This is an article on how to buy a cheap used dirt bike.
You have decided that you want to start shopping for a dirt bike but where do you start?
We have lots and lots of different options when it comes to choosing a good used dirt bike.
Types of Used Dirt bikes
- Used Motocross bikes
- Used Enduro Bikes
- Used Trail bikes
- Used Cross Country bikes
Motocross bikes are built for lots of power and suspension that can handle large jumps. The gearing is also setup to ride motocross tracks.
Enduro bikes are typically bikes that as suited to ride in the tight technical terrain. The suspension, turning radius, and gearing are all for gnarly single track. This means that the front and rear shock are going to be much softer vs a motocross bike. Trail bikes fall into this same category as well. Enduro bikes are race dirt bikes and trail bikes are softer versions of a race enduro dirt bike.
A cross country dirt bike is closely related to a motocross bike with the exception of different gearing and suspension setup. It has been said that an XC or cross country dirt bike is the do it all bike. You can ride it on a motocross track, fast flowy, whoops, and technical terrain.
Here is some information that I wish I would have known before I bought my very first dirt bike.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is where do you plan on riding your dirt bike?
This can depend on where you and your friends like to ride dirt bikes.
Is this on trails or single track?
Or, motocross tracks?
Maybe both trails and a motocross bike?
Before you rush out to buy a used dirt bike lets established a few things
The reason we need to establish this is the type of terrain you ride depends on what dirt bike you should buy.
I hear countless stories of people buying the wrong type of used dirt bikes and they end up hating dirt bikes or get hurt.
Buying the wrong used dirt bike can ruin your experience or even hurt you.
For example, if you buy a used YZ450F motocross bike to ride single track on you just bought the wrong bike. The suspension and power of a motocross bike are NOT setup to ride trails or hard technical terrain.
The suspension of a motocross bike is too stiff for trail or enduro riding.
If you are a beginner you DO NOT want to buy a 450F dirt bike. Learn how to ride on a smaller bore dirt bike. It’s more important to learn bike control, and clutch control. The last thing you need is a really powerful dirt bike that takes you for a ride.
Best Used dirt bike manufactures
Is a 2 stroke or 4 stroke better to buy used?
Really that all depends on the condition of the bike. It is cheaper to rebuild a 2 stroke motor versus a 4 stroke motor. However, regardless of which one you choose all motors are a ticking time bomb.
Riding a 2 stroke on a motocross track is fun but takes a bit more skill over a 4 stroke motocross bike.
2 strokes are better suited to riding tight technical terrain and tend to do better than 4 strokes. You can ride a purpose-built 4 stroke for gnarly single track but a 2 stroke just does it a bit better.
The days are gone where a 2 stroke motor was hard to ride with its on-off switch of a powerband.
The choice is yours, nowadays 2 strokes and 4 strokes are both reliable. Typically with a 2 stroke, you would replace the top end every 150 hours if you are riding it hard.
Let’s switch gears and talk about what to do when you go look at a dirt bike that you are thinking about buying.
First off I recommend taking a friend that knows something about dirt bikes and tell them to give you their honest feedback. Mention to them if they help you buy a dirt bike that breaks down while riding…they will be the ones hauling you out.
2020 USED DIRT BIKE GUIDE
- CLEAN, make sure that the bike is very clean.
- How many hours does the bike have on it? Hour Meter?
- Does it start easily? 2 strokes if the top end is worn out it can be harder to start. If its hard to start a 4 stroke this could mean that the valves need to be replaced.
- Check for compression by pushing down on the Kickstarter.
- Look for any wear or tear on the frame, swing arms, clutch cover, motor case, and gear shifter.
- Keep in mind plastic is easily replaced but a motor, frame, and swing are not
- Check to see if the air filter is clean
- Check to see if the chain has been lubed
- Check all the fluids – radiator – oil – gear oil
- Look to see if there are any oil leaks on the front forks (Should be clean)
- Check to see if there is any oil around the rear shock (Should be clean)
- Check for oil leaks or cracks on the motor. This is important as you don’t want to buy a bike with a cracked engine case
- Put the dirt bike on a stand and wiggle the front and rear tire to see if they wiggle. You are checking the bearings.
- Spin the tires to see if they wobble or not. A little wobble isn’t a huge deal
- At this time check the rims for any dents, also check the spokes for any broken or missing ones.
- Check under the dirt bike for any smashed parts or dents
- When you first start the dirt bike make sure it’s not making any funny or weird noises. If it feels like the dirt bike is rattling….skip it.
- Look over the radiators to see how much abuse they have taken. You can see bends and dents in them.
- Ask for any engine work or modifications to the motor.
- The clutch should have a nice easy pull back feeling if it feels too hard find another bike.
- If they added new plastics ask to see the old ones
- Ask to see a maintenance schedule (valves, oil changes, gear oil changes, suspension).
- Also, Remember aftermarket parts DO NOT MAKE THE BIKE worth more. Don’t let anyone talk you into paying more for their modifications.
- LAST BUT NOT LEAST – take a friend – WHY? a friend usually doesn’t have rose-colored glasses on when its not their dirt bike.
If you feel uneasy or weird about the bike, trust your instincts and find another bike. You can always keep shopping until you find the right dirt bike for you. I have heard story after story of people buying dirt bikes that they have to dump a ton of money into them. At that point, you might as well just buy a brand new dirt bike.
Don’t buy a crapper just so you can ride with the boys that weekend. I like to ride dirt bikes not work on them.
Where do you find used dirt bikes?
- Local Classifieds
- Local dirt bike dealerships
- Cycle Trader
Buying a dirt bike from a local dealership that you trust is probably the best place to start.
Here are some recommended used dirt bikes
This list is for people that are new or beginners in the dirt bike world. Trail dirt bikes are the easiest to ride and are the most beginner-friendly dirt bikes. You will notice that I did not include any 450 dirt bikes in the list below. If you are just getting started a 450 is WAY TOO much bike. The goal is to have fun and be safe.
Your dirt biking skills will improve at a faster rate if you feel comfortable with the power of the dirt bike. A smaller bore dirt bike also teaches you clutch control which will translate over into any other dirt bike you ride.
Motocross Dirt Bikes
- Honda CRF250R
- Yamaha YZ250F
- Kawasaki KX250F
- Suzuki RMZ250F
- Husqvarna FC250
Hard Enduro Dirt Bikes
- Beta 200RR
- Beta 300RR
- Husqvarna TE300
Trail Dirt Bikes
- Honda CRF250X
- Yamaha WR250F
- Beta Xtrainer
- Beta 200RR
- Kawasaki KXL300R
- Honda CRF250F
- Honda CRF230F
- Yamaha TTR230
- KTM Freeride 250R
Cross Country Dirt Bikes
- Honda CRF250RX
- Yamaha YZ250FX
- KTM 250XCF
- Husqvarna TX300
- KTM 300 XC
- KTM 250 XC
- Yamaha YZ250X
Feel free to comment below or send me an email letting me know what your experience is when looking to buy a used dirt bike. Remember, You do not have to buy the very first dirt bike you look at. Even if the dirt bike is in good shape, its always a good idea to go test drive and look over lots of different used dirt bikes. That way you have a little more experience under your belt to know that to look for. I have even went and test drove a few dirt bikes that were out of my budget to see what a newer nice dirt bike felt like. This helped me gauge how clapped out the used dirt bikes I could afford where.
You can even ask to have a professional dirt bike mechanic take a look at the used dirt bike before you purchase it.
I wish you the best of luck when finding the right dirt bike.