike, it will take some practice and getting used to before you can unleash its full power
Honda is one of the best brands on the market for producing dirt bikes in a variety of different sizes and specifications.
The CRF125F is one of their best bikes for beginners and has a size somewhere between a miniature kids bike and a full sized adult one.
The 125cc, 4-stroke engine produces a good amount of power for a bike this small so it will take some slow practice and getting used to if you’re completely new to dirt biking.
However, the good thing about having a bike this powerful is that you’ll have plenty of room to progress once you start learning the basics and improving as a rider.
This model has great systems in place at both ends of the bike, featuring a dual suspension system to provide a more comfortable ride, as well as solid front and rear brakes to give good stopping power.
This is another bike that uses a manual four speed transmission so that’s another thing you’ll need to get the hang of if you’ve never used one before.
However, once you’ve practiced and gotten used to changing gears manually, you’ll have a great level of control over the speed of your bike when going over different terrains and inclines.
Like we said at the start, the size of this bike is really well suited to beginners, without being too small for adults to use properly.
Because of its size, the bike has around an 8.2 inch (21cm) ground clearance which makes riding it feel more natural and avoids you having to worry about going over large bumps in the track.
According to the description on the Honda website, the CRF125F is basically a smaller version of some of their full-sized bikes in the CRF series, making it really easy to transition from a beginner bike to eventually ride a full-sized, full-powered one.
They specify that the bike is designed for riders aged 10 and above but age shouldn’t be the main determining factor for deciding what size bike you should buy.
Instead, you should be thinking about how tall you are and whether the bike will have you stretching for the handlebars or hunched over while riding.
The take away point is that this bike is appropriate for children aged 10-17, as long as their height is appropriate. However, you can also easily use this as a starter bike if you’re a small to average sized adult.
Overall, this is one of the best bikes we’ve looked at so far in terms of combining all the key elements you need in a beginner bike.
Because it’s so well designed and constructed, it is also one of the most expensive on this list, you will have to consider your budget when deciding to purchase this model.
However, if the price doesn;t scare you off, you’ll definitely be getting a great starter bike with the CRF125F.
- Perfect size for beginners - Somewhere between a complete kids bike and a full-sized one, this model is perfectly sized for beginners
- 125cc, 4-stroke engine - Provides plenty of power without being too much for a new rider to handle
- Dual suspension system - Ensures a smooth, comfortable ride over rough terrain
- Dual brake system - Great for situations where you might need to slam on the brakes and come to a stop quickly
- Great ground clearance - Means you won’t have to worry about damaging the bike or yourself when going over large bumps
- Price - The only real downside to all of this bikes fantastic features is that it will cost a bit more than the average beginner bike on the market
Another super reliable brand for bikes of all specifications, Yamaha are great for producing high quality and mechanically advanced dirt bikes.
The YZ65 is no exception and, whilst it's definitely a little more expensive and complex than most on this list, we still think it’s a good way for beginners to learn the fundamentals of dirt biking and still leave plenty of room for progression.
This is another bike that is designed for ‘mini-moto racers’ but still falls somewhere between the size of a kids bike and a full size one.
It has a ground clearance of 10.4 inches (26cm) so it’s a little higher than the Honda model we looked at previously.
It does use a less powerful, 65cc 2-stroke engine than some of the other bikes this size and, whilst this might seem like a bad thing, it is beneficial for people who just need to learn the basics of dirt biking before they can go fast.
A less powerful engine means you won’t be overwhelmed by too much torque when you apply the throttle the first few times.
It means you won’t be able to go as fast when you do master the fundamentals but it’s probably an easier way to learn.
However, in contrast to the more beginner-friendly engine specs, this bike uses a six speed manual transmission.
Again, it might seem a little counterintuitive to have such a complex gear system on a beginner bike, but the combination of having more gears and a smaller engine actually makes it easier to learn.
It’s always easier to learn how to control the bike and its gears when you’re travelling more slowly so you don’t have to worry as much about the track and any obstacles.
Therefore, this bike gives you more opportunity to learn how to ride it with more control, making it easier for you to eventually transition to a larger bike.
In terms of the bike’s design and construction, Yamaha have done a great job of making it safe and comfortable to ride.
It uses an adjustable dual suspension system, giving you even greater control over how smooth you want the ride to be and how easy it is to feel the bumps in the track underneath you while riding.
Of course, the YZ65 also uses a dual brake system to provide an even greater level of control and safety.
The tires offer a good level of grip across a variety of track conditions, maximizing safety and control even further.
However, probably the best thing about this bike’s design is its frame. It uses a strong steel frame which is designed for 65cc race class conditions and offers a really good level of shock absorption over bumps.
There is also a removable aluminum rear subframe which is super lightweight and makes maintenance convenient.
In general, this bike isn’t designed specifically for beginners and has competitive race specifications for the 65cc class.
However, we still think it’s the right kind of bike to use for learning the basics of dirt bike racing.
It will probably be beneficial to have some knowledge or experience of motorcycle riding before going for this one. However, a really good teacher or instructor can make it so much easier to learn on a bike like this.
What you’ll probably find is that when you do master the basics, you’ll find yourself flying along the track, having the time of your life!
