What Size ATV Do I Need to Buy? Youth, Teen Adults, Tall & Small

An ATV, or four-wheeler, is a fun way to explore the outdoors. Whether you are out in the fields or the forests, the right All-Terrain Vehicle can help you navigate any terrain. Nonetheless, ATVs are a considerable investment and require proper research before purchase. What size will you need to buy?

The size of ATV you need to buy depends on the type of riding you’re planning on doing, how big you are if you plan on allowing others to ride, and where you plan to ride the ATV. All these factors will determine the size of ATV that will be a good fit. 

Read on to learn more about how the above factors affect the size of ATV you get. We also analyze what to look for when buying an ATV for children, adults, and teenagers. 

What Size ATV Should I Get?

Wondering what size ATV to get? You’ll need to consider a few factors like:

  • The place you’re planning to ride
  • Purpose of your ATV 
  • Your type of riding
  • Who else will ride the ATV
  • Your Size

The Place You are Planning to Ride

The place you’re planning to ride the ATV is a significant factor as it determines the power you need, and thus the size of ATV you should get. Decide if you plan on using the ATV for hunting, farming, trail riding, or Motorcross racing. 

A 550cc or under is the right size if you’re planning on going for comfortable trail rides or general riding around the home. However, if you’re into steep hill climbing, aggressive trail riding, or hauling, you’ll need to get an ATV with a 600-700cc range. 

An ATV with a 700-1000cc range will be ideal for anyone who likes to explore mud pits and dunes. One thing to note is that the larger the CCs, the more robust the engine. Thus, the more your ATV can handle. 

The Purpose of the ATV

Apart from where you plan on riding the ATV, the ATV’s purpose will determine the size of ATV you need to buy. You can use the ATV for:

Motocross Racing

Although off-roading is a unique type of using an ATV, Motocross racing is more involving as it’s based on agility and speed. ATVs meant for Motocross racing are made to handle aggressive riding, and they feature balancers and front grab bars heel guards. These ATVs have a capacity of 680cc and above with advanced suspension and enough torque. 

These quads are designed for performance and are focused on racing on wide-open deserts or motocross tracks. Furthermore, the ATVs have more ground clearance and deliver unmatched performance and stability. 

Trail Riding

ATVs can also be used to cruise through the trails. After gaining experience, a rider can explore rough terrain to test his limits. These ATVs are about 700cc and up as they are meant for extreme riding.

Recreation 

Recreational ATVs provide versatility. You can use them for hunting, mudding, camping, and any type of adventure trail riding. These ATVs can perform small and big jobs. 

Hunting ATVs

There are subcategories within the utility category. These quads are utility ATVs but are now fitted with different features, accessories, and colors to make hunting easier. A few of the hunting accessories include rack extenders and bumpers, gun scabbards, premium camo paint, and hand/thumb warmers.

Youth ATV

These ATVs are designed for young riders looking to get into this sport. These machines are packed with safety features and are meant for riders ten years or older.  

The Type of Riding You’ll Be Doing

How you plan to ride and where you’re going to ride the ATV play a role in the size of ATV you get.

The first group of people is those who do light towing or snow plowing. These people enjoy casual trail rides to check out the scenery. Also, they won’t ride for a long time. You need these ATVs as a beginner as they are simple to handle and come with automatic transmission. In regards to size, the ATVs within this category will be within the 200-450cc range.

Most riders fall under the second category, where long rides are involved. Comfort is essential, and the group can include farmers and ranchers looking to do more than ride the ATV. Machines within this category have a range of 450-750cc. 

The final category is the riders who love aggressive riding and are looking for maximum capability and power. With these machines, you can race up mountainsides and rush through harsh terrain. These ATVs are big and ideal for people who go game hunting. ATVs within this group have a range of 700-1000cc range. 

Another thing to note is that if you plan on pulling a boat, trailer, or anything heavy, you need to check the ATV’s type of hitch and towing rate, apart from the size. Are you also planning to have more than one rider on the ATV? While most ATVs are designed for a single person, a few can accommodate two riders. Nevertheless, these types of ATVs have long wheelbases for extra stability and a second set of footpegs. 

Who Else Will Ride the ATV

Are you planning to have someone else ride your ATV? The other person could be your spouse, friend, or your children. You need to consider the other person’s capability and experience level when choosing an ATV. 

If you have inexperienced riders, you need to go for a small-sized ATV with a 400-550 cc range. Find one with electronic power steering and automatic transmission. That makes riding easier for beginners. Moreover, if older people may use the same ATV, you can opt for an ATV that is 550-700cc. 

Your Size

Although physical size isn’t a critical factor in determining the type of ATV you choose, it’s something worth considering. You can get on various ATVs to decide what size you are comfortable in. Small size may feel too cramped, which is not something you want to be dealing with when out riding.

An adult who is 5’10” will be fine on an ATV that is 400 cc and below. anyone over 5’10” will need a bike over 400cc. Individuals between 6’2-6’3 will need a 500cc and above. Note that there are variations in size within every class. The best way to determine the ATV that fits your size is to get on different ATVs and find a comfortable one. 

What Size ATV Should I Buy for My Child?

Choosing an ATV for your child can be daunting. You want your kid to enjoy riding, but at the same time, be safe while doing it. Most states require that children under the age of 16 don’t operate an ATV over 90cc. 

You don’t want to risk getting a more significant size ATV hoping that your child doesn’t outgrow it, only for it to cause serious injuries. Children under six years of age cannot ride an ATV as they are not within the minimum age requirement. 

Children between 6-11 years need an ATV with an engine size that is under 70cc. That range will help the kid engage in safe riding while offering decent power. Those between 12-15 years need a unit that is between 70-90cc. These engines are suitable for young riders looking for more power and those who have a little experience. Check your little one’s habit of riding the bicycle, as this will tell you about his/her strengths and weaknesses. 

There are three and four-wheeled ATV models. When choosing an ATV for your child, it’s best to go for the four-wheeled model as it provides more stability and balance. Three-wheeled models are not as stable and are outlawed for children in some states. Ensure the ATV is equipped with lights and reflectors. Your child should also use the ATV with the supervision of an adult.

However, note that the above guidelines may differ if your child is small for his/her age. Remember that the rider needs to grab the brake with the hands, touch the gear shift, and reach all controls. Checking all these factors can help you decide on the appropriate ATV size to get. Don’t forget to match the kid with the ATV by confirming a three-inch clearance between the ATV’s seat and the child’s pants when he/she stands. 

