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Stage 1: Bikes That Are Great For Beginners

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Everyone has to start somewhere, and these are some of the bikes that are awesome for new riders to get started on. Sure, they're not the fire-breathing machines you'll see on the starting line of a Supercross or National, but for the most part, they're great for learning the basics, while having tons of fun. Getting the hang of balance, throttle control, braking, learning to read terrain, these are all building blocks that these kind of bikes provide. Many of these models have automatic clutches, to keep things simple, and they generally smooth-revving 125cc and smaller powerplants. Sound output is also low, so they can be ridden lots of places. While they may share some of the same graphics and look of their bigger brothers, they're designed for fun.

While it may be early in the season, one of these sure would make a pretty memorable Christmas gift (hint, hint)...

Suzuki DR-Z70 ($1849 MSRP)

The Suzuki 2018 DR-Z70 has an automatic clutch, a three-speed transmission, and to make it really simple, it also has an electric starter. (Yep, there's a backup kickstarter.) The 67cc engine delivers a smooth, controllable power; and the throttle can be adjusted to limit power output. Small ten-inch wheels keep the bike low for shorter riders. The ignition is keyed, so parents control when and where the budding moto star can ride the bike.

There's also an adjustable front brake lever that can be tuned to fit various sized hands, and you'll find drum brakes front and rear. Weight limit on this one is one 88-pound rider. 

Specifications

Engine: 67cc, 4-stroke, air-cooled, single cylinder, OHCBore x Stroke: 48.0 mm (1.89 in) x 37.0 mm (1.45 in)Compression Ratio: 9.5: 1Fuel System: Mikuni VM13 carburetorStarter: Electric starter with back-up primary kickLubrication: Wet sumpTransmission: Three-speed constant mesh, automatic clutchDrive Chain: Chain, D.I.D. 428DS, 78 linksFront Suspension: Inverted telescopic, coil springRear Suspension: Swingarm type, coil spring, oil dampedFront Brake: Drum brakeRear Brake: Drum brakeFront Tire: 2.50-10 33J, tube typeRear Tire: 2.50-10 33J, tube typeFuel Tank Capacity: 3.0 L (0.8 US gallons)Color: Champion Yellow No.2 / Solid BlackIgnition: Electronic ignition (CDI)Spark Plug: NGK CR7HSA or DENSO U22FSR-UOverall Length: 1,320 mm (52.0 in)Overall Width: 580 mm (22.8 in)Overall Height: 790 mm (31.1 in)Wheelbase: 935 mm (36.8 in)Ground Clearance: 135 mm (5.3 in)Seat Height: 560 mm (22.0 in)Curb Weight: 55 kg (121 lbs)Warranty: 6-month unlimited mileage limited warranty*Extensions:    *Longer coverage periods with other benefits available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP)

Suzuki DR-Z125L ($3,249 MSRP)


The bigger brother to the Suzuki DR-Z70 is the DR-Z125L. You step up to a mellow 124cc four-stroke powerplant, as well as a manual clutch and five-speed transmission. It also has larger 19-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels, a longer wheelbase and the associated ten-inch taller seat height. Braking also takes a step up, with a front disc brake.

The wheels feature lightweight aluminum rims, and there are telescopic front forks and link-type rear suspension to smooth out the bumps.

Specifications

Engine: 124cc, 4-stroke, air-cooled, single cylinder, OHCBore x Stroke: 57.0 mm (2.244 in) x 48.8 mm (1.921 in)Compression Ratio: 9.5: 1Fuel System: MIKUNI VM20SS, single carburetorStarter: Primary KickLubrication: Wet sumpClutch: Wet multi-plateTransmission: 5-speed constant meshFinal Drive: DID 428HG, 130 linksFront Suspension: Telescopic, coil spring, oil dampedRear Suspension: Link type, coil spring, oil dampedFront Brakes: Disc brake, single rotorRear Brakes: Drum brakeFront Tire: 70/100-19 42M, tube typeRear Tire: 90/100-16 52M, tube typeFuel Tank Capacity: 4.8 L (1.3 US gallons)Color: Champion Yellow No.2 / Solid BlackIgnition: Electronic ignition (CDI)Spark Plug: NGK DR8EA or DENSO X24ESUOverall Length: 1885 mm (74.2 in)Overall Width: 770 mm (30.3 in)Overall Height: 1110 mm (43.7 in)Wheelbase: 1270 mm (50.0 in)Seat Height: 805 mm (32.0 in)Curb Weight: 89 kg (196 lbs)Warranty: 6-month limited warranty

