Most people who have been riding bikes for a while know model they prefer. If this is your first time getting one, you may be stuck on the pit bike vs dirt bike dilemma. There is so much to know about the two, but your decision should depend on what you want in a bike.
If you want a bike for street riding, you may opt for a pit bike, whereas someone who wants to race should go for a dirt bike as it suits the more aggressive usage. To decide which is better, you should know the differences between a pit bike and a dirt bike.
Differences Between Pit Bike and Dirt Bike
Each type of bike has features designed to suit its intended purposes. Learning to ride one will enable you to ride the other, but the experience will not be the same. Here are some differences to note:
Pit bikes and dirt bikes have different physical shapes. Pit bikes are smaller and compact which allows them to navigate narrow pit courses. Unfortunately, they are also lower, a feature that makes them unsuitable for off-road rides.
Conversely, dirt bikes are bigger and more suitable to ride off-road. They are also higher off the ground, which suits the aggressive style most bikers prefer. The downside of the larger physical size is that they are not as easy to store or navigate through a narrow path.
Every feature of your bike should be determined by what you want to use the bike for. The engine capacity is one of those specifications you should pay special attention to. Pit bikes usually come with a four-stroke engine and have a 50-140cc range.
Dirt bikes come with either a two-stroke or a four-stroke engine and have a higher range, usually around 300-400cc. The major difference is that a two-stroke engine has a higher rate of initial acceleration as it only requires two movements to complete the engine cycle.
A four-stroke motor takes longer, as the complete engine cycle requires four movements through all the parts to gain acceleration. It compensates for this with a higher “maximum speed,” which tops that of a two-stroke engine.
Everything about a dirt bike is made to withstand the rough terrains for which the bike is preferred. This includes the tires, which are higher and stronger in dirt bikes compared to pit ones. Dirt bike tires measure an average of 18 inches and are fitted with a layer of rubber on the outer surface to provide grip for cruising on bumpy terrain.
Pit bikes tires are smaller, usually between 12-14 inches. They are not suitable for harsh terrains but make great rides for road racing.
If you want to get a bike for an intense trail such as road racing or frequent uneven surfaces, you should pay attention to the suspension.
The suspension system connects the bike’s wheels to the body, and it includes parts such as the shock absorber, which lessens the impact of bumpy rides on the riders. Dirt bikes usually have more advanced suspensions than pit bikes.
Pit bikes are preferred for children, teenagers, and adults who are just learning to ride. This is because of the relative safety this type provides more than dirt bikes. Pit bikes are slower and made for smooth trails or controlled areas where the rider can access emergency care.
Dirt bikes are adventure bikes made for more experienced users. Plus, most bike accidents tend to involve dirt bikes more than pit bikes, so if you just want to enjoy road biking as opposed to having life-on-the-edge experiences, a pit bike is a safer choice for you.
Pit bikes are inferior to dirt bikes regarding speed and power. For example, an average pit bike with a 50cc range can go at a maximum speed of 15-25 mph on lower gears and 50 mph on higher gears. In comparison, a dirt bike with a 50cc range goes on an average of 25-40 mph.
Dirt bikes with a higher range, such as 400cc, can reach up to 87 mph, which is a speed that should be left to professional riders. Generally, you can modify your bike to increase the speed range, but that should be done minimally and legally.
Budget is one of the main determining factors because the price of pit bikes and dirt bikes is widely different. While you can get a used pit bike for $200, you will need five times more to buy a used dirt bike.
For new models, pit bikes don’t go above the $1000 to $1500 range, but there are new dirt bikes that cost up to $5000. Some expensive models cost as much as $10,000.
As expensive as they are, dirt bikes are worthy investments, but you must be sure you can afford the price range before wasting time shopping for one.
Apart from the purchase value, maintenance is another area where pit bikes and dirt bikes differ. As you may have expected, dirt bikes typically cost more to fix and maintain than pit bikes because the spare parts are more expensive.
The cost of maintaining your dirt bike also depends on the specifics of the bike itself. Whether pit or dirt, four-stroke bikes cost more to maintain and fix than their two-stroke counterparts. The reason is that they have more parts involved in the system than two-stroke bikes.
Pros and Cons of Pit Bike vs Dirt Bike
The issue with pitching pit bikes against dirt bikes is that whatever serves as an argument for one will serve as a point against the other. Let’s look at some pros and cons of pit and dirt bikes as each point works for or against either type of bike:
The first point here is the terrain difference. Dirt bikes are good for almost any terrain as they can weather rocky mountains and muddy trails. They also move well on normal tracks due to the higher suspension and powerful engines.
Contrarily, pit bikes are not made to run across rougher terrain. They are more suitable for plain trails such as the normal tarred roads on the street.
When it comes to accessibility, pit bikes gain an edge. They can be taken anywhere, and you can drive your bike through any available opening. In addition, the small frame size makes it easier to navigate a pit bike through narrow courses and play around your yard.
Dirt bikes do not provide the same level of accessibility. The larger frame makes it impossible to ride around your home or a nearby field. Instead, you have to load it into a carrier until you get to a proper track where you can ride it.
When it comes to pit bikes vs dirt bikes, you have to decide on what sort of bike is most suitable for your needs. After that, you need to decide on a brand or model to buy.
In this category, dirt bikes trump pit bikes with more dirt bike models for riders to choose from. The Japanese brands are leaders in the market, and you have various options at your disposal. There are only a couple of manufacturers making pit bikes, which doesn’t leave you with many options.
Ease of Use
Pit bikes are easier to use than dirt bikes because they are easy to control and comfortable to ride. This is also why pit bikes are popular for beginners. Once you know how to ride another type of bike, whether power bikes or scooters, you can drive a pit bike without much stress.
Dirt bikes require more rigor to navigate and master. You have to worry about the level of suspension, rate of acceleration, range of speed, and road tracks.
Dirt bikes are unarguably more powerful than pit bikes. The larger engine, long-travel suspension, torque, speed threshold, and other characteristics make dirt bikes higher performers. Even if you put a dirt bike and a pit bike with a 50cc range side by side, the former will still perform better than the latter.
Another area dirt bikes have an advantage over pit bikes is durability. Dirt bikes typically last longer than pit bikes, and that has to do with their physicality. Pit bikes are small, and the parts break easily. The good news is these parts don’t cost much to fix or replace.
That is all there is on the pit bike vs dirt bike debate. Each model has its advantages, and what you eventually decide should depend on your needs and desires. Getting a pit bike is the better choice if you want to move around town and ride across your lawn.
If you want to cruise rocky mountains and muddy tracks, you should invest in a full-sized dirt bike. Stay in the loop about the safety laws regarding the usage of dirt bikes in your region.