Advice on 9yr old moving up, 110 or 65?

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9/9/2021 5:20 PM

My boy has long outgrown his CRF50. I've been keeping an eye out for a used bike to move him uo to but the market for kids bike is hot and there seems to be nothing out there.
Going to have to be a new purchase.
That said, I'm torn between moving him to a 110 4-stoke or a 65 2-stroke.
He's never been a fast kid. He rides well and has good fundamentals but he mostly stays in his comfort zone and enjoys riding the mini track.

Something like a CRF110 or TTR110 would be a comfortable natural progression for him. He fits it perfectly and he would probably enjoy that more right off the bat. However, I think this could stunt his development on the bike and he will never learn to be fast.

Something like a YZ65 would be the better long term choice I think if I want him to progress. He's just on the cusp of being too small for it but he's due for a growth spurt and he will definitely grow into it. He might have a hard time picking it up and starting it by himself until he gets a little taller. The clutch will be a challenge for him and the 2-stroke will be way different for him. I'd give him plenty of time in an open field to figure it out safely before ever putting him on the track.

He is too big for a 2-stroke 50 so he missed out on that unfortunately. Maybe a KTM 50 senior would work but I can't find one anywhere.

So, 110 or 65?

I'm leaning toward the 65 but it's almost twice the cost and I'm a little worried the 65 is too much bike for him.

I see this is kind of long so thanks in advance to anyone who read this and has a helpful opinion.



9/9/2021 5:25 PM

Well, one question is racing in his future? But, either way, my personal opinion based on my son's experience ( though he raced) us go with the 65. The 110's will allow him to be a lazier rider. On the 65, like any two stroke, will make you a better rider because you need to clutch, shift and carry momentum more than on a 4 stoke. And they are easier to fix and maintain.


Indecision is a choice

9/9/2021 5:41 PM

Whether or not he races depends on how he progresses and whether it's something he wants to do.
I'm not going to be pushing him in that direction.
I mainly just want him to enjoy riding so it's something I can continue doing with him.
I'd say we'll be riding practice days at local tracks mostly.


9/9/2021 5:45 PM

Kx 65 is my vote.


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9/9/2021 5:49 PM

Im with Ted on this. If you think he'll want to race its a no brainer, go with the 65. Two strokes force you to be a better rider and you dont want him to get lazy on a four stroke before he learns proper riding technique. Hold off on the four strokes until he's ready for a 250F.

If its just going to be for fun than either bike will do just fine, 65 will likely require more maintenance though.

Just my opinion.


9/9/2021 5:49 PM

Speaking from personal experience, I started on a ttr50 then went to a ttr110. They were great bikes to learn on but the jump to a yz85 was huge from a 110. Having to learn to handle all the power of a 85 and having to learn a clutch was a lot. To be fair it was such a big jump the bike scared me. I think if I would have to been on a 65 instead of a 110 that jump would not have been as hard.


9/9/2021 5:51 PM

i'm a big fan of moto bikes even if the kid isn't racing. they teach better form, have better suspension, etc. go the moto route with a bike that fits him, and tame the speed down if its intimidating.


9/9/2021 5:53 PM

I think the 110 just based on the info you provided. I get you want to nudge him into being a better rider, but I think it’s more important that he has fun. Is he going to have fun on a 65, or is it going to be too much too soon and have him frustrated with riding? If he’d had some experience on a “fast 50” and was already used to that, then I’d say 65. My son isn’t there yet so I don’t know, and hopefully someone can chime in, but can you tone down the 65 so you’re not throwing too much at him at one time? Let him get used to the clutch and stuff, and then later open it back up?


9/9/2021 6:12 PM

SEE ARE125 wrote:

I think the 110 just based on the info you provided. I get you want to nudge him into being a better rider, but I think it’s ...more

Good point. That's my concern too. If there's an easy way to tame the 65 I'd feel more comfortable with it.


9/9/2021 6:18 PM

65. My step daughter is 8 and went to a 65 after spending a couple weeks on a 50sx. The clutch is taking a bit to control, but she has a blast


9/10/2021 6:53 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/10/2021 6:55 AM

I had my son on a 50sx. He wasn't every really into it, he would enjoy riding if there was a group of friends or family with him but otherwise he had little interest. A few months ago I put him on a 110 - he loves it and now wants to ride all the time. He's comfortable which makes it fun for him and that's what really matters at this age. The 50sx was just too aggressive for him and I suspect a 65 would be also.

