Up first on our top is the 2020 Freeride 250 F bike by KTM. This off-road bike offers solid performance at a not too high price.
Powered by a 4-stroke 249.91cc engine, the Freeride 250 F dirt bike delivers controllable power. That’s because compared to 2-stroke engines, 4-stroke engines provide smoother power delivery, allowing for easier control throughout the entire power band.
To top it off, you are getting a 6-speed transmission, which is pretty typical of this bike class.
The engine in this thing is liquid-cooled, which implies better reliability during longer rides. Not that air-cooled engines aren’t reliable, but liquid cooling allows for a little better cooling performance.
The suspension on this off-road bike is excellent. The front and rear suspension systems are both fully adjustable, and they boast 9.84 and 10.24 inches of travel respectively, which is great for this bike glass. The ground clearance is also about 12.8 inches, which is plenty as well.
For solid braking performance, the Freeride 250 F dirt bike is equipped with 260mm and 220mm disc brakes in the front and rear respectively. These are pretty effective disc brakes, and they are going to perform much better than the drum brakes found on many of the cheaper dirt bike options.
What we also like about this bike is its weight – it just weighs around 217 pounds without fuel, much lighter than some of the other dirt bikes on our list. This is a big benefit since weight can play a huge role on the track.
With that said, it should be mentioned that this isn’t a full-blooded trail bike – it’s a trial & trail combo, as KTM claims. It’s pretty light, but its suspension isn’t as good as in comparable trail bikes. Whether this is good or bad is up to you to decide.
The Honda 2020 CRF450X trail bike is an absolute powerhouse. Sporting a 449cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke engine, the CRF450X trail bike offers controllable power for those who need top off-road performance.
The engine here is again liquid-cooled to allow for increased long-term reliability, and you are also getting a wide-ratio 6-speed transmission to control what this beast has to offer.
What’s pretty remarkable about the CRF450X’s engine is its compression ratio – 12.0:1 is quite high. It implies better fuel efficiency, but it also means that you will have to use more expensive higher-octane fuel to run this trail bike.
Like in the 250 F dirt bike, the CRF450X boasts suspension with adjustable rebound, compression, and a few other settings. Unfortunately, Honda doesn’t seem to provide info on the suspension travel, so we can’t really make comparisons with the 250 F bike. We know that the clearance is 12.7 inches though, close to what the KTM 250 F has.
The brakes here are again disc brakes, but the rear brakes are 20 mm larger than in the 250 F bike, which means that the CRF450X trail bike should deliver overall better braking performance.
When it comes to price and weight though, the KTM bike is better. Well, are 275 pounds of weight surprising given the huge 449cc engine? Or is it a surprise that this thing costs close to $10,000? Not really.
For those who do need such power though, the price of this trail bike should be worth it.
The Honda 2017 CRF250X is priced close to the KTM 250 F off-road bike, but since it’s a full-blooded trail bike, plenty of things are very different in it.
The differences between the two bikes mostly come down to the suspension. The engines appear to be similar (including the bore & stroke sizes), though the transmission here is wide-ratio 5-speed. Honda also indicates a compression ratio of 12.9:1, but we can’t compare it with what the KTM bike has since we don’t have the numbers for its compression ratio.
With that said, the suspension here is plain better. It’s adjustable, and it has 12.4 inches of travel both in the rear and front, much higher than in the KTM bike. The same applies to the ground clearance – standing at 13.6 inches, the ground clearance here is 0.8 inches higher than in the 250 F dirt bike.
The brakes here are also solid, with both wheels coming equipped with 240mm disc brakes (the front brake also has a twin-piston caliper). We’d say that the braking performance in this bike is comparable to that of the KTM dirt bike.
What you may dislike about this trail bike is its weight – this bike weighs 254 pounds. Well, this isn’t too bad for a trail bike actually, but the KTM bike is so light that 254 pounds seem very heavy. But while this bike is heavier, it promises considerably better off-road performance thanks to its suspension.
