So, your kid wants to race a dirt bike, and you're not sure what that means, or how to get started. Fortunately, it isn't confusing or difficult. You just need a dirt bike, safety gear, and directions to the local track.
First question: At what age do the kids start racing?
I've seen kids as young as four years old racing. Much younger than that, and they have a hard time getting around the track. At practices, I've even seen 50cc bikes with training wheels on them. Many tracks allow parents to be out near the track for the beginner riders and help them if they fall.
Next question: Is it just boys that race or do girls race too?
Duh! Ok, I'll actually answer that question. Yes, the girls race too, and your boy won't ask you that question twice once he's stared for several laps at the back tire of the girl that just beat him. Typically, the girls race with the boys; however, as the girls get around the age of 14, I've seen them ride in the women's classes. The women's class encompasses early teens through adult riders.
Outdoor and Indoor Racing
There are two basic types of motocross racing for kids, outdoor and indoor. Depending on the climate you're in, outdoor tracks may only be open seasonally; however, here in the Pacific Northwest (known for rainfall), there is an outdoor track that's open through the winter.
The indoor tracks offer more technical courses, with tight corners and close-together jumps. This shouldn't deter the beginning riders because it actually builds important skills and the young riders do really well on these tracks.
The outdoor tracks are longer rides with more room between jumps and some longer sweeping turns along with some tight corners. In contrast to the indoor tracks, the bikes have longer stretches so they can reach higher speeds. Remember, just because there is room to reach the higher speeds doesn't mean that a new rider will actually take advantage of that. Most new riders are very good at regulating their riding to their current skill level.
Here are several links to find tracks in various regions across the USA. Once you talk to the officials at one track, ask them about other tracks in your area.
It is also a good idea to talk to the local motorcycle shop, including smaller repair shops, as they are sometimes more in tune with the local racing scene. Be sure to ask for both the indoor and outdoor tracks and if they have any advice for you.
Track Locations by Geographic Regions
- Nationwide: MX Track Guide
MX Track Guide has information on motocross tracks and riding areas around the USA.
- Nationwide: Motocross Tracks
This site didn't show all of the tracks in our area, but definitely a good place to start.
- Nationwide: AMA
This is the AMA site that shows events in the various states.
- Southeast: South East Motocross
You can find tracks on the schedule page.
- New York: Central NY Motocross Riders Association
Contains information about motocross racing in central New York.
Trevor Raley, La Center WA
Now, Show Up on Practice or Race Day
Remember to ask the track personnel if they have a practice day. These are days set up just for practice on the track, which cost considerably less.
Getting your child's bike to the track is the hardest part. Not because you can't find a truck to borrow, but because it takes the initiative to find the track and commit to showing up. Most tracks are willing to let your child ride in a beginner class with any bike they have in an age-appropriate class. In other words, if your kid has a 70cc bike, and the track doesn't have a 70cc class, they will let them ride in a 50cc or 65cc beginner class depending on the age and experience of your child just to have fun, participate, and gain the experience.
This is the great thing about the people who run the tracks. There are two simple things they want: to provide a safe experience for the riders and for everyone to have the chance to race and have fun.
Outdoor Track 50cc
The safety gear that your child needs to race shouldn't be any different than the gear you outfitted them in to ride with at home.
A helmet, chest protector, gloves, and boots are the minimum that is typically recommended. And instead of an antiquated chest protector, upgrade to improved core protection. A neck roll is also a good addition and relatively inexpensive.
The gloves are often overlooked when parents first outfit their kid to ride their new dirt bike around the house. At least put a pair of comfortable gardening gloves on them. With the proper gear, they can fall off the bike and slide in the dirt without any boo-boos, and remember, when they take a spill, they will instinctively use their hands to control the fall. Keep your eyes open on the used market around your area for affordable gear. Used gear is usually still in really good condition and fairly easy to find, once you establish some sources.
There's no replacement for being able to try gear on before buying it. Comfort is important, especially for kids.
Manufacturers' websites and dealers on eBay usually have sizing charts for helmets if you need help. Popular brands of helmets are Fox, Fly, Thor, THH, MSR, Oneal, Bell, HJC, Arai, and Shoei. Have your child try the helmets on to compare—your child should get a feel for how the helmet fits over his entire head instead of just going by general sizing. Though, obviously, they'll proclaim that the coolest looking one is the best fit. No advice with that one!
Pay attention that the helmet you buy has a current Snell or DOT rating on it. These are safety standards that certify the helmet is rated for the intended use.
Goggles, although not always necessary for riders at home, are needed out on the track. Riders in front of you will kick up mud or dirt, and this can be dangerous if it hits your young rider in the face. Goggles are not an expensive piece of gear; however, make sure they have a reputation of providing good anti-fog protection.
