Transitioning from a primary children's bike to the first dirt bike can have some challenges. There may be questions about the proper size, the right type, and which dirt bike is the best fit. This article will provide some background information about dirt biking and give some things to look for when choosing the best dirt bike for a child.
Just a little Dirt Bike History
Motorized steam cycles were first invented in the mid-19th century, but the steam-powered engines in those initial models were bulky and created an awkward riding experience. The development of a gasoline-powered engine for the cycles in the early part of the 20th century led to a marked increase in popularity, eventually developing into what is currently known as a dirt bike. The sport of Motocross began in the U.K. around this same time and quickly spread worldwide.
With the explosion in popularity in the space, the mid to late 1970s bought several regulating organizations for bike racing, which paved the way for bike tricks and elaborate riding routines. These events bring the sport to the present day, where bike races are often the featured attraction for extreme sporting events.
A Few Types of Dirt Bikes
Today, there are a few main types of dirt bikes, each designed for a specific purpose. Having some basic facts about each can help determine the most appropriate. Dirt bikes are designed for rugged off-road riding. Across the board, these bikes are a bit smaller and stockier than other motorbikes, but they can all handle rough terrain.
Motocross, Trail, and Enduro Bikes
Motocross dirt bikes are designed for quick handling in a rugged environment. They are intended for racing competitions on a closed circuit with a set path. These are the types of bikes many people like to customize and add aftermarket parts to.
Trail dirt bikes are suitable for performing elaborate routines on the trail off the beaten bath. Trail bikes come equipped with both front, and rear brakes for increased stability as these bikes are lightweight. Trail bikes typically have bigger tires and smaller wheels to make the ride more comfortable.
Enduro bikes compete on natural terrain. An enduro dirt bike mixes motocross and a trail bike and is street legal in most places.
Remember, Safety First!
Safety is a primary concern when choosing the best dirt bike for a child. Both feet should safely and comfortably touch the ground when seated on the bike. If the feet are dangling on one side or the knees have an extreme bend, the cycle is incorrect for the rider and could be dangerous.
Maximum speed is another concern when choosing a child's dirt bike. A lot of youth bikes offer the option to set a maximum throttle speed to limit the rider until they are more skilled and comfortable.
Wearing proper safety equipment at all times while operating a dirt bike is essential. One of the most critical pieces of safety equipment is the helmet. It's always a good idea to choose a DOT-certified helmet in the proper size designed for dirt bike usage. You can visit local dealerships to get assistance with choosing the proper helmet for your child.
Goggles are another critical piece of safety equipment necessary each time the child goes out for a ride. While riding at accelerated speeds, the eye area is vulnerable to insects and other flying debris. A set of well-made goggles that properly fit on the child's helmet will help keep them safe.
Riding boots are necessary to help protect the child's shins, feet, and ankles. While riding, the bike may pass over and near low-lying obstacles that could cause injury. For this reason, and with the shins near the hot engine, quality riding boots are another principal piece of safety gear worn whenever riding.
Choosing the Right Size Bike
Ensuring the perfect size of dirt bike for a child can be confusing, but making sure that the bike is sized correctly for the child will make the entire process more enjoyable for all concerned. The factors used to determine the proper size of dirt bikes are the child's size and the size or power of the bike. But the experience and comfort level of the child is also a consideration.
Training wheels can be a controversial topic for outfitting dirt bikes for children. One side feels that the trainers can create a physiological dependency for the rider, who may feel traumatized when the training wheels are gone and they must learn to ride without them.
The other side thinks that it gives the child the confidence to learn to ride without fear of falling off the bike. While both sides of the issue have merit, the decision on whether or not to begin riding with training wheels is a personal one.
Children as young as three can learn to ride a dirt bike, but it's wise to wait until they have learned to balance on a bicycle. An electric dirt bike is a good choice for very young children mainly because the engine is not as loud and this may make them feel more comfortable.
Stacyc has a line of electric bikes that are smaller and lower to the ground, which may provide children with more confidence in the beginning. They are designed to prepare kids for riding a dirt bike. As a bonus, electric bikes are also easier to maintain than their gas counterparts and have lower emissions, making them easier on the environment. Make sure to also choose the correct size for your child's height and skill level, as the Stacyc comes in 4 different sizes now. We also offer Stacyc graphics to personalize your child's bike.
If deciding on a gas-powered dirt bike for a child, the Yamaha PW50 is a great choice. This bike is a solid choice for a learner bike because of its simplicity. The Yamaha PW50 is also reasonably priced with a low seat height, making it easier to ride. The PW 50 is one of the most popular starter bikes for kids, which is also why it's one of our best sellers. Check out our website to see graphics options you can customize for your child's ride.