Have you been thinking about entering your child into dirt bike racing? Some series have kids as young as 3 years old racing. Racing dirt bikes has many benefits for children of all ages. It is important to weigh the benefits to the costs when making the decision to let your child start racing. You'll likely find that the benefits greatly outweigh the costs, as your child has a lot to gain from the entire dirt bike racing experience.
#1 Learning Responsibility
Dirt bike racing helps to teach young children responsibility. Having a dirt bike gives the chance for a kid to learn how to take care of the things they have. Properly taking care of a bike is a lot of work- from making sure it is washed to preforming regular maintenance. Skills like this help prepare your child for the real world, such as taking care of a car and house when they are older. They will understand the importance of respecting what they own.
The racing experience can also help kids learn about money and investing it wisely. Dirt bike racing can get very expensive, so parents could use that as a tool to introduce the skill of managing money and making large investments, such as buying a dirt bike and all the accessories that come along with it. All of these skills are gearing up the child for becoming successfully independent as they grow older.
Dirt bike racing is an extremely social experience. Your child is likely to meet many new people while at the track, especially if you decide to do more than one series. Racing tends to bring people closer together because a lot of time is spent at the race track, and there is likely to be downtime in between races. Some series even offer buddy races kids can learn teamwork from.
Racing can also be a family bonding experience. Chances are, if one person in the family races then others do too. You'll likely spend more time together due to the amount of time invested- between being at the track and traveling to and from. Parents and kids will spend more time together at home too when doing maintenance and cleaning their machines.
Racing is a thrilling experience for everyone involved. Letting kids race gives them something to look forward to. Encouraging kids to set goals gives them a positive work ethic and helps them build confidence. They will constantly be challenging themselves to do better, which is an important skill to have. Children will learn to work for what they want and be proud of themselves in the end. Kids can set goals to have faster lap times, make it onto the podium, move up classes, or even to gain enough expertise to move to a bigger dirt bike.
There are also likely opportunities to take riding classes with professional racers. Getting to know the pros and learning from them helps the child become more confident. The professional racers can be great role models to give kids someone to look up to and aspire to be like. These classes are typically advertised online or at local races. Make sure to check out the availability in your area.
While it may be hard to believe, riding and racing takes a lot of physical movement as well. Dirt bikes are a great way to keep kids active while having fun at the same time. Dirt bike racing increases your heart rate in a way that is comparable to jogging. It also helps improve leg muscles because your body uses them to turn, lift and operate the bike. Arm strength is also required to efficiently turn and steady the bike.
Riding can also improve posture because better posture is more effective when riding a dirt bike. If you focus on posture on a bike, it is more likely to be enforced off the bike too. In addition, riding helps improve balance, coordination and spatial awareness. Overall, dirt bike riding can help keep your body toned and in shape, all while having fun. Read more on the health benefits of riding dirt bikes here.
#5 Learning the Importance of Safety
Introducing dirt bike racing can also be an opportunity to teach children the importance of safety. Dirt bikes can be dangerous, so proper knowledge is critical in an effort to prevent injuries. Safety is imperative in other aspects of life as well, so teaching this as a priority has major benefits. Making sure kids understand the importance of being safe in all situations is a great skill to have.
The first step to staying safe when operating a dirt bike is to make sure the bike is the proper size for the age, height and weight of the rider. Make sure to compare seat heights and ground clearance of the dirt bike before deciding which bike would be right. The size of the dirt bike's engine also comes into play. Kids should be on dirt bikes with smaller engines, especially when they are first starting out. Some bikes offer a throttle control that allows the parents to lessen the amount of power until the child is more skilled and comfortable, which is ideal for young riders. Great small bikes for younger kids to start on are the Honda CRF 50 and the Yamaha PW 50. Dealerships or fellow riders can help with the decision.
Safety gear is also an important part of dirt bikes. Teach the child to be responsible with their safety gear before hopping onto a bike. Essential gear would include a helmet, goggles for eye protection, boots that come over the ankle, long sleeves and pants, gloves, chest protector and neck brace. Parents could use the safety equipment checklist as an opportunity for the child to be responsible for remembering to bring these items to the track. Watch this video to learn more about what gear to have on hand for your child.
Considering the Expense
The amount of money that goes into racing adds up quickly. Racing requires the use of safety gear, which can easily add up to a few hundred dollars. Gas to get to and from the track, AMA memberships, entry fees and transponders are other expenses to consider. Parts for the dirt bike and gas come into play too.
Consider the expenses that come along with allowing kids to race, but don't let it be discouraging. There are cost-effective ways to get started with racing, such as buying used gear and dirt bikes. Buying used can save a significant amount of money. It is possible to find used dirt bikes on websites such as Facebook or Craigslist, as well as at dealerships. A newer option to save some gas money is to look into electric powered youth dirt bikes, such as the KTM SX-E5 or the Husqvarna EE5. These are also great if you need a low noise option, but keep in mind that the sticker price is a little more than the regular gas bikes.
Dirt bike racing has many benefits for both the child and family- from learning important life skills to keeping the body healthy and active. When considering letting your child race, make sure to weigh the benefits with the costs. Although dirt bike racing can get expensive and take up large amounts of time, you'll likely find that seeing the excitement on children's faces and opportunities to learn new skills greatly outweighs the amount of money that goes into this competitive sport.