Plastic tear-off strips are another great item to have. These usually come with the required tabs to attach them to your goggles, although many goggles are sold with the tabs already on them. The tear-offs are thin strips of plastic that cover the lens of the goggles. When the tear-off gets muddy, scratched, or just too dirty to see through, the rider can just reach up and tear one off for a clean view.
Racing Classes Based on Bike Size and Experience
The races are usually divided first by the size of the dirt bike, and then by experience. For example, the 50cc class will usually have a beginner, junior, and intermediate class. Other races will divide classes by age instead of experience. A common age classes for the 50cc are the four- to six-year-olds and the seven- to eight-year-olds.
Most of the smaller bikes that are raced are two-strokes, although they don't have to be. A two-stroke bike is one that uses gas and oil mixed together and operates differently internally then a four-stroke. There are two basic types of two-stroke bikes, the oil-injected ones and the ones that use a pre-mix of gas and oil. The oil-injected bikes have a canister that needs to be kept filled with two-stroke oil. The oil-injection system automatically mixes the oil into the fuel at the proper ratio before it enters the engine. Two-stroke bikes that use a pre-mix, must have the oil and gas mixed at the correct ratio in the main gas tank.
There are some tracks that have a 50cc oil-injected class. The oil-injected bikes are not as quick as the pre-mixed bikes and usually consist of younger riders.
The other popular classes for beginning riders are the 65cc and 85cc classes. Although there are beginner classes for everything including adult riders, for beginning kids, an 85cc bike is pretty big.
Remember, even if your child has an odd-sized bike like a 70cc, most tracks will let him ride in a beginner class. Depending on his age and skill, they will place him in either the 50cc or 65cc beginner class.
What Is the Cost?
There are many tracks out there that require a motocross club membership, due to the sanctioning of their races. Some tracks will allow you to pay a nominal fee just to try out a race before paying the entire amount, and a few don't require a motocross club membership. The club membership is usually good for one year. Motocross club memberships can usually be handled right at the track on race day, but it's always good to ask the track representative when you call them for their schedule.
Each race typically has fees to get in the door and additional fees for entrance to each class your child is signed up to race. For example, if a single parent takes their child to the track, the parent and rider each pay a door fee, and the rider pays for each class they want to race. A beginner usually just signs up for one class.
Many of the motocross clubs charge between $15.00 to $30.00 for a year's membership. Then at each race, door fees are usually around $10.00 each and an additional $20 to $30, for the rider only, per class for the night. Typically a child will have one to two practices and two races per race-day. Remember these are just approximations to provide you an idea of the cost.
What to Bring to the Track
As with any event, there are items that it's a good idea to have with you. These are things that can make you or the rider happier throughout the event. Obviously, don't forget your camera, still or video, and make sure the batteries are charged.
Food is often overlooked but a necessity for you and the rider. Motocross is the second-most demanding sport, next to soccer. It is important that your rider get some nutrition throughout the event. Sliced apples, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or pizza slices are a good idea. Additionally, make sure they have plenty of water, and drink it between motos. This reminds me, for those of you with young riders, make sure you take them to use the restroom before they need to make their way to the starting gates.
In your box of food, pack a plastic bag of ice. This will serve two purposes. One is to keep your food cool, and the second is so that, in the unfortunate event your rider twists an ankle, sprains a wrist, or receives some other injury, you will have ice handy to quickly get it applied.
At most tracks, both indoor and outdoor, it's a good idea to prepare for walking on uneven ground through dirt or mud. Wear the appropriate shoes. In the summer, make sure you have enough sunscreen and a light long-sleeved shirt to shield you from sunburn. A hat and sunglasses will not only look trendy but also provide protection from the sun.
In the winter, take plenty of warm clothes for both you and the rider. Many tracks allow propane garage heaters also. Having a plastic garbage bag for boots and other gear items that can get really muddy will save you hours of cleaning your vehicle. It seems obvious, but many parents don't think of how muddy or dirty their rider will be after the race.
There are a handful of bike manufacturers that are common at the tracks for the younger riders. Here, I will give a brief breakdown of the manufacturers and models that are commonly found at the tracks. I will post another article that will give a more detailed breakdown of the differences and compare the advantages of one to the other.
For the riders eight years old and younger, the most common bikes are 50cc KTMs, Yamahas, Cobras, Suzukis, Hondas, and Polinis. These bikes all use a centrifugal clutch; in other words, they drive like an automatic with only one gear and the rider doesn't have to manage a clutch.
- Yamaha PW50
- KTM Mini Adventure
- Cobra CX50 OI
- Suzuki Jr 50
- KTM SX 50 Pro Jr.
- KTM SX 50 Pro Sr.
- KTM SX 50 KTM Senior Adventure
- Cobra CX50 Jr.
- Cobra CX50 Sr.