Extensions: Longer coverage periods with other benefits available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP)

2018 Honda CRF50F ($1,499 MSRP)

Honda 50s are fairly legendary, both for being the platform that plenty of riders have learned on, as well as being one of the pit bikes that adults can't resist. They are also known to be extremely durable, with the ability to take a ridiculous amount of abuse. This one also has an automatic clutch, and a three-speed transmission. If you want to get crazy and start upgrading it, there are also a ton of hop-up parts for the littlest Honda.

Specifications

Engine Type: 49cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-strokeBore And Stroke: 39.0mm x 41.4mmCompression Ratio: 10.0:1Valve Train: SOHC; two-valveInduction: 13mm piston-valve carburetorIgnition: CDTransmission: Three-speed with automatic clutchFinal Drive: #420 chain; 14T/37TFront Suspension: Inverted telescopic fork; 3.5-inch travelRear Suspension: Single-shock; 2.8-inch travelFront Brake: DrumRear Brake: DrumFront Tire: 2.50-10Rear Tire: 2.50-10Rake: 25.0° (Caster Angle)Trail: 32.0mm (1.3 inches)Wheelbase: 36.0 inchesSeat Height: 21.6 inchesGround Clearance: 5.8 inchesCurb Weight: 110 pounds (Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and a full tank of fuel—ready to ride)Fuel Capacity: 0.7 gallons, including 0.2-gallon reserveAvailable Colors: RedFactory Warranty Duration: six months transferable limited warranty; extended warranty available with a Honda Protection Plan.

2018 Honda CRF110F ($2,249 MSRP)

Jump from the 50 up to the CRF110, and you'll add more than double the engine size, and add a gear to the transmission, but you'll still find an automatic clutch for easy operation. This will allow longer excursions, and the ability to tackle bigger terrain, while still being a pretty friendly (and durable) powerplant.

Specifications

Engine Type: 109cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-strokeBore And Stroke: 50.0mm x 55.6mmCompression Ratio: 9.0:1Valve Train: SOHC; two-valveInduction: 13mm piston-valve carburetorIgnition: CDITransmission: Four-speed with automatic clutchFinal Drive: ChainFront Suspension: 31.0mm telescopic fork; 3.9 inches of travelRear Suspension: Single-shock; 3.4 inches of travelFront Brake: DrumRear Brake: DrumFront Tire: 70/100-14Rear Tire: 80/100-12Rake: 24°25' (Caster Angle)Trail: 52.5mm (2.0 inches)Wheelbase: 41.9 inchesSeat Height: 26.3 inchesCurb Weight: 163 pounds (Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel-ready to ride)Fuel Capacity: 1.1 gallons, including 0.3-gallon reserveGround Clearance: 6.9 InchesAvailable Colors: RedFactory Warranty Duration: Six Months transferable limited warranty; extended warranty available with a Honda Protection Plan.

2018 Honda CRF125F ($2,999 MRSRP) and 2018 Honda CRF125FB ($3,399 MSRP)

Are you looking for something closer to full-size? That might be the domain of the CRF125s...though they come in two different versions, with smaller or larger wheels. The F has a 17-inch front and 14-inch rear, while the FB sports a 19-inch front, and 16-inch rear...and corresponding longer suspension travel. These are also manual clutch, with a four-speed tranny.

