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The Ultimate Youth Dirt Bike Guide

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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 Opens in a new tab.

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 Opens in a new tab.

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

What Size Dirt Bike for a 9-Year-Old

What Size Dirt Bike for a 10-Year-Old

What Size Dirt Bike for an 11-Year-Old

What Size Dirt Bike for a 12-Year-Old

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

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 Opens in a new tab.

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 MarketplaceOpens in a new tab.

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 Opens in a new tab.

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 DOTOpens in a new tab.

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. 

Levi Bath

I'm the co-creator of OffRoad Lifestyles. I live in Loveland, Colorado with my wife and 3 kids. My wife and I have spent a lot of time out on the sand dunes near Walden, CO and we both love offroading and camping.

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