Beginner Dirt Bike for Adults: How to Buy One

Beginner Dirt Bike for Adults: Which one to buy?

If you’ve had an eye on dirt bikes or sports bikes — or maybe even a trials bike or 3 wheel motorcycle — for a while, it can often be overwhelming to figure out which bike to purchase. For beginner adult riders, it can be exciting but daunting.

You might wonder which make is best, how much you should spend, where to buy the bike, and which questions to ask. Before diving into specific models, keep a few things in mind before you hand over the money for your first adult dirt bike.

What Purpose Will the Bike Serve?

Before you even begin looking at motorcycles, it is imperative to figure out what kind of dirt biking you plan to do. Some riders want a bike for riding trails, through woods, and on dunes. Others plan to race on dirt bike tracks. The primary difference in dirt bike sectors is trail bikes and racing bikes.

There can be some crossover, but generally, if you plan on racing, you be looking more so for a motocross bike that is lighter weight. A trail bike will need a softer ride with better suspension and torque for handling uneven terrain and unexpected obstacles. Less top end power is generally required in a trail bike, as you are obviously not in a race for speed, but rather tackling the landscape. Trail bikes are also sometimes called Enduro (as in endurance over terrain).

How Much Experience Do You Have?

If you are buying your first dirt bike but have borrowed one for a long time and have a bit of experience, you will probably be suited for a different bike than someone who has only a dirt bike ridden once or twice. Once you get a feel for the power of a motorcycle and how to maneuver it, you can ease your way up to a more powerful bike or one with more speed.

If you have little or no experience, you will want to proceed with a bit more caution in a few areas. You don’t want to buy the most powerful bike for your money, but instead, a bike that you can actually ride and keep control of.

Generally, a 125cc two-stroke or a 250cc four-stroke dirt bike will suit a beginning rider better than something with more (unnecessary) power. Avoid the biggest motor 450 Motocross bike, because these will be too powerful for a beginner. Generally, a beginner should steer clear of anything with more than 300 in displacement.

If you have almost no experience, it is also wise to keep your budget lower. As much as you might feel you’ll get plenty of use out of the motorcycle, you might quickly realize you don’t have the affinity for the sport you thought you would. Better to pay a couple thousand less if you are not 110 percent sure the activity is for you than overspend on something that sits in the garage.

Go in with a Budget in Mind

It is wise to set a budget for your bike before you even begin seriously looking. Add into that budget some area for repair in case anything will need to be fixed immediately, as well as a little cash for initial maintenance. Aftermarket parts can be an excellent place to begin if you are going to need to make repairs. Just be sure those parts are in ideal condition. Used motorcycle values can stay relatively high so you might have to search for a while to find a decent bike at a reasonable price.

Study Potential Models

When looking into models, be realistic about your physical strength—this will be crucial when it comes to selecting the power of the bike and even the weight of the machine. You don’t want to buy one that has so much force that you can’t hold on every time you accelerate.

Once you narrow down your options, do more intensive research on each model. Chat board forums can be quite helpful here, as you can find out what other riders like and dislike about it. Pay attention to patterns, if many people mention the same issues with a bike. If not, find another bike.

Questions to Ask Sellers

If you’re buying a used dirt bike from a seller, it is also a wise decision to come prepared to ask some questions. Not only can this help answer anything you might be wondering about, but it can help you get a feel for the seller and whether they are upstanding and not trying to scam you. You want to be sure there is nothing wrong with the bike that you are not already aware of and that you are getting a fair price. Some questions to ask might be:

  • Do they have the bike’s title and is it in their name?
  • What exactly is the reason you are selling this bike?
  • How long have you owned the bike? (If it is a short time, it could be a bike flipper, so be wary)
  • How well did you maintain it, and do you have records?
  • Were there or are there any notable problem with the bike?
  • How many races are on the bike?
  • What damage does it have, and have any crashes occurred?

If you get a negative feeling about the seller or the bike, it’s definitely okay to leave and think about the purchase. You want to be sure you are buying a bike from the actual owner and that you are aware of the maintenance and any damage before you seal the deal.

Trail Oriented

As mentioned, if you are in the market for a trail oriented bike, you want something with a bit less maximum speed but a little more torque. A few especially noteworthy options are the Honda CRF250X, Yamaha WR250F, and the Husqvarna

TE 300i.

The Honda CRF250X is an off-road bike and has plenty of power for trails and is relatively forgiving for a beginner. It also has an electric start. This bike is a modern classic and a favorite of many riders. It runs anywhere from $1,600 to $2,200 retail.

The Yamaha WR250F is an Enduro bike and a worthwhile competitor to the Honda. This bike has better forks (the front part of the frame that includes the suspension over the front wheel) than the Honda. Expect a ballpark of around the upper $5,000s to upper $7,000s.

The Husqvarna TE 300i is also an off-road bike, but a just a little lighter weight than the Honda. It also has more displacement than the Honda and the Yamaha but is likely to be a bit more challenging to control for the absolute beginner. This is recommended for those who have at least a little experience. Prices are a bit higher, around $8-9,000 and lower depending on the year.

Race Oriented

Most beginning adult dirt bike riders will be riding trails rather than entering competitions. However, if you are set on racing or just riding on tracks, a few options are choice picks.

The Yamaha YZ125 is a full-sized bike with excellent forks. This motorcycle is ideal for learning clutch control, and ballparks around $5,000 (roughly). The KTM 150 XC-W weighs only about 200 pounds and is a favorite for beginning racer biking. It runs close to the price of the Yamaha, sometimes a little more. The KTM 250 XC-F many people think it might lack power, but it has more than enough power for a beginner. It runs around $8,500 retail for a new model. Prices vary depending on location, model year, and condition.