Best Motorcycles for Kids 2023

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There are more than 20 motorcycles in 2023 that are made with young riders in mind.

There are more than 20 motorcycles in 2023 that are made with young riders in mind. (GasGas/)

Motorcycles help kids develop new skills, build an understanding for vehicles, and experience freedom and fun on two wheels. The list of motorcycles for kids is a long one, so we’ve broken it down by engine displacement.

Choose between more trail-oriented dirt bikes (from Honda, Yamaha, or Suzuki, for example) or more competition-bred motocross bikes (like Kawasaki’s KX models, Suzuki’s RM85, or bikes from GasGas, Husqvarna, KTM, and TM).

When kids are ready to progress, they can move to bikes like the Suzuki DR-Z125L, Honda CRF125F/Big Wheel, Yamaha TT-R125LE, Kawasaki KLX140R, TM MX 144, and beyond.

50cc Displacement

The smallest bikes are great starting points for young kids who are just learning to ride.

The smallest bikes are great starting points for young kids who are just learning to ride. (Honda/)

Automatic clutches, easy power delivery, and low seat heights make the 50cc category perfect for the newest and smallest rider.

Automatic clutches on these bikes make it so kids don’t have to manage a clutch lever, instead, they can focus on throttle control, maneuvering, stopping, and balancing. The GasGas MC 50, Husqvarna TC 50, KTM 50 SX, and Yamaha PW50 have single-speed transmissions too, so on top of not working a clutch, kids also won’t have to focus on using a shift lever either. If parents feel like the child is ready to play with gears, bikes like the Honda CRF50F, Suzuki DR-Z50, Yamaha TT-R50E all have three-speeds for riders to click through.

Related: 2023 Suzuki DR-Z50 First Look Preview

The power that’s delivered from a 50cc engine is very mild mannered to begin with, but parents may want a little more control. The CRF50F, DR-Z50, and PW50 all have adjustable throttle limiters that put a cap on top speed.

Seat heights on these bikes are also young-rider appropriate ranging from the low-to-mid 20 inches, but if you’re interested in the lowest for easy touch down to the ground, the PW50′s 18.7 inches (claimed) seat height will have its appeal for riders who haven’t quite had a growth spurt.

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2023 GasGas MC 50: $4,599

2023 Honda CRF50F: $1,699

2023 Husqvarna TC 50: $4,799

2023 KTM 50 SX/Factory Edition/Mini: $4,699/$5,599/$4,199

2023 Suzuki DR-Z50: $2,499

2023 Yamaha PW50: $1,699

2023 Yamaha TT-R50E: $1,749

65cc Displacement

Got that competitive spirit? Unlike the 50cc class which has some bikes focused on trail riding the 65cc level has a motocross focus.

Got that competitive spirit? Unlike the 50cc class which has some bikes focused on trail riding the 65cc level has a motocross focus. (Fotografie Mitterbauer/KTM/)

Riders have manual transmissions and more power to work with when stepping up to 65cc dirt bikes like the KTM 65 SX, Husqvarna TC 65, GasGas MC 65, and Kawasaki KX65. At this stage, kids have graduated from single- or three-speed transmissions and will be in the realm of six-speed gearboxes. All of the engines in this category are liquid-cooled two-strokes.

Where many of the bikes in the 50cc range use drum brakes, all of these 65cc models use disc brakes for stronger stopping power. Suspension is adjustable. The Austrian minibikes’ front forks can be adjusted using an air pump and the bikes also have a fully adjustable rear shock. The KX65 has four-way rebound adjustability, front and rear, in addition to an adjustable spring preload (rear).

As the inseams stretch for the riders so do the seat heights, which go up to around 29 inches.

2023 GasGas MC 65: $5,299

2023 Husqvarna TC 65: $5,599

2023 Kawasaki KX65: $3,999

2023 KTM 65 SX: $5,499

85cc Displacement

The 85cc motocross bikes are a natural progression up from 65cc.

The 85cc motocross bikes are a natural progression up from 65cc. (Suzuki/)

The 85cc level is filled with an abundance of choices from Japan, Austria, and Italy. All of these two-stroke engines are equipped with Keihin carburetors (except the KTM which uses Mikuni). Specs for the 2023 TM bike are currently unavailable, but last year it used a 85cc two-stroke with a Keihin carburetor.