Specifications (125F)

Engine Type: 124.9cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-strokeBore And Stroke: 52.4mm x 57.9mmCompression Ratio: 9.0:1Valve Train: SOHC; two-valveInduction: 20mm piston-valve carburetorIgnition: DC-CDITransmission: Four-speedFinal Drive: 13T/46TFront Suspension: 31mm telescopic fork; 5.5 inches of travelRear Suspension: Pro-Link® single-shock; 4.5 inches of travelFront Brake: 220mm hydraulic discRear Brake: DrumFront Tire: 70/100-17Rear Tire: 90/100-14Rake: 25°30' (Caster Angle)Trail: 81mm (3.2 inches)Wheelbase: 48.0 inchesSeat Height: 28.9 inchesCurb Weight: 192 pounds (Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel-ready to ride)Fuel Capacity: 1.1 gallons, including 0.2-gallon reserveGround Clearance: 8.5 InchesAvailable Colors: RedFactory Warranty Duration: Six Months transferable limited warranty; extended warranty available with a Honda Protection Plan.

Specifications (125F Big Wheel)

Engine Type: 124.9cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-strokeBore And Stroke: 52.4mm x 57.9mmCompression Ratio: 9.0:1Valve Train: SOHC; two-valveInduction: 20mm piston-valve carburetorIgnition: DC-CDITransmission: Four-speedFinal Drive: 13T/49TFront Suspension: 31mm telescopic fork; 5.9 inches of travelRear Suspension: Pro-Link® single-shock; 5.9 inches of travelFront Brake: 220mm hydraulic discRear Brake: DrumFront Tire: 70/100-19Rear Tire: 90/100-16Rake: 27°30' (Caster Angle)Trail: 94mm (3.7 inches)Wheelbase: 49.4 inchesSeat Height: 30.9 inchesCurb Weight: 194 pounds (Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel-ready to ride)Fuel Capacity: 1.1 gallons, including 0.2-gallon reserveGround Clearance: 10.4 Inches

Factory Warranty Duration: Six Months transferable limited warranty; extended warranty available with a Honda Protection Plan.

2018 Kawasaki KLX110 ($2,299 MSRP)

An auto clutch, four-speed transmission, and a low seat height make this one of a favorite of the small-wheel crowd. Back in the minimoto heyday, this one was a popular option, and it's just as good now. Want a solid performer that you can get tons of time on? This is a good bet.

Specifications

Engine: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, SOHC, air-cooledDisplacement: 112ccBore x Stroke: 53.0 x 50.6mmCompression ratio: 9.5:1Fuel System: Keihin PB18Ignition: DC-CDITransmission: 4-speed, return shiftFinal Drive: ChainPerformanceFront Suspension / Wheel Travel: 30mm hydraulic telescopic fork/4.3 inRear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Swingarm w/single hydraulic shock/4.3 inFront Tire: 2.50x14Rear Tire: 3.00x12Front Brakes: Mechanical DrumRear Brakes: Mechanical DrumFrame Type: Backbone frame, high-tensile steelRake/Trail: 24.8°/2.0 inOverall Length: 61.4 inOverall Width: 25.6 inOverall Height: 37.6 inGround Clearance: 8.5 inSeat Height: 26.8 inCurb Weight: 167.5 lb**Fuel Capacity: 1.0 galWheelbase: 42.3 inColor Choices: Lime GreenWarranty: 6 MonthsKawasaki Protection Plus™ (optional)

2018 Kawasaki KLX110L ($2,499 MSRP)

Take the same platform as the KLX100, but give it a manual clutch, longer legs, and the resulting taller seat height. That's the KLX110L.

Specifications

Engine: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, SOHC, air-cooledDisplacement: 112ccBore x Stroke: 53.0 x 50.6mmCompression ratio: 9.5:1Fuel System: Keihin PB18Ignition: DC-CDITransmission: 4-speed, return shiftFinal Drive: ChainFront Suspension: 30mm hydraulic telescopic fork with 5.5 inches of travelRear Suspension: Swingarm w/single hydraulic shock and 5.2 inches of travelFront Tire: 2.50x14Rear Tire: 3.00x12Front Brakes: Mechanical DrumRear Brakes: Mechanical DrumFrame Type: Backbone frame, high-tensile steelRake/Trail: 24.2°/1.9 inOverall Length: 61.4 inOverall Width: 25.6 inOverall Height: 39.0 inGround Clearance: 10.4 inSeat Height: 28.7 inCurb Weight: 167.5 lb**Fuel Capacity: 1.0 galWheelbase: 42.3 inColor Choices: Lime GreenWarranty: 6 Months

