A common question surrounding the hobby of motocross is “how much are dirt bikes?”. This is a good question as financial planning when it comes to something like this is a must.
First of all, it’s worth noting that motocross, enduro or other formats of dirt bike riding in the UK is not a cheap hobby. In fact, it can be extremely expensive if you aren’t careful to control the costs and find the best prices for parts and service.
But it’s not all bad news, there are great value ways to get onto a dirt bike, and plenty of ways to save money after you’ve purchased your first motocrosser too.
In this article, we will go over the costs and answer the question of how much are dirt bikes in the UK.
Motorcycle Dealership Pricing
It’s not totally surprising that this question regarding the cost of dirt bikes is asked, because traditionally dirt bikes are purchased through motorcycle dealerships, in a similar way to how you purchase a new car. Due to this, the pricing is not always apparent and can vary considerably from expensive, to ridiculously expensive, or anywhere in between.
Luckily, the internet age has afforded us the opportunity to quickly and easily share information, and I can tell you that an entry-level dirt bike comes in at around £2000, but the sky is the limit and you could easily spend over £10,000 on a brand new tricked out crosser from one of the big Japanese motorcycle manufacturers.
The established retailers of dirt bikes are also starting to wake up and smell the coffee, with more dirt bikes than ever available to purchase online. It’s even gone as far as to allow you to purchase online for delivery. It couldn’t be easier.
With this new format of retailing dirt bikes, brings opportunities for new players to appear in the market, lowering the barrier to entry. For example, a new dirt bike manufacturer could retail direct to consumer online, rather than operating an expensive dealership network.
A great example of this are sites like our friends at FunBikes, where you can find a wide range of dirt bikes, from pit bikes to full-size adult motocross bikes. Check out this great value 250cc dirt bike from 10ten which we recently reviewed.
The Surrounding Expenses of Dirt Bikes
When it comes to dirt bikes and the question of how much are dirt bikes to own and operate, the cost of the bike itself is one of the largest cost factors, but certainly not the only one to contend with.
There are a considerable number of associated costs with dirt biking, especially if you want to get into motocross or supercross style club racing.
Let’s outline some of the costs of dirt bikes here.
Maintenance & Service
As with any vehicle, whether it be your diesel daily commuter car or a 2-stroke dirt bike, it’s going to need the proper maintenance and service if you want to keep it running and reliable.
As they say, it pays to keep on top of maintenance with these things, and doing the job properly is the only sure way to protect your investment and secure the reliability of your dirt bike’s engine and running gear.
Dirt bikes are used in a much more aggressive style than your run-of-the-mill road car, and as such, they need extra care and attention with the servicing schedule. Especially when it comes to 2-stroke race bikes, these literally need periodical engine rebuilds as a service item to keep them tip-top.
The general consensus is that a thorough service should be performed every 100 hours of use, but this only applies if the bike is being cared for between every single ride by cleaning out the air filter and lubricating the chain.
Passing this responsibility onto someone else can get relatively expensive if you have no mechanical knowledge or understanding. In this case, you’re likely to need to pass the job on to a qualified technician, who is likely to charge a strong hourly rate for their expertise.
Picking the most well-regarded specialist dirt bike mechanic to care for your dirt bike seems like a sound option, especially if you’re racing the bike. But this of course comes at potentially a great cost.
If you’re using a dirt bike the way it’s intended to be used, it’s only natural that you will need to start replacing parts every few 100 hours of riding time.
Many parts are designed to wear out and be replaced on modern bikes, sometimes as almost sacrificial parts, and they can really suffer if this isn’t done. Not only can it hamper performance but it can have a knock-on effect and cause other parts of the motorcycle to wear as the next weakest link in the chain.
Where you get your parts can have a large impact on the price you pay. If you only purchase parts directly from the dealer, then you are most certainly paying the maximum price possible for them.
The upside to that is you’re likely getting the maximum warranty possible for the parts too, and if you’re using a bike hard, or relying on it to perform at the highest level, then this can actually make more financial sense than purchasing them cheaper elsewhere.
It is also true that the exact same parts can often be purchased from other third-party retailers at a great cost saving, and some of these retailers also offer competitive warranties so it can certainly be worth shopping around.
Where things start to get difficult is when you’re purchasing aftermarket parts on the cheap. This can seem like a bargain at the time, and sometimes it really is a bargain for an equivalent quality part. However, other times you can end up with a sub-standard part which lasts nowhere near as long as an OE part, or even causes further damage to your dirt bike upon failure.
Our advice here is to check customer reviews very carefully to find out what experience your fellow dirt bike enthusiasts had with the part, and if in doubt, stick to a reputable retailer.
Fuel and 2-stroke oil
It goes without saying, that to enjoy riding your new dirt bike will come at a cost in fuel, with the addition of 2-stroke oil if that’s the type of motor your dirt bike has.
Scrimping with low-quality fuel and 2-stroke oil is one of the most common false economies we see in dirt bike riding. It is also a bad idea to store fuel in jerry cans over a long time as it degrades and will prevent your dirt bike from running properly.