Safety Features Fitted on the Quad

The ATV engine is not the only factor to consider when choosing an all-terrain vehicle for your kid. Check to see that the ATV has safety features like a brushless motor, chainless gearbox transmission, hydraulic brake system, wheelie safety bar for balancing, among other factors.

Some models come fitted with the parent-adjustable speed limiting feature. The feature allows you, as a parent, to control the speed of each ATV. What’s more, some models enable you as the parent to set the maximum speed a child can run the vehicle. Also, check to see that the four-wheeler has a seatbelt and a battery cover. 

Types Available

There are plenty of options available, right from sports ATVs to utility ATVs. Maintenance is something you don’t want to forget when shopping for a kid’s ATV. Find a machine that doesn’t have gas/oil, sprockets, or chains. That means you won’t need to invest more time and labor to maintain the all-terrain vehicle. 

One mistake most parents make is to focus on the engine size and ignore the ATC’s overall weight and dimensions. You need to determine if your child can comfortably get on the ATV and control it. The kid needs to be healthy and big enough to reach the control levers while seated and stand on the floorboards. 

Leg Length

Check to see if your child sits on the ATV with feet placed on the pegs; there should be a 45 degree angle when his/her knees bend. The thighs should line up a parallel between the forearm and the upper arm. Your kid also needs to sit upright on the vehicle and place their hands on the handlebars without leaning forward. 

If Your Child Can Maintain the Handlebars’ Grip and Control the Brake and Throttle

As a parent, you need to ensure your child’s seatbelt is locked, check that he/she has protective equipment like a helmet, and have control over the speed your child rides at. Supervising your child and reminding them of the safety precautions makes the ride safe and enjoyable.

When shopping for an ATV for your kid, the rule to remember is that the four-wheeler needs to be at a maximum of three or four times the child’s weight. Your kid should be able to shift their weight from one side to the other and from front to back to keep their balance. You can also go out for an ATV day or test track to compare the different sizes available. 

What Size ATV for Adults?

There’s a no one size fits all when shopping for an adult ATV. A regular ATV for riding around the property or going on trail rides should be 550cc and under. These entry-level ATVs or recreational ATVs are made to be easy to ride with simple handling. You’ll find that some machines have an automatic transmission, while others need shifting without a clutch. 

Another category of utility ATVs designed to haul cargo on the front/rear racks is to push a plow blade or farm implement. These vehicles are popular with campers, hunters, law enforcement officers, and those in service. The reason for their popularity is their power. Modern quads have high ground clearance and fantastic traction. 

Utility ATVs also have other features like independent rear suspension, removable headlights, auxiliary electrical outlets, liquid-cooled engines. The engine size of these quads is in the 450-700cc range. 

Sport ATVs combine the ability of utility ATVs with the sporting capabilities of the racing and performance ATVs. This category is more popular and has a variety to choose from. These quads have excellent handling for trail and tack, overall lightweight, long-travel suspension, and peppy engines. You’ll find these quads in TT and Motocross races. These types of ATV with a range of 500-700cc will be ideal.

Another particular category of ATVs is Two-Up ATVs. Companies like Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Can-Am have started manufacturing these ATVs. What makes them unique is the second set of footpegs/floorboards, long wheelbase for extra stability, and a second raised seat with grab bars for the passengers.  

For you to determine the right size of ATV, you need to get on several models to decide which one feels comfortable to handle. 

What Size ATV for Teenagers?

Buying an ATV for youth helps him/her learn endurance, balancing, and activates cognitive functions, among other benefits. Youngsters 12 years or older need an ATV with an engine capacity of 70-90cc. These sizes of ATVs are more powerful and a bit bigger than the 50 cc ATVs for kids.

This quad size works perfectly for kids who are significant to fit on the 50cc. Sometimes you may have a 16-year-old who’s small for an adult quad, will do nicely on a 70-90cc ATV for teens. According to the ATV Safety Institute, when matching a teen to a four-wheeler, there should be at least three inches of clearance between the child’s pants and the ATV’s seat when standing. 

The teen also needs to grip the handlebars and move them to both sides while still operating the brake lever and throttle with one hand. Failure for the child to reach the handlebars can result in serious injuries. Safety is paramount when running a youth ATV. If you are unsure where to get started, the ATV Safety Institute Readiness Checklist is an excellent place to start. 

When choosing an ATV for your teen, you should also look for adult supervisory controls, drive mechanism, speed, power, suspension systems, and brake/foot controls. 

What Size ATV for Hunting?

While out in the woods, the last thing you are worried about is how fast the ATV is. You need an ATV that performs and one that can camouflage and blend with the surroundings. You should also get an ATV that can do the ground clearance, heavy lifting, hitch, and traction. 

When hunting, you need to do quick cornering, climb through challenging terrain, and sometimes pass through downed trees. The size of ATV you get for hunting will also depend on the type of terrain. 

A 475cc engine going up will be enough for hunting. Don’t forget to check the ATV’s ride quality. You don’t want to spend too much time getting your quad through the woods when you should be enjoying your hunting excursion. Check to see if the ATV has a comfortable saddle, better grip, quality tires, and the handlebar’s positioning and footrests. 

The right ATV for hunting needs to have a sturdy bumper and high wheels to lower the impact of knocking things while in the forest. Also, note that some ATVs are meant for adults, and children can’t use them and vice versa. Get an ATV size that suits your needs. If you plan on getting a machine for your kids, you can get a kid ATV. 

If you are going hunting, you should also opt for an ATV with low noise levels as you don’t want to alert the prey of your presence.

What Size ATV for Farm Use?

ATVs are a beneficial tool that you can use for farming to access areas not accessible by four-wheel drives, pickup trucks, or other motorized cars. You can use an ATV to check and repair irrigation systems, herd livestock, supervise field crews, mow grass, or transport things. 

When looking for an ATV for agricultural use, you need to find one with a reverse gear, an automatic clutch, a coil spring, shock absorber suspension system, shaft drive, and a differential with a locking mechanism. All these components provide versatility for agricultural work. 

Adult ATVs for farming need to have engines ranging from 90-700cc and more. The gear ratios should enable speeds of more than 70mph. Remember that the larger the cc, the more powerful and quicker the ATV will be. However, note that this is dependent on how you plan to use the ATV, as this will determine the gear ratio and size of the engine you get.

