Best Dirt Bike Brands of 2018 & Buying Guide
Whether you’re a total novice on the trails and courses, or you’re a seasoned pro who just needs a new bike to replace your old one, buying a dirt bike can be a little nerve-wracking. What features and designs do you need, personally? How much should you spend? Is one brand better than the other?
Luckily, our buyer’s guide is here to help. We’ll answer some questions buyers typically have when searching for a dirt bike, focusing on different brands and their differences, specifically. We’ll also showcase some of our favorite models from some top brands, to help start your search off right.
Does a dirt bike’s brand really matter?
Overall, no. Dirt bikes in the same price range are usually comparable to one another, although you might notice some extra features or more consistent quality in certain brands more than others. The real question here is, does price really matter, and in the case of most dirt bikes…the answer is yes.
That’s not to say you can’t find a great dirt bike on a tight budget; you definitely can. But you’ll notice that brands tend to hover around a central price point, and that’s what determines their quality—not a name or logo.
The best brands will typically use the best materials, which cost more and increase the final price of the product. Likewise, very poor brands will use poor materials, which can result in a cheap bike (or one hiked up for excessive profit margins).
Unless you’ve grown attached to a particular brand, don’t worry about that right off the bat. First, look at your budget. Determine what you can comfortably afford, then look at models that fit that price range. You’ll notice some brands popping up more than others, but take your time to observe each one’s specs and features carefully.
Lastly, even the best bike from the best brand in the world won’t ride well…if it doesn’t fit you. Make sure your bike is sized for your body type, and designed for your favorite and most comfortable riding position. This will give you better control and confidence—and that’s a defining factor in how bikes handle.
How do I know if one brand is better than another?
As we’ve said, brands tend to price their bikes in a similar range.
You probably won’t find the same brand selling a $300 bike and a $3,000 bike, because this requires highly variable materials and manufacturing processes—and it dilutes their brand image, a huge no-no in any industry.
When evaluating different brands, there are a few factors to consider:
- Does the company offer bikes with the features you need? What will you be using this bike for the most—off-roading and trail riding? Enduro riding on steep or rocky mountains? Motocross? The brand you pick should have a bike suitable to your needs.
- Do their bikes come in sizes that will fit you properly?
- What are their bikes made of, and how durable/heavy/light is the material?
- Product descriptions. Are their bikes described in thorough, unique detail, or is it the same old sales pitch on every bike?
- Customer reviews. This is one of the biggest elements of a good company: consistently positive customer reviews and satisfaction ratings. A company can impress you all they want with flash and photos, but in the end, only an unbiased consumer can tell you how well their bikes really hold up.
- Customer service. A great brand has great customer service: people who are quick to respond, eager to help, and knowledgeable about their company’s products. If need be, test out how long it takes to get a response on a company’s online contact form, or call their phone helpline and ask a few questions. You’ll quickly get an indication for how helpful this company would be if anything ever went wrong with your bike.
Should I get a traditional (fuel-powered) dirt bike, or an electric one?
Electric bikes and traditional ones have their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately it’s up to the rider as to which is best.
First, there’s the ignition. Electric bikes don’t have a pull-start or kick-start ignition; they use a key-start and switch, which is easier to use. They don’t stall out or require revving, and they’re incredibly quiet.
Additionally, electric options are more expensive up-front, but save on fuel costs. With all that in mind, is there even still a market for gas bikes?
The answer is yes: many riders love working on their engine (something you can’t do with electric bikes), and most actually enjoy the loud noise, the smell, the revving of the engine—for them, it’s a special part of the experience of riding, one they wouldn’t trade for anything. Only you can decide which option will suit your needs and preferences best.
I’m new to dirt biking. How should I start practicing? Are some bikes better for beginners than others?
Pit bikes—essentially small dirt bikes—are great for beginners, because their small size makes learning to balance a breeze. These aren’t true dirt bikes, though, and will require an upgrade when you’re ready to learn the rest.
As far as dirt bikes themselves, many experts recommend electric models. They lack some of the features that make riding more difficult than it needs to me (pull- or kick-start ignitions, loud noises, stalling out) yet deliver the same great riding experience and speed of a gas-powered bike.
The downside: they’re usually more expensive, which isn’t ideal if you decide this sport isn’t for you.
Best Dirt Bike Brands Reviews
1. Razor: MX350 Electric Motocross Bike Review
Razor is a major frontrunner in the dirt bike industry, but the company also sells skate gear, dune buggies, drifter carts, and more. They’re best known in the general populous as the company behind the famous Razor scooters of the early 2000s.
Make no mistake, though: their dirt bikes are far from toys and trends. These affordable models are enjoyed by novices and experts alike, and suitable for youth and adult riders.
Razor is a quality brand, and the MX350 is one of its best sellers…for young riders. There’s a reason you won’t see many adults on this, and that’s simple owed to its small size: it can’t support most adults’ weights. That said, there are some adults this could work for, so it’s not entirely fair of us to label it a “youth bike.” It isn’t the best option out there, but it is a very good one—and the price is excellent.
2. Flying Horse 49 cc 50cc 2-Stroke Mini Dirt Bike Review
More of a pit bike than true dirt bike, this model from Flying Horse is perfect for beginners, young riders, or anyone who prefers a smaller bike for their off-road needs. Its 2-stroke engine runs on a mixture of oil and fuel, which is the only drawback, but standard for this type of engine.
Pit bikes/mini dirt bikes are ideal for beginners, no matter their age. This model’s weight limit is pretty low for most adults, but can be exceeded in exchange for a little less speed. While the need to premix your fuel and oil is a slight inconvenience, it’s pretty standard for pit bikes.
3. Tao Tao DB10 Review
TaoTao is a dirt bike manufacturer that also sells ATVs, scooters, go-carts, and snow mobiles. Their prices are a little higher than brands like Razor, but definitely not as expensive as brands like Honda.
The DB10 is a 4-stroke engine that takes straight fuel, but riders might find they need a high-quality gas to get the best possible performance.
The DB10 from TaoTao is higher than some brands, but does seem to boast a little more quality for those extra bucks—making this buy a good bargain, and still well within the realm of budget-conscious. Its high weight capacity and impressive speed will suit youth and adult riders of multiple skill levels, and it perform work equally well on trails, tracks, and rugged landscapes.
4. PCC Motors DB50X Review
Another mini-bike option, the DB50X is great for youth and beginning riders with lower budget options. PCC Motors is an ecommerce (online-only) brand, which might put off some buyers, but their unique seller’s setup lends itself to cheaper prices, as well.
Despite a low weight capacity, this bike can accommodate riders over 128 lbs.; they’ll just have to give up a little speed. But with a maximum speed of 25 lbs. within weight range, this bike can still function quite well. The brand isn’t terribly well-known, but offers good bikes at very reasonable prices—perfect for beginners who aren’t sure they’ll stick with it, or parents whose kids want to learn and will outgrow this bike in a few years.
There are hundreds of dirt bike brands to choose from, and all have their strengths and weaknesses (some, more weaknesses than others). Buyers should research a brand and bike model thoroughly before buying. Customer response is key, as this alone can indicate how reputable and capable a company may or may not be. We hope our buyer’s guide has been helpful in highlighting a few dirt bike brands to start your search.