Mini dirt bikes, also known as mini moto bikes, are off-road motorcycles on a much smaller scale than common full-sized motocross bikes. The mini dirt bikes often feature smaller engines — 50cc to 100cc are common sizes — and the frame, wheels, and overall construction of the bike are all much smaller. While the stature of mini dirt bikes is much smaller, the performance can often reach that of full-sized bikes; some mini bikes can reach high speed and even be used for racing purposes. The two most popular types of mini bikes are gas-powered, two stroke bikes, and electric bikes that are meant more for hobbyists than racers.
Electric mini dirt bikes usually do not have the power that gas-powered mini bikes have, so they are often used by small children who are just learning how to handle a dirt bike. The frame and style of the bike may be similar to the gas-powered versions, but electric mini bikes feature significantly less power. These are not street legal bikes since they are often too small to be seen by motorists, and anyone riding such a bike should wear appropriate safety gear such as a helmet, gloves, and goggles.
Gas-powered mini dirt bikes are more powerful than electric bikes. They feature an engine quite similar to that of the larger motorcycles they copy, though the engines are quite a bit smaller. They are also not street legal in most cases, though protective equipment should still be worn while riding. Gas-powered mini dirt bikes feature many of the same component designs as full-sized bikes, such as hydraulic disc brakes and, in some cases, a multi-gear manual transmission. Many mini bikes, however, feature automatic transmissions instead of manual transmissions, making the bike easier to use for novices or small children.
A close cousin to mini dirt bikes is the mini quad, which is similar to a mini dirt bike aside from the fact that a quad features four wheels instead of two. This means the quad has independent suspension for all four wheels, and the rider sits more securely on the quad. Balance is less of an issue on a quad than it is on a motorcycle, so for the rank beginner, a mini quad may be a wise choice. Mini quads are not street legal, and they can be used for off-road riding or racing.