It could be both a blessing and a curse to have plenty of choices of dirt bike brands and models in the market. Sure, it’s great that you have options but there could be a bit of a dilemma when choosing the right one.
As a general rule of thumb, you should buy a dirt bike based on many factors such as your level of expertise, size and height, the purpose of dirt biking, budget, and prescribed standards.
Although there are already established dirt bike brands in the market like KTM, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, GasGas, Suzuki, etc., there are no one-size-fits-all dirt bikes that you can just buy in a heartbeat.
Getting into dirt biking isn’t complicated just as long as you know what equipment and dirt bike gear you’re looking for. Whether you’re heading to the motocross track or the trails and appropriate public lands, having a reliable dirt bike is a must.
If you feel the same way, stick around and find out which dirt bike you should buy.
What Is a Dirt Bike?
Dirt bikes are off-road specific motorcycles designed to withstand rough terrain and unpaved surfaces. They are commonly used for riding on challenging trails like hills, deep valleys, and other uneven or bumpy landscapes.
Moreover, there are competitions surrounding dirt biking. The most famous sport is motocross racing, which involves driving on pre-designed tracks covered with hills, bumps, jumps, and other obstacles.
As the sport expanded to different areas, exhibitions and tricks were also incorporated.
Nevertheless, when we talk about dirt bikes, it is understood that they are far off from the typical street-legal motorcycle used for common urban transportation.
What Is the Difference Between a Dirt Bike and a Motorcycle?
A dirt bike is different from a street motorcycle in terms of purpose and design. As established earlier, a classic dirt bike is exclusively used for off-road drives. On the other hand, a motorcycle is used for flat and smooth surfaces. Hence, you see them more on the street and other concrete roads.
Since they don’t serve the same purpose, their components and build design are also different from one another.
Tires: Dirt bikes have deeper and additional treads to increase traction. A better grip is essential in an off-road ride to avoid accidents and allow a continuous drive.
On the other hand, a typical motorcycle has no need for additional treads or traction. Hence, the tires are sleeker and wider to ensure a smoother ride on the surface.
Size and Materials: Dirt bikes are smaller and have fewer components than a street motorcycle. The small stature and lightweight quality of dirt bikes are necessary to guarantee smooth maneuvering on the tracks.
Unlike a street motorcycle which is heavily made of metal, dirt bikes have plastic components in them to lessen their weight.
Seat Position: Riding positions between dirt bikes and street motorcycles are also different. With a dirt bike, the seat is narrower, and the handlebars are low. This is to allow a semi-crouching stance enhancing movement control.
Motorcycles, on the other hand, have thicker seats and higher handlebars. This design ensures shock absorption, safety, and comfort.
Suspension: Dirt bikes have more intricate suspension employing the use of hydraulics and additional systems that ensure more shock absorption. This design comes as no surprise considering off-road terrains are filled with bumps and jumps.
It’s expected that a dirt bike will leave the ground and some point and need enough suspension dampening to handle landing back down to the ground.
Safety Equipment: While safety is one of the common grounds between dirt bikes and street motorcycles, they have different takes on the subject when it comes to equipment.
Since street motorcycles are often exposed to other types of vehicles, it is expected that law would dictate the inclusion of safety parts. This includes lights, mirrors, a speedometer, a license plate, a horn, etc.
The elaborate differences between a dirt bike and a street motorcycle make it inappropriate to interchange them on opposite surfaces.
Nonetheless, if you wish to have a motorcycle that can occasionally thread the off-road terrain, thedual-sport motorcycle is for you.
The dual-sport motorcycle has the build of the dirt bike with the essential components of a street-legal motorcycle. So, naturally, you will need to register it if you intend to use it on the streets.
What Should I Consider When Getting a Dirt Bike?
Before you buy a dirt bike, you have to set standards according to how you will use the equipment.
Dirt biking may have specific requirements. Hence, if that’s your direction, you better check the dirt bike specifications on the competition guidelines.
However, if you’re simply buying a dirt bike for practice or off-road rides with your friends and family, you can do away with the following factors to consider.
