Last updated: October 15, 2021

Our method

6Products analysed

78Hours spent

24Evaluated articles

114User reviews

Welcome to our big dirt bike test 2021. Here we present all the dirt bikes we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best dirt bike for you. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos.

Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a dirt bike.




Summary

  • Dirt bikes are stable but lightweight mountain bikes with mostly smaller frames. The saddle is lowered in order to have as much freedom of movement as possible during the jumps.
  • They are used for dirt jumps. These are a whole series of different spectacular jumps. These bikes are purely sports equipment and are hardly suitable for normal locomotion.
  • They are made of steel or aluminium alloys so that they weigh as little as possible and thus enable further and higher jumps.

The Best Dirt Bike: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a dirt bike

What is a dirt bike?

A dirt bike is a particularly stable and at the same time light mountain bike that is especially suitable for jumps. They are used for a fun sport where you jump particularly high and fancy jumps over mounds or other obstacles.

Dirt bikes are special mountain bikes with smaller and lighter frames for long jumps and numerous tricks. (Image source: pixabay.com / Free Photos)

It has a smaller frame than you would normally find on a mountain bike. Dirt bikes are mainly used for dirt jumps and riding in skate or bike parks, because you can do very good tricks with these bikes.

In addition to the frame, the suspension fork also provides the necessary stability on a dirt bike. A dirt bike is a piece of sports equipment that is exclusively suitable for this extreme sport. The dirt bike is not suitable for road use.

How is a dirt bike constructed?

To ensure that long jumps are successful and that no full damage is to be expected during the extreme tricks, the dirt bike is extremely robust and at the same time lightweight. The frame height and saddle position are lower than on a normal mountain bike to avoid unpleasant jolts and injuries during the jumps.

The suspension fork is also more strongly sprung to absorb shocks better. Here you have another list of the features of a dirt bike

  • Very stable and at the same time light construction for the frame, handlebars, stem, rims and crank
  • The frame is made of aluminium or steel, with the top tube dropping sharply towards the back
  • Very large suspension fork (80 to 120mm travel)
  • Wide tyres with coarse tread (2.1 to 2.4 inch width)
  • Usually only one or even no gears (single speed bikes)
  • Usually only one rear brake.

What should I look for in a dirt bike?

The stability of your dirt mountain bike should be decisive for you. The higher you want to jump or the more extreme the tricks you want to do, the higher the quality you should expect.

You can perform spectacular jumps on a dirt bike. Since the bikes are subjected to a lot of wear and tear, you should make sure they are of robust quality and good workmanship. (Image source: pixabay.com / stefanalen)

Weight plays a central role, because the lighter the bike, the higher and further jumps are possible. The suspension fork can be well sprung or hard, depending on whether you prefer jumps or tricks. The frame height and tyre size are also important points to consider in advance.

For the fun sport of dirt jumping, where you really have to ride over hill and dale, tyres with a high profile and low rolling resistance are recommended. If you are more into trick riding, tyres without tread are a good choice, as they allow you to move faster on dry and straight surfaces in order to start the next trick.

But the gears and the brakes also have a decisive influence on the choice of the best bike for you due to their weight alone. Of course, it also depends on whether you are just starting out or want to venture into higher spheres as an advanced rider.

Can I also use a dirt bike for normal cycling?

Definitely no! The dirt bike is a piece of sports equipment and is only optimised for dirt jumps. It is totally unsuitable for road use. The low saddle and the low frame height alone make normal cycling extremely uncomfortable. The lack of mandatory lighting, brakes and mudguards also make the dirt bike unsuitable for normal road traffic.

Which well-known brands and manufacturers are there?

Here you can find some of the best-known dirt bike brands. They are internationally established and are among the best manufacturers of dirt bikes

  • Bergamont
  • Bulls
  • Canyon
  • Cube
  • Dartmoor
  • NS Bikes
  • Rose
  • Scott
  • YT Industries

What alternatives are there to a dirt bike?

Of course you can also do jumps and tricks with a mountain bike or a BMX bike. But there are limits to both alternatives. A normal mountain bike is usually too heavy to do elegant jumps, while a BMX bike is not robust enough.

So if you want to practise this fun sport, which is characterised by particularly high and fancy jumps, you can't get around a dirt bike.

Decision: What types of dirt bikes are there and which one is right for you?

There are a few factors to consider when buying a dirt bike. The main criterion, however, is weight. That's why dirt mountain bikes have fairly minimalist equipment. Many bikers therefore do without additional brakes or gears, as these also add a lot of weight to the scales. Basically, you can choose between two categories

  • Dirt Bike Bicycle with gears
  • Dirt Bike Bicycle without gears

In the following we compare the advantages and disadvantages of dirt bikes with and without gears. So you can decide for yourself which variant suits you better.

What distinguishes a dirt bike with gears and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The advantages of a dirt bike with gears are comfort and, above all, flexibility. If you ride on different routes (hilly, straight, curvy) or sometimes a longer distance, you are grateful for the different gears. Using different gears for different tricks can also be helpful.

Of course, a gear change means additional weight, but this is not so important, especially for beginners. The bike is subjected to a lot of stress during the jumps, and the chain guide can also be affected or the rear derailleur can become misaligned.

Conversion to singlespeed, i.e. without gears, can be done without any problems.

Advantages
  • Comfortable gear selection
  • Flexible solution for beginners
  • Retrofitting to singlespeed possible
Disadvantages
  • Higher weight
  • May require high maintenance due to heavy use

If you are a beginner and still undecided about which direction to go, a dirt bike with gears gives you the greatest flexibility.

