How young is old enough?

15 replies to this topic
  • mmbasa

Posted October 13, 2002 - 03:06 PM


My kids are 3(boy) and 4 (girl) and I'm itching to get bikes for them. My question is how young is old enuff? Can't decide if I should start out with mini quads of bikes with training wheels. Just saw the KTM 50 mini adventure and the dealer, looks like a nice bike. Wife wants to start them out with those battery powered cars but that wouldn't be as much fun for me. What do you think?

  • luvmy426

Posted October 13, 2002 - 03:23 PM


I am in a similar situation. My son is 3 and I have been toying with the idea myself. I really don't want to go the battery powered route. I think when he is 4, I will go with a PW 50 or the KTM with training wheels.I know they hold their value and will have no trouble trading up when the time comes. :)

  • diablo682

Posted October 13, 2002 - 04:30 PM


3.5 to 5 yrs would be the best age to start em I think. I waited till my son was 8 yrs. and he was old enough to be afraid of it. Wish I would have started earlier so by the time he was 8, the fear would be cured.

  • yamaha.dude

Posted October 13, 2002 - 05:04 PM


Don't go hard and fast by a particular age...

What matters is ability... and physical size to a point.

I think the best route is to make sure to get them on pushbikes early, then they get a sense of balance, and steering control. Make sure the pushbike has a front brake operated by a lever, if not, put one on. This will give them that sort of idea and practice...

Once they are confident on the pedalbike, and have learnt to stop, start, turn corners etc. then it is time for a motorbike... if they can hold the bike up without falling over, then they are ready... no matter what age...

Last but most important, make sure they have good gear... not the latest fox or whatever, just a good well fitted helmet, long pants (jean) and long sleeve top, boots, and gloves at a minimum...

If you have a friend or a dealer, go sit them on the bike and get them into the idea... xmas is coming, faster than you could imagine... :) :D

Good luck, the bikes will keep their value, don't bother with the Fisher Price toys, get something that runs on petrol... perhaps a PW50 and a mini quad, the kids can swap and share?...


  • tillerman737

Posted October 13, 2002 - 05:20 PM


I think all these posts have valid answers. I started my boy off on a pedal bike. He learned to ride w/out training wheels just before his 3rd birthday. He is now 4 and can ride his bike great. Pulls up the front wheel for wheelies and jumps off curbs etc. I am getting him an Xr 50 or PW 50 for christmas. I think I will still try to put the training wheels on at first to build confidence though. :)

  • Chaindrive

Posted October 13, 2002 - 08:02 PM


#1 would be to remember that each kid is different. My oldest,Sky, now 8-almost-9, is finishing his 4th season of racing. The youngest,Wyatt age 6, has a year and a half under his belt. I figured, incorrectly, that the younger boy would have all the advantages of proven bikes, techniques, and so on, along with a very talented big brother to help springboard him. Doesn't work that way. They are totally different kids. Wouldn't have it any other way.

As for bikes, Sky is on number 8. Spoiled? No, just that Dad has learned the hard way about minis AND Sky advances rapidly. Wyatt is a bit slower in development (physical coordination/maturity), but an absolute academic whiz-kid, and thankfully, I simply save the "good" bikes and gear for him.

Ask yourself WHAT the intended use is: racing? trails with Dad? Fun in the backyard? There are 50cc bikes and there are 50cc bikes...Quads are too limited in use and dangerous. Start your kid on a used, cheap Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki BUT be prepared to get him off it very fast and on a better bike (performance wise)these are just confidence-builder/learner bikes.If you want to trail-ride, stick to the clutchless 3-speed Honda/Yamaha 50-90cc bikes. If a kid can't ride w/o training wheels, I would not put them on any motorcycle. Motivate him/her to lose those wreck-causing crutches and prove they can handle a bicycle FIRST. That is the one thing that DID work with both of my boys!

A $3,600 50cc King Cobra is wicked fast, with a power to weight ratio to make a 450F envious, and more suspension than anything I ever owned in high school!. Not a beginner's bike. Not a trail bike. It is a racer. Period.
A $500 used PW or Suzuki or Honda 50cc is an excellent, low-maintenence, forgiving bike. No real suspension and even less power. But the average kid masters it easily. Too easily maybe. They will outstrip its abilities in a couple months. KTM's and Polinis and the rest, IMO, have reliability issues, ALL 50's do, they are just worse.

