Why Do They Call it a Pit Bike, and Why is It So Cheap? - Risk Racing

April 26, 2021 5 min read

You may have heard the term “pit bike” and became curious about what this type of bike is. Pit bikes have been around for a long time, with origins that go back to dirt bike races. Pit bikes are actually an item that is hotly debated, as many experts can’t seem to agree on what a pit bike really is. 

Pit bikes are an excellent option, especially for beginners or teenagers, because they are smaller and don’t typically go as fast as full-size dirt bikes.

So, why do they call it a “pit bike,” and why are they so cheap? Here’s a quick answer to both of these questions:

  • They are called “pit bikes” because the bike's origins go back to those tiny bikes that maneuver around the pits during motocross events. 
  • These bikes are often so cheap because they are designed for recreational use, not necessarily for competitive racing.

The goal here is to help you understand everything you need to know about pit bikes, including why they are so cheap. You can also learn about the different age ranges that can appropriately ride a pit bike.

Why Do They Call it a Pit Bike?

One of the first questions you may have is why they call this type of bike a pit bike. This term's origin is believed to come from the Honda Z50 Monkey bike, an old-school motorcycle that was typically used by the event staff of motocross race events. 

These bikes were used by the event staff in order to easily maneuver around the pit areas of the tracks. The pit bikes were small and inexpensive, making them the practical choice for getting around these events. They would ferry the riders, event staff, and even photographers throughout the staging areas of racing events. 

It was eventually discovered that these bikes were more useful than just a taxi bike to be used during events. Riders were able to do small stunts and jumps using these bikes, something that made these bikes become very popular for fans. They were able to see the true potential of these bikes.

Once these bikes exploded in popularity, Honda redesigned this original pit bike to be a more “capable” bike than the traditional pit bikes. Brands like Kawasaki also wanted to take advantage of the market, creating their own pit bike model: the Kawasaki KLX110. This bike was made to appeal to adult riders as it was bigger and more durable than other options on the market.

Why Are Pit Bikes So Cheap?

This is a more complicated question to answer. Generally speaking, pit bikes are so cheap because these are not usually designed for competitive racing or to be quite as durable as the more rugged dirt bikes. 

Cheaper models of this bike (which are manufactured in a cheap manner) are more designed as a toy rather than a serious bike. As a result, they tend to break quicker, not lasting the rider a long time. These cheaper models are made for children and teens or for beginners that may not want to spend a fortune on a dirt bike without knowing whether or not they will like it.

There are pit bikes that are much cheaper, typically Chinese-made bikes that are made specifically to be a toy for children. Some of these cheaper bikes can be as low as $200 dollars. However, you will get exactly what you pay for when you buy these much cheaper options. 

For a quality option like the Kawasaki KLX 110, you can expect to pay around $2,300. This is a compact option that goes around 50 MPH, but it will last you a lot longer than the standard pit bike options on the market. If you want a smaller dirt bike with the same function of a regular dirt bike, then the Kawasaki KLX 110 can be the perfect option to consider.

How Do You Transport a Pit Bike?

Pit bikes are smaller, making them easier to transport than dirt bikes. Because they are smaller than a standard dirt bike, and can be squeezed into much smaller, tighter spaces. But once they are in one of these spaces, the trick can then be how to tie them down with traditional straps.

Because of the limitations of straps, the best thing to pair up with a pit bike is a quick release dirt bike transport system like the Lock-N-Load Pro.

The system consists of a near flush to the surface mounting base that stays bolted down in your vehicle. Then you slide the two mounting arms into that base. Now that your pit bike into place, unlock the mounting jaws down onto your foot pegs and you're good to go.

It's super easy in and out use and can be cleverly mounted just about anywhere you can find a place to mount your pit bike.


How Fast Do Pit Bikes Go?

On average, a pit bike can potentially reach speeds of up to 50 MPH. There are different factors that can determine the speed of the pit bike, such as the engine size. A 50cc bike on lower gears can reach a top speed of between 15MPH and 20MPH. Pit bikes with an engine size of 140cc can get a high gear top speed of 60 MPH. 

Another consideration for how fast a pit bike can go is the sprocket gearing. This can increase the speed of a pit bike, with a potential of 50MPH in high gear for a 50cc bike. There are also modifications that can be completed on your pit bike, with some modifications adding 5MPH speed for your pit bike. Finally, the experience of the rider can determine the speeds. An adult with a lot of experience will go a lot faster than a teenager just starting out.

You can determine the average speed of your bike by performing time trials, like those that take place in video games. You will take 3 laps of the course while someone times you, giving you enough data to come up with the average speed of the bike. 

How Old Do You Need to be to Ride a Pit Bike?

You may be surprised to find out that kids as young as 3 or 4 can start riding a pit bike, as long as they are properly supervised during the process. When they are 5 or 6, you can start teaching them to do very small jumps or ride without the training wheels. 

When you are purchasing a pit bike for your child, you need to be careful and pick an appropriate bike for their age. You don’t want a bike that is too powerful for them. Ideally, you should stick to an engine option of around 50cc for a kid. Be sure to get the right protective gear as well to ensure that your child is as safe as possible while riding their pit bike. Older kids and bigger kids can handle a bit more power.

While kids can be younger and learn how to ride a pit bike, you do want to be careful and make sure that you offer the right amount of guidance and setup to keep your child as safe as possible as they ride their new pit bike. 

Conclusion

Pit bikes tend to have a reputation for being low quality toy bikes that can’t hold up to a standard dirt bike. In many cases this is true; pit bikes are smaller, less durable, and tend to not go quite as fast. However, pit bikes can stand up to a bit more of an adventure than others. You get exactly what you pay for when you buy pit bikes, which is why it can be a good idea to spend a little more if you want more longevity out of your pit bike. 


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