There are several factors that you should consider when buying your first dirt bike. It is sometimes difficult determining the best bike for any individual since the dirt bike manufacturers offer many choices. It is important to research the different types of dirt bikes available so you can purchase a bike that is well-suited for your skill level.
Will your dirt bike be used for recreational purposes or do you plan on racing?
Some manufacturers offer bikes that are more specific for your choice of riding. If you plan on riding your dirt bike as a leisure activity, you should decide if you would like to ride trails, tracks or both.
Honda, for example, offers trail and motocross bikes. The CRF family of bikes offers R class, F class and X class motorbikes.
- The R class is a pure motocross bike that is designed with motocross tracks and competition in mind.
- The X class is offered up as a CRF250X and CRF450X. These bikes are used in factory racing in the Baja 1000 and Baja 500. They are like their brothers in the R class but the X class bikes come with a headlight and are geared and tuned with trail riding in mind.
- Honda also offers F class bikes that are made more for the weekend warrior or for riders looking to spend time riding and not so much time working on their bikes. The F class bikes are a little more “cushy” with their electric start and more plush suspension. The F class bikes are perfect for the family to get out to enjoy; and give the kids a break from the video games!
Honda isn’t the only manufacturer that offers this wide variety, so you should research each manufacturer before you buy
If you plan on racing, you might also attend some local races and ask riders why they prefer a particular dirt bike manufacturer over another.
Age, Size and Experience of the Rider
Age and size of the rider are other factors to consider and also the experience level of the rider should be taken into consideration. Don’t be Superman and buy a bike beyond your skill level. Riding over your head can happen on the track as well as with choosing the size of your bike. It is better to ride well on a bike that fits your experience level than to look cool on a bigger bike that is too powerful for you.
New Bike vs. Used Bike
Which is better for you? If you are new to dirt bike riding you might consider buying a used dirt bike first because it is a significant investment to purchase a new dirt bike only to discover that it may not be your thing after trying it a time or two. A new dirt bike’s resale value drops as soon as you leave the store with your new toy. If you decide that you don’t like riding your dirt bike, it is more difficult to get a good return on your investment if you would like to sell it right away.
If you purchase a used dirt bike, you can typically sell it for around the same price that you paid for it if you decide after trying it once or twice that dirt bike riding is not for you. Also keep in mind that a used dirt bike is like a used car– you just don’t know what you are getting. It helps if you are a bit mechanically inclined so you would have the ability to troubleshoot and repair a used dirt bike if something should break soon after your purchase.
New dirt bikes are awesome as you should most likely get some kind of warranty and new bikes don’t require as much maintenance early on. There’s also something exciting about buying a used bike and making it new, if you like to work on your bike.
Whether you choose to buy new or used, your bike will eventually be taken apart and put back together, either by you or an experienced mechanic. When you maintain your bike yourself it is a lot easier to fix problems at the track or wherever you ride. No matter how well you maintain your bike, something will eventually break! Having some spare parts handy, such as spark plugs, and a toolbox filled with the appropriate tools is always helpful.
When purchasing a used dirt bike, your goal as a buyer is to appear knowledgeable and ask the seller several questions, such as:
- Has the dirt bike been raced?
- How many owners has the bike had?
- Can you tell me about the service history of the bike?
- What has the bike been used for and where has it been ridden?
Two Stroke vs. Four Stroke
Once again what are you planning to do? If you are just riding for fun a two-stroke is cheaper as far as maintenance. Four-strokes have valves and less time between tune-ups. Two strokes with the proper oil and gas mixture will last a long time. You may be thinking “They both have valves,” and they do but two-strokes have reed valves and four-strokes have valves that work in unison with a camshaft and need to stay in time with the crank shaft and piston so they don’t hit each other. If they are over-revved and they make contact, a valve will bend or break and that will be very costly.
If you’ve done all of the research and you are still not sure which is the best choice, you could just pick your favorite Supercross rider’s manufacturer; or you could start with your favorite color and make a trip to your local motorsports store and have a salesperson share what they know on a particular bike.
The”Big Five” and Popular Supercross Racers include:
- Red: Honda, Kevin Windham
- Green: Kawasaki, Ryan Villopoto
- Orange: KTM, Justin Brayton
- Yellow: Suzuki, Chad Reed
- Blue: Yamaha, James Stewart
Once you decide on the perfect dirt bike according to your preferences, make sure you have all of the proper safety gear before taking your bike out for your first exhilarating ride around your favorite track or trail. Ride Safe!