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How Fast Does a 125cc Dirt Bike Go On Dirt?

Your teenager might be pretty well keen on getting the most out of their 125cc dirt bike including its top-end maximum speed.

It can vary between models, but generally speaking, a 125cc dirt bike travels between 57 and 65 miles per hour depending on rider weight, the terrain ridden and the sprocket fitted. Most riders don’t get up to these fast speeds often as these motorcycles are typically used on motocross tracks and local forest trails by younger riders.

Yes – we’re talking highway speeds here. While they can go fast, it’s not the only characteristic you should be thinking of.

125cc Dirt Bikes Top Speed

There is several factors that will influence just how fast you can get a 125cc dirt bike to go.

These include:

  • The engine manufacturer. Generally speaking, KTM’s are going to have the best chance at hitting their claimed top speeds.
  • Body aerodynamics. Both the riding stance of the rider as well as any fairings will help you pierce thorugh the wind and have an exhilirating ride.
  • The terrain. If you’re riding on an unused airstrip, then that’s very different than say riding on a rocky outcrop area or even on an MX track.
  • Current conditions. Riding downhill or with a tailwind will dramatically increase your top end performance and thus the smile on your face.

Your weight also has an impact. There could be a 20kg difference between yourself and another rider and the heavier riders just won’t be able to win at a drag race, but will certainly fare better in the event of an accident.

Safety at Speed

You’re likely a parent that is worried about your son or daughter traveling at such high speeds on their dirt bike. Understandably so, because crashing their 125cc dirt bike probably won’t end well.

Keep in mind that in most cases, they won’t be reaching anywhere near these fast speeds. Most would be focused on maximizing lap times and improving their cornering and hill cimbing abilities at this stage.

That said, you should invest in some high quality protection gear so they can be protected in the event of a crash. You might also want to educate them on the need to remain in the lower gears as well as how to manage their throttle response. 125cc dirt bikes can accelerate pretty quickly and for the complete beginner, they might forget how to bring the motorcycle to a comfortable cruise speed.

In addition, there are dirt bike schools that better help riders develop their skills in the shortest time possible. They regularly welcome teenagers who are keen to develop into professional MX riders, or just anyone in this age group that wants to become more safer and confident riders. Indeed the parents become more confident too knowing their kids are riding more safely and within their comfort zones.

Going forward

While a 125cc dirt bike can reach highway speeds in less than 10 seconds, it’s not something that they’ll be doing often unless they live in open country. Kids at this age aren’t crazy enduro riders and are instead still learning the controls and how to handle their dirt bike effectively.

There are plenty of YouTube channels that help teenagers develop their skills and become safer riders. Check them out and stay safe out there on the trails!

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What are Enduro Dirt Bikes Exactly? A Simple Guide

When you’re getting started in the world of dirt bikes, you often get confused with some terminology such as ‘enduro’ and ‘enduro racing’.

It can certainly get a little confusing. What do they mean exactly?

Enduro in reference to dirt bikes refers to riding or racing these motorcycles over distances over 50 miles. Enduro is short for endurance and the riding terrain is more difficult, typically being sand and forest riding. This type of dirt bike riding is cross-country compared to motocross which is done on a closed-circuit and purpose-built track.

It’s slightly different than trail bike riding. These bikes are for casual riders who are just riding around flat terrain with little in the way of challenges.

Enduro Riding Defined

As Frontaer has stated, Enduro refers to taking a dirt bike on long rides in offroad conditions. These hallmarks describe this type of riding more accurately:

  1. Completely offroad and doesn’t involve the use of MX tracks
  2. Requires endurance and stamina from the rider over the day
  3. Typically is done with a 4-stroke big bore (450cc or greater)
  4. Average speeds exceed 70 miles per hour off road, with riders topping out at 100 miles.
  5. Is physically demanding. The rider is expected to push through gnarly terrain
  6. If competing in an enduro race, the rider may be riding constantly for 5+ hours.

The fatality rate is much higher here because of the intensely high speeds that riders sustain. One false move and everything comes undone.

Examples of Enduro Races

There are regular enduro races around the country and even around the world. These aren’t as popular as motocross and supercross with less media coverage. After all, the television crews need to spread right out and there isn’t enough man power. You’ll typically find helicopters following competitors in races.

