What are the differences between a pit bike and a dirt bike?

It’s confusing to choose one between a dirt bike and a pit bike as both of them are quite similar in many ways. If you are going to start bike riding as your new hobby, it’s a confusing task to choose an option among so many preferences and appearances. As a bike lover, you would like to know no the differences and comparison of these two types of bikes deeply and we are going to provide you with that. This article will give you a precise idea about pit bike vs dirt bike and it will be easy for you to choose any of them.

Pit Bike VS Dirt Bike

As you can see many riders use pit bikes for their race tracks, even experts use them to rock on on the race. You might be thinking about how they are similar or compared with dirt bikes. We will discuss here all the significant features due to which people get confused about dirt bikes with pit bikes.

Difference between pit bike and dirt bike

When you are buying or riding a dirt bike or pit bike, you should know what’s the difference between pit bike and dirt bike. They differ from the following features:

1. Height of the bike

Dirt bikes have a perfect height for off-road racing. In races, it’s difficult for the rider to pass through the obstacles on the trails with a machine body that is too low. If you’re riding on a too-small bike in an average dirt trial, this can damage the expensive machinery and body of the bike. You may need to spend much money on repairing or replacing.

But if you are going to ride the bike on plain trials or terrain, the height of the bike doesn’t matter that much.

Pit bikes are a small machine with short height. They are generally preferred by short adults or children and adolescents. Average or tall adults can also ride them, but they may have some discomforts to adjust with the bike height.

It’s fact that pit bikes are not designed for off-road racing and they will get damaged if you ply them on rough trails. Don’t use pit bike for off-road adventures you rather buy a dirt bike if you have to go off-road frequently.

2. Body Shape of the bike

Pit bikes are lightweight with a compact body and smaller wheels to allow the rider to manoeuvre it through confined pit courses. But the low body makes it incompatible for off-road trails.

Dirt bikes have big body to ignore any obstacles on the road. They are bigger than the pit bikes and it’s safer to ride with them on dirt roads as they have the larger frame to cleaning obstacles. But they are more challenging to move and store!

Pitbikescanaccommodatepeoplewithsmallerbodysizehencebetterforkidsandadults.Ontheotherhand, dirt bikes with their regular-sized bodies are not actually for handling narrow courses. But they also have different size ranges to accommodate riders of different heights.

3. Bike Engine

Pit bikes are generally available within 50-1400cc range with four-stroke motors. The range generally doesn’t go beyond 250cc. You can wonder about they having four-stroke engines being so small.

A four-stroke motor of the bike takes four-piston motions which makes a complete engine cycle. Each stroke supplies propelling energy, and the output given by it is reliable and steady.

It is sensible for this engine of the bike to have controllable power, especially for teenagers and kids. And with the smoother power band pit bikes are easier to operate.

Dirt bikes can have 4-strokes engine or 2 -strokes engine. In a complete cycle of the two-stroke engine, the piston makes two movements. As such the acceleration rate of the bike is higher that is harder to control but it is perfect for tracks.

On the other hand, the “maximum speeds” of Four-stroke dirt bikes are higher compared to their two-stroke counterparts. This makes them more suitable for racing and street riding. Choosing one of four-stroke or two-stroke dirt bikes are choosing between top speed or quick initial acceleration.

The four-stroke engines that are fitted in dirt bikes are generally more powerful than those used in pit bikes. You will get Four-stroke dirt bikes commonly within 300-400cc range, and some of them may reach 750cc.

4. Speed

The power and speed of pit bikes are not like dirt bikes. General speed range of pit bikes is between 50cc to 150cc while dirt bikes have the lowest range of 125cc. We have mentioned in the engine section about the capacity of two-stroke and four-stroke dirt bikes.

As the weight and size of the pit bikes are smaller it leads them to have less torque. Even if the engine size of a pit bike and a dirt bike is same, still the pit bike would be less powerful than the dirt bike.

A 50cc pit bike can reach up to 15 to 25 mph as a maximum speed when it’s on short trails in lower gears. This speed can be up to 50mph on longer sections. A pit bike with 140cc or 160cc larger engine can reach a maximum speed between 70 to 75 mph.

If you do some simple modification to your pit bike, the speed will increase and it will not affect the low-end torque acceleration that much. Just replace the stock 14-tooth sprocket of the pit bike with a 15-tooth drive sprocket.

You can also replace the rear 42-tooth sprocket with a 32-tooth sprocket if you want to get increased speed, but in this case, the low-end torque acceleration will be compromised.

Dirt bikes can provide you with incredibly high speed. That’s why they are so popular for racing. If we consider the lower part of the spectrum, even a 50cc dirt bike can go at a speed range of 25-40 mph. The maximum speed of 400cc dirt bikes is up to 87 mph, so professional riders will enjoy the ride with them.

5. Tires of the bike

The tire structure and design of dirt bike and pit bike are optimized according to the terrains they often use for the ride. We can clear

The bike riders usually use the dirt bikes on street roads and o off-road trails. The knobby tires of dirt bikes help them to go through the rough terrains, normal street or mountain tracks. The large tires increase the speed of the bike and keep the bike engine higher from the ground.