- Perfect size for beginners - This bike isn’t too small for adults to use properly but isn’t quite as large as a full size dirt bike, the perfect balance
- 6 speed transmission - Gives you a great level of control over your bike’s speed once you get the hang of changing gears
- Dual suspension system - The adjustable suspension at both ends of the bike uses some pretty advanced technology to give full control over the smoothness of your ride
- Dual brake system - A great feature for helping you control your bike bette and maintaining safety
- Well designed frames - Both the main steel frame and removable aluminum rear subframe are lightweight and perfectly designed for dirt biking
- 65cc 2-stroke engine - Perhaps not as powerful as some people aspire to, but still provides a great way for new bikers to learn and improve
- Price - This is definitely one of the most expensive bikes on the market at this size and specification
Best Beginner Dirt Bike Buying Guide
Now, some of the specifications we talked about in the product description might not have made sense to you, and that’s completely fine.
Dirt bikes are very mechanically complex vehicles and you’d have to be a pretty good engineer to know what all the specific details and figures mean.
In this section, we’ll be going over the key specifications you should know about when looking for a beginner dirt bike.
If you haven’t found anything on our list that suits your specific needs, you’ll probably want to shop around a bit more to find one that’s right for you.
These are all the things you should bear in mind when doing your own shopping.
The appropriate size for a beginner dirt bike will depend much more on your own height than your age, experience or ability. It’s important to get the seat height right to allow you to maintain full control of the bike and avoid falling off.
Of course, every bike will have a different ride height, even if they have the same engine specifications. The best way to know if your bike is the right height for you is to actually sit down and try it yourself.
In a store, you’ll have staff on hand to help you through this process and recommend the right height for you.
However, if you’re shopping online, a good way to get the right ride height is to measure from the floor up to the highest point of your crotch.
Make sure your feet are both flat on the floor when you do this. This is a good way to estimate the appropriate ride height, but you can still have some leeway either side of your actual height.
When you sit on the bike, you should be able to place both feet flat on the ground on either side of it and still be touching the seat itself.
This is one of the most important factors in determining a bike’s power and suitability for a beginner. For kids, a fairly low power bike, less than 100cc, is a good way to go.
This amount of power will ensure the child can control the bike comfortably and not have it shoot off without them.
For teenagers and adults, a more powerful engine could still be appropriate and should be around 125cc for beginners. If you have some experience or feel a bit more confident in your abilities, you could try a 250cc engine.
With that much power, you’ll have plenty of room to develop as you get better at dirt biking. However, if you still think you’re at a beginner level, you shouldn’t go with anything more powerful than 250cc.
Transmission basically refers to the gears the bike has. Much like a car or a standard bicycle, different gears should be used at different speeds and inclines.
A lot of children’s beginner bikes might have an automatic transmission system, which removes the complications of changing gears yourself.
However, if you plan on moving up to a more complex bike eventually, you should try to learn how to change gears yourself.
A 4 gear transmission system will give you plenty of options as you ride and won’t over complicate things straight away.
Although, you can opt for some more complex bikes with more gears to choose from, in which case you should always take things slow at first until you get used to the feeling of changing gears.
Anyone with experience driving a manual transmission car or riding a bicycle with gears should have some understanding of how a gear system affects your ride, so it’ll just be a matter of practice.
The suspension in a dirt bike probably gets more of a workout than most other types of vehicle.
Because they go over such rough terrain with so many bumps, a dirt bike needs to have suspension that can absorb most of the shock that would otherwise be transferred through your arms and legs, wearing you out.
As you may have seen from our product reviews, the best dirt bikes have dual suspension systems, meaning there is suspension in place at the front and rear wheels of the bike. A dirt bike that only has suspension for one of its wheels, or none at all, should be avoided- especially for beginners.
As you probably already know, brakes are an essential feature for a dirt bike. They’ll help you to navigate turns in the track safely and allow you to stop quickly if you ever need to.
Disc brakes are a common type of brake construction and will do a very good job as long as they’re applied at both ends of the bike.
A semi-metallic material is the best for beginner dirt bike brake pads because they’re common and cheap, so it’ll be easy to find a bike that has them.
However, they do wear out a little faster than some of the more expensive materials, so make sure you check on them to work out when they might need replacing.
Gas-powered Vs Electric
Electric dirt bikes are a fairly recent development and, at some point in the future, they could be the only type of dirt bike that we’ll see around.
They’re a lot better for the environment than gas powered bikes and will cost less to refuel.
However, it will take a bigger electric engine to produce the same power as a gas-guzzling equivalent. Also, electric bikes are held back by their battery life, often needing to be recharged more often.
Gas powered dirt bikes are the best way to go, especially for beginners. All of the high-end, professional dirt bikes are gas powered because it’s able to produce more power.
If you’re thinking about eventually moving up to more powerful bikes, it’s a good idea to get used to one with your beginner bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is A 450 Dirt Bike Too Much For A Beginner?
Yes, a 450cc engine will almost definitely be too powerful for a beginner dirt biker to handle. When you use a bike that’s too powerful for your abilities, you’ll never get to learn the basic fundamentals needed to progress.
Beginner bikes shouldn’t ever be more powerful than 250cc and different engines will be better suited for different abilities. For example, a child who’s never ridden a motorcycle before might be better off with a 40cc bike.
However, an adult who hasn’t ridden a motorcycle before would still have the strength to handle a 125cc engine. It really depends on how confident you are in your own abilities.
How Do I Know What Size Dirt Bike To Get?
The right size of dirt bike for you will depend exclusively on your height. You should be able to sit on the bike’s seat and place both of your feet (not flat) on the floor next to it.
A good way to estimate the right height is to measure the length from the floor to the highest point of your crotch while standing up straight.
Alternatively, if you’re shopping in person, simply sit on each bike you like the look of until you find one that you can sit on comfortably, touch the ground with both feet, but not have all your weight on your feet.