Beginners Guide To Buying Your First Dirt Bike (Adult) | Hunt or Shred

Confused about buying your first adult dirt bike? Our beginner's guide helps you navigate the process and make the right choice.

A beginner's guide to buying a first dirt bike includes researching and choosing a reliable brand with quality products and good customer support. Additionally, reading reviews, visiting forums, and talking to experienced dirt bikers can provide valuable insights into the best options.

My passion for dirt biking has driven me to explore various terrains and gain valuable insights that I’m eager to share with you. With my expertise, I’ll provide accurate and reliable information on how to buy a dirt bike as a beginner. So, buckle up as we embark on this thrilling journey.

Table of contents


Understanding Dirt Bikes

The key to finding the perfect dirt bike for beginners is understanding the various types and categories. Dirt bikes come in many different models, each designed for specific purposes within the sport, from motocross to trail riding. No matter your preference, there's a bike out there for you.

Types of Dirt Bikes

Some popular types of dirt bikes include a motocross bike that is ideal for racing on tracks with jumps and challenging terrain. It’s lightweight, has aggressive power, and is generally not a street-legal bike.

This play bike is built for long-distance off-road riding and racing. It’s more versatile than race bikes used for street riding. Also, it features headlights, taillights, and a more comfortable front suspension setup for extended rides.

This beginner-friendly, casual off-road bike is perfect for exploring trails and recreational riding. It has a softer power delivery and is generally more forgiving for inexperienced riders.

The following table highlights the different categories of dirt bikes to help you better understand their features and performances.

Category Description Examples
Motocross Lightweight, aggressive power, designed for racing on tracks; not street-legal Yamaha YZ125, KTM 250 SX-F
Enduro Versatile, comfortable suspension, built for long-distance off-road riding and racing; often street-legal Honda CRF450X, Husqvarna TE300
Trail Beginner-friendly, softer power delivery, and forgiving ride; perfect for recreational off-road riding Kawasaki KLX140, Yamaha TTR230

Ideal Dirt Bike for Beginners

As a beginner dirt bike rider, choosing your first dirt bike can be both exciting and challenging.

But, the ideal beginner dirt bike should be easy to handle, have manageable power, and suit your physical stature.

Also, consider the engine stroke, seat height, and engine types.

Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke

In the world of dirt bikes, there are two primary types of engines: two-stroke and four-stroke. Both have pros and cons; determining which is best for you depends on your preferences.

Two-stroke engines are lighter, more powerful, and require less maintenance. They're also more nimble, making them an excellent option for beginners looking to improve their riding skills quickly.

However, they're often louder and emit more pollutants than their four-stroke counterparts.

Contrary, four-stroke engines are quieter, more fuel-efficient, and produce smoother power delivery. They are more beginner-friendly due to their predictable power output and easier handling.

On the downside, they are generally heavier and more complex, This means they have more maintenance requirements.

Seat Heights

Seat height is crucial, as it directly impacts your riding comfort and control. For new riders, choosing a dirt bike with a seat height that allows you to touch the ground comfortably with both feet when stopped is essential.

Small dirt bikes often have lower seat heights, making them popular for shorter riders. Conversely, taller individuals may prefer bikes with higher seat heights to ensure sufficient legroom.

Remember, seat height may also be adjusted on a few bikes, so don't shy away from a model that fits your other requirements but might need a seat-height adjustment.

Engine Types

When it comes to engine size and power, beginners should opt for something manageable and appropriately sized for their intended use. As mentioned earlier, a 125cc two-stroke or a 250cc four-stroke dirt bike can be suitable for most adult beginners.

As you become more experienced, you can then consider upgrading to larger and more powerful engines to suit your evolving skills and preferences. However, a beginner should focus on building confidence and mastering techniques rather than trying to tame an overly powerful motor.

Budgeting and Purchasing

Buying your first dirt bike as an adult can be an exciting and challenging experience. When you start exploring the world of dirt biking, it's important to consider your budget, research different bike options, and weigh the pros and cons of used vs. new bikes.

Other essential aspects of budgeting and purchasing your first bike include price considerations and maintenance costs. This is also important if you want to buy a race bike or a road bike.

New vs. Used Dirt Bikes

When deciding whether to buy a used or new dirt bike, there are several factors to consider. A new bike offers the latest technology, a warranty, and the assurance that the bike has not been abused or neglected. However, it can be more expensive than used options.

On the other hand, used dirt bikes can result in significant cost savings, but you should thoroughly research the bike's history and maintenance records to ensure it's in good condition.

Price Considerations

Determining your budget for a dirt bike is crucial, especially for beginners. You should avoid purchases over 300 in displacement to get a good deal. This will ensure a more comfortable learning experience.

