Summer Camp Types

Where do Motocross/Motorcycle Camps Fit…(and do they fit my child)?


Where do motocross/motorcycle camps fit in among all the various types of camps offered these days and, more importantly, are they for my child? The answers to these questions are not as simple as they may appear. Take the first question.  Once you read the categories below you may wonder, is there even a category for this kind of camp?  The second question tends to provoke much thought and some emotion on the part of many parents.  Both questions are worth addressing and we do so in this article.

The Inevitable Search

Try bringing up “summer camp” in your Google search. You’ll most likely find that motocross/motorcycle (or even “MX”) won’t appear at all. Enter a search for “sport camps in my area” and you’ll get all the ball sports but no wheel sport camps. If you’re a parent or child who knows they want to ride motorcycles or motocross, then you’ll hit the jackpot. You’ll pull up a camp that provides just that…because the words you use in your search will be in the name of the motorcycle/motocross camp…like “Iron horse Country Motocross Summer Camp”.

Motorcycle/Motocross Camps – The Perfect Hidden Experience

What if you’re a parent looking for a summer camp that doesn’t fit the mold?  Something that sounds exciting, gets kids outdoors and teaches a new skill.  Something cool and safe.  If you don’t find camps like ours in normal listings or searches, would you assume this means they aren’t for your child?

The reason for these questions (and the premise of this article) is this:

It is because this kind of camp does not come up with general searches that it is invisible  to the majority of internet surfers looking for a great camp. A camp that provides children with outdoor engagement, major growth opportunities, fun, excitement, new skills, friendship, and community.  These qualities are the same things touted by so many of the other camps that come up easily in searches . And, because it’s invisible, many parents don’t realize the joy and value that a motorcycle/motocross camp can give a child. One parent described discovering us as “. . . finding a diamond in the rough.”

Thoughts on What Does Come Up

Here’s a short list of some very common summer camp categories you will find:

  • Traditional
  • Performing/Visual Arts
  • Sports
  • Faith-Based
  • Scouting
  • Arts & Crafts

These are but a few easy to find types of kids camps that come up in a plethora of listings. Add to that Travel & Expedition Camps, Military/Police Camps, camps for Special Needs children, camps for Foster Kids. There are even easy to find camps for kids who love to play with Legos!  Some camps cross-over in categories of what they provide. Scouting camps for example focus on leadership but they, like Traditional camps, are usually based in the outdoors and can involve some of the same types of activities.  Other camps offer a variety of activities within one type, such as Performing/Visual Arts where acting, singing, dancing and painting are all offered for campers to experience.


For many parents who attended camp as children, their own memories may come from a Traditional camp setting. Some of these camps have long histories with generations of families attending and are steeped in, yes, traditions. Others are newer, but regardless of the founding date, all Traditional camps have certain things in common:

  • Beautiful Natural Settings
  • Challenging or Thrilling Programs
  • Overnight Sessions, Bunk Houses & Dining Halls
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Water-related Recreation
  • Promoting Camper Growth
  • Emphasis on Friendship & Fun
  • Campfires & S’mores

Motorcycle/Motocross Camps

With all these categories and types, why is it so hard then to find motorcycle or motocross camps described or listed, unless you enter those words?  We’re guessing that the exact answer is hidden in an algorithm somewhere. What we know without a doubt is that, even though motorcycle/motocross riding may not be a UIL sport in our public schools,  it can be done both as a SPORT and as a RECREATIONAL activity, individually and with groups. Even whole families. 

Learning to ride can be done safely, just like with learning other sports, with protective gear and lessons given from an early age on up. The earlier a child learns, the better he or she will be able to ride and the more fun and thrilling it can be.  And just like with other sports, children who learn to ride motorcycles learn valuable lessons and develop awesome skills (Stay tuned, that last statement sounds like another article in the making…).

There are two categories that motorcycle/motocross camps should fall under: SPORT and TRADITIONAL

A motocross camp that leans more toward being a sport camp will offer programming that focuses solely on taking the campers performance “to the next competitive level”, as stated above. Instead of balls, gloves, or parallel bars, a rider’s equipment is his or her motorcycle and using this machine to compete in MX races takes an enormous amount of core body strength, balance, coordination, muscle memory and endurance. There are definitely camps for motocross riders to do just that. They train young riders to race in the same way a youth football camp trains players to compete better on school teams. If you’re looking for a non-traditional sport for your child, definitely look up motocross camps. There are camps that provide the bikes and gear so that there is no investment other than the camp fee for beginners.

A motorcycle camp can also provide a Traditional experience along with the sporting activity of learning to ride.  Iron Horse Country is such a camp. We teach beginners on up with a well thought-out program based on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s drills and exercises and emphasize having fun riding and making friends. Our camp is not a race camp. There are other activities that campers engage in, including swimming, games, campfires & s’mores and the great outdoors of the Texas Hill Country. . . just like a classic traditional camp, complete with air conditioned bunk houses and dining hall.  Bikes and gear included.

overnight camp list of what to birng

healthy summer camp food

The Best Summer of Their Life 

So, if you’re looking for a special kind of experience for your child this summer, consider signing them up for a motorcycle or motocross summer camp.  Exciting and ‘cool’? Sure. But more than that, the light you’ll see in your child’s eyes, the confidence you’ll see in her swagger and the passion you’ll hear in his voice will tell you that you made the right choice.