- Polini X1R H20
- Polini X3R H20
- Honda CRF 50
For riders older than eight years who are ready to move up in size, there are the 65cc models. These bikes have larger wheels and taller seat heights to accommodate the rider that has outgrown the 50cc bikes. Most of the 65cc bikes on the track use pre-mix fuel and have a clutch. The clutch is the biggest learning curve for riders moving up, but they all seem to manage to get it figured out.
- KTM SX 65
- Kawasaki KX 65
- Cobra CX65
- Suzuki RM 65
For riders that are experienced or older than 13, there are the 85cc bikes. The 2-stroke 85cc bikes have tremendous power and require either previous riding experience with a clutch or a good one-on-one instructor who has motorcycle-riding experience. These bikes all typically use a pre-mix fuel also.
- KTM SX 85
- Yamaha YZ 85
- Honda CR 85
- Kawasaki KX 85
- Suzuki RM 85
It's time to get started. If your rider already has a bike, then find the local track. Talk to the local motorcycle shop or use the links provided above to search for one. Make sure your rider has the proper safety gear. Load up the truck and get going! By the way, I've seen bikes transported to the track in the back of SUVs, vans, utility trailers, and even in cars. You just have to get that kid to the track and have fun!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Sir ashton on August 23, 2020:
What time is it and where
chase on March 19, 2020:
where is the races at and when
Justin on March 15, 2020:
Ware is the race at?
Adam Corral on December 13, 2019:
where is this race at?
stephen on December 04, 2019:
how about a ttr 125 how many tracks take those
Sawyer smith on October 13, 2019:
And I have all of the Gear except for the chest pad Do I have to have a neck brace
Olivia on June 24, 2019:
Where do I sign up a 10 year old in Melbourne
Poprockitz on March 16, 2019:
Hi, we live in Puyallup wa and just bought grandson his first dirt bike to ride in our backyard and camping. He needs a larger area to learn the basics, but when I search for youth dirt bike classes I can only find them in eastern wa or up north in Arlington. I know they have races at the Puyallup fairgrounds so I’m sure there is something local?
Christian Dorsey on January 18, 2019:
Were do I sign at 13 year old up in Florida
email@example.com on November 20, 2018:
do any of the motorcross places rent bikes? my son wants to try this
Portia and Mark D. on September 23, 2018:
Thank you for the detailed information.
My son is 2.5 and has shown his love for motorcycles since before he could walk. He would crawl to the garage door and pound on it until we took him outside to sit on dad's bike. This worked for a while until he wanted it running while he sat on it; then reving the engine. You can see how he progressively wanted more.
So we got him his very own motorcycle when he turned 1yr ! A power wheel motorcycle anyway. He loves it and has been trying lots of new moves since he turned 2, like wheelies, standing and sliding. Though he loves his bike...its still not enough; he prefers the real thing.
We really just want to nurture this passion of his even though he is really young. Please let us know any additional advice to get him started at this age (2.5) and in Southern California. Email: P.firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks in advance!
Btw He goes everywhere with his helmet, glasses and gloves.
Alexus Woodall on September 18, 2018:
My Son is 6 we live in Iowa Park TX
He is kick ass at riding and wants to be in compations. Do you know of any tracks in texas around me I'm even willing to travel around for comp. to Oklahoma or around this area. Help me please cause I can find any????
Olivia on September 08, 2018:
Hello, my 9 year old son really enjoy dirt bikes and continues to asked me to buy him the gear but everywhere i check the prices are so expensive. I know he would be so happy is I find a way to register him for competitions. Do you know where can I find him some good gear? I am in southern CA. Thank you for your advice.
Cool guy346 on September 07, 2018:
How can I do this in OK?
Hunter and Nathan on October 26, 2017:
We are Juniors and we are wondering how to sign up for Motocross with dirt bikes in Maine
Deangelo on September 14, 2017:
i want to race dirt bikes
Nasir on July 18, 2017:
Good info!my son is 7 years old and I live in Washington, DC,is there any place in this area that I can join
RPMA on July 12, 2017:
In the New York, look for the Red Plate Moto Academy to learn how to ride at any age
Rachel Tomai on June 07, 2017:
How do i sign my son up?
hubwriter (author) from Washington on March 16, 2017:
A Good place to start is the Clark County Sherrif's. Call and talk to them as they are the ones with jurisdiction in these type's of noise levels; however, they are not the law only the responders to complaints. Are you within City Limits? What does your neighborhood CCR's say about noise levels, as those you agreed to when you moved in. Also check here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=173-6...
As a tool, smart phones running Android can use the Sensor Box for Android application to measure sound levels in dB (decibels). You can always let your child go out and have fun, and just wait to see if you're neighbors say anything. Be aware of the time of day as it may be more reasonable to your neighbors at times where they are inside, or not home. In the end, help your child have fun, interact with them training and encouraging them and don't get to worked up. Kids need to be outside having fun and interacting with there parents. Make sure you always are watching your child and ensure they always have their protective gear on.
Melissa on February 11, 2017:
Is it legal for my child to ride a dirt bike on my one acre property in Clark, County, WA.?