The size and seat height of the dirt bike depend on your age and how tall you are at the time of the purchase.
As mentioned earlier, dirt bikes are not like cutting cookies. They have to be tailored to your frame, expertise, and other factors. In terms of choosing the right dirt bike size, your age and height matter most.
For example, if you have a kid aged 10 to 12 with a height of 143 cm, you should find a dirt bike that has a seat that stands at 26 to 31 inches. Natural law would tell you that the older and taller you are, the bigger the dirt bike that suits you well.
Superb dirt bikes produced by well-known companies range from $6,000 to $13,000. Indeed, they are pricier brand new. That is why a lot of dirt biking enthusiasts sometimes go for used off-road motorcycles.
There is an annual depreciation in the value of a dirt bike that can go as low as $1000. Hence, it is common to encounter used dirt bikes priced in the $2000 to $3000 range.
However, a cheap used dirt bike may not be the right one, especially if there are already several issues with the bike. In addition, the standards for used dirt bikes alter as you need to examine the parts thoroughly to avoid further expense for repairs.
Style of Riding
Dirt biking comes in different forms of riding. Sure, they all involved off-road terrains with multiple barriers, but they vary in the levels of strength exerted as well as speed and endurance.
For example, trail dirt biking is a common outdoor activity that enthusiasts embark on for its thrill and excitement. It’s a great way to spend the weekends with your friends, family, and other fellow dirt bikers. In addition, there is less pressure with trail dirt biking as it is often done as a hobby and meant as a way to go exploring.
On the other hand, dirt biking sports can be quite different.
Depending on the type of competition, your style of riding will have to depend on the standards and guidelines of the game. These standards may include endurance, strength, speed, and flawless execution.
Dirt biking sports include the following: motocross, arenacross, supercross, enduro dirt biking, endurocross, trials dirt biking, freestyle, hare scrambles, and hill climbs.
The power of a dirt bike is determined by its engine capacity. It pertains to the amount of space or volume in the cylinder in which the air-fuel mix is processed.
You can identify engine capacity as it is measured by cubic capacity and labeled as “cc”. It goes hand-in-hand with seat heights which can be determined by your height and age.
For example, dirt bikes designed for adults have an engine displacement ranging from 230 cc to 450 cc, while kid-sized dirt bikes have 50 cc to 150 cc. Of course, if you are a beginner, it is best to start with a dirt bike that has less or average power.
In dirt biking, a stroke refers to the movement of the piston to achieve a complete engine cycle. These strokes are vital to start and keep the dirt bike going.
You may have encountered dirt bikes that either have two or four strokes. Choosing between these two is often and sometimes heavily debated in the dirt-biking universe. Both have their own sets of pros and cons.
If you’re a beginner, this decision may seem a bit overwhelming if you can’t figure out the difference between a two-stroke and four-stroke dirt bike engine. So, here’s a concise comparison between the two.
Since stroke pertains to the movement of the piston, a two-stroke engine requires two of revolutions to complete an engine cycle. With a four-stroke engine, four-piston revolutions occur to complete one engine cycle.
A two-stroke dirt bike engine is considered less complicated. In addition, dirt bikes with two-stroke engines are lighter, cheaper, and have fewer parts making them easier to clean.
On the other hand, it may require more shifting and even more maintenance when used roughly.
Another thing that doesn’t sit well with the general public about two-stroke dirt bikes is that they produce more emissions which are harmful to the environment. This is one of the reasons why some manufacturers purely concentrated on the production of four-stroke dirt bikes and skipped over two-stroke dirt bikes altogether.
Now, unto the four-stroke dirt bike. Naturally, this type of off-road motorcycle will need four-piston revolutions (intake, compression, combustion, exhaust) for the engine operation.
Since work is spread out in different parts, your engine experience less work which entail lesser shifting and braking contrary to a two-stroke engine. The efficiency of the engine work also reduces the need for constant maintenance and repair.
Moreover, the higher fuel efficiency also ensures clean burning and fewer emissions. On the other hand, a four-stroke dirt bike engine is a lot heavier and more expensive, especially if maintenance becomes necessary.