For More Info on Iron Horse Country Ranch Motocross Summer Camp:  Motocross Summer Camp

Additional Informative Links:

Dirt Biking for Kids: What to Know & Where to Go

How to buy a Motorcycle -Dirt Bike for a Child

What’s the best dirt bike for my child?

We get this question a lot.  At Christmas time it’s the number one gift our campers dream about.  How to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child…?

It all starts with , where can you ride?  This  sometimes ends the whole conversation. There are places,  but you may  have to drive an hour plus to get to them .  But if that’s no obstacle to you, the whole riding experience can (and I think should)  be a family adventure!  It will be one of the most rewarding things you do with your child and it can be done safely.   In this article I will share what I know of on how to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child.  

What Dirt Bike you buy is based on the size of land to ride and what your abilities are on the bike for trail  or  racing.  Experience counts –  you must buy the motorcycle that fits the rider today not the one to grow into… that’s dangerous.  You will find that dirt bikes are like cash:  you can buy and sell them easily . (UPDATED: Now ,after COVID, 10 /2021,  it is very hard to find a motorcycle for sale and prices are twice as high as when this article was written 2 years ago… good luck on your hunting . Finding the right one, I think,  is harder than selling them for now.)

We Love Honda’s

We are partial to Honda’s.  They are the best , most durable motorcycle , always running!  They are tanks. Everyone is always happy if their bike is running . Iron Horse Country Summer Camp has gone through  hundreds of bikes over the years and the Honda’s are still here.  Doesn’t matter if it’s the fastest model –  if it’s broken, no one is having fun.

How to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child

How to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child
Get Trained to Ride a Motorcycle First!

The FIRST thing to know about how to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child is that – everyone should know how to ride a bicycle…THEN you start with the motorcycle that fits you .  At Iron Horse we start at 8 years of age with our motocross camps for kids.  Many a parent has called us asking about their 5 year old.  We know they are probably awesome, but you have to watch that age ALOT.  It is far too early for your average 5 year old to be in control of a motorized vehicle without supervision.  Once hurt,  your child will be gun shy the rest of his or her years and may never ride again.  You will feel really bad.

At age 8, childrens’ brains start developing to make better decisions than just memorizing what you tell them to do on the track or trail. 

The Role of the Bicycle
In the beginning of a young rider’s journey into learning to ride,  the bicycle is king to learning safely.  We use them at camp to get kids started with balance drills and progress to  “motorcycle calisthenics” drills that help kids learn the position of foot pegs , throttle control with hands , and the most important,  squeezing legs to the tank.

Gone are the days of trial and error learning to ride…just hopping on and making it go like some of us parents did as children.  There aren’t enough empty lots to do that anymore, or grandparents’ farms and ranches to ride around on.  Lack of space plus the rising cost of medical treatment should there be an accident make it difficult for today’s parents to allow their children to learn this way.

Attending one of our summer camps will help your child or grandchild learn how to ride in a safe, supervised and trained environment.  Nowhere else will they get so much “time in the saddle” to learn as they will at Iron Horse Country Ranch.  For more info on this site with regard to our motorcycle summer camps go to:

Honda CRF50 70 80 100 125 150

How to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child
Learn The Sizes 

(NOTE/UPDATE 2021 AND BEYOND: All prices below were quoted from 2019 sources, pre-COVID days. Since 2020, all prices have gone up dramatically.)

Dirt bikes are classed by motor size and start with the best little motorcycle ever made: the Honda CRF 50. The photo above shows from this  smallest of  Honda’s to the 70, 80 100 and 150 in back.

Honda CRF 50( Ages 8 and first time riders)
Price $1549  used from $800-$1200

The Beginner rider should be able to touch feet to ground (flat footed) when starting out riding.  After a year or so of riding the fit is not based on feet touching ground but rather, do they have 6 inches between the crotch and seat while standing on pegs… Some Pros can’t touch their toes to ground on their bikes which keeps them from being bucked off the bike.

Honda CRF 50 how to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child

Honda CRF70 or newer model CRF110
Price $2,399  Used 110  $1500 – $2000  Used 70 $900-$1200

These bikes are for ages 9 and up to Adult to learn on … they’re the largest  bikes made without a clutch but you still have to shift.  (50’s  and 70’s/110’s are clutchless)   Both bikes are a blast….weight limit of about 160lbs.  Families keep these forever.  Note: the 70 is no longer made by Honda and was replaced by the 110 model.

