Best 50cc dirt bike for kids [Top Picks] – 2021 Buyers Guide

What’s the best 50cc dirt bike for kids out there? We can list the top models by brand and break down their features (which we will). But the most honest answer to this question is, it depends.

Let me explain. The best dirt bike for kids depends a lot on their skill set and experience. Kid’s age, height, confidence levels and your budget plays a big role. Fincally, decide between a dirt bike for trails or motocross competition or both.

Here’s a quick peek at our top picks:

THE BOTTOM LINE – A GLANCE AT OUR 2021 TOP PICKS

  1. Best Overall Dirt Bike for Beginners: Honda CFR50
  2. Lightest/Smallest Dirt Bike for Younger Beginners: Yamaha PW50
  3. Most Versatile Kids Dirt Bike for both Trails and Race: KTM 50SX Mini
  4. Best Competition Kids Motocross Bike for Experienced Riders: Cobra CX50SRX King

First, we will discuss the popular brands and their pricing. Then, cover buying options as well as performance and regular maintenance. Finally, we dive deeper into the our top picks. Feel free to click on links above or below and navigate to a specific section.

In the following sections we’ll talk about:

The Big Brands – How much does a 50cc dirt bike cost

The price for the mini dirt bikes varies depending on features and purpose. Of course, youth dirt bikes with more features will cost more, and so will dirt bikes with race-quality components.

As you may know, prices will also vary between new and used versions of the same model. For used bikes, prices are different based on bike condition and across model years. Especially, when a motorcycle brand decides to include technology in more recent models that was absent in the previous ones.

The Big 4 Japanese Brands

Let’s compare prices of new 50cc dirt bikes. We can first take a look at the “Big Four”: Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. So named because of their dominance in the world of motorcycles. These Japanese giants make small dirt bikes for kids that are some of the most popular choices in the market.

The starting prices for their gas dirt bike for kids in 2021 are shown in the following table:

Big 4 BrandsModelPrice (USD)
HondaCRF50F$1,599
Kawasaki*N/AN/A
SuzukiDR-Z50$1,799
YamahaPW50$1,649
The Big Four Brands with 2021 Prices in US Dollars

*Kawasaki doesn’t sell 50cc dirt bike anymore. In 2006, they stopped producing KDX50A – Kawasaki 50cc dirt bike. The same year it ended a ‘model sharing’ arrangement with Suzuki. As a result the Suzuki JR50, previous generation 50cc dirt bike was discontinued and DRZ-50 was born.

Dirt bike parents who want their kid to ride in Kawasaki’s trademark lime green will have to move up an engine class to the KX 65.

The American and Austrian(European) Brands

The bikes above are aimed at beginner and novice riders. They are off-roading trail dirt bikes and not kids motocross bikes designed for performance and handling big jumps. They are, therefore, priced lower than race mx bikes.

Race bikes, with their added features and competition-oriented components, require a big upfront investment. The prices for top racing brands like the Austrian-made KTM and American-made Cobra start are around $3,800 (USD).

MX Race BrandsModelPrice (USD
KTM50SX Mini$3,899
CobraCX50SRX$4,399
The Motocross Race Brands with 2021 Prices in US Dollars

Key Takeaways – 2021 Prices of Mini Dirt Bikes

50cc children dirt bikes come in a variety of prices. They are influenced by a number of factors like features, performance parts, and the purpose dirt bike is disigned for. It also depends on whether a brand’s local dealership is near by and the bike’s availability.

Base models like trail bikes for beginners start at around $1,600 brand new. On the other hand, race bikes can range $3,800 – $5000 USD brand new.

2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke – Performance and Maintenance

Even people who dabble in dirt bikes come across following question time and again. “Which bike is better, a 50cc 2 stroke dirt bike or a 50cc 4 stroke dirt bike?”

One parent will swear by 2-strokes, while another will insist that 4-strokes are the way to go. In the end, it all boils down to preference, use, and your kid’s skills.

As a quick reference, use the following table for the advantages and disadvantages for each engine type:

Criteria2 Stroke4 Stroke
Power DeliveryPunchySmooth
Engine WeightLighterHeavier
MaintenanceSimplerMore Complex
Popular UseRacingTrail Riding
Noise levelLouderQuieter
Performance and maintenance matrix for 2 stroke vs. 4 stroke engines

Should you go for a 2 stroke or a 4-stroke

4-strokes are known for handling smoothly and predictably, but tend to be heavier and slower to respond. On the other hand, 2-strokes are praised for their power, light weight, and responsiveness. However, they often require more skill to ride (with the exception of the PW50).

