Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA's Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn't matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.
Kawasaki’s smallest dirt bike for kids and one of the all-time favorite pit bikes for adults, the KLX110 is fun for the whole family. The four-stroke engine features a Keihin carburetor to pump in fuel and a four-speed transmission with automatic clutch pumps out 111cc of torquey power. A steel chassis uses 4.3 inches of suspension travel front and rear. The tires are 14 and 12-inches.
The KLX110L gets some of the basic upgrades that are common for making the standard 110 more big-rider friendly. The engine is the same but the four-speed transmission gets a manual clutch which makes it perfect for teaching youngsters how to use their left hand. Also, it has a longer fork and shock travel for increased ground clearance and a slightly taller seat.
This is the bike Kawasaki riders would have to climb aboard without the smaller machines available. As the big brother to the KX65, the KX85 is a serious motocross bike with long-travel suspension, explosive two-stroke power and race-read ergonomics. Riders have to know how to shift well and manipulate a clutch because the peaky power delivery is doled out through a manual six-speed transmission. A 33.1-inch seat height makes it tall and aggressive. The KX85 is one of the most successful youth racing machines thanks to the Team Green program.
Yamaha offers a full line of big two-stroke motocross bikes. The YZ85 is the smallest and is intended to transform experienced kids to be competitive racers. A lightweight steel chassis holds the 84.7cc two-stroke engine which makes top-end power that can be difficult to control. A slim profile, single-side radiator, 34-inch seat height and updated plastic make the ergonomic package suitable for taller riders. The YZ85 uses disc brakes front and rear and has an inverted, adjustable fork with 10.8 inches of travel and adjustable shock with 11.1 inches.
Yamaha’s TT-R110E is a bike that gets ridden by everyone in the family. Kids will appreciate the clutch-less four-speed shifting and parents love the low-end grunt to pack around larger riders. Drum brakes provide plenty of stopping power and the bodywork is very modern. The seat and fuel tank junction is smooth just like bigger Yamahas and the suspension has over four inches of travel on each end.