ATV transmissions are five-speed complete with low and high range, reverse and park, and neutral features. Four-wheel drive is available as an option, but the two-wheel-drive is standard on most ATVs. 

Also, ensure you get a machine that can tow over 2000 pounds, has a rigid chassis, ample interior storage space, and brakes. A farm ATV needs plenty of carrying capacity, including the rear and front racks. These racks can carry up to 150kgs, with the largest ATV having a towing capacity of 450kgs. 

Rider comfort is essential when using an ATV for farming. If you are planning on using your All-terrain vehicle, you need to find a machine with padded seats. Some units have independent coil suspension to enhance rider comfort. High-end models have power steering that comes in handy when navigating rough and rocky terrain. 

When it comes to size, you want an ATV that can navigate tight corners. Size influences maneuverability. The best size should be 120-inches in width. Ground clearance is another factor you need to consider when evaluating the best ATV size for farm use.

What Other Factors Should You Evaluate?

Below are other things you need to check out when purchasing an ATV:

Transmission

ATVs can either have manual or automatic transmission. Most quads have automatic transmission and come with a belt-drive system and a variable clutch. Nonetheless, you’ll find some models with complex gear-driven systems that are heavy but reliable.

There’s also manual transmission in modern ATVs. These transmissions include the 5-speed or 6-speed with a manual clutch or an automatic clutch system. Most racing ATVs have a manual clutch. That type of clutch allows you to shift with the left foot and left-hand controls to stick to the clutch. That enables you to control traction and engine rpm. 

Note that automatic transmission will add to the cost of an ATV. However, once you mastered operating the manual clutch, you’ll be okay operating an ATV with manual transmission.

Shaft-Drive vs. Chain-Drive Systems

Chain-drives need maintenance as you need to tighten the chain and replace the sprocket regularly. They have decreased ground clearance, which makes them unsuitable in rocky or muddy conditions. However, the chain-drive system is affordable to make and lighter. This drive system allows you to change gear ratios by altering the front/rear sprocket.

On the other hand, shaft-drive systems on the front and rear need little to no maintenance. Modern quads have this drive system. 

Electronic Fuel Injection

An ATV with Electronic Fuel Injection enables the ATV to work correctly despite the elevation you choose to ride. The system also reduces any performance issues you may encounter when riding in places with sea-level changes. With EFI, you can climb the mountain and ride to the beach without changing anything on the ATV. iT 

The EFI also reduces any chances of the engine overheating. Moreover, you won’t have to deal with issues of starting an ATV in cold weather. 

Nevertheless, some ATVs are carbureted and are cheaper compared to those fitted with Electronic Fuel Injection. The problem with this system is that when riding the ATV, you’ll notice a performance difference. 

Power Steering

Power steering is an excellent feature to have on your ATV as it ensures the handlebars won’t be pulled out of your hands when you hit a rock or bump. If you’re looking to add this feature to your ARV, you’ll need to part with $1,000. The best thing is that electronic power steering prevents strain on your shoulders and arms when going for a long day’s ride.

Two-Wheel vs. Four-Wheel Drive

Should you get an ATV that is the 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive? The decision lies in the terrain you plan on riding the quad. A 4-wheel drive works when climbing steep hills, navigating through muddy sections, and crawling on big rocks and logs. ATVs that are four-wheel drive carry more cargo, plow more snow, and pull trailers and other farm implements.

Worth noting is that most four-wheel-drive ATVs have a button that you can use to switch to two-wheel drive. You can opt for a 2-wheel drive if you’re not planning on riding in extreme terrain. 

Drum Brakes vs. Disc Brakes

ATVs with disc brake systems are durable, stop better, and work better in wet and muddy conditions. You won’t have issues with the brakes freezing in the winter. In the older days, most ATVs had disc brakes. The problem with disc brakes is that they get water inside during winter, which can be a significant problem.

Conclusion

There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to ATVs. The size of ATV you choose will depend on its purpose, the terrain you plan on riding the ATV, and if you are comfortable reading the handlebars and other controls when riding. All these factors will determine the right ATV size for you.

The Ultimate Youth Dirt Bike Guide

Are you looking to buy a dirt bike for your child or teen? It can be hard to figure out which bike to get, including which size your child needs and what features you should be looking for. 

The right size dirt bike for your child is one that lets you adjust the height, so the balls of his feet touch the ground. For an 8-10-year-old, get a 50-90cc dirt bike, a 90-110cc dirt bike for a 10-12-year-old, a 110-125cc dirt bike for a 12-14-year-old, and a 150-250cc bike for a 14-17-year-old.

If you would like to read the full youth dirt bike guide, which includes different size dirt bike options for your child and buying factors and tips, just keep scrolling. 

What Size Dirt Bike for an 8-Year-Old

Engine Size

The average eight-year-old is only around 5’5” (128 cm) and weighs around 57 pounds (26 kg). As such, you should not get a large dirt bike for them. A 50cc dirt bike will be sufficient for many eight-year-old boys and girls, especially if they are beginners.

If your child is very small and is a true beginner, you may even want to consider getting a 25cc dirt bike, though that would be stretching it a little and probably unnecessary. A 25cc dirt bike is more suited for 3-6-year-olds. 

Another option is getting a 70cc or an 80cc dirt bike. If you feel that a 50cc dirt bike is a little too small for your child and a 100-125cc dirt bike is too large or fast for your child’s level of experience, get a 70cc or 80cc bike. 

This is not to say that an eight-year-old can not ride a larger cc dirt bike. They can, but it’s best if they do so after they gain a bit of experience. If your eight-year-old is very experienced with dirt biking, that’s a little different; in that case, a 100-125cc dirt bike will be fine. 

Height

As for height, it all depends on the height of your child. Usually, the correct seat height for an eight-year-old child will be between 22 inches (56 cm) and 26 inches (66 cm). You should adjust the seat, however, to fit your child. Their feet should be able to touch the floor when they are sitting on the seat, but they should not be able to put their feet flat on the floor.

Instead, the balls of their feet should touch the floor while the heels should be in the air.

If your child is a beginner, however, you should make the seat a little lower so they can place their entire feet flat on the floor. While this is not standard seat sizing for dirt biking, it can help your child feel more comfortable on the bike and keep themselves steady. If they cannot place both feet on the floor, they may end up hurting themselves due to not being able to stop their bike. 

