Has your child shown interest in riding off-road motorbikes? Perhaps it’s something you’d like them to get involved in? Getting your kid on two wheels can be as exciting for the parents as it is the rider!
Motocross, enduro and trials are perfect ways to experience off-road life. There are plenty of ways to give it a go! Many tracks give try out days and one to one training. There are a lot of schools which cater to youngsters around the UK which we will list further down. A lot of these training schools make it ideal for parents to be able to learn with the youngster. Sometimes allowing you to ride the track alongside your kid.
Reasons to get your child into off-road motorbikes
All types of children get involved in off-road riding, some start early and some start late. They come from all different walks of life. It might be a new interest or something they were born to. Either way, it’s a positive hobby to have. Here are a few things to note about the sport:
- Teaches personal focus, goal setting and preparation
- Make friends and positive relationships
- Learn to obey rules and play fair
- Promotes strong work ethic
- Builds parent and child relationships
- Creates a sense of community
- Promotes good health
- Importance of safety
- Personal responsibly and independence
- Non-violent, wholesome entertainment
Off-road riding and racing can seem as rowdy and aggressive.
Especially by some people who don’t know a lot about the environment. Reading down these points, it’s clear that the sport is a positive influence on kids. It can teach skills and values that can shine through. When it comes to making friends in social situations and right into the workplace.
So your child would like to ride off-road, where to start?
They might have seen it on TV, maybe a friend has started or a parent rides. Whatever the catalyst your kid wants to start riding… where to start? If you don’t know much about the world of off-road motorbikes it can seem a little daunting. But actually, all you need is an off-road motorbike, safety equipment and a nearby track.
What age can kids start riding? Children can start riding at a ridiculously young age and be very good. Kids can start racing from as young as four years old, we have seen even younger than that. But they can have a hard time getting around the track. As mentioned parents are sometimes allowed on the track to help the younger ones around. You can even get a 50CC bike with training wheels attached!
A well known young rider is Chase Anderson, after a story in the Daily Mail in 2012. They named Chase the world youngest motocross racer at 3 yrs old and standing just over three feet tall. At this age, he was already competing against kids twice his size and age. Chase is still winning championships, here’s a short clip from 2015 Loretta Lynn Nationals:
Including helmet, chest protector, gloves and boots are the minima that is required. A neck roll is advised and is pretty inexpensive. Always take your child to try on the safety gear. It needs to be comfy and obviously easy to move in.
Manufactures have sizing charts on their websites for helmets. To give you an idea of what you should be heading for. Some popular off-road helmet brands include Fox, Fly, Spada, Thor, MSR, Oneal, HJC, HEBO, Arai, and Shoei. Knowing how to correctly fit a helmet is a skill. Make sure when you take your child to the shop you get an assistant to help and advise you. Have a look at the safely rating on the helmet too. Make sure you are getting the highest spec, and again ask to be talked through the differences.
All of the equipment needs to be of a high quality. But this doesn’t mean you have to spend loads. EBay can have some amazing, hardly worn steals! Something you shouldn’t scrip on is gloves. If/when your kid takes a spill they will instinctively put their hands out to break the fall.
Where can I take my child to ride?
This school is based in Herefordshire, it focuses on kids 4 yrs +. The course runs on Sat and Sun, each consist of four, 1 hour lessons.
Youth training is offered from 6 – 17 yr olds. They have a purpose built super-cross track and offer one to one lessons or teach groups of up to 6.
Run by former British MX champion Geoff Mayes. The site has ACU Mayes instructors and youngster ride KX65s and KX85s. Junior days are normally run on Saturday at WildTracks Cambs for 7 yrs +.
Aimed at children 8 yrs +, they have a range of bikes for all different abilities and ages. This well-known school run lessons run daily and they have a set of amazing set of instructors. Including enduro champion Geraint Jones.
- Immingham Motorcycle Project
IMP is open to slightly younger children, going down to 5 yrs +. The centre is open over the weekend and also during the week in school holidays. Groups are welcome during the school holidays.
This academy offers enduro/MX training. Specifically for children from 7 yrs old, this place runs every Tues and Thurs in the school holidays. Check the website for more details.
Based in Northamptonshire, they offer off road training for 14 yrs +. As well as the chance to get a qualification while learning to ride.
Electric Bike Training
OSET have four different bikes currently available, covering the ages 2-12. Known globally as one of the best learner bikes. they have adjustable speeds and handlebars to fit all kids. Check it out if your child is interested in trials!
Set on nine acres, BUMPY is based in West Yorkshire and provides lessons for children ages 6 – 16. Running over the weekends and school holidays.
This trials clubs caters for 6-21 yrs old, the club lays out one trial and one practice session per month.
- Little Bikers UK
Berkshire based, Little Bikes offers children aged 5 – 10 a chance to train on their electric bikes. The lessons teach children how to ride the bike safely, going over obstacles and ramps, even mastering wheelies.
Steve Saunders is World round winner and ten times British Champion. He runs trials schools across the country and try out sessions for children 5 yrs +.
Which off road motorbike to get my child?
One of the most frequently asked question from parents is which bike to buy..
When you start doing your research about which bike to get, a big factor is the size of your child. You need to find a bike that doesn’t over power the rider. That they can hold the bike up when it starts to lean over. Its suggested taking your child to lessons for a few months before buying them their own bike. This will give you an idea of what power and size would be the perfect fit. Children learn and grow quickly. So, don’t be surprised if you need to upgrade the bike sooner then you were expecting!
For young off road riders there are two bike types to chose from, 2 stroke oil injected and 4 stroke. The 2 stroke bikes have a canister which must be filled with 2 stroke oil. It lubricates internally by the mix oil which is injected into the fuel. The 4 stroke runs on just fuel without mix oil. Like a car engine, the oil in the crankcase should be checked on and maintained.
The most common motocross and enduro bikes for children:
✓ Suzuki JR 50 2-stroke, 84 lbs dry
✓ Yamaha PW 50 – 2-stroke, 82 lbs dry
✓ KTM Mini Adventure 2-stroke, 83 lbs dry
✓ Cobra CX50 OI 2-stroke, 79 lbs dry
✓ Yamaha TTR 50E – 4-stroke, 119 lbs dry
✓ Honda CRF 50 4-stroke, 104 lbs dry
Trials bikes for children:
The big name in trials riding is OSET, catering for riders as young as 2 yrs old.
Oliver Smith was the inspiration for OSET electric bikes. Son of OSET founder Ian Smith. Oliver didn’t want to wait until he was 5 or 6 yrs old to be on two wheels. Although Ian wasn’t very keen on putting his child on a bike with bad suspension and a hot exhaust..
In 2004 Ian started working with the idea of an electric trails bike, with his fellow trials rider Mike Buchholz. By the time Oliver was 3 yrs old, the bike was ready to try out. He was stood up and fully in control on his first day at riding! Hop forwards to 2010 and the company moved from America. To South England and is now in over 25 countries around the world!
OSET current stock list:
✓ 12.5 Eco 24v
✓ 12.5 Racing 24v
✓ 16.0 Eco 36v
✓ 16.0 Racing 36v
✓ 20.0 Lite
✓ OSET 20.0 Eco
✓ 20.0 Racing