Bikes of the CPSIA

June 16, 2011
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
Off-Road Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog |Blog Posts |Blog RSS

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.

There are entire motorcycle companies that would be wiped out if the lead ban sticks. Companies like Cobra Motorcycles which only makes youth machines under 70cc. That’s an extreme case, but every OEM would feel the effects whether they make children’s bikes or simply if there are fewer youth taking up the sport. We sampled motorcycles and ATVs from three of the largest manufacturers. Let’s look at some of the bikes we’ve come to rely on for teaching our kids to ride.

Honda CRF50F – $1499
Honda promotes family riding with a full line of trail bikes. The CRF50R (formerly the XR50) is perhaps the most iconic mini bike ever built. A durable, low-revving engine puts out smooth power. It has an automatic clutch and 10-inch wheels to let kids touch the ground easily and learn to operate the three-speed shift lever.

Honda CRF70F – $1899
Kids will feel right at home stepping up to Honda’s CRF70F. It uses the same three-speed semi-automatic transmission so larger kids can start out with the 70 also. It has slightly larger wheels, drum brakes front and rear and a 26.1-inch seat height. It also uses a keyed ignition so parents can control when it gets ridden.

Honda CRF100F – $2799
Hondas CRF100F is one of the larger youth machines. Anything bigger than this in the Honda line and the performance and weight start to increase considerably.
Honda is forced to say even its 50cc is not for kids 12 and under. That’s an unfortunate result of the CPSIA, but the CRF100F is a bike that actually does fit older kids. Wide handlebars and a 30.9-inch seat height make it comfortable even for adults who want to play around on a smaller machine. The 99cc, four-stroke engine is air-cooled and the 100F rolls on 19/16-inch wheels to get over rough trails.

Honda TRX90X – $2999
Hondas TRX90X is a fun  safe and easy-to-use ATV.
Four wheels make learning to ride even easier. The TRX90X is Honda’s smallest sport ATV and it has the same cool bodywork styling to match Dad’s full-size racer. It uses a four-stroke engine with electric start and dual hand brakes for easy, confident riding. A four-speed transmission and an automatic clutch takes the worry out of shifting. It has almost four inches of ground clearance.

Kawasaki KLX110 – $2199
Lead is found in many parts of an OHV such as battery terminals  tire valve stems  frames  engine cases  fasteners  carburetors  etc.

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.

Kawasaki KLX110L – $2349

The Kawasaki KLX110L is a little larger than the standard 110 and offers a manual clutch. 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.

Kawasaki KX85 – $3949
The Kawasaki KX85 is not affected by the Lead Law  but it is the type of machine that kids would be forced to ride without smaller options.

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 YZ85 – $3850

The Yamaha YZ85 is another youth racer designed for kids over 12 years. 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 TT-R110E – $2190
Yamaha offers the TT-R family  like this 110E. It recently brought back the TT-R50E and PW50.

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.