Auto Trader bikes

Skip to contentSkip to footer
Best Of

Top 5 bikes for children

Although it’s tempting to go for a bigger, flashier, faster machine, and your child will likely want the fanciest bike available, it’s vital to get a machine for the biking novice, that is easily manageable both physically, and in terms of performance.

Choosing a first bike for a child can be one of the most daunting and confusing motorcycling decisions you can make. It’s difficult to know how big or sophisticated a machine to choose, and there is more choice than ever before.
The choice ranges from dinky, 50cc first-timers, to 110cc+ true competition machines, but we’re going to focus on ‘first time bikes’ – small proportioned, easy-to-ride machines, which should be chosen for those under eight or those who have never ridden before. Although it’s tempting to go for a bigger, flashier, faster machine, and your child will likely want the fanciest bike available, it’s vital to get a machine for the biking novice that is easily manageable both physically, and in terms of performance. If the first machine intimidates the rider, you could easily end up putting them off biking forever. We’d also recommend buying used. A brand new bike, even a small one, can be expensive, while used examples are relatively commonplace and far more affordable. Kids quickly trade up. Beyond that, keep within your budget (and consider the costs for protective gear, track fees etc.), and go for a bike which physically fits your child. It might be tempting to go for a machine that will fit in six months’ time, but what’s most important is that they can get on straight away, and not be intimidated, or lose control. This means they need to be able to sit comfortably on the machine, with feet flat on the ground, and be able to reach the handlebars and operate all the controls with ease. Here’s our pick of the best:
Yamaha PW50
Yamaha PW50 – the popular two-stroke
This bike has been popular for more than a decade now. It’s available new for around £1,349, and a decent used model can be picked up for about £700. It’s a two-stroke (with auto lube and a separate two-stroke oil tank), and it’s dinky and manageable for most four-year-olds up. It’s got three gears and an automatic clutch, meaning it’s a simple twist-and-go to operate. There’s also an adjustable throttle which allows you to safely restrict speed. The drive is by shaft, which is another safety advantage, and minimises maintenance. Best of all though, it’s rugged, ultra-reliable, and there are plenty out there to choose from.
Honda CRF50F
Honda CRF50F – the modern four-stroke
The CRF family were introduced as successors to Honda’s XR series of four-stroke off-roaders. The junior version, the CRF50F, arrived in 2014, and currently costs £1,399 new. As such, they’re more modern than the Yamaha PW, with features such as inverted front forks. The CRF is quieter, arguably more durable, and requires less maintenance than a two-stroke (no two-stroke oil, for example). On the slight downside, the CRF has chain drive, so is more expensive and rarer as a used buy – the cheapest we could find was £950. As to how they ride, there’s little in it, but it’s likely your youngster will prefer the Honda’s racier, more modern styling.
Suzuki DR-Z70
Suzuki DR-Z70 – the slightly bigger one
Effectively midway between the PW50 and CRF is Suzuki’s most junior offering, the slightly bigger-engined – but similarly proportioned – 67cc, four-stroke powered DR-Z, which was originally introduced in 2007. Still available new for £1,399, its spec is akin to the Honda. It’s got ten-inch wheels, drum brakes front and rear, a three-speed automatic gearbox, inverted forks, and monoshock rear. Also, like the Honda, it’s snazzily-styled and has chain final drive (mind your little one’s fingers). On the plus side, being older, used examples can be found for around £850.
KTM 50SX ‘Mini’
KTM 50SX ‘Mini’ – the posh one
New for 2017, KTM’s new small-wheeled version of its 50SX is about as extravagant as first bikes get. Priced at an eye-watering £3,099, the Austrian off-road specialists say ‘it’s a real KTM for young crossers from the age of about four to ten’. They’re right too. Basically a 50SX with shorter travel suspension and smaller wheels, the ‘Mini’ features all that bike’s top spec components, including a liquid-cooled, two-stroke engine with a single speed automatic gearbox, WP suspension and disc brakes, so we don’t doubt its quality. In addition, KTM offers a ready-made family of bikes to move up to, from the 50SX, to the 65SX, two 85SX models and more.
Oset Eco
Oset Eco – the electric one
Up-and-coming electric bike specialist Oset has been causing quite a stir in the off-road and leisure motorcycle scene in recent years – particularly with its ever-growing range of kids machine which blend clean, quiet, electric power, and clean packaging. Its mostly trial bike-inspired machines currently range from full-size adult machines, right down to the 12.5V ‘Eco’, which costs just £895 new and is aimed at riders from just two- to five-years-old. With a total of nine bikes targeted at kids of all ages, there should be something for everyone. That’s of course, if the idea of slightly ‘toylike’ electric power appeals.