When Was the First Dirt Bike Made? History 101
The first dirt bikes arrived in Europe between 2002 and 2004. These machines were then known to a few “aficionados”. The vast majority then arrived from the USA through a few importers specializing in performance motocross parts. It was with the arrival in force of China on the European market in 2004-2006 that the dirt bike became known to the general public and the media. But before that, these bikes have long years of history. What to know who invented the dirt bike? Invented by SiegfieldBettman in the year 1914 the dirt bikes have gone through many changes in the 50s as well as in the 60s and 80s coming to where are today.
Now you know Who Invented the Dirt Bike, Now More about the Bike Itself
The definition could be that of a small, light, and easily transportable motorcycle. Wheel sizes vary from 10 to 14 inches although 18 and 21 inches also make their way today. This is a new fashion in countries such as the United States, Spain, France, and Germany. They are small motorcycles (Dirt bikes) that cannot circulate on the road, but only in private areas or for events and sporting events. Designed for budding riders, they were immediately appreciated by the older ones and, capable of holding up to 100 kg, they are used both on dirt tracks (cross) and on asphalt (motard).
How Are They in Drive
Easy to drive, at least until they are processed, they allow experienced and non-experienced drivers to have a lot of fun. Their strong point is the price; it starts from a few hundred euros for a playful product up to 2 or 3 thousand for racing products. The American sites of the sector are full of elaborations of all kinds, from the aesthetic ones (sticker kits) to those for the engine, passing through aluminum frames, colored rims to get to multicolored tires.
The beauty of this sport is that, for the moment, it is still affordable for many pockets. Small motorcycles are for great fun, a game for adults and children, a fun and rewarding toy that allows you to enter the track with a very low initial cost. This is a fun and rewarding toy that allows you to enter the track at a very low initial cost.
The Advent of Honda
We are in the 60s, and Honda comes up with a fantastic and slightly crazy idea: a 50 4t engine, mounted on a minimoto frame, thus the first dirt bike was born, the Honda CRF 50.
This model would surprisingly shock the American market. The demand was enormous, the deliveries could not follow! You could see the Z50A everywhere. HONDA then sold over 50,000 parts at the time for $ 239 in the first year. A disconcertingly simple machine, compact and light with the handlebars that fold. At that time, it is freedom. Developed to fit in the trunk of a car, a camper van, or a boat, minimalist, reliable, and inexpensive, the Z50A is a commercial and technical success.
HONDA has continued to develop its machine over the years and most legendary drivers have used this machine which has become, in everyone’s heart, the icon of an era.
The surfers also get the little beast. At the back of a Volkswagen combi or a pickup, nothing could be more fun. The Z50 was immediately adopted by all the pilots who used it to move around the paddocks. On races, both motorcycle and automobile, all the stands in the United States are equipped. Quickly, it was the mechanics of the various teams who organized races in the paddocks. We can consider that this movement participates in the genesis of the dirt bike.
The Time Post Honda
It was during this period that American dealers, seeing this machine distributed in Europe, under the name Z50M, expressed their dissatisfaction to HONDA. Indeed, this motorcycle which appeared in the catalog was not available on the US market. HONDA has therefore taken into account the urgent demands of these American customers. At that time, the Asian did not have an R&D office in the United States. He, therefore, worked in partnership with an American specialist who was perfectly familiar with these products. Together, they adapted the concept for the US market: big wheels, studded tires, front and rear brakes, adjustable saddles, etc. Only available for all-terrain, the model will be released under the name Z50A or mini trail.
- For years it was not a great success, many considered it a meaningless bike, which was not a mini bike and not even a real bike.
- Then a few years ago, the Americans noticed this brilliant idea, and there was a huge increase in sales, to the point that other brands also began marketing dirt bikes, such as Yamaha and Kawasaki.
- Today there are thousands of dirt bikes, most of them Chinese imports, but not all Chinese ones are of poor quality, there are also some gems on two wheels.
- For the choice of the dirt bike, it is useful to know the use to be made of it, there is dirt from all prices, from € 300 to € 4000.
Suitable for Amateurs and Adults
Obviously, with poor quality dirt, you cannot expect to do great things, to have a good base from which to start you have to address models starting from € 3000, in this way you have a good starting point.
For amateur use, to go to the fields or in the woods, € 500 Chinese dirt is also enough, if you want more, obviously it is a must to spend at least double.
For an adult it is better to focus on Chinese dirt (obviously of good quality) because they have larger sizes than the Japanese ones, or a good alternative could be the Italian Polini XP4, but it costs at least three times as much as a Chinese one, then it doesn’t even mount a good engine, mounts a medium quality Chinese.
The models we deal with are also excellent for adults because they have larger sizes and more easily usable and fun.
Now let’s analyze the engines: the most popular is 110cc and 125cc Chinese-made engines, with 2 or 4 valve heads.
- The 2vs are more suitable for motocross use, as they have more torque at the bottom, while the 4vs has more pull at the highs, more suitable for motardist disc use.
- The most powerful and reliable engines are the Jialing, the Lifan 125cc, (the latter produced under license from Honda), offering good performance and reliability at low cost, with powers in the order of 8-9kW at about 9000rpm.
- The Ducar is also very popular, which in terms of power is comparable to the other two, but having a two-disc clutch, in the long run, it presents reliability problems.
- All engines have a 4-speed gearbox (1-N-2-3-4) with manual clutch, and only in exceptional cases, with automatic clutch.
- Then there are also Japanese engines such as the Daytona or Takegawa, and Tsunami of 115cc displacement, 4-valve head, and powers in the order of 18-20 horsepower, but with prices around 2700 to 3000 €.
- Let’s move on to analyze the wheels: most of the dirt today have wheels with 12-12 rims, which offer stability and agility at the same time, while the first dirt had 10-10 wheels, too small for cross use.
- Today some of them ride 14-12, the best solution for both cross and motard.
Finally, it is a good idea to choose models with disc brakes and forks with at least 33mm diameter stem, and take a motorcycle from an importer who in the future, in case of need, will be able to offer us a good network of spare parts and assistance! A dirt bike is defined as such only and exclusively if it has a horizontal engine. This is not the case in motorcycles with high displacements which in this case are more correctly called Dirt-Bike.