The best bikes to get your kids riding

Want to get your child riding? These are the top nine mini bikes for kids.

Children are like sponges...  We grabbed eight bike crazy kids and tested their hand at motorcycles built for children. 

From the newbie to the most experienced, will your son or daughter be the next Valentino Rossi?

Riding is in the blood, so get your children riding on one of the best mini bikes.

Yamaha PW50

Yamaha PW50

Three gears, auto clutch, autolube and an automatic first choice for thousands of parents up and down the country for over 10 years. The first ones were red and white, then they went white and pink and now they're blue.

Left in second gear (won't wheelie over backwards) it was the perfect tool for taller kids to learn on. After his stagefright had subsided we had difficulty prising it off Josh, "I crashed it once but I really liked it," he said matter-of-factly. "The throttle was really easy and it was just the right size for me."

I've owned eight PW80s (don't ask) and they're just as bomb-proof as the 50cc version, but there is a chain final drive to consider, needing proper care and attention to make it last and stay on the sprockets.

The PW80 is absolutely perfect for the seven-and-up bigger-boned versions of human children.

Yamaha TT-R90

Yamaha TT-R90

Making a proper thumping noise, the auto-clutch but three-speed TT-R90 is a cinch to ride and felt like it would run forever. But the troops had mixed feelings. "I didn't think it was that good," said seven year-old Josh, "...coz I fell off it about three times." Ahh. No bias there then.

Alex junior, on the other hand, thought differently. "It was one of my favourites because you get used to it really quickly. The gearchange was good and it was just fun." Apart from being £400 saltier than the Honda XR70, the only down-side of the TT-R90 against its two-stroke brothers was its extra weight making it harder for stricken riders to extricate themselves from underneath.

Yamaha TT-R125

Yamaha TT-R125

"These are really popular with adults learning to ride off-road. The power delivery is soft and they're light and easy to manage," said Barry Johnson with his Yamaha hat on. But he wasn't wrong.

Ten year-old Fred took to the TT-R125 like a duck to breadcrumbs and left on Saturday night with something proper to boast about at school on Monday. "Hey, I can ride a 125, me." The nice thing about the TT-R125 is that it could be shared and enjoyed by adults as well and properly crashed - if the Editor is anything to go by.

Honda XR70

Honda XR70

"This is the one I'd buy," said Nat's dad, Mark. Why? "Coz it's a Honda and it's just a high-quality act - plus it's not a bloody two-stroke." This from a man who owns an MZ.

But he had a point, everyone who rode the red XR loved it. The dressed-up C70 engine is a known quantity for reliability. But everyone complained about the slow-shift gearbox which was, err, really slow. And, as a big thumper, it was heavy. "I found it too heavy," said Josh who'd had to pull himself from underneath at least once. Alex (9), who did his best to commandeer the XR all day, voted it an admirable 9 out of 10. Harriett (10) also liked the Honda best. Because it's slightly larger in size, adults can ride it, too.

Honda QR50

Honda QR50

Ahem. Once we'd, err, managed to start the little Honda (we thought it was broken - actually it was us being stupid) it proved to be massively popular. Small, shaft drive and with really gentle power delivery it was constantly in use - always a good sign in the general popularity stakes.

But it was mainly little Adam who, having pushed it around all day, wasn't keen to let it out of his grasp once he'd cracked riding it. "It's really good to ride coz there's more control than any of the other bikes, even the PW50," said Nat in a burst of eloquence. He was probably right. Cheap, very light, easy to sling in the back of the car, absolutely brilliant.

Kawasaki KX65

Kawasaki KX65

Might seem a lot of dosh for a kid's bike, but just a quick peek and a bounce up and down on that quality suspension tells you it worth every penny. This is no ordinary field bike. And then you start it. Holy Mother.

At just a smidgeon short of 16bhp the liquid cooled KX65 is clearly built to win races. And it does. In fact, in its motocross class it's totally dominant. If noise is an issue where you live, or where your kids would ride, forget it. Race tracks only. At least there you'll have paramedics on hand. I kid you not, I've seen these bikes clear heeooge jumps with psychopathic 12 year-olds on board. Not to be trifled with.

Sprogs would need at least two year's experience in the saddle before you should even contemplate buying a KX65. Awesome bit of kit. Massive fun for adults, too.

Malagutti Grizzly RCX12

Malagutti Grizzly RCX12

Fred spent a long time on the RCX12 because, like him, it's tall. After loads a laps he came in complaining of wrist ache. Most of us took this as rider fatigue and sent him out again. It wasn't until he pitted again that we realised the throttle cable was on its last two strands.

The RCX then retired to a safe place. Until it broke, it was a popular bike, especially with Fred who, despite crashing into a tree, started to look really good on it. The RCX12 is just a bigger version of the RCX10 with the same Franco Morini 50cc two-stroke motor in it. The RCX12 gets humble drums front and rear and super-long travel suspension. A bit fragile, though.

Malagutti Grizzly RCX10

Malagutti Grizzly RCX10

Think of this as an Italian PW50 or QR50 but with better suspension, taller seat height and disc brakes and you'd be getting the idea. Along with the PW50 this ranked as one of Joe's favourites: "It's smoother over bumps than the PW and it's faster," he said.

The RCX10 is Britain's biggest-selling kids bike. Not hard to see why. For the competitive price you get a funky-looking, easy to ride package with more growing room than either the PW50 or the QR50. As it's got the same Franco Morini engine as the rest of the range you can tune it up as your kid gets more proficient with off-the-shelf parts. Chassis quality was was light years away from its Japanese competition. Great to ride, though.

Yamaha PW80

Yamaha PW80

Three gears, auto clutch, autolube and an automatic first choice for thousands of parents up and down the country for over 10 years. The first ones were red and white, then they went white and pink and now they're blue.

Left in second gear (won't wheelie over backwards) it was the perfect tool for taller kids to learn on. After his stagefright had subsided we had difficulty prising it off Josh, "I crashed it once but I really liked it," he said matter-of-factly. "The throttle was really easy and it was just the right size for me."

I've owned eight PW80s (don't ask) and they're just as bomb-proof as the 50cc version, but there is a chain final drive to consider, needing proper care and attention to make it last and stay on the sprockets. The PW80 is absolutely perfect for the seven-and-up bigger-boned versions of human children.

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