Kawasaki Protection Plus™ (optional) 12, 24, or 36 months

2018 Yamaha PW50 ($1,499 MSRP)

Why has Yamaha's PW50 been around forever? It's got an extremely low standover height (only 18.7 inches) for even the smallest riders. It also has a mellow two-stroke powerplant with an automatic transmission, and can be raced in its own class at Loretta's...if you want to push it that far. All the while, you'll never adjust a chain (it's shaft drive), or have to mix gas and oil (there's an automatic oil injection system). You can even adjust the throttle stop, to prevent your budding moto star from getting too frisky.

Specifications

Engine Type: 49cc air-cooled two-stroke; reed valve inductionBore x Stroke: 40.0mm x 39.2mmCompression Ratio: 6.0:1Fuel Delivery: VM12 carburetorIgnition: CDITransmission: Wet centrifugal automaticFinal Drive: ShaftFront Suspension: 26mm telescopic fork; 2.4-inch travelRear Suspension: Unit swingarm; 2.0-inch travelFront Brake: DrumRear Brake: DrumFront Tire: 2.50-10-4PRRear Tire: 2.50-10-4PRL x W x H: 49.0 in x 24.0 in x 27.8 inSeat Height: 18.7 inWheelbase: 33.7 inRake (Caster Angle): 25.5°Trail: 2.0 inMaximum Ground Clearance: 3.7 inFuel Capacity: 0.5 galWet Weight: 90 lbWarranty: 90 Day (Limited Factory Warranty)Color: Team Yamaha Blue

2018 Yamaha TT‑R50E ($1,549 MSRP)

While there is the more race-inspired PW in the Yamaha lineup, there's also the TT-R50E, which is a little taller, and more styled in the playbike range. It's got an electric start and three‑speed automatic transmission that make things easier for new riders, and also a large chain cover to keep body parts out, and provide some protection from the elements.

Specifications

Engine Type: 49cc air-cooled SOHC four-stroke; two valvesBore x Stroke: 36.0mm x 48.6mmCompression Ratio: 9.5:1Fuel Delivery: Mikuni VM11 carburetorIgnition: CDITransmission: Constant-mesh three-speed; automatic clutchFinal Drive: ChainFront Suspension: Inverted telescopic fork; 3.8-inch travelRear Suspension: Single shock; 2.8-inch travelFront Brake: Drum, 80mmRear Brake: Drum, 80mmFront Tire: 2.50-10-4PRRear Tire: 2.50-10-4PRL x W x H: 51.4 in x 23.4 in x 31.3 inSeat Height: 21.9 inWheelbase: 36.4 inRake (Caster Angle): 25.5°Trail: 1.3 inMaximum Ground Clearance: 5.3 inFuel Capacity: 0.8 galFuel Economy**: n/aWet Weight***: 126 lbWarranty: 90 Day (Limited Factory Warranty)Color: Team Yamaha Blue

2018 Yamaha TT‑R110E ($2,299 MSRP)

How about a 110-sized bike, but with an automatic clutch, and an electric starter to make things less complicated for riders learning how to ride. That also makes it easier when they're wrestling with balance, and boots and gear for the first time. It still has a low 26.4 seat height, but also has enough suspension to accomodate reasonably rough terrain.

Specifications

Engine Type: 110cc air-cooled SOHC four-stroke; two valvesBore x Stroke: 51.0mm x 54.0mmCompression Ratio: 9.3:1Fuel Delivery: Mikuni VM16 carburetorIgnition: CDITransmission: Constant-mesh four-speed; multiple wet clutchFinal Drive: ChainFront Suspension: 31mm telescopic fork; 4.5-in travelRear Suspension: Monocross shock; 4.3-in travelFront Brake: Drum, 95mmRear Brake: Drum, 110mmFront Tire: 2.50-14-4PRRear Tire: 3.00-12-4PRL x W x H: 61.6 in x 26.8 in x 36.3 inSeat Height: 26.4 inWheelbase: 42.5 inRake (Caster Angle): 26.0°Trail: 2.4 inMaximum Ground Clearance: 7.1 inFuel Capacity: 1.0 galWet Weight: 159 lbWarranty: 90 Day (Limited Factory Warranty)Color: Team Yamaha Blue