Rather beefy liquid-cooled engine.
Powerful disc brakes.
Widely adjustable suspension with plenty of travel.
Much less expensive than the CRF250X trail bike, the CRF230F still has plenty of benefits to boast.
First off, the 4-stroke motor here is sized at 223cc. While this is far off the 449cc offered by the CRF450X trail bike, it’s still plenty if you are looking for speed. The 6-speed transmission will also provide you with good control over this bike’s power band.
The compression ratio in the CRF230F trail bike is 9.0:1, which is much lower than in the pricier Honda trail bikes. However, that’s still plenty, and the engine of this thing is still going to be pretty fuel-efficient.
The suspension here is quite decent – the front and rear suspension systems have 9.5 and 9 inches of travel respectively, and you can also adjust the spring preload in the rear. This is quite solid, though nowhere near what pricier trail bikes have.
The ground clearance is 11.7 inches which, albeit great, is again less than in pricier Honda trail bikes. The same applies to braking performance – the 240mm disc in the front and the drum in the back do ensure solid braking, but nothing really special.
With that said, given that the CRF230F costs half the price of the CRF450X trail bike, what you are getting here is excellent.
Moving our way towards lower-end Honda trail bikes! This time, we have the 2017 CRF150F, which is far from being the cheapest trail bike in Honda’s line but is relatively inexpensive.
At the heart of this trail bike is an air-cooled 149cc 4-stroke engine. 149cc isn’t much, but it’s still plenty for having fun off the road.
The compression ratio in this trail bike’s engine is 9.5:1, which is even higher than in the CRF230F trail bike. This should mean that the CRF150F is more fuel-efficient, especially given that it has a smaller engine.
The suspension in this trail bike is on a decent level – the travel in the rear and front suspension is 8.9 and 9.1 inches respectively. You also get a good 10.1-inch ground clearance, which should be quite enough for a variety of off-road conditions. On the other hand, the suspension in this trail bike appears not to be adjustable, which may be a downside for some people.
The brake configuration here is the same as in the CRF230F trail bike – you have a 240mm front disc and a rear drum brake. Given that this trail bike isn’t as powerful as the CRF230F bike, the brakes are going to work much better in it.
In the end, the CRF150F is a fairly solid choice of a trail bike if you want a decently powerful model for not so much money. This trail bike has some limitations compared to the more expensive Honda bikes, but it’s a solid buy for the money nonetheless.
The CRF125F Big Wheel trail bike is a variant of the CRF125F bike (which we didn’t include in our review) with larger wheels – 19 & 16 inches in the front and rear vs the 17 & 14 inches in the regular bike. The bigger wheels make the seat around an inch higher, as well as may allow the bike to absorb curbs a little better.
The engine of this trail bike is a small 124.9cc air-cooled 4-stroke unit that delivers a decent amount of power. The CRF125F bike’s engine is paired with a 4-speed transmission which provides good control over the produced power, though it’s less flexible than the 5- or 6-speed units found on pricier Honda trail bikes.
Thanks to the 9.0:1 compression ratio, you could expect pretty good fuel efficiency from this bike. Add to this the small engine size, and you are getting a trail bike that isn’t as “greedy” as more powerful models.
Aside from the engine, Honda has sacrificed a couple of other things to make this dirt bike cheaper. Namely, you are getting suspension with shallower travel – 5.9 inches in the front and 6.6 inches in the rear.
This is still pretty good, but the CRF125F Big Wheel’s suspension won’t be as great off the road as more expensive trail bikes. Plus, you can’t adjust the suspension settings on this bike.
The 10.3-inch ground clearance should still provide a good amount of flexibility on the road, which is definitely nice.
Finally, in terms of braking performance, the CRF125F Big Wheel trail bike is quite good – it has got a 220mm disc brake paired with a drum disc brake. The braking performance here is going to be weaker than in the CRF150F trail bike, but it should be solid.