Choosing between a 4-stroke or a 2-stroke will depend on how comfortable you’re with your child’s current skills. If your child is just starting out consider honda CRF50 that has a smooth 4-stroke engine. If your child will comptete in race consider KTM 50 SX or Cobra King 50 that are 2-stroke.

Due to more moving parts, 4-stroke can be more expensive when rebuilding engines. However, with regular maintenance you don’t have to worry about rebuilds.

Best 50cc Dirt Bike for your Money

We can’t talk about the best 50cc dirt bikes without discussing the two main ways of riding them, trail riding and racing. Dirt bikes are built for one purpose or the other. In this section, we will cover how bikes are designed to tackle the demands of each purpose.

The less demanding medium of the two, trail riding favors predictable handling over all-out power. As a result, trail bikes are very beginner and novice friendly. 50cc trail bikes, in particular, will have a lower seat height, soft suspension, and a tamed engine. Several models will also come with speed control features like three-speed transmitters and throttle stops and screws.

On the other end, racing is a competitive environment. The 2-stroke 50cc racing bikes rise up to meet its exacting demands. They have powerful engines, adjustable suspension, sturdier, lighter parts, and disc brakes.

It’s amazing the bikes that come out now. Off the showroom floor, they’re all pretty darn good and then you can make them better.

— Mitch Payton, RaceX Magazine interview (2017)

Now that you have some general idea, let’s shift focus to our top picks. Consider, these four 50cc dirt bikes when buying for your kid.

1. Honda CRF50F ($1,599 USD)

Red Honda 50cc Dirt Bike CRF50 on off-roading area with mountain and sun in the background
CRF50 – Honda’s 50cc Dirt Bike for off-road trails

If you’re willing to accept a longer learning curve, the CRF50F is a great trail bike for beginners. Kids who ride this little Honda need less time to adapt to their future bikes. The bike already has a kickstart and controls that are laid out in a way similar to a bigger bike’s.

Known for being reliable, the CRF50F will last for several years. Just do the periodic maintenance of its oil, air filter, and drive chain.

Quick facts and features:

  • 3-speed semi-automatic transmission (to introduce shifting without a clutch)
  • Seat height is 21.6 inches high from the ground
  • 49cc, 4-stroke engine, it’s perfect for size for beginners
  • Adjustable throttle limiter that limits top speed
  • Possible top speed of up to 35 miles per hour

The CRF50F is best for taller and naturally adventurous kids. Its taller seat height and heavier weight (110 pounds) might otherwise overwhelm young riders.

Related Article: CRF50 Complete Review, Top Features and Specs

2. Yamaha PW50 ($1,649 USD)

Blue yamaha pw50 dirt Bike on off-roading area with mountain and sun in the background
PW50 – Yamaha’s 50cc Dirt Bike for off-road trails

The go-to choice for parents easing their kids into riding, the PW50 is a popular 2-stroke trail bike for shorter and younger riders. Its lightweight and short seating height makes it perfect for little boys and girls as young as 4 years old.

Nickednamed PeeWee 50, this is the smallest dirt bike in the 50cc class. You can say it’s a mini among the mini dirt bikes. Designed to make learning to ride very easy, it comes without any gear shifters or foot controls. PW50 is far more popular than its big brother – Yamaha TTR50.

Quick facts and features:

  • Curb weight of 90 pounds makes it the lightest dirt bike in the 50cc dirt bike class
  • Conveniently low seat height of 18.7 inches
  • Fully automatic transmission
  • Adjustable throttle stop screw keeps adults in charge to set the top speeds
  • No foot brake pedal or gear shift pedal

The PW50 is a great beginner’s bike, and in one way, that is its main drawback. Once your kid is comfortable with riding this bike, they will have to upgrade to a different bike. This will help get used to the concepts of shifting and using a foot brake pedal.

Yamaha, Honda, KTM SX Mini and even Suzuki 50cc dirt bikes are compatible with aftermarket training wheels. However, we recommed that you fit training wheels on dirt bikes for the 4 – 5 years olds who only need that extra help.

