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Dr.X

Where are the younger trail riders?

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The vast majority of trail riders (on average) are 50+ years old. I have ridden with groups in two different states, and nearly every rider I have seen on average is >50 years old.

 

Make no mistake, I am certainly not complaining; quite the contrary in fact. I prefer riding with veteran riders. They are smarter, more experienced, more careful, more knowledgeable, and more responsible.

 

But I am simply curious as to where the younger riders are at? Certainly at the MX tracks none of the riders are over 30 (on average), so that’s one theory, but I refuse to believe that all riders under 30 ride at MX tracks.

 

Another theory is that since dirt bike riding is such an expensive sport, the younger population (generally speaking) simply can’t afford it. Between raising kids, trying to buy a house, and focusing on a career, there just isn’t much money (nor time) available.

 

As I read through what I’ve written, I’m now convinced that I have answered my own question lol.

 

Any additional thoughts though?

 

Full disclosure, I am 27 years old.

 

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I mostly see the younger folks out playing in the sand with their quads. I don't know if motorcycles are considered too difficult, or just not fashionable, or what. I know the trails I usually ride require a pretty high skill level, and unless they're experienced already most people don't enjoy them much during their first few times out. Maybe young guys like speed over precision? I dunno.

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I'm 64 and all I ride are trails.  The guys I ride with are 28, 31 and 41...and all 3 are pretty fast.  I guess it just depends on where you live.  BTW, they also ride track.

I see plenty of younger guys riding off road around here.  But, an odd observation here.  The vast majority of the younger guys ride Japanese bikes, seems the euro bikes are ridden by older guys, probably due to the expense.  I'm one of the few older guys on a Japanese bike it seems like sometimes.

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it's a money thing.  and a storage thing.  between 18 and 30 I didn't even own a house (though I lived in a rented one for a bit) so I had no place to keep the motorcycle.  mountain bike won out during that time frame.  cost the same or more than a dirt bike, but I could bring it in my dorm/apartment.  then I bought my house, but still couldn't afford a bike.  got married.  still couldn't afford one (well, technically I could have gotten a use done).  had kids.  still couldn't afford one.  only reason I could afford one is an inheritance.

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Is 8 years old on black diamond singletrack too old? Because this kid RIPS on a KTM 50. Photo taken yesterday

 

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Also let me add this- 

 

When I did live in California, I was far below the median income range for that state. Moved elsewhere, and money balanced out better to allow a work/life ratio that provided the means to keep our kids on bikes and still get them through college. 

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I support a local club....they have built trails designed for youth right off their staging areas....this really helps bring the young ones in ...which builds the sport IMHOP

 

 

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At any given time/era there is only a small percentage of people that will ride dirt bikes. Crashing, which is obligatory, hurts and most leave the sport after a decent wad up.

Boomers were exposed to the Japanese motorcycle invasion of the '60s & '70s and because of the shear numbers 'infected' there are still plenty of us around.

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30 minutes ago, hawaiidirtrider said:

There’s less riding area too. .. price of everything going up has also made dirt biking more expensive..

This is so true.  There are fewer and fewer legal riding areas as time goes on.

 

Then the trails are all washed out/eroded/rocked-up/rooted so it is hard to find a good place to even teach kids/those new to riding.  

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I fell into this "demographic gap" for a long time.  I rode trails and dabbled in enduro from youth until the start of college...you know, the years when I lived with my parents and could use my summer-job money on myself

From college through fatherhood, I stuck to street bikes, where I could justify the hobby as "cheap transportation."  I could neither afford the time, the space nor the expense of dirt bikes in any environment as an amateur/hobbyist.

Once my kids were of riding age...and could do what I did to my parents...I bought a dirt bike for myself again to trail-ride with my kids (and the other dads).

The question is...do you see the kids on the bikes?  Will there be another generation of "dad riders" following along after they temporarily sideline the sport as young, broke adults?

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At least at one area I ride in, Hopkinton Everett/Clough State Forest, I had seen lots of dads and moms with kids trailing behind, and me with my 9 year old behind me.  

It could be because there are trails that are like perfect for kids, and that the area is the closest area around to ride in but there are parents that are bringing their kids riding out there.  

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I must live in a weird spot. Here in Northern Utah over 80% of the riders I bump into on the trail are in their 20s and 30s. I'm 25. 

 

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18-34 would rather do more contemporary things related to city life and social media. In that age group they also prefer hiking less remote areas or having nice shiny mountain bikes. Dirt bikes are an outdated hobby. Most young people think of dirt bikes as "something my dad/grand dad/uncle used to do." When said like that it doesn't sound very interesting. 

I'm 33 in socal and can tell you from experience not a whole lot of people "ride" on a regular basis. 

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I'm 20 and I ride a bit of both. I'd agree with you when you say the price is stopping young ppl from being out here. Dirtbiking is by far the most expensive hobby I've ever done.

 

 

 

 

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My experience is that younger riders are less able to travel far and wide, thus they ride local. Old guys with time and money are able to get to the various massive wilderness areas and trail ride.

A lot of TT members are hard core trail riders and they ride in some amazing place on some brutal trails that only experience allows. Not about speed but 'making it' and finishing the day. Those that 'go for it' are not trail riders.

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I rode up until I was 18 then moved out of my parent's house and didn't have the time/money until my mid 30's 

More kids going to college and staying closer to bigger cities with less areas to ride and not having friends that ride encouraging them to join etc. 

That and I think the younger people that do ride gravitate towards mx.

Then like my buddy I rode with as a kid, been trying to get him back into riding but seems content with the less than $1,000 mountain bike he has vs a $10k dirtbike. 

Then just seems kids aren't as interested in motorsports and many don't even care about getting their driver's license, seems that desire or freedom isn't as strong. 

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got a mini-bike for christmas when i was a kid.  could ride it anywhere back then.  and i did, almost everyday.  that was when there was still a large middle class. and they had some disposable income.  for stuff like that.  this was in the early 60's.  that's all but gone nowadays.  lousy parenting, very little if any disposable income,  both parents work, if there are even two parents.  usually not.  everything is overpriced.  7k to 12K+ for a new dirt bike is &%$#@!ing ridiculous.  general population is to pussified for outdoor type stuff.  attendance in all kinds of sports isn't what it use to be.  easier to buy video games.  some schools have eliminated playgrounds and recess.  the list goes on and on.

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I'm 31 now, I started riding at 17 on a 125 on the road, but rode trails a lot (which is pretty much completely illegal in the UK), now I ride either Mx or enduro every weekend, and have a dirt bike for getting to work via the scenic routes also. Trail riding in general is a little boring for me, sheerly as everything local wouldn't bring excitement at 100mph...

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