Being the second least expensive trail bike in Honda’s line, the 2020 CRF110F is a pretty nice option for younger riders. This is because it has a lower seat height of 25.9 inches (around 5-10 inches lower than in the more expensive Honda models), and it also has a not too powerful 109cc 4-stroke engine.
Paired with this is the high compression ratio of 9.0:1, which could allow you to save money on fuel in the long run.
If you are particularly worried about off-road performance, then know that it’s pretty good in the CRF110F trail bike. It’s nowhere as good as in middle- or high-end Honda bikes, but it’s great for the price.
Honda has equipped this trail bike with suspension that has 5.9 inches of travel in the front and 6.6 inches in the rear. Combine this with the 10.3-inch ground clearance (which would be great even in a pricier bike), and you get off-road performance that should satisfy plenty of people.
The brakes, on the other hand, are less effective here – you are getting drum brakes both in the rear and front. These will do their job perfectly though since the dirt bike isn’t too powerful, so this isn’t really a downside.
The 2020 CRF50F trail/dirt bike by Honda is a kids’ dirt bike, but we decided to include it here anyway. If you happen to be looking for a dirt or trail bike for your child, this one is an excellent option, especially given that it’s quite inexpensive.
The engine here is sized at 49cc, which is great since you don’t want your kid to go too fast. Not only that, but the 4-stroke cycle of this engine implies smoother power delivery. Not that the trail bikes we’ve already overviewed don’t have 4-stroke engines, but it’s a much more important feature for kids than adults.
What is also a nice thing about this kids’ bike is its 10.0:1 compression ratio which, as you already know, implies increased fuel efficiency.
In terms of off-road performance, the CRF50F dirt bike is good enough – 3.5 and 2.8 inches of travel in the front and rear respectively are quite decent for a kids’ bike. The 5.6-inch ground clearance should also allow your child to traverse uneven terrain confidently.
What’s not the best in this dirt bike is its 3-speed transmission – a single-speed transmission would be better for a kids’ dirt bike. Gear shifting may be quite distracting for children.
Aside from that, the CRF50F trail bike lacks a push-button electric starter system, a feature that all other Honda trail bikes have. Your kid will have to use the kickstarter to get this thing going.
A great option for kids.
Nice off-road performance.
The 3-speed transmission will be a distraction for children.
Let’s now switch from Honda to Yamaha. And the first trail bike we’ll overview from this manufacturer is the TT-R230, which is the most powerful model in the line. However, since it has a 223cc 4-stroke engine, we’ll compare it with the CRF230F trail bike from Honda.
The engines and transmissions in the two trail bikes are pretty similar – you are getting a 223cc 4-stroke engine and a 6-speed transmission in both bikes. With that said, the bore & stroke configuration is a bit different between the bikes.
The Yamaha trail bike has a 70mm bore and 58mm stroke size, while the Honda trail bike has 65.5 mm and 66.2 mm respectively. The shorter stroke size in the Yamaha bike implies decreased fuel consumption and quicker revving to max RPM, but it also means less power and torque.
The larger bore evens things out a little though by adding more power to the trail bike’s engine.
By the way, the reason why we can compare the bore sizes & stroke lengths between these two models is that the engines are sized the same. If they were different, we wouldn’t be able to do a direct comparison.
The compression ratio in the Yamaha trail bike is 9.5:1, which is slightly better than in the Honda CRF230F bike. This should mean better fuel efficiency in this bike.
In terms of suspension performance, the two trail bikes are pretty close – the Yamaha TT-R230 dirt bike has 9.4 and 8.7 inches of travel in the front and rear, while Honda CRF230F had 9.5 and 9 inches respectively. The Honda dirt bike may thus be a little better, though the difference shouldn’t be too big.
The ground clearance is nearly the same – 11.6 inches in this bike and 11.7 inches in Honda’s model.
