That being said, how can you know exactly what size of a dirt bike is a good fit? Luckily for you, we just happened to be thinking about the same thing so here’s a guide on choosing one for your own size.
Choosing the Best Fit
Picking the perfect sized dirt bike is really an art form of its own. To be able to ride your bike in an enjoyable way, there are a lot of different factors you have to put into the equation. Your main goal when you are on the road should be to be able to stay comfortable and secure, so going for something too large or too small can have serious repercussions later on.
Keep in mind that even if you are getting your first bike at 18 years of age or at 50 years of age, there are still several important things you have to take into consideration. Even if you are a grown-up, your health and well-being can be seriously jeopardized if you get on a dirt bike without preparing yourself beforehand.
The Experience Level
Experience is a critical factor that weighs heavily on the “What bike should I buy?” decision. First off, if you are buying a bike for a new rider who is less than 5 feet tall and 10 years of age, you will most definitely want one that is under the 110cc range. From that stock, there are plenty of options that come with three-speed transmissions and automatic clutches that are great for helping the young one learn before getting used to riding bikes with a clutch system.
However, if you are an adult just learning the ropes, you will want to get something more appropriately sized for you. Keep in mind that you should still keep the cc’s under 250 to get used to the feeling of a dirt bike. As long as you’re over 15, you need to get used to the clutch system even for your first bike. If you are already good with that, size is the next factor to go for.
Your size is essential for your overall safety, stability, and comfort on a new bike. Never choose one that looks “cool” but fails to meet your size criteria, since you likely won’t be using it for very long. One of the best ways to know a dirt bike fits you is to get on it, sit forward and see if your feet touch the ground.
If you are flat-footed on the ground while doing this, the ride is likely too small for you and you should not get it. With this size, you will have more weight on the suspension which will really translate into you feeling every bump or rock on the trail. However, if you are barely able to stand up straight and using your toes to find balance, the bike is probably too large.
Ideally, you want to be able to put one-third of your foot on the ground to find your best-sized bike. This way, you’re neither flat footed nor unbalanced, so if any big bump comes your way you can control the bike by putting your feet down.
Like we said before, the amount of suspension you need will change dramatically according to your size so you should really plan ahead for this. For beginner riders who weigh less than 100 or 150 pounds, it might be smart to work with something under 250cc to get accustomed to the bike’s height, weight and feeling.
If you go the other way, a tenured rider who weighs 200 pounds will, of course, need something a little sturdier. You will want to choose a ride that has enough suspension to take you down any dirt path comfortably so go for something in the 250-450cc range. Once again, beginner riders should not start with a bike that is too small because their weight could affect the suspension.
Once people get more experienced, they often learn how to ride much faster on smaller bikes instead of taller ones, so you can see how tenure again plays an important role even if you are heavier or taller. A 450cc bike might be a little bit too powerful for the novice rider, but going for one beneath 250cc for a motorcycling veteran is nothing short of wasting the ride.
The Finer Points of Choosing a Bike
First of all, it’s common knowledge that people usually see a larger dirt bike, get intimidated and instead opt for a smaller version just because it feels safer. That is not the attitude you should bring to the table while doing this. Some would-be riders also erroneously think that the taller you are, the higher CC of engine you should get. As we have just shown you, this is wrong.
Builders will sometimes put higher CC engines on shorter bikes to accommodate riders who are shorter but want more power. Again, we stress the importance of not getting a bike which allows you to stand flat-footed as it increases the likelihood of a foot injury. Don’t forget that 65% of all broken bones while riding dirt bikes are below the waist.
Since some people have longer legs and some people have taller upper bodies, it’s hard to give you an indication for your best seat height with a fine-tuned precision. We’ll try to show you a few values as a starting point, but don’t obsess over them and go with what feels good.
If you’re 6 feet or taller, you will want to go for a 37.5” or taller seat height. A person who is 5’10 will need something between 35-39” while people between 5’6-5’8 will go for heights between 34-38”. After this, you simply scale it down and look for the best size specifically for you by trial and error.
Dirt bikes for kids
If you’re in the market for small dirt bikes, namely for riders under the age of 15, you will need to pick the bike looking at the kid’s past riding experience, height, and weight. When looking at a brand’s dirt bike sizes smallest to biggest, you will notice that there are many dirt bikes sized specifically for small children that range from 50cc to 150cc.