It should be noted that most 50cc dirt bikes have a seat height that is around 21 to 22 inches (53 to 56 cm). As such, if you get a 50cc dirt bike for your eight-year-old, you may have to actually raise the seat a little. 

Clutch

Get an automatic clutch. Gears are okay, but a manual clutch can confuse your child and lead to some dangerous situations. For example, they can accidentally release the clutch and stop power to the engine, throwing them off the bike. 

Recommended Bikes

  • The Honda CRF50 is a great dirt bike for eight-year-olds. The CRF is known as a great all-around dirt bike in general, and the 50cc version is no different. With a weight of just 104 pounds (47.2 kg) and a seat height of 21.6 inches (54.9 cm), it is perfect for eight-year-olds. Since the gears operate without any clutch interaction, it is a great bike to learn with. 
  • Another great bike is the Yamaha TT-R50. It is small, you can control how much power is released by the throttle to protect your child’s safety, and there is no clutch interaction to confuse your child. 

What Size Dirt Bike for a 9-Year-Old

  • Engine Size: For a nine-year-old kid, a 50cc dirt bike might be too small. Of course, this all depends on the child, but look for something a little bigger at that age. A 65cc, 70cc, or 80cc bike might be a better choice, and you could go up to 110cc depending on your child’s size and experience. For most nine-year-old beginners, though, a 65cc or a 70cc would be perfect. 
  • Height: For a nine-year-old child, you will generally need a seat height that is between 24 to 28 inches (61 to 71 cm) tall. Nine-year-old children are usually around two inches (5 cm) taller than eight-year-old children. 
  • Clutch: An automatic clutch would still be recommended for a nine-year-old child. An exception would be if they are not beginners and already have a lot of experience with dirt biking, in which case a manual clutch would be okay. 
  • Recommended Bike: The KTM 65 SX is a great 65cc bike that is flashy and will inspire future dirt bike racers. It has the same orange and black style of larger KTMs, which will make your child feel really cool and awesome. The Kawasaki KX65 is also a great option, and it tends to be a little cheaper than the KTM. 

What Size Dirt Bike for a 10-Year-Old

  • Engine Size: For a 10-year-old, a 65cc would be on the small size. Your 10-year-old is much better off with an 80cc, an 85cc, a 90cc, or even a 95cc. As before, you could go higher if your child is larger, taller, or more experienced, but the 80-95cc range is a good starting range for beginner 10-year-old dirt bikers. 
  • Height: For the seat height, aim for between 26 to 30 inches (66 to 76 cm) of height off the ground. As before, this will depend on your child’s height, so adjust the seat height as needed.
  • Clutch: For a 10-year-old, an automatic clutch is still recommended. It is easier to learn with and safer. 
  • Recommended Bikes: A good 80cc bike would be the Honda XR80R. It’s small but not too small, and it has a powerful four-stroke engine. You could also get the Honda XR 100cc version. These bikes may be hard to find, but there are plenty of other 80cc bikes out there as well. 

What Size Dirt Bike for an 11-Year-Old

  • Engine Size: For an 11-year-old, you will need something with a little more power. An 80cc bike just won’t do it. Instead, opt for a 100cc or a 110cc bike. As always, go higher depending on your child’s size and experience. 
  • Height: The seat should be between 26 and 32 inches (66 to 81 cm) off the ground. Again, this is just a general rule of thumb, as it all depends on your child’s height. In addition, it will depend on how long your child’s legs are. 
  • Clutch: At this age, you can get a bike with a manual clutch. At 11 years old and up, children are mature enough to be able to ride a manual bike safely. Of course, you will have to give them extra training to help them handle manual bikes. 
  • Recommended Bikes: There are plenty of great 110cc bikes that you can get for your 11-year-old. The Kawasaki KLX110cc is green and colorful, which is why many children like it. The seat height is a little low, but it can be adjusted. The Honda CRF110 is another great 110cc bike that is great for beginners. It has both an electric start and a kick-start, which makes it a lot easier to ride. 

What Size Dirt Bike for a 12-Year-Old

  • Engine Size: Most 12-year-old children can handle a 125cc bike just fine. They might need a bit of practice to get used to it, and you will need to give them all the training they need, but there’s no reason they can’t ride a 125cc bike. If you are worried that it is too much for them, you can give them a 110cc bike instead. A 110cc bike will still fit most 12-year-olds, even if it is a little small. 
  • Height: Your child might need anything between 26 inches and 33 inches (66 to 84 cm). Always ask your child to try out the bike first to see if they are comfortable. If they are too short, you will need to lower the seat. Alternatively, if they are too tall, their feet might snag on the ground while riding, so you will need to raise the seat height to prevent that. 
  • Recommended Bikes: If your child wants something flashy, a KTM 125 SX is a good option. KTM tends to be an expensive brand, so you can always go for a Honda or a Kawasaki if you are on a budget. The Honda XR 125cc is a decent-sized bike that is kind of small for adults but perfect for 12-year-olds and teens. 

What Size Dirt Bike for a 13-Year-Old

  • Engine Size: While a 110cc dirt bike is okay, a 125cc dirt bike is definitely better. You could even go higher than that if your teen is experienced or tall. 
  • Seat Height: Anything between 27 inches and 34 inches (69 to 86 cm) might be required. It is best to take your child’s height into account at this point rather than their age. There will be a size chart displayed further in this article. 
  • Recommended Bike: The Honda XR 125cc is a great 125cc dirt bike that is powerful, smooth, and fun to ride. 

What Size Dirt Bike for a 14-Year-Old

At this point, your teen might need a 150cc dirt bike. A 125cc dirt bike is still fine, but a 150cc bike will provide a little extra power. That little extra boost can make your teen’s dirt biking experience a lot more fun and engaging. 

Recommended Bikes

  • We would again suggest you go with the Honda XR150R.
  • The Honda CRF 150cc is also a good option.
  • If you don’t want a Honda, you can get the Yamaha YZ150cc.
  • If you are looking for a 125cc bike, just get one of those bikes in the 125cc version: the Honda XR 125cc, the Honda CRF 125cc, or the Yamaha FZ 125cc.

A lot also will depend on availability in your area, but these bikes are commonly used all around the world. 