If you're 9 year old is aggressive and into it then go with the 65, but if he's more of a casual rider go 110.


9/10/2021 7:01 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/10/2021 7:30 AM

OP, does your boy ride on tracks or mostly around the yard and trails?

There was a guy from PA on here that had a kx 65 with autoclutch for his little kids instead of the fast 50s because the kx is more reliable. I think he got clicked in non-moto a little while ago.

My nephew is about the same age and just moved from a crf50 to a klx140 small wheel. He's tall for his age so he can touch on it but the clutch is taking some getting used to. Smooth power and e-start help with learning it. He just rides around the yard and some trails, no track time or racing for him.


9/10/2021 7:26 AM

Just to buck the trend, my kid went from a PW50 to TT-R110 to an RM85. He's doing just fine, but isn't very fast.


Braaapin' aint easy.

9/10/2021 7:31 AM


You’ve already got it figured out. I’d get a 110 for now and when the opportunity presents itself…put him on a 65.

Good Luck!

ps: check back in here if ya can’t find a bike for a reasonable price.


Nobody ever told me, I found out for myself. You've got to believe in foolish miracles. It's not how you play the game, it's if you win or lose. You can choose. Don't confuse. Win or lose. It's up to you!

9/10/2021 7:49 AM

My brother just went through this with his 9 yo boy. Went from PW50 then to a KTM 50. 110s are not a competitive race bike and he wanted his boy to race like his cousins and bought a KTM 65. He was way scared of it and never wanted to ride it much less race it. This summer he just bought him a klx110 and that boy rides that bike almost every night now. He's gaining bike skill and seat time and having way more fun. I'm thinking they will get him back on the 65 at some point but right now it's about him having fun on a motorcycle and learning.


9/10/2021 8:05 AM

65 all the way.

The 110s are more of an adult playbike, and they are quite heavy and unyielding compared to the 65.


9/10/2021 8:24 AM

My son rode a PW50 from 5 years old until 8. Then I made the choice to get him a 65 last Christmas fully expecting him to have a big learning process with the clutch, gears, and serious power increase. So we started out in open fields for the clutch, shifting, braking. Now he's raced the 65 twice so far, and he's loving it! He uses good technique which is all I want. The speed, and throttle twisting will come.



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9/10/2021 8:39 AM

My son went from a 50 to a TTR110. He quickly started over-riding the suspension capabilities of the 110 on the track. Put him on a KX65 and then he was super intimidated by the power. A very simple way to tame them down is to add a big flat washer in the pipe right at the exhaust port. Really took the hit out of the bike and made it very four-stroke like. Was able to learn clutch control and get comfortable, then drill out the hole little by little for increased power as the comfort and skills increase.


9/10/2021 8:45 AM

KLX 110L, a little bit better suspension than a 110 and it has a clutch.

I was a somewhat timid kid riding and when my dad got us KX 60's we weren't ready for them so they mostly sat for a few years until we felt confident riding it. If he enjoys riding and doesn't show a big interest in raing get a 110L. If he gets an interest in racing you can always get a 65 and could keep the 110 as a pit bike if you don't have to sell it.


9/10/2021 9:56 AM

I’d do the son is 9 started riding about a year ago on a klx110. Really hard to teach good technique on those. They can’t even grip with their legs since there is no frame where your ankles are and the cases are extremely wide. He was ripping on it but the suspension was holding him back big time and they are super heavy.

Got him on a Rm65 (same as kx) and he’s riding really well..It’s a little tall for him but he has no problem riding it. Don’t even think he’s ever stalled it..Just use start blocks for gate starts when racing. I’d like to get him a yz65 but I can’t afford it for a bike he won’t be on for long and bike prices are crazy now.I just did race tech emulators in the fork, went up two teeth on rear sprocket and a moose torque plate (reed spacer) and it’s working really well..only have about 2g’s into it. Not the easiest to find a cheap one now though


9/10/2021 10:07 AM

Let him ride a 110 for a year and then keep it for yourself and get him a 65 Win win all around.


9/10/2021 1:12 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/10/2021 1:13 PM

Got my nephew a 110 pitbike with a clutch / 4 Speed, if I'd gone 65 and personally I'd have preferred to, I seriously doubt he'd ride it... and I had to remind myself it's not about me, it's about him

He has enough to figure out with the clutch and gears without any abrubt small 2 Stroke race bike powerband.

