As your child approaches their teenage years, you’ll be excited to see them explore the great outdoors and enjoy their time in the process.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by getting them a dirt bike, which can be an excellent bonding activity as well.
However, you’re a little nervous about safety and have a little trouble choosing the right dirt bike for your child.
Don’t worry! I’ve been there too, which is why I’ve decided to write this guide to walk you through everything you need to keep in mind before getting your 8-year-old their first dirt bike.
What Size Dirt Bike Is Suitable for an 8-Year-Old Kid?
The ideal size for a dirt bike will depend mainly on the size of your child and their build. Kids grow at different rates, so 8-year-olds can be anywhere from 3 feet and 7 inches to 4 feet and 5 inches.
Mini dirt bikes come in various sizes and are standardized accordingly, which affects the bike’s seat height as well as its power.
For instance, the ideal seat height for an 8-year-old who stands at a height of 3 feet and 7 inches is around 21 to 23 inches. At such seat height, most dirt bikes will have an engine size that starts from 50 cc.
On the other hand, a taller 8-year-old who measures 4 feet and 5 inches should be more comfortable at a seat height of around 25 to 27 inches, which corresponds to an engine size of around 110 cc (the sweet spot) to 125 cc.
Ideally, your child should sit comfortably on the bike and have both their feet touch the ground with a slight knee bend.
Are Mini Dirt Bikes Safe for 8-Year-Olds?
Most dirt bikes for 8-year-olds are designed with safety in mind. However, you should also keep some essential factors to determine the safety of a dirt bike. These include your child’s size, maturity level, the bike’s motor power, and their experience at riding bikes.
As a general rule, 50 cc dirt bikes should be a good starting point for most 8-year-olds. 50 cc bikes will be fairly lightweight and run at a moderate speed, which makes them easy to control for a beginner.
It’s also essential that you teach your kid how to ride a bike safely. This includes proper riding techniques, such as handling the bike on rougher terrains and braking.
Additionally, you should make sure that your child wears all the necessary gear to establish their safety while riding a dirt bike. Here are some decent recommendations for your kid’s safety gear:
- Helmet, gloves, and goggles set
- Knee/elbow pads and back protector (armor vest)
Best Dirt Bike Options for an 8-Year-Old
Now that you know more about bike sizes, here are some of the best options to consider for your 8-year-old. These models come in suitable sizes while maintaining decent performance and safety features.
1. Honda CRF110F
The CRF110F is the ideal dirt bike for 8-year-olds, as it maintains a perfect balance between safety and power.
The bike comes with a 109cc engine. This also makes it an excellent upgrade from 50-cc bikes, so it stays within a decent power range for longer.
The bike also comes with a reliable transmission and suspension system that makes it easier to maintain balance and control on the bike after a few rides.
The Kawasaki KLX110 is an excellent alternative to the Honda CRF110F. It comes with a similar 112cc, 4-stroke engine, which gives a similar performance to the Honda.
The bike is also slightly heavier than the CRF110F ( 167.5 lbs vs. 163 lbs), which makes it a little harder to control.
The Kawasaki has a fairly similar performance to the Honda, but it’s slightly more expensive. However, the KLX110R comes in two versions. The KLX110R-L comes with extra seat height, which is suitable for relatively taller kids).
3. Yamaha PW50
The Yamaha PW50 is an excellent choice if you prefer a dirt bike with relatively tame power and a lot of safety features. This one features a 49cc motor that delivers enough power to keep the ride fun and safe.
It also comes with various beginner-friendly features, including a fully automatic transmission and adjustable speed restrictors to allow parents to gradually adjust the max speed of the bike.
That being said, your child will probably outgrow the PW50 quickly, so it’s not the best option if your 8-year-old is one the taller end of the scale.
The Yamaha TT-R90E is another excellent choice specifically designed for young riders. This model is discontinued now, but it’s a great option to go for if you don’t mind a used dirt bike.
What I like about this model is that it comes with a 90cc engine that isn’t excessively powerful while still providing an enjoyable off-roading experience.
The relatively smaller design makes the bike lightweight and fairly easy to control. It’s also quite easy to maintain and comes at a reasonable price, making it a bang for the buck.
The bike is also equipped with some beginner-friendly features, such as throttle limiters to control the speed of the bike for first-timers.
5. Cobra CX65
The Cobra CX65 is also a decent choice to go for if you’re looking for a small upgrade from 50cc engines with improved control, handling, and suspension.
The American-made dirt bike features 65cc and advanced structural integrity that can sustain shocks and last for years to come.
I find this model a perfect choice to go for if your 8-year-old has a relatively small build, especially if they have younger brothers and sisters to use the bike later on, which makes it a worthy investment.