Popular dirt bike enduro races include:

  1. The Dakar Rally. This is considered to be the toughest enduro rally on planet earth, and even the toughest race of anything anywhere.
  2. Baja1000. This is the most popular enduro race for North Americans and it’s held in Mexico each year.
  3. Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye. While it isn’t as long in distance, this seriously hard and requires the dirt bike rider to get over tough rocks in multiple stages of the event.
  4. Australian Off-Road Championships. This is long distance and high speeds held in several locations during the Australian winter season.
  5. Hattah Desert Race. Another challenging race in Australia which runs several long laps with plenty of dust to be enjoyed by everyone apart from the race leader.

Getting into an enduro race is no easy feat either. It’s physically demanding on both the bikes and riders, with preparations starting several months prior to competing. Famous riders in the enduro racing circuits include Ricky Brabec and Toby Price.

Most Common Enduro Dirt Bike Hallmarks

Enduro dirt bikes are sometimes slightly modified to suit the needs of racing or simply exploring for long distance.

These include:

  • Larger fuel tanks to compensate for the longer distance covered by riders.
  • Skid plates to protect the engine and sump from larger rocks from kicking up.
  • Strong handguards to protect the rider’s hands during crashes, from tree branches and to also keep the hands warmer when riding in colder weather.
  • An adventure fairing. You’ll typically see these on Dakar Motorcycles where there is a ‘cockpit’ containing a GPS, map roll and other accessories to help the rider navigate for miles and miles.
  • Hydration pack. These are worn by the riders to keep them hydrated for hours on end. Some racing events require the rider to have 2 litres of water hard-bolted to the motorcycle in case the rider gets lost and can’t be found for several days. This happened to Mark Thatcher in 1982.

KTM’s dominate the landscape when it comes to enduro riding and racing. Their range in the 300cc to 450cc range is optimum for enduro, though the 690 is a popular model too.

In Summary

Enduro is very different to MX because these dirt bikes are designed to operate at higher speeds and require tougher suspension and reliability. Yet enduro isn’t much different to trail riding. You can certainly convert your trail bike into an enduro weapon and it’s already much like an enduro bike.

After all, in the right hands, any dirt bike becomes a seriously powerful beast.

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How Fast Does a 450cc Dirt Bike Go?

Dirt bikes have come a long way in the last few decades, with increases in performance all around. Cornering, throttle response, outright max speeds and acceleration are all so much more superior.

They’re certainly getting damn fast too! Especially 450cc dirt bikes which is the most popular bike of choice for enduro and recretional riding for riders over 80kg.

450cc dirt bikes will get up to around 90 miles per hour or 150km/h before reaching the redline. This top speed is due to the gearing teeth, gearbox restrictions, terrain ridden and the aerodynamic restrictions that most dirt bikes have.

They aren’t really designed to sustain these high speeds for long periods of time in most cases. That said – Dakar Rally bikes are typically 450cc and you see these going seriously fast through the dessert. This is because they have extensive modifications to reduce bottlenecks in performance, paired with an adventure fairing which makes the rider more aerodynamic.

For most riders who are riding their general forest tracks and fire trails, such high speeds are unlikely to be seen.

Factors that Influence 450cc Dirt Bike Speeds

If you take 10 riders and put them on 10 different 450cc dirt bikes, they won’t all reach the same speed. Some will max out much earlier than the upper limit of 90 miles per hour on the dirt.

Why? There are several factors that influence how well someone will achieve these flat terrain results. These are:

  • 4-Stroke vs 2-Stroke. Generally, 4-strokes do perform better at higher speeds whereas 2-strokes are best for motocross racing. Yet the 4-stroke is a little heavier as there are more parts inside the engine to make it fire.
  • Brand of the dirt bike. A premium brand like KTM will blitz most other bikes most easily and they have the most amount of performance modifications to use. That said, they’re also might expensive too! Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, Gas Gas and Suzuki are only just behind.
  • Weight of the dirt bike. A heavier dirt bike is just going to struggle to reach such speeds. Then again, some of that weight might be performance gear designed to help it overtake the competition and win that podium position.
  • Wind drag. If you’re heading into the wind, then you’ll probably top out much sooner than the rider with a tailwind. A side wind can influence this too but it plays on the confidence of the rider more than reducing speed.
  • Rear sprocket. If you go to swap around for a smaller rear sprocket and a bigger sprocket on the front, then you’ll sacrifice some acceleration yet easily pull a few extra miles out of the top end. This does kill any chance of beating those gnarly hill climbs or beating anyone at a drag race.
  • The height and weight of the rider. If you’re weighing quite a bit, then this additional weight does slow the bike down obviously. If you’re a taller rider, then you’ve got more body area that needs to push through the wind. Shorter and lighter riders are more likely to win any speed records.

