Before the Shopping Begins: Tips and guidelines

The first and perhaps most important step in selecting the proper beginner bike is to choose a machine that is the correct size for the person in question. While the following guidelines are directed at parents shopping for their children, many apply to adults who are first-time riders as well. For youngsters, this will be their first experience with a motorized vehicle and hopefully the beginning of a lifetime of riding together as a family.

It's essential to get the proper match for a beginner by selecting a bike that fits correctly in terms of physical dimensions and state of tune. Lightness and smallness are two important assets for a beginner's bike; a youngster should be able to reach the ground easily with both feet in order to build confidence and develop control. Machines such as the CRF®50F and CRF110F feature an automatic clutch to simplify operation so the child can focus more attention on the riding process rather than worrying about clutch/throttle coordination. The new CRF125F and CRF125F Big Wheel now serve as the next two steps up for physically larger riders who are ready to handle and off-road bike with a manual clutch.

Unlike shoe buying, this is not the time to buy a size larger to allow for extra growing room. Equally important is avoiding the ego trap; buying a bike that's sized to fit Dad's ego or fulfill the parents' personal dreams and aspirations is a recipe for disappointment or worse. Instead, this is the time to concentrate on the child's needs and parents are the ones best suited to evaluate their child's readiness in terms of emotional mindset, knack for things mechanical and coordination level. These aspects are equally as important as physical size and strength when selecting a dirt bike for a youngster or any beginning rider.

Over time, a child will outgrow his or her first bike. That's a reality of childhood in general, whether talking about pants, softball gloves or soccer cleats. Instead of worrying about tomorrow, it's best to focus on the needs of the young rider today. In so doing, they will develop a strong foundation for future riding skills, a confidence in themselves, a sense of personal responsibility, a love for family excursions and an appreciation of the great outdoors.

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