Where to Buy Dirt Bikes for 8-Year-Olds
While buying a dirt bike for your 8-year-old, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. The easiest and most reliable option is through local dealerships.
This is the best option if you want to check a variety of options at the same time. Your child can also sit on the bikes to see if they’re a good fit and even give the bikes a test ride.
Some dealerships may also offer rental and leasing options along with financing solutions. The only drawback here is that they’re usually pricey.
You can also buy dirt bikes from online retailers, which are usually more affordable but your kids won’t get to test the bike beforehand, so you’ll need plenty of research.
Alternatively, you’ll find plenty of private resellers on online websites selling dirt bikes of all sizes. These are usually the ideal budget option but the quality of the bikes can vary significantly.
How to Choose a Dirt Bike for an 8-Year-Old
Now that you know more about the suitable bikes for your 8-year-old, here are some essential aspects and key buying points to keep in mind while buying the dirt bike:
Size and Weight
The most critical option to keep in mind while buying a bike for your 8-year-old is its size and weight.
A larger bike might be a good option for future-proofing, as your child will continue to use the bike more often.
However, it also means that your child will have a hard time controlling the bike at the moment. Keeping in mind that your kid is riding the bike for the first time, this might result in injuries due to lack of control.
For that reason, you should typically avoid future-proofing and buy a bike that your child is comfortable riding right away.
As a rule of thumb, the bike’s weight shouldn’t exceed your kid’s weight by more than 30% to 35% for adequate control.
Most dirt bikes start from an engine size of around 50cc. This should be perfect for kids learning to ride a dirt bike for the first time. However, they’ll quickly outgrow those bikes and find them a bit too slow.
On the other hand, experienced kids with a fairly large build can ride bikes with larger engines of up to 125cc. However, these bikes will be fairly larger and heavier, which makes them harder to control.
For that reason, the suitable range for most kids is between 65 to 110cc, which offers the best balance between speed, size, and handling.
While it’s quite important to gear up your child and protect them against fall accidents, you shouldn’t solely count on helmets and pads.
8 years old is when many kids start their dirt bike adventures for the first time, so you should make sure that they can focus on learning how to handle the bike and not be distracted by other elements.
That’s where safety and beginner-friendly features come into play. These include features like electric start, automatic transmission, throttle/speed limiter, etc.
Some bikes also come with detachable guide wheels, which makes it easier to learn how to handle these bikes properly.
Performance and Comfort
The main purpose of riding a dirt bike is to have fun and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. In fact, if the bike is too slow, your kid will get bored of the bike quickly, so you have to find a decent balance here.
Make sure that you check the bike’s overall performance and take your time while deciding what suits your kid’s preferences the best.
A good dirt bike will perform on all kinds of terrain and offer excellent fuel economy, allowing for longer rides.
You should also keep other elements in mind, such as the comfort of the seats as well as the shock absorption of the suspension and wheels.
Maintenance and Durability
As your child learns how to ride the bike properly, they might fall a few times. As long as they’re not going too fast and they’re wearing the proper safety gear, this should be mostly fine.
However, dirt bikes don’t come cheap, so you’ll need a durable bike that can withstand shocks and hits.
Although your kid will probably outgrow the bike quickly, you might need to pass it down to their younger siblings or sell it to finance their upgrade. In that case, having a bike that maintains its condition will save you a lot of money.
Design and Extra Features
Lastly, while choosing the bike, make sure that you keep your kid’s preferences in mind. Even better, you should involve your kid in the choosing process.
Besides being an excellent parenting technique, it also helps you make the most out of your investment.
As your kids try different bikes, it’ll be easier to get a feel of the best bike for them in terms of features and overall design.
How much should a dirt bike for an 8-year-old cost?
As a general rule, you should expect a dirt bike for an 8-year-old to cost you anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000. The exact price will vary depending on a variety of factors, such as
- Bike brand and model
- Whether you’re buying a new or used
- The bike’s features, especially the engine size
Should I buy a new or used dirt bike?
Both choices have their pros and cons, so the choice here will depend on your budget and personal preference.
If you can find a reliable used dirt bike, it’ll be a much more sensible investment, as your kid will quickly outgrow the bike at such an age. However, if your 8-year-old has younger siblings, buying a new one can be a better long-term investment.
This marks the end of today’s guide about picking the best dirt bike for your 8-year-old. As you can see, there are plenty of excellent options at different budget levels.
However, a 50 to 110cc bike with a seat height between 21 to 27 inches should be perfect for your child.
That’s why I highly recommend the Honda CRF110F as the best overall bike if you’re looking for reliability and performance.