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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
- 1 How Is Dirt Bike Size Measured?
- 2 How to know if a Dirt Bike is the Right Size?
- 3 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dirt Bike For Your Body
- 4 Best Dirt Bike Sizes for Kids
- 5 Dirt Bike Size Table for Kids
- 6 Best Dirt Bike Sizes For Adults: Tall and Small
- 7 Dirt Bike Size Table for Adults
- 8 Adjusting the Height of Your Dirt Bike
- 9 Choosing the Best Dirt Bike for You
- 10 Buying Your Chosen Dirt Bike Model
- 11 Conclusion
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.
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.
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
|Age||Recommended Seat Height|
|8-9||24 to 28″ (61cm to 71.1cm)|
|10-12||26 to 31″ (66cm to 78.7cm)|
|13-15||30 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
|Height||Recommended Seat Height|
|5’2″ (157cm) Tall||31 to 35″ (78.7 to 88.9cm)|
|5’4″ (162cm) Tall||33 to 36″ (83.8 to 91.4cm)|
|5′ 6″ (167cm) Tall||34 to 37″ (86.4 to 94cm)|
|5’8″ (172cm) Tall||34 to 38″ (86.4 to 96.5cm)|
|5’10” (178cm) Tall||35 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.
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.