What Is a Pit Bike? And How Much Is a Pit Bike?

What Is a Pit Bike? And How Much Is a Pit Bike?

Dirt bikes are fun to ride. Unfortunately, the upkeep and maintenance costs of dirt bikes can be very high, especially for beginners.

It’s no surprise then that many young riders turn to pit bikes, which are a bit cheaper to buy and maintain. They have sort of become a great ride to introduce teens and older children to dirt biking.

But what is a pit bike and what makes it different from the dirt bike that we know? If you’re curious to know, do read on.

What Are Pit Bikes?

pit bike for kids

A pit bike is a lightweight and smaller motorcycle that is normally used in pit racing events. This type of bike is also used by motocross event staff to move around the track pit areas.

Pit bikes are designed for teenagers, children, and adults with smaller body frames. Since they’re less powerful and small, they are cheaper to maintain compared to dirt bikes. Note that dirt bikes and pit bikes have the same structure, and the main difference between them is their size and usage.

They are quite popular among teenagers, but there are adults who love them while others prefer dirt bikes. In fact, most adults see pit bikes as the best option for introducing their kids to the dirt biking world.

Why Are They Called Pit Bikes?

1984 honda pit bike red

Pit bikes evolved from clown bikes that were used in the racing events’ pits in the 1940s and 50s.

Originally, the name “pit bikes” was used to refer to the motorcycles and bicycles used to navigate the racing events. In fact, they are responsible for the introduction of the minibike industry, with Honda launching the Honda-Z series.

These bikes are referred to as pit bikes because they originated from the ones racing staff use when moving around racing tracks’ pit region. Because they are small, practical, and cheaper, they became the best option for this purpose.

Many believe that the original pit bike was Honda-Z50 Monkey bikes, which were also the preferred model for pit bikes.

Over time, people found out that these bikes are more than just bikes for staff to move around the track pits. Riders discovered that pit bikes can help you do some unique stunts and great jumps. This has played a key role in its ever-growing popularity, especially among young riders.

While their popularity has been increasing since the early 2000s, pit bikes are not as popular as the other types of bikes. That’s because folks are divided when it comes to pit bikes; not to mention that most of them are designed for small riders.

What Are Pit Bikes Made For?

pit bikes for adults

We’ve already established that pit bikes were designed for riding around at the racetracks’ pit. But as more people discovered how fun these bikes were, manufacturers started making better versions of pit bikes. This prompted Honda to improve its pit bikes. As a result, we are now seeing more powerful and more capable pit bikes that are not just another small bike for simply riding around the pits.

The upgrades also made them more appealing to riders. The redesign transformed the frame into a structure that could accommodate more parts. Some of the parts added to the frame of the pit bikes include a plastic unit and mono-shock.

A few other upgrades were done to the original pit bike design to address the demand of riders. But what made them more popular were the aftermarket options that offered big bore kits and tough suspensions.

The more powerful pit bike engines made people want to ride these fast, yet affordable bikes. After their popularity took off in the early 2000s, Kawasaki introduced Kawasaki KLX110 for adult riders.

Currently, all the major manufacturers have their own version of pit bikes. The Honda pit bikes, for example, were designed for smaller riders.

Are Pit Bikes and Dirt Bikes the Same Thing?

One of the leading misconceptions in the motorcycle industry is that pit bikes are smaller versions of dirt bikes. This is actually not true, and despite the many similarities between these bikes, they are two different motorcycles.

One of the main differences between these bikes is their size. To help you understand the difference between these two, let’s break down the main aspects of these bikes.

Pit Bikes vs. Dirt Bikes


Despite being more powerful than pit bikes, dirt bikes come with either 4-stroke or 2-stroke motors. The piston of dirt bikes with 2-stroke motors makes only 2 movements instead of 4 for a complete cycle. This means that the 2-stroke dirt bike will accelerate at a high rate but won’t be easy to control.

The 4-stroke dirt bikes offer high top speeds than 2-stroke engines. Therefore, with a 4-stroke, you get a faster bike, but with a 2-stroke motor, you get a high acceleration bike. Generally, dirt bikes are faster and powerful than pit bikes, with some having an engine capacity of about 750cc.

On the other hand, pit bikes come with 4-stroke motors, with power ranging from 50cc to 140cc. In fact, it is almost impossible to find a pit bike with an engine that exceeds 250cc. Pit bikes use 4-stroke motors because of their small size. This means that it has 4-pistons motion.

Each stroke propels energy while making sure that the output is consistent and reliable. The ease of control and reliability is what makes pit bikes perfect for teenagers and children.

The Tires

All motorcycle tires are made for tackling a certain terrain. Dirt bikes are used for off-roading and track riding; therefore, they come with knobby tires. These tires are ideal for tough terrains, and they have outer rubber surfaces. The rubber surface gives them a better grip when off-roading; after all, they are made for tackling a wide range of terrains. Being bigger than pit bikes, they come with 18-inch tires.

