Dirt bikes; it is a phrase that conjures up images of motocross racing and whiny engines zipping past in the late summer heat. Yet, what makes a dirt bike a dirt bike? How is it different from a motorcycle, a moped, or a motocross bike? Why the emphasis on the word, "dirt"? Knowing more and understanding what this sport is about will help you decide if you are willing to buy your teenager a dirt bike for his/her birthday.
Dirt Bikes Have All-Terrain Wheels
These bikes are built with small, fat tires so that riders can go over any terrain and still avoid rocks and pitfalls on the ground. Their all-terrain wheels can go over hilly, bumpy, dry, rocky, and sloppy wet mud areas. The tires cannot get stuck, and they quickly steer around dangerous objects ahead. This is what separates them from full-sized motorcycles, mopeds, and motocross bikes that typically cannot go over any terrain.
Dirt Bikes Are ATVS on Two Wheels
An ATV is massive, heavy, and clunky and has four wheels. It can go anywhere, almost. Dirt bikes, on the other hand, can do what an ATV can. Dirt bikes can go anywhere, even narrow places an ATV cannot. You can go off-roading through woods, over hills, and through mud puddles, but at the end of the day, only a dirt bike can take you through canyons and narrow passages between rocky cliffs to explore.
Dirt Bikes Have Many Different Sizes of Gas Tanks and Engine CCs
The smallest engine/CC tank on a dirt bike is 70cc. The largest is 350cc. Motorcycles have engines and tanks a few sizes up from that. Mopeds fall right between dirt bikes and motorcycles. The reasons for all of the differences in sizes and capacities is that mopeds and motorcycles are street-legal, meaning that they meet and match the legal criteria for driving on the street. Most dirt bikes are not street-legal, hence they are meant for driving on the dirt or on dirt paths and not on asphalt streets or concrete.
Dirt Bikes Have Chains
Yup, try to find a chain on a moped or motorcycle, and you will not find it. Motocross bikes have chains too, but motocross bikes can only be used for motocross racing and sports. Motocross bikes are only legal to ride in motocross stadiums and for competitions. Dirt bikes are purely outdoor recreational vehicles, but they still need their chains to keep their motors and wheels running and moving.