Buying a New Dirt Bike

Buying a new dirt bike is less stressful than buying a used dirt bike, but there are still a few things to think about before heading to the dealer and handing over your hard-earned money. The first step when buying any dirt bike is to determine the main type of riding you'll be doing - track or trails. You're much better off buying a dirt bike that's built for its intended purpose.

Two stroke or four stroke? Two stroke dirt bikes are an absolute blast to ride whether track or trails, but they may not be the best choice for a beginner. The four strokes, especially the trail bikes, are easier for most beginners to handle than the two strokes. If you're the least bit apprehensive, go with a four stroke until you gain some experience.

Which dirt bike?

If you haven't decided on a particular bike yet, see which dealers are closest to you. Dealer support is important for beginner riders, especially if you're not mecahnically inclined. Assess your personality and athletic abilities, then head to the manufacturer's websites to start your research, but read the information with an open mind. They want you to buy their bike so will go to great lengths to make the bike sound like it's perfect for every rider. You're the only one that can answer the 'which dirt bike should I buy' question. If you're having difficulty figuring out the model info and specs on the manufacturer's site, you can read through our Which Dirt Bike is Which article to help decode the model's letter and number combinations.

Size matters:

No matter which bike(s) you're considering, make sure you can touch the ground with at least the balls of your feet when comfortably seated on the bike. If you can't reach the ground the bike will tip over when you come to a stop and what goes down must come up, and most dirt bikes weigh over 200 pounds. Another reason to get a comfortable seat height is if the bike has a kickstarter. Almost all trail bikes come with electric start and most of the larger motocross bikes also have e-start, but if you buy one of the smaller MX bikes it may still have a kickstarter, and if you can't reach the ground to steady the bike while kicking the lever it's going to be really hard to start the bike.

Dirt bike lingo:

The sport of dirt bikes, like any other sport, has it's own jargon. For example, not everyone will know what a first down, googly, or birdie is unless they're fans of football, cricket, or golf. Dirt bikes are no different. Long-travel suspension, fully adjustable leading-axle inverted telescopic Showa coil-spring fork, chrome-molybdenum steel central-tube frame, and other dirt bike terms can be confusing to a beginner. When doing your research, don't worry if you don't know what triple clamps or swingarms are at this point. As long as you're buying a brand-name dirt bike from a major manufacturer you'll be fine. When comparing dirt bikes specifications, don't get too hung up on specs such as rake, bore x stroke, or compression ratios. Focus instead on things such as seat height, ground clearance, electric start, and/or fuel injection. Once you get into the sport, those strange terms will start to make sense and when you move up to a more powerful competition bike, you'll be able to talk the talk.

Dirt bike cost:

The MSRP is only one part of the price so don't forget to factor in taxes, tags, and destination charges into the total cost. The destination charge is normally listed with the MSRP, but you'll need to compute the tax yourself. In most States dealers are required to register the bike before it leaves the shop so there might also be some DMV fees. If you're financing the bike or using your credit card be sure to factor in those charges to the overall cost so you don't take on too much debt. Check the manufacturer's website to see if there are any rebates or special offers, but if you're financing the bike watch the low interest "teaser rates" - be sure to find out what the actual finance rate is after the teaser rate expires.

Even though you can buy a dirt bike on the Internet it's always best to deal with a local shop when buying new, especially if you have no experience and/or don't plan to maintain the bike yourself. When negotiating with the dealer don't think price alone - if the dealer doesn't want to lower the price any further (or at all), ask for some free gear or see if you can get the bike's first service for free. If you're maintaining the bike yourself ask them to throw in an aftermarket air filter. It can't hurt to ask.

As far as warranties, most trail bikes have a 6-12 month warranty and most motocross bikes don't have any warranty at all so if warranties are important to you, be sure to ask the dealer what's covered and for how long. Most manufacturers offer extended warranties at an additional cost, or maybe you can get the dealer to extend the warranty for free in lieu of lowering the purchase price.

Deciding which dirt bike is best isn't easy, especially for a beginner. There are many models to choose from and everyone seems to have a different opinion about which dirt bike is best. Buy local, buy a brand name bike, buy a bike that fits you physically, and buy a bike for your intended riding area.