What distinguishes a dirt bike without gears and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A dirt bike without gears, i.e. a singlespeed bike, is one thing above all - uncomplicated. There is no extra weight, which is crucial for real pros. Even after the hardest landing, no jumping gears or misaligned derailleurs will put you out of action.

Nothing rattles and chain maintenance is kept to a minimum. Of course, it's not as comfortable to cover long distances or hills in the same gear, but the self-confessed dirt biker is happy to accept that.

Advantages
  • Less weight
  • low maintenance
  • low noise
Disadvantages
  • Uncomfortable on long distances
  • expensive and demanding to convert

So singlespeed is simply a matter of not having to worry about anything if you already know exactly what gear ratio you need.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate dirt bikes

High-quality dirt bikes are characterised by high stability and have a long service life. Which one you choose depends on many components, as already described. The criteria you can use to compare dirt bikes with each other include

  • Material
  • Frame and wheel size
  • Brakes
  • Suspension fork

In the following paragraphs we will explain what is important in the individual criteria.

Material

Since the frame of the dirt bike should be as strong as it is light, most are made of aluminium or light and robust steel. Because of the extreme conditions to which the dirt bike is exposed, you should nevertheless make sure that all the materials on your bike are robust and stable and carefully crafted.

It can be easy for a damaged bike to simply collapse if it continues to be heavily loaded. For your own safety, check that everything is intact before each ride.

Frame and wheel size

Dirt bikes have a frame size between 12 and 16 inches. The saddle, which is usually set down, and the short seat tube ensure mobility on the bike. The best way to find the perfect frame size for you is to try it out - there is no golden rule.

The frame of a dirt bike is usually made of sturdy aluminium so that the bike weighs as little as possible. (Image source: pixabay.com / masarapmatulog)

In addition to the frame, the wheel size of a dirt bike is also crucial to how well you can do tricks on it. Wheel sizes of 24 or 26 inches are ideal. Wheel sizes should not be larger than this, because otherwise many tricks cannot be performed with this bike.

Brakes

Dirt bikes must of course have good brakes, although entry-level models usually have mechanical brakes fitted. If you are not going down any fast descents, these are generally sufficient. The professional athlete, however, will opt for hydraulic brakes. These engage quite quickly with little braking power and heavy loads.

Most dirt bikes have only one rear brake. In order to be able to perform tricks and high jumps as flexibly as possible, dirt bikes should have a very low weight. The lack of a front brake also makes it possible to perform tricks such as the barspin, where you turn the handlebars around yourself once.

A brake cable would be very annoying here. Nevertheless, many dirt bikers do not want to do without the front brake, and so hydraulic and mechanical brakes are now also common at the front and rear.

Suspension fork

The suspension fork is a central part of your dirt bike. You should think in advance about the direction you want to take the sport. Dirt jumps or tricks, this also determines the choice of the right suspension. The suspension travel of the fork is usually between 80 and 120mm.

Many professional riders attach particular importance to an extremely well-equipped fork on their dirt bike, as this ensures the best possible damping of the impact when jumping.

Some, on the other hand, do without a long suspension travel and prefer to use a rigid fork in order to be able to take as much speed as possible with them after landing.

Facts worth knowing about dirt bikes

Where can I ride and practice with my dirt bike?

There are special park courses and trail routes all over the cities and surrounding areas. You can find out about a parkour near you on the internet. The trails are closed to normal traffic, so you can concentrate on your jumps and tricks.

There are also various training offers that encourage and challenge everyone from beginners to professionals. They are usually offered by clubs or associations.

What are the tricks and jumps?

There are a variety of tricks you can do with a dirt bike. Basically, they are all independent tricks, but they are usually performed in combination. Riding a dirt bike can therefore also be very dangerous, which is why you should always use a helmet.

Trick Execution
Motowhip The bicycle is placed in a jump at right angles to the direction of movement
Tabletop The bicycle is "laid" in the air so that it is in a horizontal position.
Onehander One hand is taken off the handlebars and stretched as far as possible upwards or to the side.
Tuck Nohander The hands are taken off the handlebars and the handlebars are supported in the pelvic area. The arms are stretched upwards as far as possible.
Suicide Nohander The hands are also taken off the handlebars, but the arms are stretched backwards as far as possible and the bike is stabilised with the knees on the saddle.
360 The rider makes a complete 360-degree turn around his own axis with his bike. There are also 720's where another bolt is turned. A 1080 is also said to be possible.
Backflip backwards somersault. There are also doublebackflips, but so far only one triplebackflip has been landed with a BMX bike.
Frontflip forward flip. This trick is much harder than the backflip because with the frontflip you have to turn 120° more.
Tailwhip The hands hold the handlebars and with the foot the frame of the bike is pushed once around the handlebars. Double and triple tailwhips are also possible, as well as a combination with other tricks.
Barspin You turn the handlebars once through 360° and then catch them again.
No Foot Cancan Both feet are taken off the pedals and then "swung" to one side of the frame.
(Onefoot) Cancan One foot is taken off the pedal and extended to the other side of the frame in front of the foot left on the pedal.
Nacnac One foot is extended to the other side of the frame behind the foot left on the pedal. In addition, the rider can kneel with the foot remaining on the pedal.
Superman Both feet are taken off the pedals and stretched away to the rear, while the arms stretch the bike away to the front.

You can put together your own individual dirt bike at a specialist dealer. Just like in a construction kit, you choose the frame, wheels, brakes and, if necessary, the gears. However, this service comes at a price; a prefabricated dirt bike is cheaper.

If you are not a professional mechanic, it is not advisable to assemble the parts yourself. In this kind of sport, serious falls and accidents are inevitable, and you shouldn't encourage them with unprofessional workmanship.

Image source: pixabay.com / David Mark

Reviews