Discover Your 85cc Dirt Bike [A Complete Guide]

The 85cc dirt bike has become a beloved choice for aspiring motocross champions. It’s not difficult to see why. These two-wheeled, compact machines are the heroes of track domination. They bridge the gap between raw adrenaline and nimble control. 

The 2-stroke 85cc dirt bikes are race bikes so are lightweight averaging about 147.7-165.3 lbs (67-75 kg). They’re race bikes, so have tall seat heights that range between 32-34 inches (813-864 mm). Their top speed ranges from 60-65 mph (96.6-105 km/h). This is enough to support the weight of riders aged 9-14 years old. Some 15-year-olds can also ride this bike depending on their body size.

Small dirt bikes with an engine size of 85cc are well-known for their exceptional performance and purpose-built design. Their finely tuned engines are tailored to conquer rugged terrains. They also master jumps while navigating tight corners with ease.

In this article, you will unveil the allure of this dirt bike class. You’ll also discover some 85cc dirt bikes that are in popular demand.

85cc Dirt Bikes for You

Yamaha YZ85Kawasaki KX85KTM 
Suzuki RM85Husky
GasGas MC85
BrakeDisc brakeDisc brakeDisc brakeDisc brakeDisc brakeDisc brake
Top Speed65 Mph
(105 Km/h)
62 Mph
(100 Km/h)
65 Mph
(105 Km/h)
60 Mph
(97 Km/h)
63 Mph
(101 Km/h)
60 Mph
(97 Km/h)
Seat Height33.1 Inches
32.7 Inches
33.5 Inches
33.5 Inches
33.5 Inches
34.1 Inches
Dry Weight 160.9 Lbs
165.3 Lbs
147.7 Lbs
160.9 Lbs
147.7 Lbs
147.7 Lbs
2023 Price$4,899$4,699$6,549$4,499$6,749$6,249

In major youth championship races, 85cc dirt bikes are a common feature. This bike has nurtured lots of young riders to stardom and track competence, like Drew Adams who has ridden himself to championship titles.

This is my seventh time… it’s good to get some wins.

Drew Adams

Hence, it comes as no surprise that a lot of dirt bike manufacturers have gone into production of these bikes. But the performance of these bikes varies with different brands.

These variations can be in how heavy the bike is, which affects how easily the bike can be maneuvered. It can also be in the power and torque produced which influence the top speed and acceleration of the bike. All these variations count in the performance of the bikes on motocross tracks.

Top Performers in the 85cc (10-12) Class: The Champions and Their Bikes

Here’s an overview of the top 3 in the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship. This is for the 85cc (10-12) class in the last 3 years:

1st Place (Winner and Bike)Caden Dudney, Kawasaki Drew Adams, Kawasaki Luke Fauser, 
2nd Place (Winner and Bike)Brennon Harrison, KTMDeacon Denno, Husqvarna Landen Gordon, Suzuki
3rd Place (Winner and Bike)Seth Dennis,
Brody Barth,
Kade Johnson, Yamaha 

Now, let’s explore some of these bikes and their standout features.

Yamaha YZ85

If you’re looking to tap into a mid-range performance, the Yamaha YZ85 is the ideal bike for you. Its performance is mid-range. However, it can definitely zoom through narrow turns without losing its stability.

But, let’s be clear, this bike isn’t for the faint of heart or beginner riders. It can be difficult for beginners to gain clutch control before the bike reaches peak power.

The 85cc dirt bike Yamaha comes in two models, the YZ85 and the YZ85LW. The difference is the wheel size, of which the latter sports a 19-inch front wheel and a 16-inch rear wheel. This is as opposed to the 17/14 of the YZ85 model.

Let’s talk speed. With a top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h), the Yamaha YZ85 proves its mettle. Considering its weight of 73 kg and seat height standing at 33.1 inches (841mm), this bike has a commendable speed. In terms of pricing, the YZ85 is definitely a worthwhile investment. Priced at $4,899, it offers a combination of outstanding performance and reliability.

Kawasaki KX85

Young man riding on his Kawasaki 85cc dirt bike in the trail

Say thrilling power, nimble agility and you will have described the Kawasaki KX 85 dirt bike. It delivers top-end acceleration from mid-range power. The 85cc dirt bike top speed has been clocked at an impressive 65 mph (105 km/h). This speed makes the bike an ideal choice for beginner riders aged between 10-13 years.

This motocross bike has a 2-stroke engine and towers at a seat height of 32.7 inches (approximately 831mm). The KX85 has earned its stripes on motocross tracks around the world. Thanks to its superb handling prowess and performance.

