Best Dirt Bike For Beginners | What should you buy?

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I get these emails all the time. Guys (and gals) are asking me what dirt bike to buy for their first dirt bike. It is a very hard question to answer when I don’t know much about their personality, body type, terrain they will ride on, or their backgrounds. Having said that, I do have some general suggestions for people and I will cover that in this video. Here is the cliff notes version.

First off, don’t buy a 450cc 4 stroke motocross dirt bike! If you get nothing other than that from this video, we are doing well. For most adult men looking to get into dirt biking, I would suggest either a 250 4 stroke, or a 125 2 stroke. The reason for these models is they don’t have too much power. Most people make the mistake of buying a bike that has too much power and it gets them into trouble. The bigger motors also make the bikes feel heavy, and tend to ride you more than you ride the bike!

Some good bikes to look for are:

More trail oriented:
Honda CRF250X (4 stroke)
Yamaha WR250 (4 stroke)

More race oriented:
Yamaha YZ125 (2 stroke)
KTM 150 or 200 XC-W (2 stroke)
KTM 250 XC-F (4 stroke)

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Stephen Roberts says:

You are dead on. I made the mistake of coming back to dirt biking on a CRF 450X and it would eat me up. Way too heavy and too much power for the tecnical trails. I now have a KTM 200 XC-W and I love it! Best bike I have EVER had.

Bryan Telker says:

Great video DBC; thanks. The context of the video is adult beginner rider; that is me. Literally beginner, never rode a motorcycle; 53 years old, male, 6’1”, 230 pounds (key point here, weight). Also, I had very little small engine maintenance/repair experience. Did my research and decided on Yamaha TTR230; finding used was almost impossible, so I bought new (2017). I took two dirt bike riding sessions (private), which was a great start. I thought this bike would meet my riding needs for many years; well….my skills improved quickly and the suspension on the TTR230 really did not handle my weight very well; I was bouncing a lot and the TTR230 suspension has minimal-to-no adjustment (other than replacing suspension components). After 40 hours on the bike…instead of going on a crash diet, I moved up to a 2018 Yamaha WR250F. Plenty of power for me, including steep hills, and the suspension is great though it might need some changes in the near future, which depends on my riding skills/advancement. I do trail riding, so I put on a throttle tamer which took away that quick power surge at low speed in the bumpy/rocky terrain I usually ride on. Yes, this bike is heavy. Yamaha WRs have a great track record on reliability. I now have about 40 hours on the WR250F, 470 miles (WR has odometer/speedometer stock); it has been great! By the way, my son (also a beginner, 15 yrs old) rides a 2017 TTR230, just passed 1,000 miles ( 3 months; I put on an aftermarket odometer/speedometer ); no issues at all. We did the uncorking mods on the TTR230 with no issues; it is a great trail bike.

Jonathan Sherwood says:

I feel like the 450’s are being made out to be widow makers Kyle lol if you get on any bike and don’t respect it as something that can hurt you, you’re gonna have problems. Just a few thoughts

Mestolia says:


trailrider333 says:


Nuclear Facility says:

125 2t is by far the best starter. Teaches you to clutch while you ride, isn’t too heavy, maintenance is cheap and easy to learn. Still has plenty of power to have fun.

Greg Maxwell says:

Has anyone road a wr450 what is the power like is it smooth or snappy

backwoodsriders says:

XR250 was my first love

mattdedasc says:

125 to 200 2t are too highly strung for a beginner for me. A 250 2t or a Beta Xtrainer are probably the best starter bike. Actually, maybe the KTM Free ride

Red Lightning says:

Nice job editing with the two different camera points

Charles Smith says:

You should try kenda trackmaster tires

Backyard Boosters says:

YZ125 imo. Wonderful bikes.

IronMooss194 says:

Found a 2005 crf250x for a decent price, should I go with something a little newer 2010-2013 for more expensive or is it ok to learn on something that old?

Austin 3D says:

I personally just bought a 2008 kx450f off a guy, simply enough the bike vs the price i paid for it was a steal! I have to say I really do love the bike, it is so much fun! I used to ride a suzuki quad sport 400 four wheeler, which was also super fun. That being said, a 400cc four wheeler has weight to it, so it pulls so much differently, not to mention the blatantly obvious differences between a four wheeler and dirt bike. Its still fun, and I have yet to through my self off of that thing “yet”, but I can possibly see my self trading off to two stroke bike in a few months. It is a lot of fun though, and I do feel that long as you don’t fear it, but respect it carefully and understand your capabilities to the bikes, you learn to carefully use it and grow a certain “control” to how to manage it.

ttreb48 says:

Beta X-trainer 2018…Great bike with minimal vibration. My son loves it. The 250 four strokes or the Sherco 300 four stroke. For my girls a TTR 125L then move them to a CRF 150R with a weighted fly wheel. I also like the Honda CRF 230F for ladies and shorter riders.

Samuel Trudeau says:

I’m 16 and I’m on a yz250 2 stroke. I’d love a 250xc but for my price range that just way out of the question. Got back into riding a few year ago kn a crf150f

Matt Nicholson says:

My KTM 300xc is a pussy cat and gentle as can be…. until you grab a handful.

