Why would you want your 10 year old kid at the helm of a dirt bike?
Off-road riding is an extremely rewarding skill and discipline you should bestow upon your kids at a young age.
Not only is it great for a child’s physical development allowing them to refine their hand-eye coordination skills, balance and fitness, it’s also great for their minds.
If you ride dirt bikes yourself, you’ll understand that it takes a lot of skill and practise to be fully in control of where your wheels are headed.
In a similar way to learning a musical instrument such as the piano, learning to ride off-road will help to develop your child’s brain and set them up for lifelong learning.
They will also gain the opportunity to learn the value of delayed gratification, perseverance and self-discipline.
That all sounds very serious, but all of that will be overshadowed by how much fun your kid will be having up on two wheels once they get going.
Dirt bike riding can be massively bond-building and you can share some awesome experiences with your kid and build memories to last a lifetime riding trails just for fun.
What Are The Disciplines?
These days the term “dirt bike” is quite a blanket statement, and these machines have become more and more specialised to specific riding niches over time.
This has created a divergence in the market and has brought some confusion as to which type of bike is the right one for your 10 year old kid.
Here’s a quick run-down of the main off-road disciplines available to junior dirt bike riders today. But it’s by no means an exhaustive list.
Motocross dirt bikes for 10 year olds are very popular and have been for a long time. I’d suggest this is the stable of junior off-road riding disciplines and by far the most common.
There are a few reasons for this, a big one is opportunity. There are many motocross tracks available to the general public. You can simply turn up with yours and your kids motocross bike and make a day of it.
This is an extremely safe way for your kid to learn to ride properly too, and they don’t end up too far away from you if they take a fall or simply stall the bike as most motocross is enjoyed around a small circuit.
Motocross bikes for kids are usually found in a consistent format very similar to their adult sized counterparts. With their smaller cc displacement they almost always tend to be water cooled 2-stroke engines and you can usually get them in 50cc to 80cc, all suitable for a 10 year old rider.
For slightly younger kids, you’re probably going to need to stick to 50cc bikes. If your child is on the small side, you might want to head over to our article that covers the best dirt bikes for 8 year old kids.
The sweet spot for 10 year old kids dirt bikes is definitely the 65cc 2-stroke. A modern 65cc kids dirt bike is an awesome thing and can really be a pocket rocket in the right hands. Sophisticated suspension has always made its way down to the junior models.
Therefore it’s no surprise that kids motocross racing has become a huge movement that brings like-minded kids and their parents together from all over the country to compete on a level playing field.
Enduro & Trail Riding
Trail riding bikes for 10 year olds are a much newer phenomenon. These bikes at first appear very similar to the motocross options, but if you look closely you will notice a range of key differences that set them apart from that crowd. They are often referred to as pit bikes, and there are some real similarities, but we’re not sure it’s the right terminology in this application.
Firstly they have a much more comfortable riding position and are designed to be more comfortable when ridden sat down, unlike a motocross bike that encourages you to be up on the pegs.
Secondly their suspension is considerably softer and geared up to take on a wider variety of terrain with better control, such as negotiating large rocks and tree roots. The softer suspension also promotes tyre to ground contact delivering superior traction even on very uneven surfaces.
Further to that, they use a completely different type of engine which is an air cooled 4-stroke design. They often tend to come in larger 110cc capacity, but these engines are a lot less racy than 2-stroke motocross bike engines and don’t offer anywhere near the same outright performance.
But they are solidly reliable, easier to maintain and still pack plenty of punch for your kid to enjoy on the trails.
Kids motocross bikes tend to forgo the electric starter to save weight and make them more competitive, but as you may be quite a bit further apart when trials riding, kids trials bikes almost always have an electric starter so they can easily get going again independently if they happen to stall the bike.
The idea of a kids trials bike is that they can join you on a singletrack trail riding through the wilderness for example. This can be some of the most fun and adventurous riding you can enjoy on two wheels so why not enjoy it with the whole family?
I mentioned the word “discipline” earlier, kids trials riding is the ultimate manifestation of discipline on two wheels.
Trials riding is a very popular sport and one of the most unusual looking and unique riding disciplines in the dirt bike world.
Previously this sport has been something only adult riders can really enjoy and there wasn’t much market support for 10 year old trials riders. However, now the market is becoming a bit more diverse and you can even get trials bikes for young kids to get started.
Trials is basically a technical track where riders are rated on how well they handle and control the bike through a variety of obstacles. These obstacles become more and more ambitious as skill level rises and at the top level, some of the obstacles trials riders can get over or through without touching a foot to the ground is truly incredible.
The bikes are a very specific design with an extremely low seat. They’re designed to be almost exclusively ridden up on the pegs and provide a huge amount of room for a rider to shift their body weight around to control the balance of the bike.
Trials bikes will simply be no good for riding in any other way than trials thanks to their very specific frame design, whereas motocross and trail riding bikes share quite a bit more overlap. This is worth bearing in mind when you’re considering purchasing one.