The racing 50's are $1,000 more and far higher maintenence, harder to start, harder to get parts for, harder to find help with, etc. than a KX65 with full 6 speed gear box. Go figure... As a fellow 50's Dad remarked at the 3rd to last D22 race a few hours ago, "After 4 years, the best thing I can say about 50's is GOODBYE!". But few of us would trade those 4 years of learning together and making great friends for soccer practice...

I MUST stress the importance of GOOD GEAR!!! Too much is never enough!! Helmet, boots, chest protector, knee/shin guards, elbow guards, neck roll,chest protector, armored kidney belt, (my boys wear more)...Yup, it's a hassle every time they ride, but it soon becomes easier. Pain is very discouraging for the kid; injuries are very discouraging for Dad and Mom...
The more "bullet-proof" Sky-Man feels, the faster he races. And you wouldn't believe the incredible crashes he bounces up from! He hits speeds in the 50mph+ range on his 50! Do NOT make the mistake of "saving" the battle armor for the races! A typical race lasts a few minutes, practice can and should be much longer and involve trying new things. Which is higher risk?

BTW, my boys started at 2 and 3 on battery 4 wheelers. Good for the mastering the concept of stop, go, steer. Then a bicycle. Then a Suzuki JR50 @ 4-5yrs of age. Followed by: Husquvarna, KTM, KTM, Cobra Jr.,King Cobra,King Cobra,(all 50's)and a KX65...Been there, learned the hard way. Still have all except the Husky and KTM's (good riddance!). Keep passing the 'zuki around to little nephews, nieces,friends, etc. Wyatt races the Jr. Cobra (1 more year) and I will save one King Cobra for him. Sky will finish his 50cc career in 2 more races as an accomplished champion and also races 65's. We are happy to see hunting season arrive. Our break. We have raced all but 2 weekends since early March and many of those were double headers.... :)

Our goal is to be able to take a long tour of our magnificent western states and ride our bikes together in some of God's greatest creation...Maybe next year..? So keep fighting those greenie-weenies!!

  • mmbasa

Posted October 14, 2002 - 03:20 PM


You guys have some very good points. As far as racing goes, I'm not thinking about that right now, we'll see in a couple of years, just thinking about getting them out riding around the campsite. And hopefully out on the trails with dad. I'm leaning toward a bike with training wheels, I never did like the quad. I keep telling myself they are ready but deep down I know that they aren't quite there. Good thing winter is coming, that will give me some time to prep them for next summer. I think that will be a good time to learn.

  • Blue_Boner

Posted October 14, 2002 - 03:50 PM


I can't say that I have any kids, so I can't give any advice on what age to start them out riding. I will say that you should go buy an XR50 because you will have as much fun riding the thing as your kids will when they are able. Maybe you should buy each of your kids one and one for yourself so you are on an even playing field when showing them how to ride. My .02, Eric

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  • PumpkinHumper

Posted October 15, 2002 - 06:40 AM


My 6 yr old has been ridding a suzuki jr50 since he was 4. I told him he had to loose the training wheels on his pedal bike b4 id get him a bike. @ 3 the t-wheels were gone. Im now looking for another bike for him as the jr is way too small and he is thrashing it trying to jump it. Im thinkin about a ttr90 or xr80.

My brother-in-law has a xr50 that I was thinkin of gettin for the kid but he is already too big for it :) . Maybe Ill buy it for myself for a pitbike :D Hello fast 50's

  • Wicked_Crash

Posted October 15, 2002 - 12:34 PM


I was 4 when my dad started me on a 50. No training wheels, he just ran behind me with his hand ready to grab the rear fender if I started to fall over. If your kids can ride a bike, they can ride a little 50. The hardest part for them will be the coordination between brake and throttle. Sure they'll have their share of scraped elbows, but that happens with bicycles too. Just make sure they have all the protective gear, I'm sure they'll have a blast.

  • 03thumper

Posted October 15, 2002 - 12:59 PM


you need to start with a pw50 and my bud has a clean one for 750? or so.good luck.
brian :)

  • yamaha.dude

Posted October 15, 2002 - 05:08 PM


When it comes time to get them the bike and gear, check with your local club, kids grow out of gear so fast, there is always good, lightly used gear available... My son has outgrown his Fox boots he only got at Xmas last year,,, I know I will get more than half the price of the new set of boots when I sell his old ones...


