The TWO (2) Best All-time Dirt Bikes

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12/14/2010 1:18 PM

For all of us that either started at a young age in the sport of motocross - or had

kids that have raced motocross in the last thirty years... we need to publicly

acknowledge the contributions of the two GREATEST dirt bikes ever manufactured:

1. The everlasting,dependable, timeless YAMAHA PW-50

2. The fast, fairly maintenance-free KAWASAKI KX-60.

How many of you grew up racing these things ? Or instructed their kids and

coached them racing these contraptions ?

12/14/2010 1:21 PM

Too old for the PW and KX but my 2:

1. XR75

2. CR125M

I raced both

12/14/2010 1:26 PM

1) Trail 70 duh

2) XR100. Ultimate kids bike, you could bury it in the pond then hold it wide open all the way home and it would just start right back up in the morning to do it all over again. You couldn't kill one if you tried lol

12/14/2010 1:28 PM

I remember the radiator shrouds breaking on the KX 60 and 80s easily. I remember getting the TUF that were like a microfiche machine in book form.

12/14/2010 1:30 PM

Kyle827 wrote:

1) Trail 70 duh

2) XR100. Ultimate kids bike, you could bury it in the pond then hold it wide open all the way home and it would just start right back up in the morning to do it all over again. You couldn't kill one if you tried lol

My son has a CRF100 (same as the XR), get flogged mercilessly by the kids in the neighbourhood. Apart from a slipping clutch it doesn't miss a beat.

12/14/2010 1:32 PM

I started my grandson at 3 on the JR50 because it has a rear foot brake, which the PW does not. he's now on an RM 65 so i agree with you on 1 of 2.

12 KTM 250SX
09 CR500AF
08 Ducati Hypermotard
03 CR125
95 CR250
83 Husqvarna 125XC

12/14/2010 1:37 PM

the honda mini 50 ranks right up there too.

12/14/2010 1:42 PM

This one has to rank up there pretty highly.

12/14/2010 1:58 PM

I had a Honda XL70 for my first Dirt Bike but it was the S model that my dad and I took the lights off and threw a knobby on the rear.Agreed you couldn't blow those old Honda engines up if you tried LOL.

12/14/2010 2:03 PM

Honda MR50

12/14/2010 2:07 PM

fader418 wrote:

Honda MR50

Those were the coolest bikes ever.I always wanted one man,2 stroke full on bad ass mini racer.Why honda quit making cool stuff like that was beyond me.

12/14/2010 2:13 PM

xr100, and i bought a dr-z125 last year that is probably the most fun ive had on a bike in a long time

12/14/2010 2:20 PM

The DT-1 started many careers.

My wife calls you guys the Yahoos.

12/14/2010 2:21 PM

I agree on all of the above, with the addition of the XR200.

12/14/2010 2:23 PM

This is what kids dreamed about at night !

"The public sucks. Fuck hope." ~ George Carlin

12/14/2010 2:28 PM

XR 75


I have the right to remain awesome.

12/14/2010 2:28 PM

The Honda CT-70... the bikes were almost bullet proof... The Suzuki RM 125B (1977)...

12/14/2010 2:29 PM

Learned how to ride on a KX60. And yeah, there wasn't a single bike out there that didn't have the radiator shrowd bent back. I still remember it had that weird vertical shock linkage too and really really long levers for kid sized hands. And there weren't any springs available to really keep it from bottoming over anything larger than a small jump.

Sure was a great bike though.

12/14/2010 2:33 PM

Not sure how you define BEST. Everyone is going to have their favorite.

But one of the most IMPORTANT might be the 1968 Yamaha DT-1. A little before my time and I never rode one but ....

1968 Yamaha DT-1

First in the dirt

By Sean Ross - May/June 2008

1968 was quite a year: History buffs will likely remember the escalating war in Vietnam or that Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated that fateful year. But gearheads of a certain age remember 1968 as the year Yamaha’s DT-1 hit the scene and changed motorcycling forever.

Prior to Yamaha’s release of the DT-1, a reliable, reasonably powerful and inexpensive dirt bike simply didn’t exist. The various — mostly British — scramblers on the market tended to be big and heavy, and while companies like Greeves, Montesa and Penton offered purpose-built dirt bikes, they were expensive and quirky. The DT-1 changed all that.

The DT-1 was a solid, inexpensive bike you could ride to the track and then run with the best purpose-built dirt bikes of the day once you got there. And even if you weren’t a racer, it was a great compromise bike that could handle almost any trail you threw at it — and still get you safely home at the end of the day.

A fresh idea
Looking back, it seems simple enough: Build a lightweight but strong frame, put some moderately-long-travel suspension under it, add some dual-sport tires, throw in a reliable and reasonably powerful engine, add the street legal bits, and then sell it for a good deal less than the nearest true dirt bike. Presto, instant hit.

Up until that point, nobody had figured that out, and with the introduction of the DT-1, Yamaha essentially defined a new market for motorcycles. Savvy research had shown there was a market for this type of bike in the U.S., but even Yamaha was surprised by the enthusiasm American buyers showed for its new bike: The initial 12,000 production run sold out quickly, so Yamaha ramped up production immediately, selling thousands of its little dirt bike while the rest of the industry played catch-up.

Although the DT-1 was a bike that was happy getting dirty, it also played a big role in cleaning up motorcycling’s image. In the late Sixties, motorcyclists were still often seen as outlaws. The DT-1, in helping to popularize dirt biking, showed motorcycling as a wholesome, athletic affair, making it much more acceptable to the general public.