What Is the Best Dirt Bike to Buy?
The best dirt bike to buy is one that satisfies the recommended standards based on your age, height, and level of expertise.
For beginners, start with a dirt bike that isn’t too complicated yet durable. You will undergo multiple practices, and errors can be made, so you have to ensure that your dirt bike won’t break during a few rounds.
On top of the list for beginner-friendly dirt bikes are Yamaha YZ125 and the Kawasaki KLX110. Nevertheless, when choosing a dirt bike, make sure you do your research, especially concerning engine capacity, seat height, suspension, etc.
Is a 250 cc Dirt Bike Good for Beginners?
A 250 cc dirt bike is a good choice for beginner adults. It’s not too heavy and has less power allowing you to operate the dirt bike without too much trouble.
However, there’s a caveat. Not all beginners can just buy this dirt bike without a blink.
A 250 cc dirt bike is only applicable for beginners with an average adult height and weight. Likewise, it is not suitable for kids or those who have larger stature.
Can a Beginner Ride 450 cc Dirt Bike?
Generally, it’s not recommended for beginners to ride a 450 cc dirt bike. However, options to do so are wide open provided that you match the suitable height for the ride, which is about 6 feet.
But as a beginner, you might be overwhelmed with too much power produced by this dirt bike. Likewise, a 450 cc dirt bike will demand more force, energy, and reflex, primarily if you use it for endurance training or trail riding.
What Is the Most Popular Dirt Bike Brand?
There is no one popular dirt bike brand, actually. But several manufacturers have already established their names in motocross and other dirt biking sports. These include KTM, Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Sherco, Husqvarna, and Beta.
Is Buying a Dirt Bike Worth It?
Sure, dirt bikes can be expensive, and they require a certain amount of practice to master the basic moves. However, if these factors intimidate you, you’d be happy to know that they are all worth it.
Dirt biking is a one-of-a-kind outdoor activity that will give you enough thrill and excitement. In addition, it can intensify bonding between friends and family.
Plus, it’s an excellent means to keep you active and healthy not just physically but mentally as well.
What’s interesting about dirt biking is that it becomes part of your system once you start doing it. That’s why it’s not uncommon to meet dirt bikers who have been into the activity for decades.
What Does Every Dirt Bike Rider Need?
Aside from the dirt bike itself, a beginner or even a professional rider must secure the right riding gear before heading off-road. Safety and protection are the utmost concerns for responsible dirt bike enthusiasts. Check out the following equipment and gear:
Helmets used in dirt biking have to abide by the standards of the DOT. They should be made of durable materials while retaining a light weight.
They also come with different structures compared to an ordinary motorcycle helmet. That’s why you would commonly see a shield and visor on the dirt biking helmet.
Jersey, Pants, and Gloves
Your dirt biking attire is not just to represent the sport or activity. Every upper and lower piece plays a crucial role in protecting you from the scorching heat of the sun, the sting of the dust and dirt, and any potential accidents on the off-road terrain.
With that, a long-sleeved jersey and matching pants made of light but durable and breathable materials are everything you need. Now complete the ensemble with a much-needed pair of gloves, and you are good to go.
Your hands are crucial in every ride. Although wearing gloves can protect you from outward harm during your ride, they don’t completely protect your palms from blisters and callousness. This is where palm protectors come in.
Protecting your eyes should also be one of your priorities when dirt biking. That’s why you should never underestimate wearing dirt bike goggles for the occasion.
A stand is a tool you will need to use to park your dirt bike as a large percentage of them do not come with a kickstand. To preserve your suspension and protect the tires, you must place the dirt bike on a stand. Likewise, when maintaining the equipment, using a stand makes it a whole lot easier.
When choosing a dirt bike, you don’t go by feel. Instead, you go by logic most of the time. The dirt bike that you should get must match your height, level of expertise, and age.
Fortunately, many brands have groups of dirt bikes that are best for beginners based on engine capacity, seat height, suspension, and more.
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