Related Article: Yamaha PW50 Complete Review, Top Features and Specs

Related Article Dirt Bike Training Wheel – Skip it or Get it?

3. KTM 50 SX Mini ($3,899 USD)

The 50 SX Mini is a great racing bike for its versatility. KTM’s tag line “ready to race”. It handles itself well on trails and keeps a competitive edge on the racing track. It’s a powerful bike. But if it’s too much for your child in the beginning, you can install KTM’s power reduction kit to help the adjustment along.

Quick facts and features:

  • 49cc, 2-stroke high performance liquid-cooled engine
  • Fully automatic transmission
  • Seat height of 22 inches that is bit taller than Honda CRF50
  • Adjustable shocks and air forks to keep bike handling consistent as your child grows
  • Self-cleaning disc brakes
  • Lightweight steel frame
  • KTM’s Power Reduction Kit can be installed reduce power for beginners

The 50 SX Mini is a serious bike for racing, but its premium components give it a hefty price tag. It also has the taller seat height of racing bikes. Which is somewhat offset by a manageable curb weight of 88.2 pounds.

4. Cobra CX50SRX King ($4,399 USD)

If you want the cream of the crop for race bikes, you can do well by getting the CX50SRX King. This liquid-cooled 2-stroke was designed to win races.

You should only consider it if your kid is an experienced rider. If their skills are up to standard for this bike, the American-made King 50 will give them better odds for bagging races.

Quick facts and features

  • Competition-inspired motocross bike
  • Fully automatic transmission
  • Weight of 91 pounds (no fuel)
  • Seat height of 26.8 inches makes it a tallest bike in our top picks
  • Powerful disc brakes and lightweight frame
  • Fully adjustable front and rear suspension
2021 Cobra CX50SRX (King 50) Motocross Competition Dirt Bike for Kids

No machine is perfect and that goes for this Cobra race bike. It has large shrouds (the plastic parts on either side of the tank) that can make it challenging to grip the bike. The bike is also the tallest bike of the four mentioned here. Its seat height towers over the others discussed in this article.

Related Article How fast is a 50cc Dirt Bike and is it safe at topspeeds?

Key Takeaways on Best 50cc Dirt Bikes

50cc dirt bikes can be separated into two categories, trail bikes and racing bikes. Trail bikes are for riding in fields and the trails in the woods. They are built to have smooth power and low seat heights, which makes them ideal for shorter riders.

Racing bikes are for motocross tracks and races. Because of this, they are much more powerful than trail bikes. They have more expensive and durable components, making them ideal for experienced and skilled young riders.

Buy Used or Brand New?

If you want the best for your kid, there’s no question that a new bike is the surest way to make it a reality. However with the right precautions, it’s possible to land a used dirt bike your kid will enjoy riding until they’re ready for an upgrade.

In our opinion, buying used brand name youth dirt bikes is a better choice than buying a new but cheap dirt bikes.

For instance, the SSR brand sells dirt bike for $544 USD (MSRP). But is has been so reliable. It has cheaper alternatives such as a pull-starter found in lawn mowers. Other major brands have good reputation for making reliable dirt bikes.

Buying New Mini Dirt Bikes

Deciding to buy a brand new bike comes with several clear advantages:

  • You know exactly what you’re getting right from the start. Unlike with used bikes, you don’t run the risk of discovering issues as you condition the bike
  • The search for a new bike requires less time and effort. Usually, you only need to set your budget and look for dealers who stock the bike you want
  • You don’t have to spend money to replace worn or damaged parts like on a used bike

You may also want to consider popularity of these dirt bikes. This can help understand the demand if you plan to resell it later.

According our research of consumer interest levels on Google Trends, PW50 was most popular kids dirt bike. CRF50 fell just a bit short followed by KTM 50. Yamaha TTR50 and Suzuki DRZ50 have relatively low interest levels. Cobra CX50SR (King 50), not shown on graph, has more interest than Suzuki DRZ-50.

Graph displaying popularity of pw50, crf50, ktm 50, TTR50 and DRZ50 - Source: Google Trends
Consumer interest levels for Yamaha PW50, Honda CRF50, KTM 50 SX, Yamaha TTR50 and Suzuki DRZ50
Source: Google Trends

Note the above research was based on most popular search terms. It wouldn’t be fair to use “DRZ50”, so we used Suzuki 50 Dirt Bike that is a more popular search phrase.