Tanum Haley says:

I bought a t- shirts

Tom Crnkovich says:

Man I have to completely disagree with you this time round. I would never put a new rider on any of those bikes. A 125 can bite HARD, and is really pretty difficult to control for someone new to off road.

Crf230f, TTR230, KLX140, tons of smaller power big wheel bikes out there that are much more forgiving, still completely capable and require far less technical know how and maintenance to keep running. Plus those smaller bikes are much cheaper in general.

Could the suggestions in this video work? Sure…but in my opinion there are FAR better and safer options out there for a true beginner. None of the bikes mentioned in this video were designed with a novice rider in mind.

Denise Brown says:

I ride a 2002 yz 125 and it has so much power

Mariano Canales Hernandez says:

I started with a KTM 85sx

srtwhiteboy twincam says:

check out 1995 yz125 2 stroke

Dirtbike _ Video's says:

I have a 125 4stroke dirtbike and doing pretty good on it and Im getting an new dirt bike do you think a 250 2 stroke would be a good bike for me if I tune it down a bit

tchrishoward says:

For a true adult beginner, get a used XR200. Easy to ride great little bike. For someone with a little experience get a KDX200. Best all around bike ever made. After you get some experience then decide if you wanna drop $7-8K (or more) on a new bike.

JayC 75 says:

Dude its ok to use one camera angle. The switching between cameras just didn’t work.

Dirt N' Rubber says:

So I am looking at buying a ktm 250 xc-w. Like most, i don’t have the funds to go buy a brand new bike. I found a used 2009 250 xc-w for $3900. Is this a good bike?

maurice t says:

What do you think is best KTM or HUSQVARNA

Beltmaker09 says:

125 4 stroke is a good starter that’s what I got because I had a little experience riding bikes with no clutch or shifting and I wanted to learn to shift. My works great and I’m 5, 10 and 250 lbs and it takes me around no problem. I Also only Cruze on mine and not jumping it either

rz350yam says:

Honda XR250R

Ghostassassin says:

Nah, my YZ 250f has a shit ton of power, I think a trail bike is a good beginner bike to learn how to move around on

TheEmeryFam says:

Kyle, it was good to meet you at supercross yesterday, this is a great video. I made the same mistake as you and bought a 4 Stroke (in my case a WR450F) less than a year ago as a new rider. I’ve put over 700 miles of single track under it in less than a year. The only reason I survived is because as a green sticker compliant bike, i’m told that the WR450 rides more like a 250 (with stock restrictions) rather than a typical 450. I modified it a few months ago (eliminated throttle stop, replaced green sticker air intake, replaced exhaust), and not kidding it now has 50% more power. I would have seriously killed myself if I had started riding that thing with that amount of power. I’ve since grown comfortable with the WR but realize that it’s a heavy bike and I have more fun on my buddie’s 300 XC. I’m now wanting one of those as my second bike (I might plate the WR)…but the 250 XC is also intriguing to me… I wish I had seen this video a year ago, it would have really helped me, and i’d probably be on a 150. I probably still should, but never been on one. Oh well, live and learn!!

Ryandean1 says:

I had a dream I won the ktm last night , Kyle came to my door and knocked , I opened it and he said I won , I was wearing my dirtbike channel shirt I got, I was so excited, I tried to go back to sleep to continue the dream , It was very realistic .

BRAAAP Moto says:

The real best beginner bike is the macio 750 two stroke

crowmoto says:

disagree…! are you seriously recommending bikes with 38 inch seat height for newbs? i agree with randy the 230’s are far more suited for beginners even for taller riders, its all about developing confidence in all sorts of riding conditions. also it can stay in the family for a life time inviting and inspiring others to get into the sport after you have developed your skills…

minkah says:

I am 12 now and my dad said that i need over like 2 or 3 years a 250cc 4 stroke, is that a good recomendation?

Visbysnr1 says:

am i retarded if i choose a kawasaki KX250F 2017?
Edit: Im a 250pound 115kg guy

Edward Comstock says:

All, the best beginning bike is the KTM 200 cc 2-stroke. Most of the power of the 250 cc 2-strong, but lite and controllable like a 125. Also, a bit less low-end power compared to the 250 cc 4-stroke, but more top-end power at high revs. In my opinion, it has the widest range of power, with most of the control benefits of the 125 cc 2-stroke bikes. Good luck getting your hands on one though…

Ralph Jacobs says:

Great points. I totally agree.

suzuki06g says:

In many ways there isn’t a bad choice for a new rider, but there are “better” choices.  Physical size (short or tall) or strength (physically active or not) and mechanical ability (who’s doing the maintenance) count too, plus ability – as you pointed out not all beginners are the same.  For example, a skilled mountain biker with street bike experience will catch on fast, and could actually do better with a real race bike.  But new to two wheels and manual transmissions – that’s a trail bike rider.

Kent Lee says:

What about the Honda CRF150R, that bike looks fun and they even have the CRF150RB. Cool bikes

Enrique Aguayo says:

When I was big enough to get a big bike at 13 my dad got me a Yamaha yz426f. Then 5 years later I got a 10 YZ450F. Then when I quit moto to ride off-road I got a wr250f and modded it out into a YZ. I hated it. I missed my motor!!! #200pounders #450life

Noah Arnold says:

I got a kdx 200 best bike I’ve rode i like it more than a 250 and yes ive rode a 2017 250

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