Michael on January 19, 2017:
I would like to be in motocross racing
destiny smith on November 05, 2016:
she got a ktm 65
Jakub Wawrzyniak from Ireland on March 23, 2015:
Good article. Thx
Greg on June 08, 2014:
Thanks for the info
Sean on April 10, 2014:
i want too get in this dirt bike races and how do i get too yall
Brett stewart on April 02, 2014:
Hey i have a 70cc 4 stroke and i want a 65 2 stroke Suzuki do y'all think that will fit me. I am 4'11 in height I am trying to bribe my mom into getting the 65 she just says that we don't have the money but we really do and if y'all can, can y'all find so good prices on a 65 2 stroke Suzuki please thanks.
the man on March 10, 2014:
dirt bike racing is the best all kids should do it
Rachel on July 17, 2013:
Thank You so much I have dreamed of becoming a motocross rider for years and ive been researching but could never find out how im about to get a bike and I want to know if anybody knows a place to get gear from
Ruth on July 16, 2013:
Do anyone knows a place around NY where I can take my 9 yr son to a bike class where he can and I can see if it fits him?
SJR-RACING MOTOCROSS on April 01, 2013:
Try this site, it may help you. Goodluck! http://www.sjr-racing.com
Motocross team located in Clinton, Mo. Includes rider profiles, sponsors, photos, videos, motocross links, motocross forums, Mx store, and contact information.
Stellar Phoenix on February 22, 2013:
This blog is wicked! You most certainly know how to keep a reader sustained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost..ahaha) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool! Stellar Phoenix Review
tyson munn on July 03, 2012:
yes thanks for quick response wish u the best of luck
hubwriter (author) from Washington on June 27, 2012:
Hello Tyson...sorry for the delay. I'm assuming you're referring to Marimichi in Canada. Check this site for information, or give them a call http://miramichioffroadatv.com/Home_Page.php
Or maybe email them at email@example.com
Also, try calling your local motorcycle dealer and ask them, they should be able to help too.
Good luck and be safe.
jonathan on June 25, 2012:
how old do you have to be to race in the amateur motorcross
tyson munn on June 03, 2012:
respond quickly please
tyson munn on June 03, 2012:
i am nine years old and really want to race my dirt bike but i do not know where i could race because i live in marimichi and i dont think there are many places to ride if i were to race were would i sighn up.
hubwriter (author) from Washington on April 20, 2012:
Hi Eric. I'm a firm believer that a parent has to make that decision for themselves. So what I have to say is more on the informational than advising. There are kids at 4 years old that are actually on race tracks (in a controlled environment with equally skilled riders) As for the machine, I do like the PW50 as a fist bike for several reasons. First the exhaust restrictor (it's removable so make sure it's still there if buying a used one, or get one they're real cheap as it's just a washer) limits the acceleration of the bike. this makes it more manageable to a young or new riders abilities. Secondly, there is a throttle position stop screw that will limit the top speed the bike can reach. This is adjustable by the parent as the riders abilities increase. Additionally, I feel the shaft drive may be safer for the young riders. And last but not least, it's pretty easy to find training wheels for them.....LOL. However, it's usually good motivation for young kids that they need to ride their bicycle without training wheels before they can ride their dirt bike.
Protective gear is the most important. I feel a helmet, 2MV protective Vest (from www.2ndMoto.biz), goggles, and gloves are the most important primary safety equipment a kid should have before they ever set their lil hinies on a bike.
I hope this helps, and I'm glad to see you actively engaged with your child and equally concerned about their safety as you are their recreation. My son started on a PW50 when he was 5....that was after he went to a motocross exhibition race and said....I can do that....I want to do that!....several hundreds of trophies later....he's still winning and smiling. Of course we also go trail riding while camping as a family...His sisters ride too.
Let me know how it goes.
Eric on April 16, 2012:
My son is 4 and he wants a dirt bike and we started looking for him. My friend, who is a very good mechanic, is selling a Yamaha PW50. Do you think 4 is too young for him to start? My wife doesn't seem to think so but I have some reservations. I mean, he is just learning to ride a bicycle.
hubwriter (author) from Washington on April 03, 2012:
i would start by talking to the people here: http://www.echovalleymotocross.com/Contactus.htm
Also ask them what other tracks in the area there are to ride at. Else you could call and ask these people...
1014 Ogden Ave
Superior, WI 54880
Gripbomb on March 31, 2012:
Hi i live in duluth minn and want to start my son in track riding he dose currently ride a honda 80 on trails do you now who i would contact in my area ?
hubwriter (author) from Washington on March 25, 2012:
Fox is the brand that carries the best selection of gear for very young children, especially the boots and pants. Look online at motorcyle-supertore, or rockmountainMC There are many other places too.....or stop by your local motorcycle shop that carries Fox products and see if they will order what you want.
