Looking to Start Riding with my son

I am 50 and my son is 9.  He has expressed a lot of interest in trails riding especially since he found out I owned a cr125 dirt bike in the late 70's.  I have ridden street but have not ridden trails for years.....to be honest decades.  I would like to get started with him but do not know what bike to start him out on or what would be a good "starter" bike for me.  I am also concerned with the limited riding opportunities in my area, sarasota florida,  I am not out to set the trails world on fire and am looking to stay within  a very limited budget.  Does anyone have any ideas,suggestions for me.  I am not in loyal to any brand but would like as reliable a workhorse as there is.

I am 50 and my son is 9.  He has expressed a lot of interest in trails riding especially since he found out I owned a cr125 dirt bike in the late 70's.  I have ridden street but have not ridden trails for years.....to be honest decades.  I would like to get started with him but do not know what bike to start him out on or what would be a good "starter" bike for me.  I am also concerned with the limited riding opportunities in my area, sarasota florida,  I am not out to set the trails world on fire and am looking to stay within  a very limited budget.  Does anyone have any ideas,suggestions for me.  I am not in loyal to any brand but would like as reliable a workhorse as there is.

For your son a CRF50F would be great. It is a 3 speed with automatic clutch, and a 4 stroke so it has smooth power all around. Something that he can learn the basics of riding without having too much thrown at him and he can outgrow this bike which is a fairly cheap bike to purchase. 

 

For you, you can get a dual sport bike to register for on road as well, a good choice would be the 2014 KLX250S. It has good power and runs about $5,000. You can go cheaper and get a bike with much less technology and speed for $4,000 crf230f, you would get bored in no time. On the other side you can get around $7,500 for a racing woods bike crf250x.

Edited by BrapCity

For a 9 year old, I would suggest something a little bigger than the CRF50.  My son is 8, started riding last August (got the bike for his 8th bday), and has already outgrown it.  We just bought him a KLX110, and it's perfect.  Like the CRF50, it is a three speed (they went to a 4 speed sometime in the mid 2000's), auto clutch, but has MUCH better suspension.  If your son is aggressive at all, like mine, he's going to be bottoming out the suspension on the 50 in no time.  Then he'll start crashing a lot, like my son.  

 

So, I suggest a CRF70 or the newer CRF110, KLX110, DRZ110, TTR110.  The newer bikes also have an electric start (KLX and TTR 110), which I think is a great choice, as these bikes are bit heavy for the little guys.

 

For you, I'd suggest an air cooled 4 stroke like the XR, CRF230, TTR230 or the like.  They are great for following your kids around, but still capable enough if you want to tool around with buddies.  Also, as long as you keep oil in it, it will last forever.  I'd also suggest something with an electric start.  You will be on and off your bike a lot helping your son, so the electric start is nice (which eliminates the XR).

When my son and I started riding a few years ago, I got him a nice kLX 140 with electric start. He loved theMonster Energy graphics. My point being, if you can identify a few bikes that fit his needs, let him pick the bike, his buy in will help smooth over the times when he is a bit frustrated. I bought myself a very well maintained 1997 KDX 220 for$900. The bike is bullet proof. He fell in love with riding and we have moved up to KTM 105 and 300 respectively.

Try to keep the seat height so that he can easily reach the ground on his toes. The lighter the bike the better. You both will appreciate electric start. Take the learning process very slow. Start on flat ground in an open area, then work up to running through the gears on dirt roads. Get appropriate safety gear-helmet, gloves, goggles and boots. Let him look cool with mx pants and jersey. Only after your son has basic skills would I invite friends along that have their own bikes. Competition among friends will push him to get faster. Stay away from busy ohv parks until he has basic skills.

I don't know anything about riding areas in Florida but Riderplanet is a good resource for riding areas:

http://www.riderplanet-usa.com/atv/trails/florida_list.htm

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