How Old Do Kids Need to Be to Ride a Dirt Bike?
Do you have kids? Are you looking for a nice, fun family sport for them? Are you considering dirt bike riding but just aren’t sure whether they’re the right age to start?
Well, wonder no more; we have the answers for you right here. Kids can start riding dirt bikes as early as 3 years of age. There are special, small electric dirt bikes available for the purpose. By age four or five they can be riding gas powered 50cc dirt bikes with training wheels. By age 8, you’ll be struggling to keep up with them.
The first few times that kids ride dirt bikes might be a little rough on them. They will probably crash their bikes every few feet, the bikes being too hard and heavy for their tiny bodies to balance and maneuver efficiently right from the start. Try to find a long, smooth straight surface where they can practice. Kids usually learn extremely fast. We are sure that, pretty soon, perhaps in the matter of a few months, your kids will be riding their bikes pretty fast, jumping them, climbing hills and having a great time.
Protective Gear for Kids While Dirt Bike Riding
We recommend an AGATT (all the gear all the time) policy for kids and adults alike. For your kids, you want to get loose fitting jersey and pants (to give them good mobility on their bikes), gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, chest protectors, boots and helmets.
Over and above all, you want your child’s helmet to be a good fit for him/her. It might be a bit challenging finding the right helmet for your kid. Kids usually find helmets too heavy and are unable to always clearly communicate which one is the right fit. One way to decide on a good helmet is to test it by having your kid put it on without doing up the chin strap, shake their head wildly up and down. If the helmet stays in place for the large part, you can consider it to fit pretty well. Be careful not to get cheap helmets and make sure the helmets provide good ventilation.
The helmet and the boots are the most important part of your child’s gear, so don’t compromise on either of them. To protect your child’s chest, you can go for either a chest protector or a roost guard. We recommend a chest protector, as it offers greater protection. For knee and elbow pads, make sure they have hard plastic that offers real protection. For gloves, you may want to choose something that offers more protection than ordinary dirt bike gloves. This is because kids will likely fall often when they’re first learning how to ride their dirt bike. They will break their falls with their hands, leaving them susceptible to cuts and bruises. You also want to be careful that you get the right pants, something with material thick enough to stop the engine from burning them, and flexible enough to provide your kids with full range of motion in their lower bodies.
Wearing this protective equipment will help keep your kids safe while on their dirt bikes, so spend a little extra if you have to. Remember to always put safety first.
Some General Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Ride Dirt Bikes
The first time you buy your kid a bike, you should probably go for a 50 cc one. You don’t want to get them a bike that’s too large and powerful for them to handle.
Be sure when you take them riding that they have a smooth surface to ride on. If the ground is full of ruts, you can expect your kids to fall off their bikes often, not enjoying the experience.
Another decision you have to make is whether to get them a bike with training wheels or not. If your kids can’t ride a bicycle as yet, then you probably want a dirt bike with training wheels; balancing on a dirt bike is much harder than balancing on a bicycle because dirt bikes are much heavier. If, on the other hand, your kids can ride bicycles, you may consider going without the training wheels; the kids may have a harder time balancing at first, but they will probably get the hang of it fairly quickly.
Once your kids can balance themselves on a dirt bike while riding straight, you will discover that balancing while making turns is a completely different proposition. They may struggle with the turns at first but let them keep at it. It’s okay if they fall a couple of times. They will only get better with practice, getting a sense of the speed they need to go at before making a turn. Let them challenge themselves with something they find difficult and the rewards will be equally great when they become good at it. Eventually, things will click into place for them, and they will be comfortable riding on a variety of different terrains and even be doing little jumps with their bikes.
Maintenance for 50cc Bikes
50cc bikes require very little maintenance. As long as you change the oil regularly and the bike itself is of high quality from a top brand, it should run smoothly for around 15 years without requiring major repairs. 50cc bikes are easily maintained and reliable.
You will obviously have to put gas in these bikes and change their oil once every year. You will also have to remove and clean their air filters from time to time, once for every ten times you ride them should be fine for these tiny bikes. You will also have to remove their starter batteries at the close of every season, putting the battery in a trickle charger for the winter season. If you don’t do this, you will have to purchase a new battery at the beginning of the following season. Another bit of maintenance required is the repairing of flats. This can happen even though not as often as it does on a child’s bicycle. The tires used on 50cc bikes are a lot thinner than tires on most other dirt bikes, making them more susceptible to flats.
Dirt Bike Safety for Kids
Dirt biking may seem like a dangerous sport on the surface but once you dive into the facts, it’s clearly not that dangerous, provided you take certain precautions and approach it in the correct manner.
First of all, over 50% of all injuries from dirt biking that land the riders in hospital are caused on official dirt bike tracks. However, most of dirt bike riding takes place off-road or on dirt roads and not on official tracks. This proves that enjoying dirt bike riding off-road and on trails is relatively safe, as here you will neither be jumping your bike too much nor racing, greatly cutting down the chances of injury. Of course, you can still ride on official tracks. But you may want to avoid them if you’re fearful of injuries. It is, statistically speaking, much safer to ride on trails, making it a great way to bond with your family.
Dirt bike riding can result in death. But in excess of 50% of all fatalities resulting from dirt bikes, alcohol is reported to have been a contributing factor. This is, statistically speaking, good news for kids who ride dirt bikes, as they will obviously be staying away from alcohol.
Another way to prevent your kids from getting into dirt bike accidents is to make sure that you choose the right bikes for them. You want bikes that are suitable for them in terms of power and size, bikes that they, with their skill-level and strength, can comfortable manage.
In excess of 60% of fatalities occur in people who do not wear a helmet. So, make sure that your kids wear helmets every single time they ride a dirt bike; no exceptions. You never know when they might fall on their heads and you want them protected in case that happens.
Statistics also prove that dirt biking is considerably safer than four-wheeler ATVs.
Taking Babies to Ride on Dirt Bikes
While children aged 3 and above can ride their own small dirt bikes, babies are a more challenging proposition. Some people strap their babies to a baby carrier, riding along with them. Others are not comfortable with that, fearing for their babies’ safety in case something goes slightly wrong, such as losing one’s balance. These people prefer to wait till their children are older before going dirt bike riding with them.
The more die-hard enthusiasts of dirt bike riding can initiate their babies into the activity when they are as young as six months old, having them ride along with an adult. Some people even give their babies their own bikes at fifteen months but make sure they ride only when supervised by adults. Others prefer waiting till their babies can steer their own bicycles at the very least before getting them their own dirt bikes. You can strap your baby snugly between your legs, having him/her hold on to the handle bars, and ride along with them, safe in the knowledge that your baby is secure. But you may not want to ride with babies for too long, as long rides can irritate them. It is also difficult to find a helmet that can fit babies. If you do find a helmet that your baby can comfortably wear, that’s great. If, however, you are unable to get them to wear a helmet, you will want to make alternate arrangements to protect their heads. Taking a headband and sewing earmuffs into it can be a great and effective solution.
Getting a toy hauler or a trailer for dirt bikes can give you a good way of solving your problems if you don’t want your child on the dirt bike. One of the parents can take care of the baby inside the trailer while the other rides along on the bike. This way you can conveniently travel with your baby and enjoy the pleasures of dirt bike riding at the same time.
In conclusion, while dirt bike riding entails several risks for your children, you can take certain steps to make the venture less risky, enabling you to enjoy dirt bike riding with your family.