Now that your child is ready to start riding dirt bikes, you might be considering buying them a bike. Here are some factors to consider before you make the big decision and buy them a bike:
1. Get the Right Fit
If your child is short yet you want to buy them a dirt bike, consider getting one which you can change the height on. By lowering the suspension, you will pull the handlebar downwards so that your child reaches them comfortably until they are older. Later, you can raise the suspension. Alternatively, the motorcycle shop might cut the seat, thus lowering it so that your child reaches the ground with their feet.
2. Engine Size (cc’s)
If this is your child’s first dirt bike, they will find it easier to learn riding on a less powerful bike that is lightweight. The 50cc is the smallest engine size that you will get, and it is ideal for kids under age seven. Four-stroke dirt bikes make fantastic starters because they have relatively linear power delivery, making their throttle control easy.
3. Starter System – Electric vs. Kick Start
The essential feature of starter bikes is an electric starter engine because they are easy to ride. As your child grows older and gains experience, you can opt for kick start bikes. Older motorcycles had kick-starter technology, but newer ones use an electric starter.
4. Engine Type – Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke
Kid’s dirt bikes are either two or four-stroke, and you must comprehend the difference between the two engine types before you spend your money. Four-stroke engines are ideal for beginners because it delivers power for every two rotations of the crankshaft. That helps in smooth acceleration and a broad power band, which reduces the frequency of scary stop-starts that your child might experience.
On the other hand, two-stroke engines send power for every rotation of the crankshaft, thus gives them a high strength to weight ratio. Less moving parts means that the bike will have less weight so that it will keep up with large capacities. Stop starts on two-stroke bikes can be a little scarier than on four-strokes. Some two-stroke engines also require that you pre-mix oil and petrol before filling the tank.
Small dirt bikes for kids have an automatic clutch. When your child doesn’t have to manage the clutch, they will have more time to learn balancing and steering the bike without worrying about changing gears manually. It is better to buy bikes with an automatic clutch for beginners and then move to the manual clutch when your child is older.
When our family started riding motorbikes, my parents weren’t the ones sitting on the sidelines fixing the bikes all the time. They didn’t have the mechanical knowledge to do that, and it wasn’t really of interest to them either. You might be a parent who loves fixing bikes and doing the mechanical stuff, and that’s great, but if you aren’t is it still practical for your family to get into motorbikes?
What we discovered in our family was that motorbikes were still practice and a great hobby without mechanically minded parents BUT there were a few things we did to make this easier.
Buy a decent bike
It might be tempting to buy the cheapest bike that you can find, but in the long run, this may not really be the cheapest and most sensible move. Many of the cheap bikes do break down a lot, and you might just find that you’ll spend most of your time at the motorbike track with a frustrated child looking at a bike that won’t work. We have found that buying a slightly dearer, more reliable and reputable brand bike can pay dividends in the long term. This type of bike, if serviced and maintained well seems to give a lot more riding time between break downs.
Get it serviced regularly
Initially, we didn’t get our bikes serviced a lot, and naturally, they started to break down and cause problems when we were riding. When we had big riding days, we started to make sure we got our bikes serviced at a reputable dealer after every few big riding days, maybe every 30 hours of riding. For us, this was worth every cent and made our rides much more pleasurable. It meant the bikes started first go and mostly didn’t cause us issues during the riding. Even though we were budget conscious, spending this money really worked for us on our family riding adventures.
One of the wonderful things about teaching your child to ride motorbikes is that it allows for great family dirt bike holidays. There are lots of great places in Australia where you can camp or caravan while also having the family ride motorbikes. These places have varying facilities. At some of them, you’ll need to “rough it” as there aren’t installed toilets or showers. At other places, you’ll have toilets showers and drinking water. At these places where you can motorbike ride and stay overnight, you are saved the hassle of fully packing up your bikes and gear each night. This can make the holiday a bit more relaxing for your family.
If you are not a camping/caravanning family, but you want to try a motorbiking holiday you might be best to find a good motorbike park with accommodation nearby. While this accommodation might be a little more expensive, it allows you to try out a motorbiking holiday without camping or caravanning or having to purchase all the equipment needed for these activities. (find a pic of motorbiking track with tent/caravan).
One of the holidays that created great memories for me as a child (when I was about 8), was going to a motorbike park in Blackbutt, Queensland where you could ride and camp. My parents and my brother and I set up at one campsite, and another family and their 4 boys set up close by. The tracks at the farm were all different difficulty levels, so all the kids of different ages had really good tracks to ride on. In between rides we could swim in the dam or just hang out together. At night both families got together for dinner around the campfire. In the evening we left all the bikes and gear ready to go for the next morning. It made for a great fun adventure holiday.