The teenage years are the ideal time to pursue hobbies and interests, thanks to this dirt bikes for teens are becoming more and more common.
If you’ve landed on this article, you’re probably the parent looking to find out what the best beginner dirt bikes for teens are these days, or you’re a teenager preparing to make an appeal to said parent or guardian for the dirt bike of your dreams.
Either way, this article is here to help you. Follow along as we explore the key considerations in determining the best dirt bike for a teenager, and what factors you will need to bear in mind when making a purchase decision.
Size of Dirt Bike for Teenagers
The first and potentially most obvious factor is the size of motorcycle you’re looking for.
It goes without saying that the teenage years are a time of explosive physical growth in human beings, so recommending a “one size fits” all solution when it comes to bike size would simply be a waste of time here.
It’s worth noting however that many dirt bike manufacturers have started producing off-road motorcycles that bridge the gap between adult and kids bikes, and these can be particularly flexible with the selection of wheel size too.
So the chances are, there is a perfect fit dirt bike for your or your teenage offspring somewhere on the market, it’s just about finding it.
Younger, smaller in stature teenagers of 13 or 14 may find that the larger of the kids dirt bike selection is a good fit still, but bear in mind that’s unlikely to last far into the teenage years, so if you’re in a rush to get on a bike, you’ll need to be prepared to upgrade in the near future.
Later teens of 17 or 18, or teens which got their growth spurt early could already be comfortable jumping on an adult sized dirt bike, this is a very convenient situation as it opens up a whole world of options for you, but depending on the teenagers skill and experience on a dirt bike, you’ll want to be very mindful of the horsepower some of these adult sized machines are bestowed with.
You’re going to be looking at bikes in the 125cc, 250cc and maybe even 300cc brackets depending on the type of bike in question and the teens rider level. Luckily, there are quite a few options to select from these days.
Trail or Motocross Dirt Bike for Teens
Less obvious to the inexperienced is the question of “what type of dirt bike is right for me?”
Many find it easy to assume that a teen dirt bike is a teens dirt bike, and that they’re all kind of the same thing. However, those assuming that in today’s market would be very wrong.
There is a very diverse selection of teen motorcycles available today, especially in the dirt bike sector.
You can certainly pick up a good all-rounder dirt bike that will do most things you ask of it, but if you want to take one specific dirt bike niche seriously, then you will need to select the right tool for the job.
The most common niche is of course motocross, and teen motocross bikes are quite common.
Generally motocross bikes for teenagers, or any age for that matter, sport racey 2-stroke engines. For teens these tend to be around 125cc in displacement and offer a surprising amount of power for their size when compared to lazier 4-stroke motors.
Motocross bikes are generally set up to be very stiff and ridden standing on the foot pegs. The idea is that the rider can move their weight around easily and maximise their speed when negotiating motocross tracks.
This type of bike is also used in the less common niche of freestyle motocross as they are lightweight and designed to absorb hard landings.
Trail Riding Motorcycles
On the other hand, trail riding dirt bikes for teens are much more softly sprung and designed to be ridden mostly sat on the seat.
To the untrained eye, these dirt bikes can look quite similar to their motocross counterparts, but on closer inspection you can see many key differences in their design.
Trail dirt bikes generally feature more torquey but lazier 4-stroke motors, you can visually notice this by the lack of the expansion chamber towards the top of the exhaust which 2-strokes generally have.
The 4-stroke motors are generally known to be robust and need quite a bit less maintenance than their 2-stroke counterparts. Ideal for a bike you’re going to take on longer journeys away from your home or van.
To make up for their lesser horsepower output, 4-stroke trail dirt bikes for teens generally come with a larger displacement of around 250cc to give them a bit more grunt for getting over rougher terrain.
If you’ve done some reading around this topic, you may see others insisting that this type of dirt bike is the only sensible option for teens, but we beg to differ.
However, if your teenager is an inexperienced rider, they will definitely have an easier time getting to grips with one of these trail bikes as opposed to a motocross bike. They are simply easier to ride, a lot less harsh and way more forgiving.
But if your teenager has a key goal of motocross, a trail bike will only hold them back, especially if they’re looking to compete in racing or timed events.