  • PumpkinHumper

Posted October 16, 2002 - 02:31 AM


b4 you let your kid ride the bike for the first time. Make sure he knows were all the comtrolls are without looking for them. I worked with my son all winter drilling him on were brakes, throttle, kill switch, and starter were. He had to be able to find and use whatever control I would say without looking for it. My logic is that he cant be looking for the brakes when he is ridding. He needs to instinctivly know were it is. And make sure that they know that there is more than 2 throttle positions, on and off. Small kids seem to know only wide open and off.

Once ridding. Work on braking. Draw a line in the sand and have him ride towards it and stop @ the line. It will help him realize the stopping distance needed to stop when moving.

Also beet it into there head to stay away from anything that wont move. IE trees, cars, houses. The kid may think he has it under controll but it scares the hell outta dad when they zip past your truck or that 3' oak tree w/ 2" to spare. :D :) :D

  • levy1

Posted October 16, 2002 - 04:18 PM


Teach your kid to ride!
10/16/02 06:30 AM Edit Reply

Enjoying my 2nd childhood on my WR400, being 45 (actually 53, but hey! Its my 2nd childhood!) I decide to buy my 6 year old granddaughter who I am raising a PW50. I have dreams of my little family ridding in the woods together. The first time she rides it she crashes because the throttle sticks. She winds up in the bushes, not hurt but scared of the bike. After I fix the throttle I take her around to different parking lots and have her do a few laps. She really does not want to ride but I make her wondering all the time if I am doing the right thing. In the beginning she usually cries a little and asks how many laps do I have to do? I usually ask for 2 to 5. If she was wailing or putting up huge resistance I would not make her ride but it seems to be a small problem and not to bad. It seems to be about the same as when I was teaching her to ride her bicycle without training wheels. This motorcycle has the training wheels attached. The first thing I taught her was to go a few feet and stop. We must have done that 20 or thirty times. She putts along for 5 feet, puts on the brake, goes another 5 feet, puts on the brake never really ridding the bike. I try to get her to keep the bike rolling but she is somewhat scared of it. She has ridden about 7 times. Sunday I try a new tactic and bring her girlfriend who is very aggressive, rides her street bike about 40MPH and I figure she will get on the PW50 and tear it up. First I put Meranda (my granddaughter) on the bike and I have to make her do a lap. She sputters around while I am walking beside the bike and coaching her to keep the throttle on and the bike moving. On the second lap she is keeping the bike moving pretty good and on the third lap I am screaming for her to slow down in the turns because I think she is going to fast. She is able to brake and slow the bike down and on the fourth lap she opens the throttle up, moves her body forward in the attack position and waves while she flys by. Now she will not get off the bike. Finally we let her girlfriend ride it but she is not having much fun going 5 feet and stopping. I guess you never know when your kid is going to have that breakthrough and overcome fear. She asks everyday now, When can we ride, Grandpa? God, love um!

  • WR4FUN

Posted October 16, 2002 - 05:37 PM


Skip the batteries, I can guarantee they'll be dead in 6-8 months. Either you over charge em or the thing gets left out in the weather, and good ones aren't cheap either. But I wouldn't buy new either. I agree w/ Yamaha.Dude it's all in the kid's abilities, and also look for something good used . My son who's on his first bike, a used XR70, is 11 and a bit small for his age. We just got it this year. I knew within the first hour he was riding it that I made a mistake and should have gotten the 80. Now after 6 months of weekend and summer riding, he's impressing the heck out of me (OK a little braging rights, he's my son)and I think he ready for a bigger bike - more $$. But this time I'm jumping straight to the XR100 maybe even the TTR125 and again used.On the other hand my nephew is 6 and riding an XR50. With his cautious personality, he won't be ready for the XR70 even in spring.

  • Chaindrive

Posted October 17, 2002 - 07:41 AM


If the kid is 7 or 8 and a good learner, you can't beat a KX 65 for all-round use. Great miniature, full-blown, 6-speed w/clutch motorcycle. You will be AMAZED how fast these kids learn to clutch and shift; less than an hour?!

Easier to start than ANY 50cc, and teaches ALL aspects of riding. Tough as nails and holds its value, too. In two more weeks, I'll only have one kid left on a 50cc, (for 3 more years of racing eligibility :) ), but will have him riding the 65 next year regardless.

Sky does ALL of his practicing on the 65. Then when he races the 50, he can really throw it around! Also saves tremendous wear and tear and $, as the 65 is way more durable than any 50. More fun for him. too! :D Use it on race tracks, trails, can handle it!

The KTM 65 is an awesome bike,too. It is actually a hair taller than earlier KX's and has ripping speed and great suspension.


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