What Is a Pit Bike? How Is It Different from Dirt Bikes?

Ever found yourself staring at those zippy little bikes zipping around the track and thought, “What the heck are those things?”

Let’s clear up the confusion between pit bikes and dirt bikes. They may look like siblings, but trust me, they’re more like distant cousins with vastly different personalities.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what sets these two machines apart.

Size and Weight

Pit bike vs dirt bike

First off, pit bikes are the mini-me’s of the dirt bike world. They’re smaller, lighter, and sit closer to the ground.  Imagine a chihuahua next to a German shepherd – that’s your pit bike and dirt bike comparison.

Pit bikes are perfect for kids, teenagers, and adults who don’t mind riding something that won’t require a ladder to mount.

Size and Structure

  • Smaller Frame: Pit bikes are generally smaller in size compared to dirt bikes.
  • Compact Design: They are designed to be more compact and lighter, making them easier to maneuver in tight spaces, such as pit areas.
  • Low Seat Height: The seat height is lower, which is suitable for younger or shorter riders.

Dirt bikes, on the other hand, are built for everyone and their taller cousin.

Size and Structure

  • Larger Frame: Dirt bikes are larger and more robust, designed to handle rough terrains.
  • High Ground Clearance: They have higher ground clearance to navigate over obstacles and rough terrains.
  • Taller Seat Height: The seat height is taller, suitable for experienced and taller riders.

Engine Type & Size

Pit bike engine size

Pit Bikes: These little guys usually come with a four-stroke engine, which means they’re easier to handle, especially if you’re new to the whole off-road thing.

Engine Sizes

  • Pit bikes generally have smaller engines compared to dirt bikes. Common engine sizes include 50cc, 70cc, 90cc, 110cc, 125cc, and up to 160cc.
  • Some popular models include GPX124cc and YX160cc engines.

Types of Engines

  • Single Cylinder, 4-Stroke Engines: These are common in pit bikes due to their simplicity and ease of maintenance.
  • Horizontal Engines: These are typical for pit bikes, designed to fit the smaller frame sizes.

Dirt Bikes: Here’s where things get interesting. Dirt bikes can come with either a four-stroke or a two-stroke engine.

Engine Sizes

  • Dirt bike engine sizes range from as small as 50cc to as large as 450cc or even more.
  • For beginners, it’s recommended to start with smaller engines like 50cc to 150cc. Advanced riders might prefer engines from 250cc to 450cc.

Types of Engines

  • 2-Stroke Engines: Simpler in design, fewer parts, produce power on every engine stroke, generally lighter, and more powerful per cc than 4-stroke engines.
  • 4-Stroke Engines: More complex, produce power on every second engine stroke, usually heavier but provide a more steady and manageable power delivery.

Key Differences

  • Usage: Pit bikes are primarily for recreational purposes, stunt riding, and motocross racing. They typically don’t go above the 250cc range.
  • Engine Placement: Pit bikes usually have horizontal engines, while dirt bikes have vertical engines.
  • Power Delivery: Dirt bikes offer a wide range of power outputs suitable for various terrains and skill levels, while pit bikes are designed for less intensive use.

Visual Appearance

Dirt bike vs Pit bike

Pit Bikes: Small, lightweight, and easy to maneuver. They’re low to the ground, which is perfect for kids or anyone who doesn’t want to feel like they’re climbing a mountain just to get on.

Visual Style

  • Colorful Graphics: Often adorned with vibrant and colorful graphics, giving them a playful and attractive look.
  • Smaller Wheels: Pit bikes have smaller wheels compared to dirt bikes, which contributes to their compact appearance.

Dirt Bikes: Larger frames to handle obstacles like rocks, jumps, and whatever else the trail throws at you. They might look intimidating, but that’s part of the thrill.

Visual Style

  • Aggressive Graphics: Dirt bikes often feature aggressive and rugged graphics that reflect their off-road capability.
  • Larger Wheels: They have larger wheels with knobby tires, designed for better traction on dirt and uneven surfaces.

Tire Tread

Pit bike features

Pit Bikes: Designed for smoother trails and pit tracks. You can slap on street tires or off-road ones, but forget about making them street legal.

Dirt Bikes: A mix of street and off-road tires is the norm here. They’re larger, grippier, and built to handle rougher terrains. Some dirt bike tires can even be made street legal. Versatility, at its finest!

Suspension Systems

Pit Bikes: Think of them as having a less beefy suspension system. They’re made for less rough terrains, so don’t go trying to jump over any boulders.

Dirt Bikes: Bigger, more robust suspension systems are a must. They’re built to handle high speeds and rough, gnarly tracks. You’re going to need that extra cushion.

Speed & Acceleration

Pit Bikes: Topping out around 40-45 mph with slower acceleration. Perfect for beginners or those just looking to cruise.

Dirt Bikes: Capable of higher speeds and quicker acceleration. Models with two-stroke engines are the sprinters of the bunch.

Overall Safety & Skill Level

Mini bikes vs dirt bikes

Pit Bikes: Safer and more beginner-friendly. They’re like the training wheels of the off-road world.

Dirt Bikes: With great power comes great responsibility. More powerful engines and higher speeds mean they’re a bit more challenging for the inexperienced. Gear up and hold on tight.

Exhaust Sound

Pit Bikes: That four-stroke engine gives off a deeper growl. Not too loud, but it’ll still turn heads.

Dirt Bikes: Two-stroke engines produce a buzzing sound, almost like a swarm of bees. You’ll hear them coming from a mile away.

Total Cost

Pit Bikes: Less expensive, generally ranging from $1,000 to $3,000. Plus, they’re cheaper to maintain. Your wallet will thank you.

Dirt Bikes: More expensive, with new bikes costing anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. And don’t forget the maintenance costs, especially if you’ve got a two-stroke engine.

Comparison Summary

Pit Bikes: Ideal as starter bikes due to their safety, ease of use, and affordability. Great for kids, beginners, or anyone who just wants to have some low-speed fun.

Dirt Bikes: More versatile and offer higher performance for experienced riders. They come with a higher price tag and maintenance requirements but offer thrills that pit bikes can’t match.

Final Thoughts

So, whether you’re looking to get your kid started in the world of off-road biking, or you’re a seasoned rider wanting to tackle tougher terrains, now you know the key differences.

Pit bikes are the little, less intimidating cousins, while dirt bikes are the beefy, adrenaline-packed monsters ready to take on any challenge.

You may Also Like