Highly tuned dirt bike engines run high compression engines, and you’ll notice how high they rev compared to a normal car engine. This is how their power units produce so much grunt from such a small form factor, and due to this, they are highly susceptible to engine knock.
Another common name for this is pre-ignition, this is something that occurs with high compression engines where the fuel can ignite itself too early in the combustion process, while the piston is still travelling upwards to the peak of its stroke. Needless to say, this is not healthy for your engine and when it’s sustained it can cause a lot of damage to your pistons and bearings, resulting in a full rebuild or replacement engine. Not to mention that you’ll be down on power in the meantime.
This can occur when low octane fuel is used inappropriately. Lower octane fuel is for volatile under pressure and can ignite prematurely. Our advice is to stick to higher octane fuels in your dirt bike, such as Shell V-Power or Momentum 99. You’re looking for a fuel with a 97 octane or above, ideally 99.
If this is not available then octane booster additives can help if you use them correctly.
If you’ve splashed out on an expensive motocross bike and are using it in anger, theres a real possibility that it may be damaged, or you may be injured in riding it. Having the peace of mind with a comprehensive insurance policy is a great feeling.
Even if you dont feel the need to go full comprehensive, getting a policy that covers fire and theft is wise, dirt bikes are incredibly attractive to thieves and it goes without saying that they can end up on fire, or even burning to nothing in a house fire.
If you’ve got a considerable sum tied up in a dirt bike, having it covered is a wise move, without that your investment could end up being worth £0 suddenly.
Make sure you shop around and get quotes from a few companies before settling on one, it’s smart to get the best quote you can find and take it to your desired insurer to try and get them to match or beat it. It’s rare that this doesn’t work out in your favour.
In the UK, you’d have to be pretty fortunate to be able to jump on your dirt bike and ride it out of the garage and onto a track or lanes. In fact, there aren’t enough places to properly ride a dirt bike in this country.
However, there are a few very good dirt bike tracks and enduro trails dotted around which serve as a mecca for motocross enthusiasts, and they travel from far and ride to get to them. When asking “how much are dirt bikes”, the cost to actually take your motorcycle somewhere off-road and use it should definitely be factored in.
The best way to go is to get a van, hopefully one which is useful to you for something else too, and use that to transport your motocross bike long distances safely.
An alternative to this is to get a motocross bike trailer, although this can be difficult to store when not in use, and pose an attractive proposition for thieves. Not to mention that you would need to go to the effort of getting a trailer license to tow one, which again comes at a cost.
One of the most obvious costs to dirt bikes is often overlooked by those looking to buy one, its rider safety equipment.
Even if you’re riding on your own land at your own pace, it’s always very foolish to ride without the proper safety equipment on. You cannot put a price on your health, it’s far higher than any dirt bike would ever cost you.
Riding dirt bikes off-road is always risky, there is always a threat of injury, and sometimes serious. So it pays to invest in the best safety equipment you can afford to mitigate this risk as much as possible.
Unfortunately, that does come at a cost, and like the bikes themselves, the sky is almost the limit when it comes to these key safety items:
- Dirt bike helmet
- Motocross boots
- Motorcross goggles
- Motorcycle gloves
- back protection
- Dirt bike body armour
The most important one on the list is without doubt the helmet, never ride without one on.
Racing License & Fees
If you’re intending to do more than just enjoy riding your dirt bike casually, then you will be faced with the additional cost of gaining a racing license. If you’re going to use it and enter a race series then there are also fees associated with that as they are not cheap events to organise by the time you’ve factored in marshalling and facilities.
It’s wise to factor this cost in if your long-term goal is to start winning races.
How to Save Money
Despite all of the costs associated with riding dirt bikes, when it comes to answering the question of “how much are dirt bikes”, the answer can be not as much as you’d think.
Here are a few top tips from us about how to save money on your hobby:
- Consider financing a bike – dirt bike retailers now offer great finance deals, these cost more than the outright purchase of a bike, but when you factor in depreciation, and the opportunity for better financial planning over time, it can often be a no-brainer for certain people, rich or poor. We wrote up a useful article on where to finance dirt bikes recently which could be of use.
- Go second-hand – Our advice would be to start with a budget dirt bike if you’re totally new to the hobby, but you could do even better than that by going second-hand. There are some excellent bargains to be had on the second-hand market, from those who lost interest or didn’t find the time to enjoy it. This applies not only to bikes, but also to things like bike trailers, or certain pieces of safety equipment (but not helmets).
- Do your own maintenance – While it may seem daunting at first, there’s a considerable wealth of knowledge out there when it comes to the mechanical maintenance of dirt bikes. You may find that following a bit of research, and a bit of advice on the forums, you’re perfectly capable of changing your own oil and taking care of the routine maintenance on your own dirt bike.
- Shop around for parts pricing online – Don’t feel trapped paying dealership prices, there are some excellent third-party parts suppliers operating in the UK, and you can often save a large amount of money without even giving up the security of a proper parts warranty.