Pit bikes, on the other hand, are smaller; therefore, the size of their tires ranges between 12-inch and 14-inch. The rear tires are smaller (12-inches) than the front ones (14-inches). Because of this, pit bike tires are more suited for calm trails with little to no obstacle.


The next major difference between these two bikes is their design. Dirt bikes are bigger and stronger than pit bikes, which is basically why they are ideal for off-roading. You wouldn’t want to ride your pit bike on terrain that only dirt bikes can tackle, or else your bike could get damaged or you could get injured.

Another major difference is that you can get a dirt bike that can accommodate any rider, whether big or small. It’s not the same with pit bikes as they are only for small riders. Because of their huge size, dirt bikes are not ideal for narrow tracks, even as they can tackle any obstacle. Compared to pit bikes, dirt bikes aren’t as easy to move and store as pit bikes.

Pit bikes come with small frames, which give them a compact and lightweight shape. This is what makes them great for riding all over the pits of race tracks and for young riders. Their small and lightweight design makes them not ideal at all for off-roading.

Since they are very low, pit bikes can only be used on trails with little to no obstacles. But thanks to their size, moving and storing pit bikes are easier.

Speed Difference

Pit bikes don’t have the speed and power that dirt bikes have, with some dirt bikes having an engine power of about 750cc. Plus, the weight and size of the pit bike mean that they have less acceleration torque. Therefore, even if you have dirt and pit bikes with the same engine capacity, the pit bike would still be slower. However, pit bikes have the potential to go 25mph on short trails with lower gears.

On longer trails, pit bikes can attain a maximum speed of 50 mph. Pit bikes with bigger engines can reach a maximum of 75 MPH on longer trails.

Fortunately, you can increase the speed of your pit bike without affecting its torque with a few simple modifications. You can replace its original 14-tooth sprocket with a 15-tooth option. Replacing the 42-tooth rear sprocket with a 32-too sprocket can also increase its speed.

Unlike a pit bike, a dirt bike can easily attain high speeds, which is the main reason it’s ideal for racing. 400cc bikes can attain a maximum speed of about 87MPH, while the speed of 50cc bikes ranges between 25 and 40MPH.


Motorcycles are noisy, but 2-stroke pit bikes are noisier than 4-stroke pit bikes. However, dirt bikes are louder than pit bikes, thanks to their short mufflers and high RPMs. Therefore, whichever dirt bike you have, you should expect to disturb everyone around you when you ride it.


The bike’s suspensions connect the frames to its tires, and they always come with shock absorbers. The suspensions do more than link the frame to the tires; the suspensions protect the rider from bumpy rides.

Dirt bikes have more advanced suspensions than pit bikes. That’s because pit bikes don’t need advanced suspensions as they are not designed for off-roading.

Depending on the model, dirt bikes need powerful suspensions. For example, motocross bikes have long-travel suspensions that can handle high jumps at very high speeds.

Safety Considerations

Generally, pit bikes are safer since they are driven on smooth roads, have less power, and are slower. After all, the more power a bike has, the bigger the crashing potential.

Because pit bikes have less power than dirt bikes, it makes them ideal for children and learners. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be bruised when you get into an accident with a pit bike. But it won’t be as severe as the injuries you could get with a dirt bike.

How Much Is a Pit Bike, and Why Are They Cheaper Than Dirt Bikes?

Compared to dirt bikes, pit bikes are less expensive, with a new one going for about $1,200. On the other hand, the high-end dirt bikes price can go as high as $10,000.

The price of regular dirt bikes ranges from $2,000 to $5,000. The other plus for the pit bike is the cost of long-term upkeep and maintenance cost, which is significantly lower than that of dirt bikes.

After comparing the prices, you may be wondering why dirt bikes are more expensive than pit bikes! Well, the main reason why a pit bike is cheaper is that it’s not designed for tackling tough terrains and huge obstacles.

Pit bikes are not designed with competition in mind, so, manufacturers tend to use less costly materials.

Unfortunately, pit bikes can break down when used on rough terrains. Pit bikes don’t last for a very long time, but they do serve their function. In fact, teens and kids who use pit bikes always end up loving dirt biking when they grow up.

Pit bikes are perfect for beginners since they are motorized. You will feel like dirt biking but without the power of a dirt bike.

So, if you don’t have the cash to spend on a dirt bike, then you can go for a pit bike and perfect your riding skills.

Biker Rights also has a detail article on Dirt Bike Sizes.


Pit bikes are small bikes that evolved from the motorized 2-wheeled machines used in racing events in the 1940s and 50s. The fact that they were smaller and less costly to maintain makes them ideal for maneuvering in racing events.

Over the years, many riders discovered that they were fun to ride and could be used to perfect stunts and high jumps. This made most brands introduce their version of pit bikes, with Kawasaki building one for adults. Currently, pit bikes are used by teens and older children to perfect their riding skills and to introduce them to the dirt biking world.

joshua mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!