What Size Dirt Bike for a 15 to 17-Year-Old

A 150cc dirt bike is still a good option, but if your teen is larger and more experienced, they could very well use a 200cc or even a 250cc dirt bike, which is already a full-sized adult bike. This will depend on availability in your area. In many countries, it is hard and very expensive to find bikes that are over 150cc. 

Recommended Bikes

There are plenty of options for 200cc and 250cc bikes.

The latter option can be used on-road as well, as dual sports are street-legal. As such, you can use it yourself when you need to ride, or your teen can use it if they have a junior motorcycle license. 

Dirt Bike Size Chart

This size chart is courtesy of Dirt Bike Planet. Note that this chart is not perfect; there is no one size fits all. For example, someone with longer legs might need a higher seat than someone who is as tall as them but has shorter legs. 

HeightSeat Height
5’10” (178 cm) 35 to 39″ (88.9 to 99.1 cm)
5’8″ (172 cm)34 to 38″ (86.4 to 96.5 cm)
5′ 6″ (167 cm)34 to 37″ (86.4 to 94 cm)
5’4″ (162 cm) 33 to 36″ (83.8 to 91.4 cm)
5’2″ (157 cm) 31 to 35″ (78.7 to 88.9 cm)

The most important thing to remember is that the balls of the rider’s feet should touch the ground so they can stabilize themselves and stop the bike when necessary. However, the heels should be off the ground. Unlike with a street bike, the rider’s feet should not be able to stay flat on the ground.

If the rider is a beginner, however, and feels unstable without being able to place both feet flat on the ground, you can adjust the seat height to accommodate them. 

Buying a Youth Dirt Bike: Factors to Consider 

When buying your child or teen a dirt bike, there are a number of things you should keep in mind, both in regard to buying the right bike for your child and training and preparing them properly to ride it. 

Getting the Right Bike 

We already went over general guidelines on which bike is best for which age. However, those guidelines are not set in stone. Some children might feel more comfortable riding a 50cc even if they are 10-12 years old, while some eight or nine-year-olds might have a lot of experience and feel that a 50cc is too slow and not fun. Use your common sense. Always buy a bike that fits your child’s experience and riding skills. 

Also, don’t buy a larger bike for your child to grow into later. That is not a good strategy; a bike that is too large and too powerful can be dangerous for your child to ride. When your child gets older and grows out of their smaller, beginner bike, you can always sell it on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist and buy a new one. Alternatively, you can keep it for your younger children if you have any. 

Giving Your Child Training

Many parents just let their children hop on a bike and figure it out on their own. However, riding a motorcycle of any kind is not like swimming. You can’t just figure it out on your own. If your child does teach themselves to ride it on their own, they may pick up bad riding habits that can interfere with safe riding later in life and which can be difficult to shake off. 

Instead, invest some of your time showing your child how to properly operate and ride their new dirt bike. There may be a riding center offering a kid’s dirt bike course in your area; a quick Google search will help you find information about that. 

For example, The Dirt Bike School has certified MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) instructors giving kids classes on how to safely ride a dirt bike. The course takes place with professional supervision, on a dirt bike course. There may be other schools in your area. If not, you may be able to find a private instructor who can help. 

Here’s a video with some useful tips on how to teach your child to ride a dirt bike: 

Getting the Right Gear

Wearing protective gear isn’t just important when riding on the road. It is also necessary when riding in the dirt, whether the rider is an adult or a child. 

Helmet

To start, get a strong, DOT-certified helmet that properly fits your child’s head. It can be hard to find good helmets for children, so shop around. There are many brands of MotoCross-style helmets, but not all are DOT-certified. This GLX Unisex-Child 

It’s even better if the helmet features SNELL, SHARP, or ECE certification in addition to DOT certification. DOT certification is the bare minimum, but its standards are relatively low and it relies on a model of self-certification, which means that some DOT-certified helmets don’t actually meet the DOT’s own standards. 

The helmet should fit your child’s head snugly. It should not be loose; a helmet can only protect against concussions when there is a snug fit. Try to get a full-face helmet, as half helmets and open-face helmets provide no protection for the face and mouth. In addition, make sure the helmet has a strong visor that is not cracked or dirty. 

A helmet, however, is only the bare minimum. Gloves come next; a good pair of motocross gloves will help your child grip and control the throttle and protect their hands from abrasions when they fall off their bike. A good pair of boots is also necessary; the boots should cover the ankle to protect against sprained and broken ankles. 

Riding Goggles

A pair of riding goggles or sunglasses will prevent dirt and sand from getting in your child’s eyes and obstructing their vision while riding. It will also protect their eyes from flying pebbles. Alternatively, just make sure they keep their visor down. 

This colorful GLX Unisex-Child DOT-Certified Helmet comes with a pair of free gloves and a pair of goggles as well, and it’s very affordable. It comes in three colors: Blue and white, camouflage green, and graffiti pink, so it’s perfect for both boys and girls. 

Elbow and Knee Guards

Finally, get some elbow and knee guards to protect your child when they fall (it’s not a question of if but when; falling off while dirt biking is to be expected, even for experienced riders). Ideally, you would want to get a full suit and jacket that has built-in elbow, knee, shoulder, chest, and back guards, but it can be hard to find such suits or jackets that fit children. 

Get the Appropriate Bike

We already went over ideal engine sizes and clutch types. However, there are many kinds of dirt bikes you can get. Here are some of the different types out there: 

Trail Bike

This is the standard dirt bike and probably the one you should choose for your child. A regular dirt bike is designed to be light, smooth, and easy to maneuver. It is not built for explosive speed but rather to take the rider through rough terrain; it is meant to be ridden on rocks, stones, dirt, mud, and through all types of obstacles. 

Enduro Bike

Enduro bikes, on the other hand, are built for more speed and power. Enduro bikes are usually heavier and more difficult to maneuver. There are plenty of 50cc Enduro bikes out there, but in general, they are made for speed and are not optimized to ride better on rough terrain. 

Motocross Bike

A motocross bike is even more optimized for speed than an Enduro. Motocross bikes are made for racing. However, unlike Enduro bikes, they are actually lighter than most trail bikes. A motocross bike, for example, might not have a kickstand or headlights; they are removed to shave off some extra weight. It will also have an altered suspension.

Unless your child plans on getting into Motocross racing, there’s no need for a Motocross bike, as they are also not as smooth as trail bikes. 

