Age eleven is a good age to start your kid on serious dirt biking. It’s important to pick out the appropriate dirt bike that suits your child’s height, weight, and skill levels.
When buying a dirt bike, it’s important to consider factors like:
- Engine size
- Street use
- Size and weight limit
- Style and color
- Starter system
- Seat height
- Wheel size
- Engine power
Factors To Consider When Buying Dirt Bikes
It’s tempting to buy a smaller adult dirt bike, thinking that your child will just grow into it as he gets older. It’s better to buy a dirt bike specifically designed for kids because they are more manageable, lighter, and have beginner features. These ensure that your child won’t get into an accident because of a bike that’s too powerful or too heavy.
The main difference between regular dirt bikes and kids’ dirt bikes is the engine size. Children’s bikes often have 50cc to 125cc engines. They’re usually electric bikes which makes them easier to manage and maintain.
Children’s bikes come in two main engine types: 2-stroke or 4-stroke. Two-stroke engines generate power for every rotation of the crankshaft. This could get challenging to control at a low-speed setting. It’s inadvisable to go for a 2-stroke engine if your child’s a beginner.
Four-stroke engines create double the power in one go, hence making the engine run smoother and easier to control. It has fewer chances of engine stalling which could scare your kid. These are recommended for beginners.
Regular dirt bikes are cleared for street use. However, the models for kids aren’t allowed on main roads. They’re only allowed on offroad private trails. As such, they’re safer since they won’t put your child in the way of large cars.
Size And Weight Limit
The bike’s seat height and wheel size should always be considered when purchasing a dirt bike. It wouldn’t make sense to purchase a bike that your child can’t use comfortably. The bike must neither be too high nor too low. It’s ideal to bring your child to a bike shop and make him hop on different models. Then, check his feet. His feet should neither be flat on the ground nor tiptoed. Only a third of his feet should touch the ground. It’s the perfect height for keeping himself balanced while being able to ride comfortably without getting his legs bunched up or overstretched.
It’s also important to consider the weight limit of the bike. Every child is built differently, which means that 11-year-olds will undoubtedly weigh differently. Get a bike whose weight capacity can support the weight of your child. It’s also ideal to get a bike with a weight capacity that’s slightly higher than your child’s current weight so that he has some wiggle room to grow into it. Children grow fast before they hit their teens. You wouldn’t want to purchase a new bike every year.
The bike should match your child’s body because if not, it can affect your child’s driving safety and comfort. For example, if he’s too tall for the bike, then he’ll end up driving with his knees bent. He’ll also sit too far out, which can get uncomfortable quickly. If your child is heavier than the weight capacity recommendations, then he’ll affect the bike suspension. That will make it harder for the bike to go over rough terrains.
Style And Color
This is largely determined by your child’s preferences. It makes sense to get him something that he likes so that he’ll be more interested in dirt biking. Some kids may like flashy bikes with bright colors and bold designs. Others might like something more muted, with neutral colors. There are so many design options to choose from, some of which depends on the brand. For example, Honda bikes are red, Kawasaki bikes are green, Yamaha bikes are blue, KTM bikes are orange, and more.
Aside from the color, you should also check the availability of spare parts. Some brands sell spare parts on Amazon while others don’t even manufacture spare parts.
This is a subjective factor to consider because what’s expensive varies from family to family. The most important thing to remember is that children grow up fast. That means you might need to upgrade your child’s bike in a year or two, depending if he retains his interest.
You can also get an idea of the average reasonable price for a child’s dirt bike by doing your research. Compare similar models from different brands and assess the price difference. Check if you’re getting an upgrade if you paid the 500-dollar difference from one model to another.
You should also stick with a bike whose features your child can maximize. Some of these models have additional features like phone connectivity, GPS, extra lights, and more. These features hike up the price but might not even be that useful for a beginner rider.
Keep in mind that the costs don’t end when you purchase the bike. There are still additional expenditures on top of it, like the costs of regular maintenance, bike registration, safety gear, insurance, and more. The best you can do is to outline a budget and stick to it.
