Motocross is not a cheap sport. When you decide to go racing — or even learn how to ride aggressively — you want to make sure your dollars are well-spent.
We’ve compiled a list of our top five motocross bike brands to help you make the right decision. Every rider is different, and it’s possible that with experience, you’ll develop an affinity for a niche brand or specific style of bike.
However, for the majority of needs and teams out there, these brands will provide the performance, support and reliability you need.
A name synonymous with motorsports and high performance, Yamaha has been producing dirt bikes since its founding in 1955. They build ultra-capable, peppy machines that use innovative technology such as their reverse-cylinder engine, which optimizes weight distribution and improves handling.
Pricing for Yamaha bikes isn’t so high as to become exclusive, but there are so many out there that you can easily pick one up secondhand and start your career affordably.
Tons of aftermarket support exists, and no matter what challenges you come across, you’ll find advice about how to resolve them on a forum or online article. You can quickly get back to riding instead of chasing down obscure parts or attempting repairs you’re unsure of.
One of the world’s most recognizable automakers is also a celebrated member of the off-road community. Honda dirt bikes are known for being robust and easy to work on, while still offering serious performance — as their prominence in the professional racing scene will attest.
If there’s one brand you’ll have no trouble finding on the secondhand market, it’s Honda. Even more so than Yamaha, these well-made rides last a lifetime when you treat them right.
One of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, Suzuki is better known for its two-wheeled products than their cars. If that makes you more confident sporting their colorful bikes, you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Suzukis have been recognized as great options for beginning riders and have served racing champions like Ricky Carmichael and Ryan Dungey. Some enthusiasts choose only to ride the S-brand’s equipment.
Kawasaki is better known for their street-going bikes like the Ninja and Hayabusa. These powerful, sleek rides helped bring the sportbike revolution to the world back in the 1980s. However, the same athleticism and keen engineering that make Ninja sportbikes superb performers have helped Kawasaki stake its claim in the world of off-road riding.
Their lineup includes a nice mix of competition-spec and trail-spec bikes, and their uniqueness has earned them a cult following similar to Suzuki.
KTM should pat itself on the back as the only marque to make this list not hailing from the Land of The Rising Sun. Japanese bikemakers are indeed highly capable and hard to compete with. They’re also some of the largest on the planet — which is all the more reason to notice the Austrian brand KTM’s mention here.
If you’re willing to pay a little more for a great-looking ride that still offers the performance and reliability of the other brands listed here, KTM is your go-to. It’s a choice that separates you from the pack — but in a good way. KTM bikes are known for being torquey, robust and very good-looking.
Choosing Your First Bike
Many readers of this article will be new to the sport, and we must address that. While everything here can apply to any seasoned rider, the implications for a new motorcyclist are huge. The question you’ll need to answer as a new rider is, “Do I go new or used?”
Even if you can afford a new bike, you still might be better served by a used one. That’s because, as a new rider, your bike will endure a few spills and some rough treatment as you become more proficient. These two-wheelers are major investments, and even a used one constitutes a significant purchase. For that reason, you should explore your financing options.
Financing a Dirt Bike
You’d be excused if you didn’t know that financing a dirt bike was an option. After all, this ride won’t be your primary means of getting to work and back the way a commuter car is. But there are still ways you can procure some financial help to get riding.
If you would like to finance your next two-wheeler, be sure you fully understand the options and sources of funding available. As with any loan, the best way to ensure you can get the help you want is to protect your credit. If you don’t know what your current credit score is, find out and learn what you can do to bring it as high as possible before requesting a loan. That will ensure you get the most money at the best possible rate, which ultimately means more bike for you.
Start Racing With Your New Ride
With all of the options available, there’s never been a better time to explore the world of Motocross! The rise of competitions like the X-Games and arena Supercross racing has given the industry a shot in the arm, and you get the benefit of being spoiled for choice when it comes to new bikes.
Which will you go for? Is there a brand we neglected to mention here that you feel should have made the list? Let us know in the comments section and keep the rubber side down!