Brand new bikes offer the best in terms of durability, performance and peace of mind. This isn’t good enough reason to completely shy away from buying used 50cc dirt bikes. 

Buying Used 50cc Dirt Bikes

Wondering why you might want to go for a used bike over a new one, here are a few reasons:

  • You cut down on the initial costs of getting your kid to ride. The bike is the biggest expense in dirt riding. So the hundreds you save on the bike can be used for covering the costs of extra riding gear or several rider classes
  • Kids outgrow bikes quickly. Buying secondhand allows you to keep up with your kid’s growth spurt without hurting your wallet
  • 50cc dirt bikes will run for years despite minimal maintenance, which means a well-maintained bike can change hands several times before it completely breaks down
  • You (or someone you may know) knows way around a dirt bike. Having some mechanical know-how to distinguish a seriously damaged bike from one in near mint condition can help

If you’re not mechanically inclined, you can learn how to inspect a used dirt bike.

In many ways, the Internet has simplified the process of searching for used 50cc dirt bikes for sale. A simple search engine result can turn up tens to hundreds of online listings for a particular dirt bike model. But, you don’t have to depend on just Google to find someone selling a dirt bike near you.

Here are several platforms you can use to connect with used dirt bike sellers:

Craigslist

An old standby for everything from for-sale listings to job ads. Craigslist is a great platform for finding great deals on dirt bikes for kids. As with any platform that allows just about anybody to post, exercise caution when browsing.

Promising listings typically include many pictures of the bike and describe the bike’s condition and history in detail.

Cycle Trader

If you’re not comfortable with reaching out to private sellers, check out Cycle Trader. Many listings on this platform come from local dealers and resellers.

Expect higher prices, though. The platform caters specifically to motorcycle enthusiasts. So sellers have a good idea of how much their bike is really worth on the market.

Facebook Marketplace

If you want to cast your net wide, go through dirt bike listings on Facebook Marketplace. Looking for a dirt bike through Marketplace also allows you to easily start a chat with the seller.

As a Facebook product, Marketplace also has the advantage of linking listings with user profiles. Take time to view a seller’s profile. It can give you some context and clues into how the bike for sale was used. 

As you search for the right bike for your child, don’t forget to tap the people you know. Your social circle can be a great source of deals.

Key Takeaways – New vs. Used Kids Dirt Bike

Buying a new dirt bike is not a must in getting your kid into dirt riding. New bikes do have distinct advantages, such as the latest tech and damage-free parts. But with some research, you can buy a used 50cc dirt bike cheap and have it run well for several years.

Look for new and used bikes at local dealerships, Craigslist, Cycle Trader, and Facebook Marketplace. Ask people in your social circles, too, to make sure that you’ve covered your bases. As with any transaction, make sure the bike you’re buying is in good condition. Don’t hesitate in asking if you could have a nearby mechanic look at it.

Regular Maintenance

Whether you end up with a 4-stroke or a 2-stroke dirt bike, maintenance is crucial in keeping it running well. The disadvantages mentioned for each engine type aren’t as prevalent in 50cc bikes as they are in the higher engine classes.

Routine maintenance is still the best practice. Here’s a list of to-dos you can refer to for maintaining any kind of dirt bike:

  • Change oil regularly
  • Clean and lube throttle and brake cables
  • Clean and lube the chain and sprockets. Adjust and replace when necessary
  • Clean air filter. (Remember to dry it thoroughly before applying filter oil)
  • Clean muffler and inspect for corrosion. Repack muffler when packing gets compressed or caked with oil
  • Tighten wheel spokes
  • Check for tire and brake pad wear. Replace early
  • Wash the bike thoroughly and regularly (remember it’s a dirt bike)

If you want to learn more about what it takes to properly maintain a 2-stroke, check out this video below. The concepts and ideas in these videos apply across different classes under the same engine type.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the best 50cc dirt bike you can get is the one that fits your kid and their riding goals the best. Trail dirt bikes are great for beginner and novice riders. They tend to have lower seats, smooth and slow engines, and a slew of speed-limiting features like throttle limiters, stops, and screws.

Race bikes on the other hand, are ideal for kids who want to race, since they have powerful engines, better brakes and suspension, and strong components designed to withstand the challenging conditions of motocross races.