It's also wise to keep your budget lower if you have little to no riding experience, as you may quickly realize dirt biking is not the sport for you. Some factors influencing dirt bike prices:

  • Brand and model
  • Size and power of the engine
  • Condition and age of the bike

Aftermarket upgrades or modifications

Maintenance Costs

In addition to the initial purchase price, you should consider the costs of maintaining your dirt bike. Some essential maintenance items include preventing oil leaks, air filter cleaning after dirt buildup, tire replacement, top-end rebuild, and valve clearance checks.

You'll also want to budget for professional mechanic services if you're not mechanically inclined.

Getting the Right Fit

When it comes to buying your first bike as an adult, getting the right dirt bike size is essential. A well-fitted dirt bike ensures a comfortable and enjoyable riding experience, enabling you to make the most out of your new hobby.

Let’s explore sizing for adults, the importance of a comfortable ride, and how to adjust your dirt bike for your preferred riding style.

Sizing for Adults

Just like in street bikes, sizing is important when purchasing a dirt bike, especially for adult beginners. Factors such as seat height and weight are crucial for finding the right size dirt bike.

Here are some recommendations to help you with sizing:

You should look for dirt bikes with seat heights that allow you to comfortably touch both feet on the ground.

Additionally, consider the bike's weight – lighter bikes are generally easier for beginners to handle, but heavier bikes might offer more stability for larger riders. Also, don't forget to factor in your weight and height when choosing the perfect size bike.

The Comfort of the Ride

Ensuring a comfortable ride is essential for an enjoyable dirt biking experience. Pay attention to the following elements:

  • Grips: Grips should be comfortable to hold and not slip in your hands during a ride.
  • Suspension: Check for quality suspension components that help absorb impact during rides, providing a smoother and more enjoyable experience.
  • Seat: The seat should be cushioned but firm enough to support your weight without causing discomfort.
  • Tires: The bike should have knobby tires that enhance traction and stability, ensuring a comfortable ride.

Adjusting for Riding Style

Each rider has a unique riding style, which influences the dirt bike setup. Consider these personal touches when looking for the right fit:

  • Handlebars: Look for adjustable handlebars that can be customized to your preferred height and reach.
  • Braking: Choose between rotor or disc brakes based on your riding preferences – rotor brakes are typically more affordable but provide less stopping power; disc brakes are more expensive but offer superior control and performance.
  • Transmission gear: Opt for a bike with adjustable gearing options so you can fine-tune the bike's performance based on your desired speed, power, and terrain requirements.

Rider Safety and Skills

Buying your first ride as an adult can be an exciting endeavor, but it is essential to prioritize both rider safety and developing your skills. Let’s discuss the importance of understanding your skill level, selecting the appropriate bike features, and the value of education and training for beginner dirt bike riders.

Skill Level vs. Bike Features

Understanding the relationship between your skill level and the features of a dirt bike is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Beginner riders should look for bikes that are easy to handle, stable, and forgiving in terms of power delivery.

Features like a smooth throttle response, an engine with low to mid-range torque, and an automatic or semi-automatic clutch can benefit beginners in their learning process.

  • Smooth Throttle Response: Ensures predictable power delivery and reduces the likelihood of accidental wheelies.
  • Low to Mid-range Torque: Offers controllable power without overwhelming the rider.
  • Automatic or Semi-automatic Clutch: Simplifies the riding experience and allows the rider to focus on developing fundamental skills.

Education and Training

To improve your safety and overall riding skills, participating in education and training courses is highly recommended. Organizations like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offer a range of courses specifically designed for new and experienced adult dirt bike riders.

These courses cover various aspects of riding, from basic skills to more advanced maneuvers, and may also include lessons on maintaining and repairing your dirt bike.

Many courses provide hands-on training with experienced instructors, allowing beginners to practice and develop their skills in a controlled environment. This will boost rider confidence and ensure a strong foundation in proper riding techniques and safety habits that can be applied both on and off the trail.

Recommended Beginner Dirt Bikes for Adults

Are you looking for a beginner guide to dirt bikes that are available in the market today? Look no further, as we got you covered. We’ll focus on three models: KTM 150 XC-W, KTM 250 SX-F, and Kawasaki KX250.

These three models have been chosen because they cater to a broad range of adult beginners with varying skill levels and requirements.

KTM 150 XC-W

The KTM 150 XC-W is a versatile, lightweight choice for most riders. Its 150cc two-stroke engine provides a manageable power output suitable for new riders while still offering the excitement of nimble play bikes.

The responsive rear suspension and swing arm ensure a smooth ride, making this two-stroke bike an excellent choice for trail riding and motocross. Main features of the KTM 150 XC-W:

  • two-strokes engine
  • Light and easy to maneuver compared to other two-stroke bikes
  • Suitable for trail riding and motocross

KTM 250 SX-F

Another option from KTM is the 250 SX-F, a slightly more powerful dirt bike built for ambitious beginners. Powered by a 250cc four-stroke engine, it offers more torque and smoother power delivery than its two-stroke counterpart.

This dirt bike is ideal for riders who want to enter the sport with a steady progression in power and performance.