One of the interesting sectors to emerge is the kids electric trials bike. It can make a lot of sense for a trials bike to be electric.
It takes almost superhuman discipline to learn such incredible bike control, and even the most experienced riders would be intimidated by trials riding. But if that’s your thing, you can now introduce your kids to it.
This is one of those sports where the earlier they start, the more talented they could end up. If you’re going to try and get your kid into trials riding I would recommend first being a competent rider yourself so you can provide the throttle control tuition and so on.
You don’t want your kid to be scared off too early so this may be something to branch them out into once they’ve found their feet on the humble motocross bike.
Top Brands of Kids Dirt Bikes
This can sometimes feel a bit obvious as there are key Japanese brands that tend to dominate the dirt bike market, but it’s worth listing them out for those readers who are seeking confirmation on where the highest quality, reliability is in the world of dirt bikes.
You cannot go wrong with a motorcycle built by any of the above brands, and that applies to not just to dirt bikes for 10 year olds but also full-sized bikes.
What Size Bike For a 10 Year Old?
Generally, you’re looking for a seat height of around 75cm for a 10 year old, bear in mind kids can vary in size widely, but this is a solid general rule of thumb for this age bracket.
There are plenty of resources online for measuring up for a bike and modern bikes often have a bit of rear shock adjustability too which allows for the seat height to be raised or lowered slightly for each different child.
Weight is another factor you will want to consider, these bikes come in at around 60kg, which can be a fair weight for a 10 year old. If you’re looking at various brands of bikes it can be worth considering the weight difference. Cheaper bikes can often use lower quality materials that can weigh more than necessary.
If your 10-year-old is on the large side, you might want to check out some of the smaller options on our list of the best dirt bikes for teens instead.
What Engine Size
As previously mentioned in the disciplines section, the choice is really quite limited for bike for this age range, and generally you’re quite restricted on the types and size of engine available to you.
Luckily, manufacturers have worked out where the sweet spots are over the years and if you select a 65cc 2-stroke motocross bike for your kid, they will find it to have plenty of power but not so much that it’s terrifying for them to access it.
Equally, 110cc 4-stroke trail bike motors pack enough power to go anywhere and have a great time, although the responsiveness and maximum performance is somewhat blunt compared to the 2-stroke counterparts.
Any bike around these sizes should offer ample power for a junior rider.
Our Best Dirt Bikes for 10 Year Olds
Now for the part where we state our recommendations, if your 10-year-old kid is already into dirt bikes then you’ve probably scrolled straight down to this section to have a look at the options recommended by us.
We can’t blame you for that, but if you want to understand a bit more about the differences between these types of bikes then be sure to scroll back up and get familiar with that.
- Kawasaki KX65
I’ve got to level with you, I’m a bit biased here as the Kawasaki KX65 is the very motocross bike I cut my teeth on as a boy. After I’d grown out of the obligatory rev-n-go Italjet mini bike, my parents put me on a KX65, and to this day I still have very fond memories of riding this bike.
This is an extremely capable, intuitive and high quality machine that any junior rider can enjoy without hitting the performance ceiling too readily.
The deal sweetener here is that the KX65 is the best value kids motocross bike among the top brands, but it really doesn’t give away any performance because of it. It’s a bargain for what it is.
- Yamaha YZ65
The Yamaha YZ65 is another perfect example of a kids motocross bike you can depend on. Slightly smaller in stature to the KX65, but generally very similar to it, the YZ has a couple of trick parts to justify the additional cost such as fancy upside-down front forks.
You couldn’t go wrong with one of these for your 10 year old child, it’s a great example of Japanese quality.
- KTM 65SX
A more interesting premium choice here. We move away from the big Japanese manufacturers and appreciate what Austria’s KTM has brought to the table with their 65SX.
The KTM brand has risen to power over the past 10 years or so and has become one of the most sought after motorcycle brands in almost all of the disciplines. Where KTM really excels though is with dirt bikes.
While the Japanese options are notoriously solid and dependable, KTM tries to build on that experience with a more premium machine featuring top-end parts and a carefully revised ergonomic setup.
If you can afford the additional premium, you won’t be disappointed, but try not to be too upset when your kid drops this bike. And believe me, they will.
- Honda CRF110F
What kind of motorcycle recommendations list would this be without an appearance from our old favourite manufacturer, Honda?
The CRF110 is our preferred kids trail riding bike due to exceptionally supple suspension and robust design quality. The CRF110 also provides plenty of power for you kid to keep up with you on the trail and have a blast.
- Yamaha TT-R110E
Our alternative to the Honda is this Yamaha TTR110, a very similar bike to its red brother, this blue beauty offers all the same upsides and dependability for a similar price tag.
It’s hard to split the two, but subtle differences in size and ergonomics mean your kid is likely to prefer one over the other in practise.
Either that or they will be swayed by the rich blue colour, which is the only colour the TTR is available in.
Please be sure to reach out to us in the comments section if you have have any other suggestions for great dirt bikes for 10 years olds as well as any other questions you might have.