Best of luck,
Christa on March 21, 2012:
Hi i'm looking to buy the dirtbike apparel..I guess you would call it that..I can't seem to track it down at all in size 4&5 toddler..Do you know where I could find this?? I'm in Canada.
Judah on February 25, 2012:
I will look into all of the protective gear and hopefully it wont be as much as it looks like.
Thanks for answering my questions
hubwriter (author) from Washington on February 23, 2012:
Good question Judah. Fortunately, there is a great place to get brand New and "Like New" gear. Give 2ndMoto LLC a call, there number is on their website www.2ndmoto.biz
Helmet - I would strongly recommend that you buy a NEW helmet. It is very difficult to tell the condition of a helmet from the outside, even when they look new. I also recommend that it has an updated SNELL certification as indicated on the back of the helmet, not just a DOT.
Core Protection - The 2MV Motocross vest designed and sold by 2nd Moto LLC is really the best core protection on the market. www.2ndMoto.biz to buy direct.
Boots - This is where you can often save a lot of money when starting out by getting a good used pair. Especially in youth sizes, often the rider outgrows the boot before they see much use or abuse.
Knee/shin pads - I really like the EVS and Fox brands, but there are many good choices
Gloves - Personal choice; however, for longer riding sessions, check out the palm protectors by risk racing that fit under your gloves.
Pants - not all created equally. Look for leather on the inside of the knee area. This area gets the most wear from the side of the bike.
Quick Run Down:
Helmet - $150 - $400
Vest - $160 - $185
Boots - $50 - $200
Gloves - $15 - $40
Goggles - $15 - $70
Glad to hear you have a goal you're working towards and recognize the value of protective equipment.
Judah on February 22, 2012:
i did want to know how much would it cost to buy rider protection altogether i am already saving up for my dirt bike
hubwriter (author) from Washington on February 21, 2012:
That is awesome! In another 10 years you'll have to do it with grandchildren. As with many solo sports, it really is a great bonding experience, especially if the child participates in all the bike maintenance, modifications, and repairs. It's very rewarding for them, and you.
granby607 on February 20, 2012:
My son and I started racing with the western NY off-road assc. ( WNYOA ) in 2003, when he was 8, racing hare scrambles. Now he is 18 and we still race about 10 weekends a year in their ENDURO events.
The experence of riding together with your son/daughter is difficult to put into words.
hubwriter (author) from Washington on February 20, 2012:
Did you have any questions about riding/racing, bike choice, or rider protection?
judah on February 19, 2012:
hey your acticle was helpful except that me being 13 i am going to ride a 125cc
hubwriter (author) from Washington on February 14, 2012:
Well Danell, that depends on his size and ability to balance and coordinate controls. Also, is he going to just start riding, or does he want to race? If he just wants to ride, look at the Honda 70's (3 speed, auto-clutch, 4-stroke). If he wants (and you want) to race, then go with a 50cc. It will be a great size (and they are very fast)to get him used to riding and racing on a track. Additionally, he can ride the 50cc classes for several years (look at the age requirements for the rules your local tracks recognize). then you can sell the 50cc and move up to a 65cc with a more experienced rider. the 65cc's are wicked fast with full clutches and 6-speed transmissions. They are full-on race bikes.
For a beginner 50cc rider consider some of the slower models, unless you have a lot of time for one on one coaching in a safe environment to get them used to a faster model like the KTM 50 SX (Pro Senior) models, or the Cobra's. Make it a fun and good experience, not a scary or dangerous one. Just expect to sell your first bike and get a bigger one in a year or so. It's part of providing a fun and safe learning experience for them.
For the best rider protection get the 2MV motocross vest from 2nd Moto LLC, http://www.2ndmoto.biz
Best of luck
Danell on February 06, 2012:
Got a 7 year old ready to ride. What's your reccommendation a 50cc or 65cc??
hubwriter (author) from Washington on June 07, 2011:
Thanks for visiting...it looks like there are several tracks around your area: http://txmotocross.com/track-map
Buffalo Creek http://www.buffalocreekmx.com/home/
Underground MX Park
Brushy Creek Motofarm
The Pit MX
When in doubt, ask the local shops that support dirt bikes. I would call buffalo creek and talk to them. They will likely be able to point you to other local tracks too.
Best of luck, it's a fun sport.
Marissa on June 01, 2011:
Hey iam looking to put my 5 year old in to racing but i cant seem to find any tracks aroind my area. Do u think u might know any? I live in dallas texas?
hubwriter (author) from Washington on April 06, 2011:
I'm assuming you were asking me, and not andy??? Anyway, I would not put my 9 year old on a cr50 out with 85cc riders for a race. That is too much difference in size and capabilities and would not likely be safe.
Go to a practice and see if they will split practices up for beginner riders on smaller bikes, like 50cc's.