Main features of the KTM 250 SX-F:

  • four-strokes engine
  • Smooth power delivery
  • Ideal for a steady progression in the sport

Kawasaki KX250

Last but not least, the Kawasaki KX250 provides a solid foundation for adult beginners. With a 249cc four-stroke engine and a well-balanced chassis, this bike is designed for trail riding and motocross.

This dirt bike is popular among riders for its excellent handling characteristics and easy-to-learn power delivery, making it a great choice for those new to the dirt biking world.

Main features of the Kawasaki KX250:

  • 249cc four-stroke engine
  • Well-balanced chassis
  • Excellent handling and easy-to-learn power delivery

Exploring Different Riding Styles

Adult beginners in the world of dirt bikes have a lot of options and styles to choose from. As an adult beginner, it's crucial to identify the type of riding you'll be doing before making a decision on your first dirt bike.

Each style has its unique characteristics and requires different bikes and skill sets. Let’s explore some common dirt bike riding styles.

Trail Riding

Trail riding is a popular choice for beginners and typically involves navigating forest paths, fire roads, and single or triple tracks. This type of riding usually takes place on trails but can also be enjoyed on more challenging terrains.

Trail riding bikes are generally air-cooled, focusing on endurance rather than high speeds. Here are the key factors to consider for trail riding include:

  • Comfortable, user-friendly power delivery
  • Adequate ground clearance
  • Variety of riding locations, from easy trails to more technical routes

Motocross Racing

Motocross racing is for those who crave adrenaline and competition. This discipline consists of closed-circuit races involving high-speed jumps and other obstacles.

Riders must be skilled in jumping and aggressive riding. They should also steer clear to avoid hitting obstacles when riding dirt bikes. Motocross bikes, also known as motocrossers, are built specifically for this type of racing, with the following features:

  • High-performance, liquid-cooled engines
  • Lightweight, agile frames
  • Tuned rear shock for jumps and sharp cornering

Off-Road Riding

Off-road riding combines elements of trail riding and motocross racing, often requiring riders to tackle tough terrains and overcome obstacles. These bikes are designed for extended outdoor adventures and should be designed with durability and performance.

If you want to off-road or play dirt bike, you'll want to look for the following:

  • Reliable, easy-to-maintain engines
  • Good suspension for challenging terrain
  • A supportive and comfortable seating position


Trials riding is an unusual but captivating discipline that focuses on obstacle negotiation and balance rather than high speeds. Riders compete in events focused on overcoming obstacles such as rocks, logs, and steep inclines, using precise throttle control and body positioning.  

Some key features of trial bikes include:

  • Ultra-lightweight, agile frames
  • Minimalistic design with low seat heights
  • Responsive engines with smooth power delivery


Supercross is a high-intensity, stadium-based version of motocross racing. These races involve tight tracks, large jumps, and intense competition.

Normally, supercross riders t have exceptional bike handling skills and the ability to perform under pressure. Some key factors to consider for supercross bikes are:

  • The high power-to-weight ratio for explosive acceleration
  • Race-tuned suspension for handling jumps and obstacles
  • Agile, responsive chassis for tight cornering

Finding the Perfect Match

When it comes to purchasing your first dirt bike, knowing what to look for and how to find the perfect match is crucial.

This guide will help you in your journey to find the right bike for you, whether it's brand new or pre-owned. To find the perfect bike, consider the following:

Test Riding Potential Bikes

The best way to find the ideal dirt bike for a beginner is to test-ride various bikes. Consider factors such as the bike's power, overall feel, and whether it fits your intended riding style, which can include trail riding or motocross.

Also, pay attention to your comfort and confidence levels on each bike, as feeling confident on your dirt bike is essential for a safe and enjoyable dirt riding experience. Remember, every rider is different, so take your time and trust your instincts when evaluating a potential dirt bike.

Inspecting a Used Dirt Bike

Buying a used dirt bike can be an excellent option for beginners, but it's crucial to inspect the bike carefully before purchasing. Look for wear or damage on the frame, suspension, and other components.

While some minor cosmetic flaws are expected on a used bike, any significant structural damage should be a red flag. Don't be afraid to ask questions; if possible, have an experienced rider or mechanic assist you with the inspection process.

Also, maintenance and repairs are essential aspects to consider when purchasing a used dirt bike. Make sure to inquire about the bike's service history, any aftermarket parts added, and any known issues with the model or brand.

Key Takeaways

  • When buying your first dirt bike as an adult, you should consider your riding skill level.
  • Always research and compare different dirt bike models.
  • You should determine your budget and consider the cost of ownership.
  • Always inspect the bike's condition and test ride before making a purchase.




45 years old. I'm in business marketing. I write for Hunt or Shred on the side. I love hiking, camping, and everything outdoors with my family. I have 6 years of experience working at an ATV shop selling, fixing, and test driving all brands and models.

Read More About Gary