Off-road Safety Gear for Teens
Teenagers are notorious for feeling invincible and taking unnecessary risks. Luckily for them, they really do bounce better than adults, but this is definitely not something to rely on when we’re dealing with potentially dangerous scenarios involving motorbikes.
Your teen may be somewhat fashion conscious, but never allow that to be an excuse to not wear the appropriate protective gear.
Riders, especially younger riders, need to be wearing all of the correct protective equipment at all times when in charge of a bike.
This includes a good helmet, leathers or padded clothing, gloves, boots, and even goggles if the helmet is the open face style.
The helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment on this list. You certainly don’t want your teen taking a serious knock to the head doing something they enjoy for leisure.
As head injuries are known to be some of the worst kind, it’s well worth the additional expense of a good helmet.
It’s easy to think any old helmet will do and we’ve all seen riders wearing helmets that are most certainly the wrong size thinking they are safe.
To give a helmet the best chance of saving your life, it needs to be an exact fit, of recent manufacture and in date, of guaranteed build quality, and in good condition – preferably undropped.
The way a helmet works is very similar to a crumple zone on a car in an automotive accident.
The idea is that the helmet material compacts during an impact and slows down the rate the head comes to a dead stop, softening the impact. The material inside the helmet degrades over time and is designed to deal with only one impact.
They are one-use, and dropping your helmet will certainly reduce its effectiveness.
Gone are the days of big and bulky body armours for younger motocross riders. Modern body armour is made from extremely strong and lightweight materials designed to be worn underneath your other attire.
Spinal injuries are very common in motorcycle accidents so it can certainly pay to also invest in suitable back protection.
If your teen is partaking in off-road riding on a dirt bike, they are going to fall off, probably many times. It’s never a question of if, only of when.
Any way you can reduce the risk to their health will help you sleep more soundly at night.
Top Dirt Bike Brands for Teens
As mentioned earlier in this article, beginner dirt bikes for teens are much more common than they were previously.
Many manufacturers have arrived to compete in this market in recent years leaving you with a good selection to decide between.
Any of the bikes built by one of the big japanese manufacturers is guaranteed to be high quality, durable and well designed ergonomically so we can easily recommend those.
Other brands that compete with them are also very successful however, here is the brand lineup we’d recommend, in no particular order:
- Gas gas
Any bike built by a company on this list of brands is guaranteed to be excellent. The key is selecting the right motorcycle for your needs.
Our Dirt Bikes for Teens Recommendations
Here’s where we get to the fun part where we recommend our best beginner dirt bikes for teens.
There are a lot of options to select from but we will narrow it down to just the cream of the crop dirt bikes here.
- Yamaha YZ125 Motocross Bike
The YZ125 is a proper motocross weapon. Featuring a well tuned 125cc 2-stroke engine providing plenty of power to tear around the track and a beautiful lightweight design, your teen will find themselves the envy of all their friends turning up on one of these.
The Yamaha YZ125 is a tried and trusted design and Yamaha have been producing this model for years now improving upon it incrementally for a long time.
At this point, these bikes have become scalpel-like tools to carve up the dirt. However, if your teen is a beginner to the world of dirt bikes, this bike may come as a bit of a shock to the system and they may find it intimidating to learn on.
- Kawasaki KLX300R Trail Bike
Kawasaki’s KLX300R is a fantastic example of a teen trail bike. As far as trail bikes go this one is a good size and designed for those larger late teens in mind. An adult could easily jump on this bike and have a great time.
The durable 300cc 4-stroke motor provides plenty of torque for those go-anywhere days of adventuring, far from the nearest road.
You can also be sure of the Kawasaki dependability and unless your teen is doing something very silly, they are unlikely to be making their way home on foot.
- Honda CRF125F Big Wheel
Here we have an option for the younger teens who are looking to get on their first dirt bike and learn the ropes. The Honda CRF125F is a smaller sized bike designed for kids, but Honda threw on a “big wheel” option raising the seat height to young teen level.
Don’t let that put you off though, the CRF125F packs a punch and your teen will have a whale of a time getting to grips with it. This is potentially the ideal bike to start off your teenager in the world of dirt bikes.