2018 Yamaha TT‑R125LE ($3,299 MSRP)

The TT-R125LE will work for everyone from kids to adults, and it has plenty of the family-friendly attributes you'd expect, like a smooth four-stroke powerplant, low seat height, and longer suspension travel. But it also has push-button electric start, bigger 19 and 16-inch wheels, and a 220mm front disc brake.

Specifications

Engine Type: 124cc air-cooled SOHC Four-stroke; 2 valvesBore x Stroke: 54.0mm x 54.0mmCompression Ratio: 10.0:1Fuel Delivery: Mikuni VM20 carburetorIgnition: CDITransmission: Constant-mesh five-speed; multiplate wet clutchFinal Drive: ChainFront Suspension: 31mm telescopic fork, adjustable preload; 7.1-inches travelRear Suspension: Single shock, adjustable compression and rebound; 6.6-inches travelFront Brake: Hydraulic single disc, 220mmRear Brake: Drum, 110mmFront Tire: 70/100-19Rear Tire: 90/100-16L x W x H: 74.2 in x 31.3 in x 42.7 inSeat Height: 31.7 inWheelbase: 50.0 inRake (Caster Angle): 28.7°Trail: 3.7 inMaximum Ground Clearance: 10.4 inFuel Capacity: 1.6 galFuel Economy**: n/aWet Weight***: 198 poundsWarranty: 90 Day (Limited Factory Warranty)

Color: Team Yamaha Blue

2018 KTM 50SX Mini ($3599 MSRP)

Do you want something a little less pedestrian, a lot pricier, and a whole lot more like dad's bike? The KTM 50 SX Mini incorporates a bunch of the technology you'd find on KTM's 50 SX (the bike used for the KJSC program), but with a more friendly power delivery, smaller wheels, and a lower seat height. It has a two-stroke engine that delivers controllable power, and with an automatic clutch that allows the rider to concentrate on the terrain ahead, not starting, shifting, or stopping. This one also has front and rear disc brakes, aluminum rims, and Maxxis tires.

Specifications

Engine type: Single cylinder, two-strokeDisplacement: 49 ccBore/stroke: 39.5/40 ccStarter: KickstarterCarburetor: Dell'Orto PHVA 12 XSTransmission: Single Gear AutomaticGear ratios: 14:31Primary ratio: 33:61Final drive: 10:42Cooling: Liquid coolingClutch: Centrifugal multi disc clutch (adjustable)Ignition: Selettra 2p D36Frame: Chrome-Moly Steel, powder-coatedSubframe: SteelHandlebar: Aluminum, Ø 22 mmFront suspension: WP USD, Ø 35 mmRear suspension: WP-Monoshock 3614 BAEMSuspension travel front/rear: 100/171 mmFront brake: Disc brake Ø 160 mmRear brake: Disc brake Ø 160 mmFront/rear rims: 1.60 x 10"; 1.60 x 10" Front/rear tires: 2.50 x 10"; 2.75 x 10"Chain: 1/2 x 3/16"Muffler: AluminumSteering head angle: 22.6°Triple clamp offset: 22mmWheelbase: 914 mm ± 10 mm / 35.98 ± 0.4 inGround clearance: 184 mm / 7.24 inSeat height: 558 mm / 21.97 Tank capacity: 2.1 L / 0.5 gal

Weight without fuel, approx.: 40 kg / 88.1 lb

Want a closer look at any of these bikes? Check with your local dealer, or visit:

www.suzukicycles.com
www.yamaha-motor.com
www.kawasaki.com
www.suzukicycles.com
www.powersports.honda.com
www.ktm.com

We'll check back soon with a Stage 2 roundup of bikes that are ready to hit the track for more advanced riders.