Dual Sport

A dual-sport bike is a street-legal bike that is designed to be ridden both on and off the road. As such, it sacrifices some of the optimizations a dirt bike usually has so it can be ridden on paved roads as well. If you want to ride only off-road, there’s no reason to get one. However, if your teen plans on using the bike on the road once they get their junior license, you might want to look into a dual sport.

In many places, a standard trail dirt bike is not street-legal. 

Customize the Bike

Regardless of which bike you get, consider customizing it so that it fits your child’s needs. For example, if your child is a beginner, you can get training wheels so they can learn how to operate their bike without worrying about maintaining their balance. 

Your child should be able to ride a bicycle before learning how to ride a dirt bike, but training wheels exist for dirt bikes as well. On the other hand, if your child is a little older, training wheels might end up becoming a crutch for them, so you might want to skip them. 

Other modifications include controlling how much power goes to the rear wheel when the throttle is turned. Many small dirt bikes that are designed for children make it easy for you to control this. Also, consider adjusting the seat height and handlebars. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Motorcycling is a skill that one only gets better with by practicing. It is important to take your kid out to a dirt bike track or to an open area where they can practice dirt biking fundamentals. Focus on things such as emergency braking, emergency swerving, and slipping the clutch properly (if the bike is not automatic).

Other skills, such as keeping a loose grip on the handlebars and having a relaxed posture instead of grabbing them tightly and leaning forward, are important too. 

Supervise Them

Finally, never let your child ride a dirt bike themselves unsupervised unless they have a lot of experience. Keep an eye out so you can help them if they get into an accident. Also, if the weather is hot, make sure they stay hydrated the entire time. If they don’t get enough to drink and get dehydrated, it can interfere with their ability to focus and ride properly. 

Conclusion

Regardless of what kind of dirt bike you get for your child, always get one that is appropriate for their skills. It can be tempting to want to get a bigger bike, so they can “grow into it” and you won’t have to buy a new one later, but that can lead to some dangerous situations. 

More important than the bike you get for your kid is the training you give them and the mindset you instill in them. Too many parents just let their children hop on a bike with no prior training whatsoever. Instead of doing that, take the time to teach your child important safety skills.

They should have the mindset that motorcycling is dangerous and that proper safety precautions, including wearing protective gear, are necessary in order to have fun. 

What Size Dirt Bike Should I Get? For my — Height, Weight, Kid, Adult

Buying the right size dirt bike for you is important, not just because of the financial commitment required to get one, but also for your overall safety and to ensure a great experience every time you’re out on the trails. Knowing the right dirt bike size to go with before you head out to the dealership ensures you won’t make a rushed decision or rely on only the knowledge of the dealers to pick a bike.

To choose the right size dirt bike consider height, weight, age, the size of a dirt bike’s powerplant, how you fit on the bike, and experience level. Choosing a dirt bike based on these factors reduces the risk of injury ensuring you maintain control of the dirt bike. 

In this article, we’ll provide all the information you need on dirt bike sizes and how to choose one for yourself or loved one. Watch out for the section on specific dirt bike model recommendations

How Is Dirt Bike Size Measured? 

There are two main factors considered when measuring the size of a dirt bike. The first is the physical size of the dirt bike known as the seat height. It is the most important metric used to know if a dirt bike matches your body.

The second factor is the engine size, rated in “CC” or Cubic Centimeters. It refers to the engine displacement. Generally, the bigger the CC number, the more power in the bike. So, a 250cc bike is more powerful than a 125cc bike even if they both look the same visually or have the same seat height. There are always some exceptions to this rule, but this is what you should generally expect.

There is a misconception that tall people should only choose the highest CC engines in the market, but as you’ve seen above, the CC has nothing to do with your height. It’s not uncommon to find higher CC engines in smaller bikes, made for shorter people that are looking for a more powerful bike.

You can also find intimidating looking bikes with smaller CC engines made for teenagers that need big but not necessarily the most powerful bikes.

How to know if a Dirt Bike is the Right Size?

It’s easy to find dealerships and manufacturers with high definition images of their dirt bikes online, but you shouldn’t gauge a bike’s fit based on images and listed dimensions. To be certain that the bike fits you, you really need to sit on it in real life.

First, straddle the dirt bike and make sure your feet are touching the ground, but ONLY your toes and the balls of your feet, ensuring that just your heels are up. Being able to reach the ground with the tip of your foot will help you maneuver the dirt bike easier and yet still be tall enough. 

If you get this fitting, then you’ve chosen a bike with a proper seat height for you.

However, If you’re a new rider, you’ll want to consider a dirt bike height that gives you more control by having both feet firmly on the ground. Since some dirt bikes can weigh quite a bit simply having more stability when your first starting is essential. 

If you’re a casual rider, you can get by with such a fitting until you get more comfortable with the dirt bike. More frequent riders, however, will find that a bike that sits too low will leave their foot in a cramped position, which increases the chances of foot and knee injury. Also, you just look like a big kid on a little kids bike and will stick out in a crowd.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dirt Bike For Your Body

When looking to pick the perfect dirt bike for your body size, the three main factors to consider are your dirt bike experience level, your height, and weight. We’ll take a closer look at these factors below.

What Is Your Dirt Bike Experience Level?

It doesn’t matter if you’re getting the bike for an adult or for a child; the level of experience plays an important role in the size of the dirt bike you’ll choose. New riders need to choose a dirt bike with a CC-rating that will allow them to get a feel of the dirt bike experience and get a proper handle on riding across multiple trails. A CC rating lower than 250 is typically recommended.

A bike with a smaller displacement will have less power, and the overall size will be slightly less of a factor in how comfortable the bike would be while it’s out on trails. Once you choose a bike with an engine that isn’t too powerful for your experience level, you can proceed to measurement-based factors.

How Tall Are You?

As we’ve seen above, dirt bikes come in various seat heights. To choose the right size dirt bike for your body, you have to pick an option with a seat height that agrees with your overall height. Again, you have to actually sit on the bike to see how your height agrees with it.

You’ll find many seat height recommendations for people that are tall by X inches (we have some recommendations below), but it’s just general guidance. Two people of the same height might not have the same level of comfort on the same dirt bike. This is because some people have taller torsos, while others have longer arms or shorter inseams.