The dirt bike tires are wrapped with an outer rubber surface that works like a cushion and maintain necessary grip when it cruises on rocky surface or terrain. As such, they can move subsequently and easily on any surface with mud, dirt or sand.

The tire size of pit bikes generally measures from 12 to 14 inches while dirt bikes typically have 18 inches tires. Generally, the front tires of pit bikes are larger than the rear ones. The front ones are 14 inches and rear ones are 12 inches. This tire sizes complement the small body of the pit bike so that it becomes most suitable for clear tracks and smooth trails.

6. Suspension

The suspension system is the connection between the mainframe off the bike and its wheels. There are shock absorbers as a part of the system to cushion the riders from bumpy rides.

Generally, dirt bikes need more advanced suspension that is not required in in pit bikes. As pit bike courses have regular bumps that are not specially made for off-road tracks. This bumps can go well with an inferior suspension. On the other hand, dirt bikes need better suspension to keep their wheels in direct connection with the ground.

You may observe various suspension systems among dirt bike models. For example, Motocross dirt bikes have excellent quality suspension for long travel that can deal with high jumps at maximum speed.

7. Safety

If you come to the point of safety, pit bikes are off course safer as they have a slower speed and typically they are used in smooth tracks and roads. Pit bike racing is arranged in a controlled area or quarters while dirt bikes are mostly taken for adventures.

There may be some cuts or bruises when you ride a pit bike with low speed but it’s really common to face serious injuries while riding on dirt bikes. That’s why pit bikes are safer for beginners, children or teenagers. Dirt bikes need high riding skills as it’s associated with higher risks.

But we will surely note that risk largely depends on your safety measures. If you don’t use a helmet or ignore the traffic rules, it’s all your fault if any accident takes place whether the bike is a pit bike or a dirt bike.

8. Cost

Your budget is an important factor while buying any items not only a bike. As a bike is a costly item, it should match your budget.

From all the features of these two bikes, you can guess that dirt bikes are more expensive than pit bikes. But there are so many brands and models of dirt bikes are available that we can’t say any specific price of them. There is a wide range of prices but we can give an instance like: you will get a brand new 250cc dirt bike with around $2000 and a used one with same features will cost around $1000 but it’s fully dependent on the brand.

On the contrary, pit bikes have moderate features comparing to the dirt bikes hence you will get them with a much lower budget. If you want a brand new pit bike of any renowned brand, you can afford it within $1500 and there is less chance of costing more than that. If you are interested in buying used one or second-hand bike, you can even find one at only $200.

9. Terrain or Trails

dirt bike

Dirt bikes and pit bikes are designed for different terrain or tracks. So it’s important to consider where will you ride your bike before you buy one. Dirt Bike or Pit Bike–Which to Choose? – the answer to this question largely depends on it. If you are going to take frequent off-road rides, go for a dirt bike as it is designed for off-road dirt trail and street roads. The features of dirt bikes like the higher engine from the ground, sturdy tires, high-speed capacity, body design have made it a perfect piece for off-road racing or fun riding and adventure. So if you are going a professional racer or going to be, then you can use it for practice and race.

On the other hand, if you are going to use the bike only on plain terrain, smooth tracks, express roads or clear tracks, choose a pit bike. Pit bikes are made for these and so they don’t have rugged tires to overcome rough trails obstacles. The lower engine and moderate suspension of pit bike will not provide enough support if you go off-road with it. But the good thing is that you can make enough modification of pit bikes to make it more powerful and capable of going through rough terrains. But that would cost you more than a new standard dirt bike.

10. Upkeep and Maintenance

With the extended features, dirt bikes need a lot of maintenance and services. The amount of upkeep a dirt bike requires depends on the brand and model.

Generally, dirt bikes with four-stroke engine require less maintenance than two-stroke dirt bikes. the four-stroke engine works through all the parts of the bike. As such all the parts keep running and need less maintenance, unlike two-stroke. But the four-stroke engine will take more repairs if maintenance is required and it is more expensive. The two-stroke dirt bikes need simple and straightforward repairs that cost much less than a four-stroke engine.

Pit bikes are easy to maintain and it’s the feature for which many people likes it more. You can afford it easily and maintain with simple and inexpensive repairs. You can also do some maintenance by yourself. For example: cleaning the filters, regularly topping the oil and so on. The pit bike will not give you problems until you take it for off-road adventures or strike it with anything! 

Check our dirt bike recommendation for kids and teenagers

Best Gas Powered Dirt Bikes For Kids Of All Ages

Best Electric Dirt Bikes For Kids And Teenagers Motocross Rider Reviews

Dirt Bike For Teenager- Choice The Best Trail Dirt Bike Of All Time


We tried to give all the answers related to Pit Bike vs Dirt Bike. If you have gone through the full article, we hope that you have got a crystal clear concept about what is a pit bike and what is a dirt bike and why they are different. Now it will be easier for you to choose one that goes with your requirements.

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