Best of luck,
hubwriter (author) from Washington on November 22, 2010:
Thanks for the follow up Brian. Most tracks encourage new riders to be able to try out racing and allow riders with bikes outside the CC requirement for a class to compete, for a while, as a beginner. It may be that they won't trophy your rider though, since his bike is not within the class definition; however, your goal is to let him try and race which hopefully they let him do.
If you want to let him pursue racing, then you'll need to pick up a bike that fits his age level and the class breakpoints for CC.
It's great that you went and got a lesson with him too, as it helps you understand more of what he has to learn. Remember safety gear is most important. I recommend you look at the 2MV riding vest from http://www.2ndmoto.biz .The protection that vest provides is vital. The vest stays in place, provides complete core protection, including the rib area, and far superior to plastic roost/chest protectors, that were only designed to protect against a roosted rock from the bike in front of you. The 2MV protective vest provides core protection.
Best of luck on the track.
Brian on October 22, 2010:
Thanks for the quick response. I hope you are correct and the tracks will let him race in the beginner class.
It is a Honda crf70. Besides the size being a good fit it allows him to learn shifting without the hand clutch which has been nice.
I do agree, learning to race in the beginner class and continuing to learn on the trails will be a great start. It certainly will be enjoyable.
I'd like to explain how he got started since I never road dirt bikes myself. He came up with wanting a dirt bike all by himself. None of his friends even ride. We took him to a dirt bike school. They are listed on the internet. My wife, my son and I went for a lesson. It was two hours and a complete blast. I would recommend it to all first timers. They stressed saftey and once the instructor got the adults going he spent most of his time with my son. He got to ride a 50, 70 and even a bigger bike (may have been a 110). Of course he was addicted after that. We learned two things from the experience. He truly enjoyed it and we learned what size bike was appropriate for him. After that, the plan was to get him and myself a dirt bike. We got his 70 first so he could learn before I purchased one. It is a passion he came up with all by himself. We felt as parents it was our job to help him pursue it.
hubwriter (author) from Washington on October 21, 2010:
Well the good and most important thing is most all tracks will let your kid race even though he's not qualified for the class. They have to establish classes, and use the most common motocross race bike cc breakpoints. AMA is not the sanctioning body at all tracks, and in many areas seldom are they the sanctioning body; however, many tracks still adopt the AMA rules since they are well defined.
Currently the classes are commonly, 51cc (50's), 65cc, 85cc, supermini (85 - 112??? 2-stroke, 150 4-stroke), Schoolboy, 250cc, 450cc, and then multiple class breakdown either by age or skill level.
The 70cc (assuming a Honda), is a great bike and it's understandable why you chose that bike. Racing MX can be a big investment at times. Especially when you buy that $1500 used bike, and then it breaks down for the first time and sets you back $400 when you did the work.
Meanwhile, your kid will probably have a blast getting to race, and likely not miss the whole high point aspect of it. This will give you both an opportunity to determine if it's what you want to pursue more seriously, and consider either selling the 70, and picking up a 65cc (9-11 y/o), or an 85cc. You could also keep the 70 for trail riding. By the way, the Honda 70's have an excellent resale value.
Either way, the time you spend with your child will have long lasting good memories for both of you.
We spend several days a week at racetracks, so feel free to email me if you have questions. Sometimes I'm a little slow at responding, but will always get back to you.
Brian on October 21, 2010:
Great article and posts. I recently purchased my son a 70cc bike. Not knowing anything about the sport I later learned that he could not race it. Why is there no 70cc class in racing (anyone know that answer)? Even if he is permitted to race the beginner class, it is a no points class. That is fine until he is good enough to move on then we will be required to spend thousands more on another dirt bike. He is only 7 and can easily ride the bike for years which was the point of buying that size. Is there an alternative to the AMA?
hubwriter (author) from Washington on October 01, 2010:
I would look in the yellow pages and find a local motorcycle shop that deals with offroad (dirt bikes)motorcycles. Call them and ask where the local tracks are. If you don't get a good answer, then ask to speak to someone else, or call another shop. These shops support riders who regularly race and know where the tracks are.
You can also check http://www.outdoortrackandtrail.com/chooselocation... Just choose the state in which you live, and look at what they have listed. Note, that site may not have all the tracks, but is a good place to start. Once you are at one track, ask around to other riders and find out where you want to race.
Once you find a track, you need to know what time there signup is. There are various fees associated with the racing, but you can usually take care of all this on race day. Sometime there are memberships, such as AMA or local clubs, but you can again take care of that on race day. You may also be able to pay a smaller fee for a one day ride. Then their are race fees, and usually a gate fee for entering the park.
Basically, show up, pay your money and sign up for you class.....get the bike ready and go race.....braaaap!
Best of luck. I hope you and your parents have a good time, learning and riding together.