Remember, a dirt bike is too small for you if your foot is completely on the ground while you’re standing on the bike. You’ll only end up overloading the suspension, making every bump or rock you hit while out on the trail a lot more painful than it should be. On the other hand, the bike is not the right size for you if you’re struggling for balance on the tip of your toes while standing on it. 

The goal is to choose a bike size that won’t leave your legs feeling cramped while at the same time balanced enough to allow you to use your toes and the balls of your feet to control the bike when you run into bumps and need to control the bike with your legs.

What Do You Weigh?

Your weight is important because it determines what qualifies as the right amount of suspension for you in a bike. Two beginner riders weighing 120lbs (54kg) and 225lbs (102kg) may not be able to ride the same dirt bike.

If you weigh less than 150lbs (68kg), it’s often a good idea to start with a bike that’s under 250cc. This way, you can gradually adapt to the height and weight. If you’re well beyond that weight limit, you have to look towards bikes between 250 and 450cc to ensure you can navigate any trails without your suspension giving way.

However, your weight isn’t enough. If you choose a 450cc bike because of your weight and you’re a novice rider, the bike will be too powerful for you, at least until you’re experienced enough for it. If you’re experienced and are heavier, going for the most powerful bikes is always a good idea.

If, for some reason, you can’t find the perfect bike that has the perfect engine for your experience level and also strong enough to hold your weight, you should consider submitting a request for a custom order. It will cost a bit more in many cases, but at least you can avoid wasting money and get the perfect bike size for your body.

Best Dirt Bike Sizes for Kids

Are you looking for a dirt bike that matches your child’s body? You still need to pick the bike, taking the factors we’ve discussed above into consideration. If your child is aged 15 years or younger, there are many dirt bikes of 50cc to 150cc you can choose from.

Ages 5-6

Children aged five or six years old who are just getting started with a dirt bike can go with the Yamaha PW50. With its low seat height of 18.7″ (47.5cm), it should fit even the smallest kids. It also only weighs 90lbs (40 kg), so it shouldn’t be too heavy for young children. 

A useful feature on the bike is the throttle limit, which reduces the amount of power the bike can put out. This makes it easy to keep a lid on how much power the child is exposed to at any interval. As they grow in confidence and experience level, you can adjust the throttle to allow them to go a bit faster.

The PW50 also comes with an automatic transmission, so your child won’t have to worry about controlling the clutch and gears. The bike is designed to help your child learn balance, control, and steering.

Ages 13-15

If you’re looking for a bike that will fit the body of your 13-year old, you need to also consider their riding experience and overall height. If the child has grown to a height of around 5’1″ and is only just getting started with dirt bike riding, you should choose a bike like the 4-stroke Kawasaki KLX 140 for them.

It’s an off-road bike designed a bit differently from standard track-oriented dirt bikes, giving it a predictable and smooth power that makes it perfect for newbie riders.

The KLX comes in different seat heights ranging from 30.7″ to 33.9″ (78cm to 86.1cm). With this, you should be able to find the perfect fitting easily. Obviously, taller and heavier children should try out the 33.9″ (86.1cm) variant or the KLX140G. Smaller sized children in this weight class can stick to the vanilla KLX 140.

Children aged 14-15 and also just getting started with dirt bike riding can also get started with the KLX 140, choosing the model that fits their height and weight. If the child is already an experienced rider, however, you should consider getting them something close to the KX250.

Its seat height is 37.3″ (94.7cm), though, so you should also make sure that it won’t be too tall for your child. You can look for other bikes, but the KX250’s power means it’s one of the best if your child is a regular racer. A good idea will be to make some modifications to the seat (covered below) to reduce the height for the child.

If the height is manageable for the child, then it’s a good fit. The child’s experience will come to the fore, ensuring that they’ll handle the bike perfectly in the meantime while growing into it in a year or two for even better fitting.

Dirt Bike Size Table for Kids

AgeRecommended Seat  Height
3-618.7” (47.5cm)
8-924 to 28″ (61cm to 71.1cm)
10-1226 to 31″ (66cm to 78.7cm)
13-1530 to 37″ (76.2cm to 94cm)

Best Dirt Bike Sizes For Adults: Tall and Small

To choose the right size dirt bike for your body as an adult, you also have to work with the factors we’ve covered above in mind: your height, weight and experience level as a dirt bike rider.

Dirt Bikes for Smaller Adults 

If you have little experience and your body type is short and small, you should be looking at dirt bikes in the size of the 125cc Honda CRF 125F. It’s a mild-powered trail bike, and at 30.9″ (78.5cm), the seat height will work well for smaller adults. It’s also a lightweight bike that can be maneuvered easily.

Dirt Bikes for Tall or larger Adults

For tall (6ft+ or 182cm) 200lbs (90kg) experienced riders, the right dirt bike size to go for will be something in the 450cc range. There are lots of options to pick from, so you should base your final decision on the type of riding you intend to do.

If you’ll spend a lot of time riding on motocross tracks, the Yamaha YZ450f is a good option to go for. It has a 37.5″ (95.3 cm) seat height, making it suitable for tall people. The 450cc engine also means it packs a lot of power.

If you’ll be spending more time off motocross tracks and more on the trails, you can consider a bike like the Honda CRF450X. It’s similar to the Honda CRF450R, but it’s been designed for off-road riders. The six-speed transmission (wide-ratio) has made it a favorite for many off-road enthusiasts.

Average Height Adults

If you qualify as an average height adult (5’8 to 6ft or 172.7 to 182cm), and your riding experience is somewhere between beginner and advanced, you should consider a 250cc dirt bike. This is another category with lots of options to choose from, but the Kawasaki KLX250 is a top model to consider if you’re looking for something a bit fun and not too powerful.

Many people choose this bike because its Dual Sport design means you can legally ride it on the streets and then move to the trails whenever you want. Its 35″ (88.9cm) seat height makes it a good fit for average height riders.

However, it’s a bit heavier than other standard dirt bikes in its class as it weighs 305lbs (138kg). This is understandable as the bike needs to be stable enough for average speeds around other vehicles if you take it to the highway.

