Two-wheeled fun has been ingrained in many of us since before we can remember. Riding up and down the street with mom or dad running behind us the first time we took the training wheels off our pedal bikes. Getting a ride on the back of a junior dirt bike from your friend’s older brother. Or maybe you got a youth-oriented minimoto or dirt bike while growing up and have the innate need to have a motor under you as you ride.
Whatever the reason, the truth of the matter is that many of the major manufacturers don’t make youth bikes, and if they do, they are often quite expensive. This does not mean, however, that your kids need to go without two wheels of fun!
To define this list, we’re considering a “kid” as anyone that is under the age of 13, the widely accepted start of true teenagehood. And for inexpensive, we’ve raised our limit this year to $2,000 to include two excellent bikes from two of the big four from Japan.
Razor MX350 Dirt Rocket Electric
Price: $259.00 and up, $329.99 from Razor directly
The Razor MX350 Dirt Rocket is a great introduction to trail riding and light dirt biking for the kid that’s around 7 or older. Fully electric and quick charging, it gives up to 30 minutes of continuous use per charge, and has the equivalent of about 1.5 HP.
The bike can reach speeds of 14 MPH on flat terrain, which is plenty quick, but not quick enough to do serious damage in case of an incident. The throttle is fully automatic, a right hand twist grip. The brake is left hand operated, and brakes the rear wheel only, to prevent the bike from tipping up around the front wheel.
Razor Pocket Rocket Electric
Price: $249.99 and up, $279.99 from Razor directly
Much like the Dirt Rocket, the Pocket Rocket is a great little bike that is perfect for a kid 7 and up, even though Razor covers their butts a little and recommends 13 or over. It uses the same motor as the Dirt Rocket, a 1.5 HP equivalent electric that gives 30 minutes of use and charges rather quickly.
The Pocket Rocket is, obviously, for those that do not have a big back yard or dirt trails near them, only the concrete jungle or the suburbs. With a top speed of 14 MPH, it will still get up and go rather quickly, especially as electric motors are quite torquey. Helmet, elbow and knee pads definitely recommended, and of course it is not technically street legal.
This is for the kid that watches Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, and others battle it out in MotoGP. A serious little bike, the eRacer has a 36V battery and a 1 kW motor, which gives a lot of grunt. The bike is speed limited to 20 MPH, although the throttle will only open the bike to 16 or so MPH.
It features a full front and rear disc brake system, controlled by right and left handlebar levers. For the concerned parent, it has a lockable throttle speed system, where you can limit the bike from 16 MPH in three steps down to 6 MPH. It is also designed to be used off road, so it can putter around a large back yard or up and down the driveway.
In all other ways, however, this little pocket bike will be a full on supersport in your kids mind.
All of the bikes until now have been electric. What makes the V-Fire GPB1 different is that it is powered by a 40cc 4 stroke single running on pump gas. It features a full steel trellis frame, the same kind of design used in many top end bikes in 2020, and has a range of about 26 miles per tank of gas, which is less than half a gallon.
The bike can reach speeds of 20 to 25 MPH, so it’s definitely for the older kid, we’re thinking 10 or so. It features disc brakes front and back, operated by left and right hand brake levers. It features a chain drive, and reflects the sport bike style in its posture and design.
The benefit of having a gas motor is that it can get your kid interested in mechanical maintenance, a must for bikers. As well, it will give off the sound and smell of a bike, adding to the “ambience” of it being a real bike.
Stacyc is a relatively new company that Harley-Davidson spun up to allow for kids to learn about bikes, and they make a great introductory bike for the very young. Recommended for ages 5 and up, the 12 eDrive is meant for the youngster that has a 14 inch inseam, and wants to learn how to ride. The bike has four modes to help progress your kid as they get better and better.
There is a non-powered mode, which lets the wheels spin freely, giving your tyke the chance to learn pushing, balancing, and coasting. There are then three power modes, which limit the bike to 3 MPH, 6 MPH, and 9 MPH respectively. The right wrist is the throttle, the left hand is the rear disc brake. The battery can provide up to 60 minutes of run time in the lowest power mode, and will charge in approximately 40 to 60 minutes.
Price: $1,499 MSRP
The Yamaha PW50 makes this list as, if your kid is really serious about getting into proper motorcycling, it is one of, if not the best option to start a child off on. You get Japanese durability and reliability, proper suspension, a lightweight bike that is not too difficult to handle, and it can get going decently quick.
As well, since it uses a shaft drive for the rear wheel, there is no chance of getting a leg or foot caught in the chain. The only caveat we have about this bike is that it is a serious kids bike. This is the one you buy if your kid is mature enough to learn, tough enough to ride some trails with you, and smart enough to know to wear gear every time they ride.
2021 Honda CRF50F
The 2021 Honda CRF50F may be minuscule, even “cute,” but don’t let that fool you. It carries a three-speed automatic transmission, a peppy and punchy 50cc engine pushing out over 3 HP, and a keyed ignition so that the young rider can be given the responsibility (or have it taken away!) of starting the bike like one of the “grown-up bikes.”
This is also made easier via the electric starter included on these bikes. This allows for the young rider to focus more on handling, lean angles, using the semi-automatic transmission to shift up and down (or let the bike do it for them), braking, and balance. No need to also have to have them build up a leg to use a kickstart at their age!
2021 Suzuki DR-Z50
The 2021 Suzuki DR-Z50 is the young rider’s introduction to dual-sport class dirt bikes. A bit tamer than the Yamaha PW50 trail bike and the Honda CRF50F MX bike, the DR-Z50 shares the same 50cc engine size, but not much else. With a much more upright and rearward seating position, much like actual dual-sport bikes, it gets the kids ripping up and down the driveway, across the fields, and over a few small obstacles, letting them feel how the balance shifts and moves depending on the terrain.
The bike is also carbureted so that the young rider can learn about how and when to choke the engine during cold starts. It also comes with both an electric starter and a kick-starter and has a three-speed semi-automatic clutchless transmission. Due to Suzuki way over-engineering their dirt, dual-sport, and supermoto bikes, the little DR-Z50 is meant to be bashed around a lot and still run flawlessly.