Heather mascheri on September 29, 2010:
ok so im a girl and i want to race but i dont know how or where to sign up. im 12 years old and i have been dirt biking and riding quads sense i was 5 years old. is there anyone that can help me?
hubwriter (author) from Washington on August 31, 2010:
that's a ford vs. chevy question......Cobra's are ever bit as much maintenance and repair as the KTM. KTM made big changes to the 50cc in 2009. So I would recommend a 2009 or newer KTM. Else, a 2004 or newer KTM. also, reference www.ktmtalk.com
If you want a Cobra, go with a 2006 or newer, although I'm not as familiar with the Cobra Changes. Look up Cobra Talk forum online and get tons of info.
Arnie on August 30, 2010:
Thanks for your advice. My son only riding for 6 months is going to start to racing next month. I am looking at a used 2007 cobra 65 which has been rebuilt by local dealer. Any advise on Cobra vs. KTM?
george on July 27, 2010:
hey but how would you do it if you want your kids to do the racing were they win dirt bikes and money etc.
Nicole on June 21, 2010:
I found your site very helpful, more than most your info was great
hubwriter (author) from Washington on June 15, 2010:
Ride on lil' Broderick. Be safe and remember to thank your parents.
broderick on June 10, 2010:
i like dirat bikes cuse it fun raiding
hubwriter (author) from Washington on April 29, 2010:
Get there early. Usually gates open about an hour before the first practice. This gives you time to get signed up and ready for practices. I would expect one practice, and two moto's, although each track has there own schedules.
Usually there are gate fees for everyone ($5 - $10 ea.), and then a race fee for each class raced ($25 - $35). One class should get you 1 practice and 2 moto's. But that is determined by each track.
Thank you for the questions. Have fun on raceday...If you're new to racing, you may want to check out the 2MV motocross vest by 2nd Moto LLC. http://www.2ndmoto.biz
Nick on April 28, 2010:
So when do we sign up, do we just go to the track, or have to sign up a certain time?
hubwriter (author) from Washington on April 15, 2010:
Tracks usually let kids as young as 4 - 5 start racing on the small oil injected 50cc bikes. In most places the girls race in the same class as the boys until they are in their teens. At that age there are women/girls classes that the girls can ride in if they choose too. Some girls prefer to keep whipping up on the boys.
I hope you get the chance to enjoy this sport with your family. Remember, it's about fun and safety.
jayley on April 10, 2010:
how old do u have to be to be a dirt bike rider i am and a girl
my dads name is jason peters michele peters is my mom
Todd Senauskas on September 15, 2009:
I have a website www.GoMotocross.com that has information on riding, racing and training. We list tracks and trails to ride, mx schools, how-to tips and industry news.
Come check us out we are a great resource for both the beginner and pro motocross racer.
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gomotocross
craig84 on August 17, 2009:
would like to get all info you have on starting my son racing he is 8 years of age rides for fun but would like to take it to next step thanx
melrose on June 15, 2009:
awesome thanks so much for your help.. I have most of the riding small jumping and gear changing down pat now, its been a lot of trial and error but it got it now...servicing info on chains etc heaps appreciated looking forward to the rest.
hubwriter (author) from Washington on June 10, 2009:
Excellent suggestion, as there are many basic suggestions that span all types of bikes. I'll give a quick summary of, first rides, and maintenance tips quickly here....and maybe write another article soon.
First Ride ----Protective gear! Got it? then proceed to next paragraph. If you don't got it, just get the wash bucket out and wash it again, cause you shouldn't be riding. Want inexpensive gear, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them what you need. They carry consignment and new motocross gear. They don't always update their website with their inventory, so contact them http://www.2ndmoto.biz
Find a shallow hill that has a large area at the bottom for you to maneuver if you need extra room. Push the bike up the hill to practice coasting with the engine not running. Place the bike in neutral. Familiarize yourself with the foot-brake control for the brake on the rear wheel of the bike. This is the only brake you will use to get started. Remember that no matter what, concentrate on steering the bike to an open area. If you panick and can't remember where the brake is, or your foot slips off......continue to steer the bike clear of obstacles.
Coast down the hill and gently apply the foot brake only, to get a feel for how the bike brakes and how to control the speed. After several runs at this and feeling more comforatable, try pressing the brake hard enough that the rear tire starts to skid. remember, just like a manual transmission on a car, you have to pull in the clutch to apply the brake hard enough to stop the rear wheel. Sooner or later this is going to happen, and you might as well do it on purpose when you're expecting it to learn how to handle it. remember, you can always let up and re-apply the brake to stop.
Once you have the breaking and steering down, it's time to start the bike, so you don't have to push it up the hill.....Find an open place where you have plenty of room to do figure 8's and practice start stops. Practice using the clutch by going forward 20 feet then stopping, using the clutch and brake properly. Once you have that mastered, start performing figure 8's.