Dirt Bike Size Table for Adults

HeightRecommended Seat Height
5’2″ (157cm) Tall31 to 35″ (78.7 to 88.9cm)
5’4″ (162cm) Tall33 to 36″ (83.8 to 91.4cm)
5′ 6″ (167cm) Tall34 to 37″ (86.4 to 94cm)
5’8″ (172cm) Tall34 to 38″ (86.4 to 96.5cm)
5’10” (178cm) Tall35 to 39″ (88.9cm to 99.1cm)
6′ (182cm) Tall+37.5″ or higher (95.3cm)

Adjusting the Height of Your Dirt Bike

We’ve seen the recommended seat height for various body types above. However, it’s still possible that some of the bikes and seat heights for your body type may still not fit properly. Remember, these are not custom made. In such a situation, what should you do?

First, you can go ahead and order a custom bike from your favorite manufacturers. Many of them won’t honor the request, and you can expect to pay higher fees for any that agrees.

Alternatively, you can just adjust the height of the dirt bike. Knowing how to adjust the height of a bike is also a great way to avoid buying a new bike every year if your child is still at a stage where they can overgrow bikes in months.

How to Lower the Dirt Bike Height

Here are some tips to lower the height of your dirt bike:

Reduce the Seat Size

The easiest way to lower the height of your dirt bike is to cut some foam off the seat. It may sound counterintuitive as the foam makes for a more comfortable ride, but you won’t feel the change too much, and you’ll be able to ride more confidently.

Alternatively, you can replace the often sturdier foam in the seat with a softer block of foam. Such foam will compress when you get on the bike, thus lowering distance from the seat to the ground. If you don’t have the skills to replace the foam, drilling holes in the seat will achieve the same results.

Finally, you can also replace the built-in seat with a new option to avoid engaging in any DIY work. As long as you find a seat that isn’t as padded as the original, you can be sure of lowering your dirt bike’s height.

Modify the Sag Configurations

Another excellent way to reduce the height of your dirt bike is to modify the sag setting of the bike. You can do this by tweaking the rear suspension until you have a height that’s perfect for you:

However, this approach is not for everyone as may end up changing the original steering configuration of the bike a great deal. You’ll need to use your owner’s manual to be sure you have the perfect sag settings.

How to Increase the Dirt Bike Height

If you’re looking to increase the height of your dirt bike, all you need to do is the opposite of the steps discussed above. Simply changing the seat on the bike to one that has thicker, harder and higher foam can give you a few more inches in height. You can buy one from your local bike shop or have them make a custom seat for you.

You can also change the sag settings to make it higher, but remember, such a change can affect the handling of the bike. You should only use the option if you know what you’re doing.

Choosing the Best Dirt Bike for You

As we’ve seen thus far, every rider will have different needs. If you’re just starting out, choose a bike with a total seat height which rhymed with your height, and an engine that isn’t too powerful.

As a beginner, you should focus on choosing the bike that will be easiest to ride for you. A 4-stroke trail bike that matches your height is always a good place to start. As your experience level increases, you can move further up the power chart.

Your decision-making should also be influenced by the type of dirt bike you really need as they vary. Options include enduro, motocross, and trail bikes. If you don’t want to get involved in races or go to treacherous off-roading tracks, a trail bike is often all you need.

When you’ve narrowed down the size and type of dirt bike you need, it’s time to look at different models from different manufacturers and the specific features they offer. Then you should consider the following questions:

  • How reliable is the bike?
  • Does it have abrupt or smooth power?
  • Does it have suspension designed for your type of riding?
  • What does it cost?
  • Are there any other special benefits for choosing one model or manufacturer over the other?

By answering the questions above, you can pick the perfect bike. However, don’t descend into analysis paralysis. There’ll always be some disadvantage to any bike you choose. Look for the one that best fits and go with it instead of spending days trying to find the perfect dirt bike with any downsides.

Buying Your Chosen Dirt Bike Model

To make it easier for you to choose a dirt bike, we included some dirt bike models in our analysis for each body type above.

You can buy brand new versions of these bikes off a dealership, directly from the manufacturer or second hand from other bike riders—mostly those looking to upgrade. Getting a second-hand bike, however, is feisty territory. It’s easy to buy a bike that’s already too damaged. So what should you do?

To buy a good second-hand dirt bike, here are some tips you should follow:

  • Look at the overall cleanliness. If the bike is looking very worn out with lots of stains and caked dirt, there’s a high chance that the owner was careless with it—which translates to a bike that will most likely disappoint you if you buy it.
  • Check for damage to the frame, subframe, and handlebar. If the bike owner has been in a major crash or too many minor ones, you’ll see the tell-tale signs on the handlebar, frame, and subframe. Look for unusual bends, cracks, or welds. If the bike looks uneven from the rear when it’s standing, or the fender leans too much to one side, that’s extra repair work you’ll have to pay for.
  • Check the wheels. If there are few missing spokes, bends, and cracks, it shows that the bike has been used roughly. If you can’t readily see any damage to the wheel, spin the wheel and check for wobbling. New or used dirt bike wheels are costly, so you should try to avoid the expense.
  • Check the engine. You should turn on the bike and let it run for a minute at least. If there’s a ticking, it could mean a worn tensioner or timing chain—which can be fixed easily. If there’s a rattle, however, the piston needs a rebuild.
  • Check the transmission and brakes. If you’ve looked over the bike thus far and you’re satisfied, the next thing is to ride the bike and test the transmission by shifting through all the gears. It should shift easily through all the gears. If the gear doesn’t engage at a specific level, it suggests a bend in the shift fork, which will require the cases to be split—a repair job that can cost a lot of money. The brakes should also work perfectly.

Speed up progressively and check the brakes at various intervals.

If the body of the used bike doesn’t show too much wear and tear and the engine and transmission are perfect, you may be able to save thousands by choosing it instead of getting a new one.

Your focus should be on avoiding as much repair as possible, so you don’t get to lose the money you save from choosing to get a second-hand option at the mechanic or rebuild shop. There’s also the problem of putting yourself at risk by riding a bike that can give way under you or stop suddenly while you’re out on the trails.

Conclusion

Being a dirt bike owner is fun and exciting, only when you choose a bike that fits your body. You can choose a bike that fits you perfectly by paying attention to factors like your height, weight, and riding experience. Always remind yourself that smaller bikes aren’t necessarily safer, and tall people don’t always have to go for the most powerful bikes.

Test as many bikes as possible before you make a decision. If you can’t find a fitting model from your preferred manufacturers, look elsewhere. Remember, a standard bike will cost thousands of dollars. It’s not a decision you should make lightly.