More than the sum…
No individual piece of the DT-1 was really revolutionary. The DT-1’s steel frame was a standard single-backbone, double-cradle design, although the use of tubular instead of stamped steel was still somewhat advanced for a Japanese bike. The wheelbase was a nimble-without-being-squirrelly 53.5 inches, with rear suspension duties handled by a rectangular-section steel swingarm and dual shocks with four inches of travel. In the front, standard telescopic forks offered six inches of travel. The aftermarket quickly geared up to offer suspension upgrades for both ends of the bike, improving damping characteristics and increasing travel. In fact, the DT-1 spawned a veritable cottage industry of aftermarket parts.

The bike rode on an 18-inch diameter steel wire-spoke wheel with a drum brake in the rear, and a 19-inch wheel in the front, also with a drum brake. Braking was barely adequate by today’s standards, but was decent for its day. From the factory, the rims were wrapped with specially-designed Dunlop dual-purpose block-tread tires (4 inches wide in the rear, 3.25 inches for the front) that were adequate for light-duty trail work, but were immediately traded for true knobbies for serious dirt duty.

Dependable power
The heart of the DT-1 was a moderately powerful (18hp @ 6,000rpm) and reliable 2-stroke, 246cc single. Fuel was fed through a 26mm Mikuni carburetor and spent fumes traveled through an upswept exhaust pipe. Spark was provided by a standard magneto, and starting was by kick only. Other than acceptable power and solid reliability, the main difference between the DT-1’s engine and other bikes was Yamaha’s Autolube oil-injection system, which most certainly helped it appeal to new motorcyclists who didn’t want to deal with premixing fuel and oil. The Autolube system also helped with reliability and reduced the typical 2-stroke smoke by ensuring proper oil mixture. Yamaha also focused on making the engine as narrow and light as possible to keep the bike nimble.

The bike came with a speedometer and a slightly smaller tachometer, as well as full lighting equipment to make it street legal. Many owners removed all this street fare when they took delivery of their bikes, rode the heck out of them in the dirt for a couple of years, then bolted everything back on when it was time to sell. The low-mounted aluminum front fender was often scrapped for an aftermarket high-mounted plastic unit for more serious off-road use.

Overall the styling was subdued. The first year’s pearl-white tank and headlight nacelle were replaced in later years by brighter colors. Fenders, fork sliders and engine were all gray. Chrome wheels, exhaust heat shield, handlebars and headlight bezel brightened things up a bit, and the candy-red tank badge gave the otherwise almost monochrome bike a splash of color. Although a bit bland by today’s standards, people who grew up around DT-1s still think of them as how a classic bike should look.

And that’s a huge part of the magic of the DT-1 and the many siblings — bigger and smaller — it spawned.

These bikes seared an image of what a bike should be into the minds of thousands of youngsters in the Seventies — an image they still hold strong today. MC

As a 2nd bike .... probably a Honda Elsinore.

Both of those really put dirt bikes on the map in the US. Dependable, affordable, good performance. I know you can't turn the clock back but it would be nice if the industry looked back and took a clue from the past. Seems like they have painted themselves into a corner these days.

12/14/2010 2:37 PM

1. Honda Mini Trail 50
2. Hodaka Super rat 100

Honorable mention XR75

12/14/2010 2:40 PM

The Honda Mini trail Z50 best dirtbike period!

12/14/2010 2:44 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/14/2010 2:45 PM

mx-frog wrote:

The Honda Mini trail Z50 best dirtbike period!

I've been riding them for over 35 years. We were just messing around with some the other day. So much fun.

12/14/2010 3:43 PM

My Indian 50 would have to be my favorite. They say your 1st is always the best and for moto I have to say that holds true.

My 2nd favorite bike would of been either my 1997 rm125 or my 1999 rm250

12/14/2010 3:47 PM


No love for CZ?





"Pearls and swine bereft of me. Long and weary my road has been."
Chris Cornell, 1964-2017

12/14/2010 4:23 PM

1974 CR125M
1973 CR250M

game changers

12/14/2010 4:27 PM

Kyle827 wrote:

1) Trail 70 duh

2) XR100. Ultimate kids bike, you could bury it in the pond then hold it wide open all the way home and it would just start right back up in the morning to do it all over again. You couldn't kill one if you tried lol

I can attest to that. I spent a couple of years on one before moving up to a 125.

12/14/2010 4:28 PM

I guess I meant more so in regards to that the two aforementioned bikes -

were instrumental in the early stages of so many, many young motocrossers -

as their initial entry into motocross and - in many cases - the bikes they piloted

at Loretta Lynn's and in their backyards....

*The time definitely changed in the early to mid nineties with the introduction of

the Cobra and then, the fast little KTMS - all of a sudden, by the time kids were leaving

50s and onto 65's - they were expected to clear THE DOUBLES....if not sooner...

12/14/2010 4:30 PM

My son started on the PW50 at three, moved on to a Polini 50 and then a KX65. Twelve years later he is still riding and I am sure the PW and the KX were very important in developing his pasion for riding.

12/14/2010 4:37 PM

Started out on a JR50 (Suzuki)
Then onto a RM 50(Suzuki) & also had a MR50 Honda as a play bike.
Then onto a YZ50.
Then a new YZ 50 punched out to a 60 with many extras(for a race bike).
Then YZ 60's after that.
Then KX 80's.

12/14/2010 4:37 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/14/2010 4:37 PM

rt 180 and yz 490