Some kids will take to it no problem, and if your kid is like you'll usually know it without thinking about it.

The the rest of the youngsters, I'd echo the other folks saying they'd be best on something manageable, if they have fun they'll stick with it and you can upgrade when the time is right smile


9/10/2021 1:23 PM

I'd go the 65 and put a thick rag around the air filter to tame the power. I did that for my daughter when she moved from the ktm 50 to the 65. It makes a massive difference in how much power the bike has.

She ended up taking a couple years off riding after a crash that scared her but the other day she told me she wanted to ride again. I was looking at a ttr110 at first but ended up buying her a new yz85. I offered to put the rag back in the air box for her first ride back and she declined, she just got straight on and rode it. She's 11 but small, my 9 year old son is nearly as tall as her


9/10/2021 1:24 PM

Many excellent replies here. Exactly the kind of thoughtful opinions and experiences I was hoping for.
Lots of pros and cons but ultimately it comes down to the kid and they're all different.
For me the main thing is him continuing to love the sport and sticking with it for the long haul.
Still leaning towards the 65 for now. I'll circle back here and let you guys know where I landed and how it went.
Many thanks.


9/10/2021 4:58 PM

In my opinion it is easier to tame a 65 with a washer in the exhaust or rags in the airbox(as Chump suggested) than make a 110 be worth anything more than just a trail bike.


"OK, Boomer!"

9/10/2021 5:31 PM

I've had three different sons move up from 50s. I would highly recommend the 65 since you plan on riding moto tracks. Even if you only ride practice days, it's still riding on a moto track. The suspension, turning, and power to weight ratio are so much better than 110s.
Also, I believe all the Japanese 65's have lowering links available. I've never done anything to reduce power, but it sounds like some good ideas on the posts above.
I would only recommend the 110 for a very non-aggressive kid who only want to trail ride slowly.


9/10/2021 5:37 PM

110 then an 85 after a couple years. I went from an xr70 to an xr100 to a cr85 by the time i was 10


9/12/2021 4:51 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/12/2021 5:02 AM

Both! My son went from a PW 50 to a KLX 110, we ride mostly track. While he got comfy on the 110, I picked up a clean used KX 65 when the opportunity arose...and, he HATED the 65. No PV on those engines, so they hit hard, he was timid back then, and like you, I just wanted him to love riding. After a year he spent the most of his riding on the 110, building skills, with the occasional ride on the 65. When he moved up to the 85 the transition was seamless, and his skills really took off from there. Now he is 16, and got his first 4 stroke, 22 KTM 250xcf, and the kid just flat out rails on it.

I had put a little money into his 110, I added a Fox Float shock, which made the bike much more rideable in the chop, and on the track for his 50-60 lb self.

Had I gone from the PW to the 65 we might be in a different spot now. It took him a little longer than other kids to find his confidence, but the fact that he was comfortable, on the right bike for him at the time, and no pressure from Dad has made him love riding, and turned him into an excellent in, Dad can't keep up with him anymore.


9/13/2021 10:52 PM

If your son has any drive to be faster, get him the 65. The 110’s are a lot of fun and great on the trails, but they are not good at all on the track. The suspension alone on the 65’s are so much better, he will be able to ride a lot faster. He might not be that fast of a rider now, because he is on a crf50. put him on a bike with some good power, and good suspension and see how he likes it. They do great off road as well. It will take a bit to get used to, but if he still hates it after several rides, sell it and get a 110. Give him a chance to get some speed and have some fun!


9/14/2021 10:44 AM

I just went through this same thought process with my 9 year old.

All depends on whether he wants to race or not, if you think he will want to race get him a 65, if not get him a 110. I bought my son a 65 and then he decided he didn't want to race so sold it and got a KLX110R and he is in heaven. He loves riding at the farm and even sometimes on the local track. I put him on the 65 too soon, it scared him and he would not ride it. He was big enough physically but not mentally if that makes sense.

He is out for a Sunday ride, he has been riding it for about a year and is just now getting to where he is, I feel, maxing out the suspension. He absolutely loves his 110R.

I am now debating on getting him a used KX or YZ65 and keeping his KLX110R for when he wants to ride around the farm. I feel like he is mentally stronger and would have no problem with a 65 now and I would feel he is safer with the MX suspension the 65's offer, size wise in another 2 years he will need to be on a 85 so want to make that transition smoother.