For children who are 5 to 6 years old and have never ridden a dirt bike before, you should get a 50cc option. Yamaha dirt bike sizes are very diverse, and if you go with this brand, we recommend the PW50 model as it has a seat height of just 18.7” which makes it capable of fitting very small riders.
Moreover, the PW50 also weighs only 90 pounds, which means that it is very easy for young children to operate since it isn’t that heavy or overbearing. Another aspect that makes this option a good beginner dirt bike for small children is the fact that parents can set the throttle to limit how much power it puts out.
This way, as children gain more confidence and improve their skill level, the parent will be able to adjust the throttle and allow them to go faster.
Another big market is that of dirt bikes for 13-year-olds, and here, the decision will again be based on the riding experience and the height of the rider. For the average 13-year-old with a height of 5’1” and no riding experience, we can recommend the Kawasaki KLX 140.
Of course, there’s a wide variety of Kawasaki dirt bikes sizes, so you can choose any of the brand’s other models that fit the height of the rider. However, the KLX 140 model should work well for most riders, seeing as it comes with an adjustable height ranging from 30.7” to 33.9” and it is powered by a 144c engine. For this age group, you should focus on medium-sized dirt bikes.
Lastly, if you are looking for dirt bikes for 15-year-olds and up who have a bit of experience riding, you can get the Honda CRF230F. This is one of the most popular dirt bikes for teenagers, and the seat height of 34.6” makes it ideal for the average teenager. The engine measures 223cc, and the bike has an overall weight of 248 pounds, which gives it improved stability.
If this model doesn’t work for your teenager, there are plenty of other Honda dirt bike sizes to choose from. Unless your teenager is very experienced, a 250cc dirt bike should be the maximum size. Large dirt bikes should be reserved for adults.
Dirt bikes for adults
As we mentioned earlier, when choosing dirt bike sizes for adults, one ought to keep the same factors in mind, namely rider skill, weight, and height. Inexperienced adult riders who are on the lighter and shorter spectrum will find themselves very happy with a 125cc dirt bike. One such model is the Honda CRF 125F that comes equipped with a 30.9” seat height.
This mid-size dirt bike is perfect for adults with short legs, and it is also very light, which makes it easy to pick up and maneuver. The bike offers mild power, which means it can handle all trails, but it won’t overwhelm the rider. It is a great beginner dirt bike for adults who are looking to polish their riding skills.
If you have a bit of experience riding a dirt bike, and you are of average height and weight, then you can consider getting a 250cc bike. There are plenty of options available from all the major brands, but one of the most popular in this range is the Kawasaki KLX 250. It is a versatile bike that can handle a variety of terrain types to give you plenty of riding options.
Experienced riders who weigh over 200 pounds and are over 6 feet tall will benefit from riding a large dirt bike. In this case, not all dirt bike sizes will work, and a 450cc dirt bike remains the better choice. One such model that you can check is the Yamaha YZ450F, which is a performance-oriented bike geared toward nimble handling and quick acceleration.
Can you change the height of a dirt bike?
Not all riders are aware of the fact that the height of their dirt bike can be adjusted to suit their size and weight. While it is important to know how to choose a dirt bike that’s already sized specifically for the rider, there are still different ways you can make a bike that’s too short or high to fit you properly.
Having the bike fit you properly will not only improve comfort, but it will also help you refine your technique. If you want to lower the height of a dirt bike, the easiest and quickest method is to remove the foam from the seat pad or cut holes into it so that it becomes softer. This will cause the foam to sink more when you sit on it.
You can also remove the foam entirely and replace it with a softer one that will sink an inch or two compared to the stock one. One last method you can try is to adjust the sag on the rear suspension and set it to the lowest setting. However, you will need to be aware that doing this can make it more difficult to steer the dirt bike.
If you want to raise the height of the dirt bike, the easiest thing you can do is to get a taller seat foam that can give you up to 2” extra height without compromising the steering capabilities of the bike.
Another method that you can employ to make riding more comfortable for taller riders is to get taller handlebars. This won’t increase the height of the bike, but it will allow the rider more room to scoot forward, and this will promote a far more comfortable riding experience.