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Five best pit bikes

Small in size but big on fun, pit bikes are a giggle for riders young and old – here we choose our five favourites!

Phil West

Words by: Phil West

Published on 8 March 2024 | 0 min read

Pit bikes are small-wheeled, off-road only dirt bikes primarily aimed at kids but also used as fun bikes for teenagers, adults and even used for racing, albeit in a less serious way than full-blown motocross.
The name derives from the mini bikes often used as pit and paddock transport at race circuits. Less sophisticated and cheaper than purpose-built kids’ motocrossers, you’ll see plenty from big brands like Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda alongside various more budget examples from less familiar names like Stomp, Thumpstar and M2R, many based on Chinese components. Engines are invariably small capacity single-cylinder units from 50cc up to 180cc, they can be either two or four stroke, transmissions can be automatic or manual and there’s a range of wheel sizes, too, although most use 10- to 14-inch hoops. But which are the best of the breed? What do they have and what are they like? Here we pick five of the current best…

1 – Yamaha TT-R50: the quality ‘entry-level’ pit bike

Arguably more entry-level kids’ machine than true pit bike, the TTR50 is nevertheless a quality piece of kit and deserves a place here for demonstrating just how diverse the segment is. It’s the next progression from Yamaha’s PW50, and the smallest model in the Japanese firm’s four-stroke youth bike range. As such it’s ideal for riders between four and seven years of age with little or no riding experience. As it’s Yamaha you get great quality with proven reliability and, starting at around £2,000, it’s pretty affordable, too.

2 – Kawasaki KX65: the ‘junior MXer’

A mini-motocrosser that best demonstrates the close relationship between junior racing off-roaders and mini-bikes, assuming if you can afford the price. Kawasaki is among the most competitive of all the Japanese brands when it comes to motocross and its junior versions, of which the KX65 is the smallest (there’s also an 85cc version) are right up there with the very best. So it’s fun and great to ride even for larger and older riders. On the downside all that quality, tech and durability doesn’t come cheap, with the KX65 starting at nearly £3,500. But if you want one of the best…

3 – Honda CRF110F: the classy pit bike

Mid-way in price between the Yamaha TT-R50 and Kawasaki KX65, the CRF110F is very much a fun pit bike rather than a junior MXer. It’s the larger of Honda’s two CRF fun bikes (there’s also a CRF50F) and is powered by a four-stroke engine, which helps make it accessible and easy to ride. There’s also a useful electric starter, a rugged steel frame and high-quality suspension, which adds to the ‘big-bike’ feel and performance, all for around £2,600!

4 – Thumpstar 125: one of the original pit bikes is back!

Thumpstar is one of the biggest names in the pit bike industry and firmly established in the history books of the scene. Back in the early 2000s if you owned a pit bike it was more than likely a Thumpstar, though within a decade or so it had slipped into obscurity. The name was bought and revived by original rivals Stomp in 2018 and its British designed/Chinese built bikes are typical of the type with sharp styling, 17-inch/14-inch wheels, a Lifan four-stroke engine and loud performance exhaust. 140cc and 190cc versions are also available with prices starting at under £1,000.

5 – Stomp Z3R 140: bonkers but fun

One of the biggest dedicated pit bike brands, Stomp produced its first 140cc machine back in 2007 to great success, making Stomp a globally recognised brand. The latest Z3R-140 continues this legacy, is still powered by an exclusive to Stomp four-stroke, single-cylinder engine claimed to produce two horsepower more than any other 140 on the market, has a backbone frame, lightweight alloy swing arm and fully adjustable rear shock and forks, all for a price starting at just over £1,200!

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