Drive the bike in a figure 8, alternating turning to the left and the right. again, just like a car, you want to handle breaking/slowing down, prior to the corner, and accelerate out of the corner. this also gets you used to the breaking foot being on the inside of your turn rather than the outside. If you're on dirt or a slippery surface, you want to get used to placing your inside foot out at a 45 degree angle in front of you. Look at the video's of the pro's cornering. If the bike slides out, you may have a chance of pushing it back up before it falls, and most importantly there is less risk of your foot ending up under the bike, or getting ran over.
Maintenance - 4 stroke bikes are slightly different in maintenance than the 2-stroke models. A good place to start is reading the manual, or talking to the local shop (bear in mind, they want to sell you stuff!!!, but if you talk to the right shop, you'll get more good help than you can remember, so write it down).
Chain should be oiled often.....how often, well it depends on the type of riding and the type of chain, and the time in between rides. If you're riding on dirt, it should be oiled at least once every day of riding and cleaned after every ride with a brush.
At a minimum the air filter will need to be cleaned after about every 4 hours of use (just an approximate guess). again this greatly depends on the type of riding you're doing and how dusty it is. If you are riding a 2-stroke, make sure the filter is oiled properly with an air filter oil. Make sure you apply a small amount of grease where the air filter seats. The grease creates a barrier to prevent dust from getting around the filter and into the intake.
......More to come in a dedicated set or articles.....
Thanks on May 30, 2009:
O thou I am not a kid, I am getting my first dirtbike at 23 and have been searhing for hours an hours to find a basic step by step guide to getting started and loved your site.I guess I am a little ahead of what I thought as most of this stuff I already knew about.Have you got anything for lack of a better way to put it.. the next step..Guide to taking your first ride.. what to do?- Scary thought I have a bike and no idea how to ride it.Cleaning your bike.Servercing.How to do oil changes and basic servicing yourself.Good oils to use on the bike.etc.Thanks for your help.
Hjortur - Iceland on May 03, 2009:
Great article, nice work.
hubwriter (author) from Washington on January 21, 2009:
Nikki, I'm sorry for not getting back to you earlier. I am actually located in WA also, but in the southwestern region. Down here there are several tracks that have quad classes to ride in: The Woodland WA track, and the Clark County Indoor track. Woodland is running now and will last through the begininning of May http://www.woodlandmx.com/ The quads are only running the Winter series and not the MX Challenge. The Clark County Indoor track at the fairgrounds is closed for the year as they finished up last month, but you can see when they will start back up next year http://www.promotopromotions.com/ .
The Northwest moto site is also a good resource, you can find it here: http://www.nwmoto.com/ .
Please remember, that there is nothing more important than making sure your kids are wearing the proper gear for there sport, and that it's in good working condition and fits properly. As with any sport, it's important that the rider warm up and stretch before riding.
If you are looking for gear at an affordable price, or for the bull riding vest that a lot of riders are wearing now, check out http://www.2ndmoto.biz
Have fun, and I hope to see you on the track.
navy on January 18, 2009:
how do i start ridin and where can i sing up at
Nikki Hardy on December 06, 2008:
Love the site. My boys ride quads and we want to race!! Where do we go?
I have been looking but no luck.
Nikki Arlignton, Wa.
hubwriter (author) from Washington on May 07, 2008:
Thanks Randy, and glad to hear that your family will be having fun out on the track. Remember, safety gear is the most important, and never to expensive. I hope you all have a lot of fun together.
randy on April 15, 2008:
thnks for the info! its hard to find info like this tofill in the adults. bought my 7yr old a pw50 3wks ago and we are going to his first race this weekend. he seems to have some natural talent and expressed an interest in racing, so her we go!
tywuan on April 14, 2008:
I like dirtbike pw 50 I love it
hubwriter (author) from Washington on February 13, 2008:
Hey Andy, thanks for the comment. We ride on our property too, and I have an 02' XR250R, great bikes. Our boy started racing, and that is what inspired me to write this article. I wanted to pass on the tips that we learned along the way. If you get interested in them getting on bikes, I'm almost done with my first article for choosing a first bike for a 3 - 7 year old rider.
Most tracks have Quad classes for racing too. I should include that information in here. With the younger kids sometimes, they let them run at the same time as the bikes, although that's tougher. If you and the boys are up to it, check with your local track and see if they have quad classes? Here in the Washington State, they have several quad classes that run on race day.
Andy on February 13, 2008:
Thanks for the info and thoughts. I would love for my boys to start riding and racing if they choose. For now, we ride around on our property- them on their quads and me on my xr250r.
hubwriter (author) from Washington on February 12, 2008:
I hope you found this article to be informative. Our family is passionate about motocross to the extent that we look to have fun together and all members of our family ride dirtbikes. Although only one of us races, number two in the pictures above.
I will be publishing several related articles soon on how to choose the right bike for your child, whether racing or not. These will be a series of articles broken down into age and experience ranges. The first article will be for ~4 - 6 year old beginners.
I would love to read your comments, and thanks for visiting.