Power is the name of the game for the 85cc dirt bike Kawasaki. Its 84cc engine is capable of explosive acceleration that shoots you forward. But this advancement may be stalled temporarily by delays in throttle response.

The Kawasaki KX85 is fitted with disc brakes that supply maximum stopping power that give you control. It’s also goodbye to bone-rattling impacts. This is because the quality suspension system absorbs bumps on rough terrains well. For these amazing features, this bike sells at a giveaway price of $4,699.

KTM 85 and KTM 85 Big Wheel

KTM 85 and KTM 85 Big Wheel

In terms of lightweight design, the 85cc KTM dirt bike takes the lead, weighing in at a mere 67 kg. Its seat height measures 33.5 inches (850 mm). This makes it the perfect steed for young riders aged 10 to 14 years to learn the ropes. Taller riders can also take advantage of the KTM 85 Big Wheel which stands at a seat height of 35.0 inches.

Although the KTM 85 & KTM 85 Big Wheel bike trims come at a rather high cost of $6,549 and $6,849 respectively. But they are worthy investments. They are the choice for motocross enthusiasts who demand the best from their dirt bikes.

The fast acceleration of this bike with its agile mobility gives it a staggering top speed of 65 mph (104.6 km/h). The KTM 85 SX has one of the most superior suspension systems on the market. Their WP suspension absorbs shocks and provides a smooth ride over rough terrain. They are adjustable allowing riders to fine-tune the bike to their preference.

Suzuki RM85

Young man jumping off his Suzuki 85cc dirt bike

Experiencing a ride on the Suzuki RM85 is a sheer delight. Intermediate-level skilled riders will make the most out of this bike’s features. But seasoned riders can also hop on it. The RM85 strikes a balance between a low and mid-power range. 

The Suzuki 85 is wallet-friendly, retailing for a base price of $4,499. In terms of performance, the RM85 can ramp up to a top speed of 60 mph (96.6 km/h). It has the advantage of maneuverability and speed. A quality, attributed in part to its lightweight and compact design.

Now, let’s be real. Some riders may find the power delivery lacking. Especially when compared to the cream of the crop in the 85cc dirt bike world. The 84.7cc, 2-stroke engine is not the most stable bike out there but in the hands of a skilled rider, success draws near. The pitfall of this is that the bike is not a suitable 85cc dirt bike for beginners.

Also, at a seat height of 33.5 inches (850mm), this bike is not too big for kids aged 12-14 years old. This is not to say that it’s the most comfortable bike for larger riders. The compact design of the bike can be limiting as it affects the natural riding position of a large rider.

Husqvarna TC85

Rider jumping off his Husqvarna 85cc dirt bike

A standout attribute of Husqvarna is the technology of their race bikes. The brand is a stickler for development. The evidence of these efforts is quite telling on the motocross tracks. The Husqvarna TC85 comes in two different wheel options. They are the large wheels and the standard size. They measure 19/16 and 17/14 inches, respectively for their front and rear wheels.

These wheels are wrapped by Maxxis tires that bounce off the tracks as soon as they hit them. This gives riders the traction to advance on the track. A top speed of 60 mph (96.6 km/h) can be reached on this bike.

Among the 85cc dirt bikes, the Husqvarna TC 85 is easier to maintain. There are not many barriers to remove before getting to the interior for maintenance. It can also handle big jumps while absorbing the impact well. This advantage is credited to its WP XACT suspension system.

Furthermore, the Husk TC85 is suitable for tall riders. Its seat height is a rather imposing 33.3 inches (850mm). It is lightweight with a nimble design and goes at a base MSRP of $5,699. This is a fair price when compared to the KTM 85 which shares similar features.

GasGas MC85

Young rider jumping off his Gasgas 85cc dirt bike

Young riders with a passion for motocross will find the GasGas MC85 to be a high-performance bike. Its 84.9cc, 2-stroke engine delivers excellent power and torque. There is precise throttle response as many expert evaluations have reported. Its powerband is well-tuned to ensure optimal performance in low and mid-range RPMs.

When it comes to convenience, the GasGas MC85 is better for tall riders. Its seat height stands at a staggering height of 34.1 inches (865mm). The bike can navigate tight corners and maintain stability on rough surfaces. Thanks to its WP suspension system.

It’s impressive how these qualities give great handling while the bike weighs only 67kg. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the MC85 is a durable bike with great bodywork quality. The chromoly steel frame holds the bike firm. This lends credence to its resilience on the motocross track.