Tire sizes increase from the 14/12-inch options seen in the 65cc category to the 17/14-inch or 19/16-inch tires of the 85cc class. The KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas all come with either tire size option, but the Suzuki, Kawasaki, and TM all stick to 17/14-inch combinations to meet AMA 85cc class regulations. According to the AMA beginner’s guide to motocross, racers in the 85cc displacement level can be between ages 9 to 15, a relatively broad age range for youth-appropriate bikes.

The lowest seat height of the bunch (again, referring to its 2022 spec sheet info) is the TM at 31.8 inches and the rest of the models go up from there with the Austrian bike’s 19/16 versions hitting just above 34 inches.

2023 GasGas MC 85 17/14 or 19/16: $6,249/$6,449

2023 Husqvarna TC 85 17/14 or 19/16: $6,749/$6,949

2023 Kawasaki KX85: $4,699

2023 KTM 85 SX 17/14 or 19/16: $6,549/$6,849

2023 Suzuki RM85: $4,499

2023 TM 85 2T Junior: $6,895

110cc Displacement

Yamaha and Honda have 110cc bikes that are ready for the next family trail ride.

Yamaha and Honda have 110cc bikes that are ready for the next family trail ride. (Yamaha/)

The 110cc category focuses on trail-riding fun with bikes like the Yamaha TT-R110E and the Honda CRF110F. The TT-R has a 110cc air-cooled four-stroke and the CRF uses a 109cc air-cooled four-stroke, but a key difference is the CRF is a touch more modern with fuel injection compared to the carbureted TT-R. Despite this, both are user-friendly with four-speed transmissions, automatic clutches, and electric starts (plus backup kickstarters). Honda continues to put the power in the parent’s hands with this larger CRF, because like its 50cc sibling, this one also has a throttle limiter.

Between the dimensions tug of war it’s Honda that has the lower seat height (25.9 inches) compared to the Yamaha’s 26.4-inch figure, but its 169-pound wet weight is 10 pounds more.

Chassis-wise both have steel frames, 31mm telescopic forks, single shocks, drum brakes, and 14/12-inch tires. Where the Yamaha stands out though is its 4.5/4.3-inch suspension travel (front/rear) compared to Honda’s 3.9/3.8 inches (front/rear).

2023 Honda CRF110F: $2,599

2023 Yamaha TT-R110E: $2,299

112cc Displacement

Track or trail? Kawasaki covers the respective routes with the KX112 (shown) or the KLX110R/L.

Track or trail? Kawasaki covers the respective routes with the KX112 (shown) or the KLX110R/L. (Kawasaki/)

Contrary to what engine size you may think the KLX110R/KLX110R L have based on the model names, both do not have a 110cc engine. Rather, these use a 112cc air-cooled four-stroke engine whereas the KX112 uses a 112cc liquid-cooled two-stroke.

The KLX110R/L is more for the trail-goer and the KX112 is more for the rider who frequents the MX course; this is more evident when you take a closer look at the chassis specs. The KLX models have about half the suspension travel as the KX and use a 30mm telescopic fork and single shock versus the KX’s adjustable 36mm inverted cartridge fork and Uni-Trak shock. Drum brakes on the KLX models also differ from the KX’s 220mm/184mm (front/rear) petal discs.

Compared to the KLX110R, the L version has a taller seat height (28.7 inches versus 26.8 inches) and higher ground clearance (10.4 inches versus 8.5), but it’s the KX that has the tallest figures of Team Green’s 112cc bikes with its 34.3-inch seat height and 13.0-inch ground clearance.

If you’re looking for something exotic, Italian manufacturer TM has its MX 112 2T Junior motocross bike. It has a 112cc engine that also uses a Keihin carburetor. Unlike the KX which uses a high-tensile steel frame, this MX 112 has an aluminum one. It has a 30.7-inch seat height and 9.4-inch ground clearance.

2023 Kawasaki KLX110R/KLX110R L: $2,649/$2,849

2023 Kawasaki KX112: $5,399

2023 TM MX 112 2T Junior: $7,545

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