As for the brakes, they are a little better in the Honda bike since the front disc brake is 20 mm bigger. The rear brakes in both dirt bikes are drum systems.
So all in all, comparing this trail bike to Honda’s CRF230F, we can say that it’s going to accelerate a little quicker and will probably be more fuel-efficient. Honda’s trail bike, on the other hand, has better torque, which may matter more to some people.
Up next, we have Yamaha’s 124cc trail bike, the TT-R125LE. This model is going to compete with Honda’s CRF125 Big Wheel model (and also the regular CRF125).
The engine and cylinder configurations are very similar, and the small difference between the bore & stroke sizes isn’t going to mean a lot. The transmission though is 5-speed here, while Honda’s trail bike has a 4-speed transmission, which is going to matter to some people.
With that said, the Yamaha trail bike should be noticeably more fuel-efficient since it has a higher 10.0:1 compression ratio.
In terms of suspension, there are some noticeable differences between the two bikes as well. The travel in Yamaha TT-R125LE is longer in the front – 7.1 vs 5.9 inches – while the rear is the same 6.6 inches. Yamaha’s model thus is going to be a little better off the road.
The ground clearance is also just 0.1 inches better in Yamaha’s model, which shouldn’t make much of a difference.
As for the brakes, the performance of the two trail bikes should be similar since their brake configuration seems to be identical.
Needless to say, Yamaha’s TT-R110E trail bike is going to compete with Honda’s CRF110F.
Like it was with the 123cc models, the differences in the engines are minimal, aside from the slightly higher compression rate in the Yamaha trail bike – 9.3:1 vs Honda’s 9.0:1. Aside from that, there isn’t much to cover here – we’ll instead jump straight to the suspension.
Well, Honda’s 109cc trail bike is the clear winner here – Yamaha’s 4.5 & 4.3 inches (front and rear) of travel versus Honda’s 5.9 & 6.6 inches are pretty telling. Besides, you have a shallower 7.1-inch ground clearance, which means that this trail bike isn’t going to be as great as the Honda CRF110F.
The brake performance should be similar though since both trail bikes have drum brakes in the front and rear.
Where Yamaha’s trail bike does have an edge is weight – the wet weight of TT-R110E is 159 pounds, 11 pounds lighter than the Honda CRF110F. This means that if you don’t need suspension travel as much and want a lighter trail bike, then this one may be a better option for you.
The DR-Z70 off-road bike by Suzuki is going to be a nice option for older children who already have some experience with dirt bikes. The 67cc 4-stroke engine in this guy is a little too powerful for a newbie kid, which is why we think it’s a better option for someone more skilled.
Another thing that supports our point is the 3-speed transmission which is going to be easier to manage for someone who’s already pretty good with dirt bikes.
With that said, what you as a parent may like about this dirt bike is the 9.5:1 compression ratio which implies solid fuel efficiency.
Another great thing about this dirt bike is the electric starter. The electric starter is not a must-have at this level since your kid should already be good with off-road bikes, but it will make things a bit convenient.
In terms of suspension, the DR-Z70 dirt bike is decent – it has 3.8 inches of front suspension travel and 5.3 inches of ground clearance. As for the rear suspension, Suzuki doesn’t provide figures on it, so we can’t say how good it will be.
Overall, this dirt bike is a pretty good option for a child who has already had some experience with off-road bikes. Besides, it may be a good option for an older kid.
The Suzuki 2020 DR-Z50 is yet another dirt bike option for kids. As such, it is going to be an alternative to Honda’s CRF50F trail bike we’ve overviewed earlier. There aren’t too many things different between these two kids’ dirt bikes, but the differences they have are crucial enough.
The engines aren’t too different in the two kids’ dirt bikes – they have the same 49cc size, their bore size & stroke lengths are very close, and they both have a 3-speed transmission, which isn’t the best option for kids. The compression ratios are also pretty close – 9.7:1 in Suzuki’s bike isn’t too far off Honda’s 10.0:1.