Suzuki JR80

Young man riding on his Suzuki-JR80 dirt bike

There are lots of 85cc dirt bikes for the motocross market. But some opt for other alternatives such as a pit bike for leisure off-road tail riding. Unlike the 85cc dirt bikes we explored earlier, the JR80 is not a motocross bike. It is also 6 inches shorter compared to the 85 cc motocross bikes.

Note: The Suzuki Junior 80 is not currently sold in the United States or Canada, but is sold in Australia, New Zealand and some other countries.  

This pit bike is the ultimate trailblazer for adventurer riders aged 8-12 years old.  It is quite the companion for beginners hitting the dirt. Picture this, a sleek bike with a seat height of 26.9 inches (685mm) that allows young riders to take control. The Suzuki Junior 80 reaches a top speed of 49.7 mph (80 km/h), a speed safe for beginner riders.

But the speed is not all the selling point of this bike, the lightweight chassis steps in as a game-changer. It makes for an effortless maneuver. The Suzuki JR 80 price is $3,190, a decent cost for a great machine. 

New vs Used 85CC Dirt Bike

When it comes to choosing between a new or used 85cc dirt bike, riders can often be caught at a crossroads. There are several available options in the market. Each one promises its perks and some factors to be considered.

For instance, a new 85cc dirt bike will have the advantage of efficiency. Its engine will still be in pristine condition. The highest performance of the bike can be tapped into in this form. Also, there is the merit of getting a bike with the latest technology adopted by the manufacturer. Most times, new bikes come with a warranty thereby, protecting your investment.

Meanwhile, opting for a used 85cc dirt bike opens up new realities. The possibility of a hit-or-miss situation is higher. Sure, they do come with a lower price tag but other considerations must be made.

Image of man's half body riding on 85cc dirt bike

First, a used 85cc dirt bike gives you access to high-end models on a budget. But you must take care to ensure the bike is not riddled with mechanical and/or electrical faults. The cost of repairing a faulty used bike may eventually sum up to the cost of a new bike.

Hence, you should reach out to people or a mechanic knowledgeable about 85cc dirt bikes. You can also get an experienced rider to guide you on what to look out for. Inspect for signs of wear and tear. Ask for the maintenance history of the bike so you know what you are up against.

There are many good used 85cc dirt bikes in the dirt bike market. Do your due diligence before you hop out of the store with one. The ultimate decision on which kind of bike to choose rests on your budget and preferences.


Google trends 85cc dirt bike

In conclusion, the 85cc dirt bike is great for youth riders. They are not beginner bikes as the riders need to have mastered riding a manual gear with a clutch. Among the six 85cc class dirt bikes discussed, the Yamaha YZ85 is the most popular. This is followed by the KX85 and the KTM 85.

This popularity pattern for these bikes is similar across the US, UK, and Canada. For the Suzuki JR80 trail bike, it’s available in Australia and New Zealand but unfortunately not in North America. 🙁

The KTM and the Kawasaki have higher top speeds reaching around 65 mph, But, on a motocross track it really comes down to the rider’s skills, experience and maneuvering tactics to win the championship!

So, if you’re looking for quality and speed, the KTM 85 is your go-to bike. If you have budget constraints, the KX85 offers similar value for less budget. 

As evident in the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship results, riders on the KX85 won their moto overall for two consecutive years. This makes a good case for the KX85 having championship pedigree. If you are in search of an off-road bike within the 85cc bikes class, the Suzuki JR50 should be your preferred choice, where available.

Common Question about 85cc Dirt Bikes

What is the best 85cc dirt bike brand in 2023?

The best dirt bike brand in 2023 depends on your needs and preferences. Some dirt bike manufacturers prioritize speed over general riding experience. 

Some place premium value on agility and control. But among the 85cc dirt bike class, the Yamaha YZ85 is the most popular brand.

How much is a 85cc dirt bike?

The price of an 85cc dirt bike varies based on the brand, model, and year of production. But they typically range from $4,000 to $6,500.

What age is a KTM 85 for?

Depending on their age and size, kids aged 10-14 years old can ride a KTM 85.

Can a 13 year old ride a 85cc dirt bike?

Yes, a 13 year old kid can ride an 85cc dirt bike. If the kid is tall enough, they can go for the big wheel models of any dirt bike brand.

What age is 85cc class?

The age to ride an 85cc class dirt bike depends on the racing organization. It could also depend on regional or country regulations. But typically, kids aged 9-14 years old can ride an 85cc class dirt bike.