Most dirt bikes for kids have an electric starter system. This means they’re easier to start compared to kick-starters. Kick-starter bikes may be challenging for kids when you consider their short stature and light bodyweight. They’ll constantly need help when starting their bikes. Conversely, an electric starter system gets activated with just a simple push of a button.
This refers to the height of the bike seat from the ground. The seat height recommendation for 11-year-olds is 26 to 31 inches. You may also refer to the seat height chart below:
5’4″ (162cm) Tall – 33 to 36″ seat height
5’2″ (157cm) Tall – 31 to 35″ seat height
Kids 10 to 12 years old – 26 to 31″ seat height
Kids 8 to 9 years old – 24 to 28″ seat height
Kids 3 to 7 years-old – 50cc dirt bike
The wheel size is important because it affects the overall seat height. Smaller wheels mean lower bikes. Smaller wheels also keep the bike nimble by making turns easier and faster. The downside is that their rims could get easily damaged by rough terrains.
Conversely, larger wheels mean the bike won’t be as agile due to the bulk. The upside is that they’re more stable. They’re also more receptive to bumps so they often lead to a smoother ride.
The best advice is to start with smaller wheels if your child is a beginner. Smaller wheels are good for practicing the basics of dirt biking and for smoother trails. When you feel like your child has outgrown his small wheels and has gathered enough experience to take dirt biking to the next level, go for bigger wheels.
Different bikes produce different levels of power. This is largely determined by engine size and type. For instance, a 120cc, 4-stroke engine is more powerful than a 50cc engine. It’s ideal to start your 11-year-old with a 50cc as a beginner, then go up from there.
You might be tempted to buy a more powerful engine thinking that your child will just grow into it. Don’t do that because you’ll risk his safety by giving him something more than he could handle.
Regular maintenance is important to ensure that the bike lasts for a very long time. A poorly-maintained bike will succumb to corrosion and clogs that will destroy the components. You might want to go for bikes that are easy to maintain. There are models with self-maintenance features like automatic clearance of carbon build up in the exhaust system and automatic lubrication. Keep in mind that a 2-stroke engine requires more attention and upkeep than a 4-stroke engine. There are usually guides on how to properly maintain bikes but if you aren’t confident, then hire a mechanic to do it for you.
Benefits Of Dirt Biking
Dirt biking is more than just an outdoor activity that your child can enjoy. There are many benefits to it, such as:
Dirt biking is primarily physical. It’ll engage different aspects of your child’s skills and will help him improve his motor skills and reflexes. It’s a good way for them to learn how to stay balanced and how to stay focused on keeping themselves safe. They also develop a sense of confidence from knowing they can maneuver a two-wheeled vehicle.
Everyone’s encouraged to engage in some sort of physical activity. Getting physical is highly beneficial for the improvement of one’s health. It also helps in the development and toning of different muscles.
Dirt biking is physically demanding. There’s the constant need to keep the balance that engages the core muscles. Arm strength is necessary for swerving and making turns. Even the leg muscles get toned from constantly keeping the bike upright, especially when the bike is heavy.
The great thing about letting your child ride a dirt bike is he can use it in whichever way he wants. He can try it out for casual riding and move on to serious dirt biking if he feels he wants to enter competitions. He can enjoy dirt biking with friends. It’s an activity he can do anywhere, from the beach to a camping trip. He can use it for sightseeing and getting in touch with nature and the outdoors.
Popular Dirt Bike Brands For 11-Year-Olds
There are different manufacturers that create dirt bikes for kids. These brands are known for their superb quality and diverse selection:
Top Dirt Bike Recommendations For 11-Year-Olds
The 4-stroke engine efficiently generates power to start the bike without stalling. It’s designed to consume the least amount of oil possible which will save you a lot of money in the long run.
This bike comes with an automatic clutch that allows the young rider to shift between four ratios using his left foot. The centrifugal clutch makes learning and shifting a breeze. It simplifies the throttle function so as to provide fewer distractions to your child.
The last reason why this is a great bike choice for kids is because of its reliable power. It generates sufficient energy per rev so that the bike can run on smooth and uninterrupted power source. The 2-stroke, air-cooled engine gives sufficient torque and traction.