Then there is the little stuff like excess plastics, the amount of fuel left in the tank and how much tread is left on the tyres. While small, these do play a part.

Top Speeds aren’t the goal

Sure, you might be impressed by getting yourself up to almost 100 miles per hour on the dirt, but this is seriously dangerous and in the realms of the most experienced enduro competitor. In the real world, dirt bikes aren’t designed for this and are really built to have fast acceleration and the ability to get through gnarly tracks.

If you’re in the market for a dirt bike today, then don’t buy one simply because the salesman sales it goes fast. What you’ll want is a bike that you can still throw around and breezes through the corners paired with excellent suspension and solid control.

Road-based motorcycles are better suited for claiming top speed records than dirt bikes. If you still want the feeling, then a dual-sport bike like the KTM990 could be exactly what you need to get your thrill. It has a seriously good adventure fairing and makes for the perfect adventure motorcycle that’s at home on the dirt roads as much as it is on the highway.

Enjoy dirt bike riding for what is and realize that even at 50 miles per hour, that’s seriously enough to bring a smile to your face. And it’s seriously enough speed to land you in hospital for life too. Ride for long enough and you’ll realize that aiming for these fast speeds aren’t the end goal.

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Can You Ride A Dirt Bike On The Road?

If you’re brand new to the world of these crazy dirt bikes, you’re probably wondering if they can be ridden on the street.

You certainly can ride a dirt bike on the road in North America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and much of Europe. Dirt bikes become legally-ridden vehicles once they are fitted with a headlight, horn, registration plate, brake lights, mirrors and indicators. The rider will also need to have a licence and the dirt bike registration must be valid.

This assumes that the specific dirt bike is DOT-approved. Some motocross motorcycles aren’t able to get registered and are therefore prohibited from riding on any public land.

Dirt Bike Riding on the Road

So while it’s certainly possible to ride a dirt bike on public roads across the country, would you actually want to do it? Probably not.

There are extensive opportunities to find offroad tracks to ride. Sometimes you don’t have a trailer to get to and from these tracks, so it sounds feasible to simply ride there on your dirt bike.

Now – riding for a long distance isn’t fun. You see – dirt bikes are designed for the rough stuff and they don’t perform well on the bitumen. Those knobby tyres make things a little jittery especially when it starts raining.

You need to be wary of other road riders as they don’t expec to see dirt bikes riding on the roads. These machines are most commonly found on the local forest trails and away from civilisation. Try and avoid lane slipping otherwise this could happen:

Some riders really love the look of dirt bikes and turn their dirt bikes into their daily commuter. They actually go and change the tyres and it turns into a motard motorcycle. These are essentially dirt bikes with road tyres, and sometimes a sprocket change to allow for better gearing on highways.

Difference in Capacities

There is a difference between the engine capacity because the bigger bore dirt bikes are better for riding at higher speeds such as highways. For example, a 450cc will be much more comfortable as you won’t be maxing out the revs at 70 miles per hour while you will be revving high with a 250cc dirt bike.

Likewise, anything 600cc and greater will be comfortable enough for highway cruising. Those tyres won’t be comfortable compared to say dual-sport motorcycle tyres which aren’t anywhere near knobby.

The Main Hazard

The main hazard and why we don’t recommend dirt bike riding on public roads is heavy rain. This makes things slippery due to the oil line. After all, the tires are designed for gripping gnarly rocks and dirt roads and need to dig down for traction.

Sometimes you’ll feel like your dirt bike is slipping from underneath you. Some riders simply pull over and wait it out until it stops raining. Likewise, they will find a different route like low-speed residential streets with less traffic without the pressure of riding on high speed highways. This applies to dry and wet conditions.

Our recommendation

Take your dirt bike on the road for a short period of time. Sticking to one speed on the bitumen for too long leads to premature wear and tear. Avoid using your dirt bike as a daily commuter and leave it for the offroad tracks and trails.