The suspension, on the other hand, appears to be a bit better in Suzuki’s dirt bike. The front suspension travel here is 3.8 inches vs Honda CRF50F’s 3.6 inches, though the clearance is 0.3 inches shorter at 5.3 inches. However, since we again don’t have figures on the rear suspension, we can’t say for sure how good or bad Suzuki’s dirt bike will be in comparison.
A pretty big benefit for the Suzuki DR-Z50 dirt bike is the convenient push-button electric starter. It’s a minor feature, but it is an advantage over Honda’s dirt bike that doesn’t have it.
With that said, the electric starter is going to be one of the appealing features of this bike. If it’s important to you, then this dirt bike should be a better option than Honda’s CRF50F.
Kawasaki’s 2020 140G off-road bike is pretty close to the Honda CRF150F trail bike, though it costs just a tad less. With that said, it has a few goodies that may interest you.
In terms of power, the two dirt bikes are pretty similar. 140G’s 4-stroke engine is 5cc smaller than in Honda CRF150F, but this shouldn’t make too big of a difference. The same applies to the 5-speed transmission present in the two models, as well as to the 9.5:1 compression ratio that’s the same in both dirt bikes.
But when it comes to the suspension, the 140G is pretty interesting.
On one hand, you have shorter travel in the front and rear forks – 7.5 & 7.9 inches vs Honda’s 9.1 & 8.9 inches. On the other hand, 140G’s ground clearance is 2.3 inches taller, which could allow you to operate this dirt bike more confidently.
Not only that, but the rear spring preload in this dirt bike is adjustable, while Honda CRF150F appears not to have adjustable suspension at all.
The brakes here are better as well – you have 220mm and 186mm disc brakes in the front and rear respectively, while CRF150F only has a front 240mm disc brake and a drum rear brake.
So all in all, while the raw suspension performance isn’t as good in the Kawasaki 140G, the taller clearance, the adjustable rear spring preload, and disc brakes could make you a little more confident on this dirt bike.
Finally, we have the Kawasaki KLX230R, which is a nice alternative to the Yamaha TT-R230 and Honda CRF230F trail bikes we’ve overviewed earlier.
In terms of engine performance, this dirt bike is very close to the Honda CRF230F. What this means, in particular, is that the KLX230R dirt bike is going to be better in the lower RPM range than Yamaha’s TT-R230.
The compression ratio here is 9.4:1, which is a little worse than Yamaha’s 9.5:1 but better than Honda’s 9.0:1.
When it comes to suspension performance, the KLX230R dirt bike is better than both Yamaha’s and Honda’s models. The travel here is 9.8 & 9.9 inches in the front and rear respectively, which is from 0.5 to 1 inch better than in the Yamaha and Honda dirt bikes. You also have a little taller ground clearance of 11.8 inches.
Finally, the braking performance is better as well since you have a 240mm disc brake in the front and a 220mm brake in the rear, whereas the other two dirt bikes only have a disc brake in the front.
What all of the above means is that the KLX230R dirt bike is a nice option if you want great brakes and great suspension. Not that the Honda and Yamaha models were bad, but Kawasaki’s dirt bike is just a little better in these areas.
Quite powerful 233cc engine.
Highly effective disc brakes.
Great off-road performance.
Choosing a trail bike isn’t easy since there are plenty of variables at play.
First off, you have the technical stuff. Then, you will also have to worry about things like seat height or starter systems. Besides, you will need to consider your budget when choosing a trail bike.
We’ve tried to introduce the overview of dirt bikes to you as fully as possible. But you will need to do some technical research on your own to understand dirt bikes a little bit better. And once you do, you should be able to find that best trail bike.
Hi, my name is Jonathan Holmes, an avid RVer, sailing enthusiast and lover of everything to do with the outdoors.A few years ago I took a year off with my wife and son and traveled full time in an RV. We started Crow Survival as we wanted to share everything we learned along the way.