Some riders choose to have 2 motorcycles – 1 for the road and 1 for the dirt. A wise choice if you can afford it and enjoy riding daily. Likewise, you could get a trailer and not have to worry about the risk of riding a dirt-orientated motorcycle on the road.

In essence – it can be done and it’s done often, but it isn’t ideal.

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How to Convert a Dirt Bike to a Supermoto

Converting your dirt bike to a Supermoto which is street-legal will certainly draw some attention, and hopefully the right attention.

The best part is that you’ll be able to make more use out of your motorcycle. This all starts with the conversion process, and here’s basically how to do it:

To convert a dirt bike to a supermoto, you’ll need to replace the wheels and tyres. Additionally, the gearing ratio/sprockets will need to be replaced different teeth which allow for highway speeds. Lastly, the most often-forgotten replacement when converting to a Motard is the braking system which needs to be upgraded to handle these higher speeds.

That’s the process in a nut shell and most people can do the conversion at home on their own. Simply fire up YouTube and watch some tutorials.

The simple process is:

  1. Place your dirt bike on a stand and remove the front and rear tires.
  2. Replace the gearing sprockets which a ratio which is more road-friendly.
  3. Fit the new motard tires on to your dirt bike and if necessary, replace the brakes.

This won’t take more than a few hours especially if you’ve worked on motorcycles before.

Why Supermotard?

You might be wondering why you’re seeing these perfectly capable dirt weapons being used for riding around on the bitumen. They look a little silly with those low-profile tyres.

The reasons that someone would convert their dirt bike to a supermoto include:

  • Make more use out of their dirt bike. They can use it for commuting to and from work when otherwise their dirt bike may have only been used for weekends exploring trails during the warmer months.
  • They just look mean. Seriously – rocking up to the city centre on a dirt bike just speaks of ‘I own this space’ more than the dude on the bobber or cafe racer. Then again, ADV riders will shake their heads and cruise on past.
  • The process is inexpensive. You can do a supermoto conversion for less than $1,000 which means you don’t need to outlay capital for another motorcycle. Winning!
  • Lane-splitting on dirt bikes is easier than larger motorcycles. If you fancy getting to and from work quicker, then you’ll want to do this ASAP.
  • The only way to ride a 2-stroke legally on the road. While you can ride with those thick knobby tyres on, you’ll feel way more comfortable and confident with some slicks.

They are also used in racing competitions though this industry is quite small. If you are looking to get into racing on the bitumen, then this is a cheap way to have some thrills.

Most Common Supermoto/Motard Motorcycles

So what are riders actually using as a base model to do their conversion? Well, we had a look around and came across these several bikes:

  1. Yamaha WR250F. Yes, this was a popular dirt bike from years ago and has been replaced with the 250R. If you can buy one of the former for pretty cheap, then it becomes the ideal daily commuter weapon.
  2. Honda CRF250F. Of course, the twin-brother of Yamaha is in on the deal too with dozens of bikes having through this conversion. You’ll definitely want to change the sprockets on both these bikes because they’re 250’s and not really geared for the highway.
  3. KTM525EXC. No one knew how good these bikes handled on the road until they started to change them over to supermoto. When it happened, the industry exploded and you won’t need to make that many modifications at all. This also happens to make an excellent base for an adventure motorcycle.
  4. Husqvarna 701. Alright – these aren’t actually a converted bike. You see – Husky realized that so many people were doing these conversions that they released a model that’s already been done. This has been out for around 5 years now. If you’ve been holding off from a conversion, maybe you may want to buy this outright.
  5. KTM690. Yes, twice on this list is a KTM and this dual-sport trail weapon is great for a conversion. Add in an adventure fairing and you have a very road-capable motorcycle that can still keep up on the single track in the right hands.

Final thoughts

There you have it. The process isn’t too hard and there are some good models in which to launch your conversion. The biggest modification is simply replacing the wheels with new slicks.

Now, you may be wondering if you can reverse a conversion. As in, is this change permanent. Fortunately, you can take a supermoto and reverse it back into a dirt bike or motocross machine very quickly. Keep your old tyres.

In fact, what some riders do is supermoto their bike in the winter months, then convert it back to a dirt bike for the super months. This means you have full use of the same bike for 12 months straight. Super winning!

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