How to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child

Honda CRF 80 , 100 and 125
New 125’s –  $30990, Used $1900-$2500
Used 80’s –  $1200-$1800
& Used 100’s –  $1400 – $2000

These bikes are for riders that have ridden the smaller bikes and are ready for the clutch .  Age 12 is the normal age for children to gain wrist strength to pull the clutch in and who are tall enough to touch the ground.  If they have a lot  of experience,  some 10 year olds can start on a CRF 80 . The 80 is smaller by  2 inches than the 100.  The 125 is 2 in taller than the 100.

Honda CRF 125 how to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child

Next comes the…
Honda CRF 150 F

Price new $3799.00   Used from $1800-$3000
Its the Lexus of bikes.  I recommend it for dads who want to ride with their  kids,  or for young riders that are big kids .  It has a kick stand like all the CRF “F” series bikes and is quiet – it won’t  scare young riders by you following them .  The kick stand is key as you can’t help someone if you can’t let go of your motorcycle!  Below, an advanced rider showing this bike does it all.

How to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child

Now, for the Honda race bikes –  the ” R”  after the number

These bikes are WAY different than an F- type motorcycle.
The CRF 150R , CRF 250R and CRF 450R
( Ages 12 and up recommended after 2 years of experience) These bikes have completely different engines and shocks than F-type motorcycles and are for serious riding.  Loud, Fast & Quick. No kick stand  and lots of adrenaline rush!

Honda CRF250R How to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child

If you have access to a race track or lots of land then get one.  If not, you are just going to the hospital.  You need experience to ride one safely, at least a couple of years or you are just going to get hurt. These bikes are quick…quick…quick and does not matter the model size.

Honda CRF150R

“The Kids Dream Bike “.  It comes in small wheel and big wheel versions – I suggest, when you’re good enough to ride one, the big wheel version is better . More balance over jumps. This is a fast bike. The lucky ones that get one, that I see, usually can’t control it…meaning they got it too soon.  However,  taken to a track regularly they will master it and have a blast!

Honda CRF 250R

It’s the bike for all good riders .  It can do it all.  Only move  to the 450 if you are a racer with experience.  450R ‘s are crazy quick; most riders can’t control them. We have found average riders can go faster on 250’s because they have more forgiveness in the throttle. We have heard so many stories of first timers hurting themselves on the first day of riding  450R’s,  ripping the throttle on jumps…it’s why I think you can find so many for sale vs. 250R’s. 

Honda CRF 450R

This is the race bike for the veteran rider.  If you’re reading this page to learn how to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child,  don’t touch this bike.  Or you can just call 911 now and have them waiting for you.  

How to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child Where To Buy

If you want new, here is a link to Honda to find a dealer near you:

If you want to save money or get one of the discontinued models,  buy used.  Craigslist is a good source –  be prepared to go to nearby cities.  Also,  the Powersport’s dealers in all cities sell used as well.
Used is not a problem: asking for the title just ensures it’s legit.
Don’t be picky on scratched plastics as the average new rider falls over 3 times a ride… The Honda’s are tough.  If the owner performed maintenance, the bike will be fine.  Check out the person’s garage.  If it is neat,  the bike will be too.  Is it out in a storage shed rusting?Leave it – it’s bad!  You are getting a big discount from a new model. Most riders scratch up their new bikes with just a couple of rides. You can buy graphic stickers and fenders for any bike to make it look like new and have fun personalizing it!

Buying Honda CRF 50’s -100’s are easy.  If they run and look ok to you,  they are probably fine.

With the bigger CRF 125F’s  and 150F ‘s – if they look new and run ok, then good.  More wear?  Then have someone with more experience help you. 

Racing Bikes

With the  CRF R bikes you will have to have a more experienced person look at them because of the type of  motor in them …higher RPM and racing can lead to hidden engine problems.  Owners are supposed to tune up their engines every 50 hrs.   Hardly anyone does this as it costs about $500.  So it’s usually too late when one breaks and then repaired: it runs but not the same as new.   It will then require constant valve jobs and will back fire or break more often.  Some motorcycles are good but there are some used up motors,  so buyer beware.  If it backfires when off the throttle it could be a sign. They are all hard to start when cold so it’s hard to tell.

You Will not Find many CRF 70 , 80 or 100’s motorcycles

A little tidbit on motorcycle history.   I think that 2009 marked the end of an era of riding in the U.S.   A  toxic scare led to  Chinese plastic products being recalled.  Toys made with this type of plastic were appropriately banned by Congress,  however the ban inadvertently included these Honda motorcycle models because they had plastic parts and because they were designed for young riders.  Congress intended the ban to protect children who might be mouthing toxic toys.  The motorcycle plastics posed no such problem!  But all factories had to  stop making these bikes.  They then  remade the plastic portions and used what was left of the bikes produced in 2008 over the next few years. 

In 2010,  Congress finally amended the law to exclude motorcycles but the damage was done.   Motocross  has slowed ever since.   Honda discontinued the  70, 80 and 100 models in 2009 and 2010, gone forever…we still use them in camp today, however.   In learning about how to buy a motorcycle dirt bike for a child, I have found that these models are great bikes.  We  drive the country finding as many as we can to teach kids how to ride. They are the best bikes to learn on.

How it used to be,  getting a dirt bike

It was in Honda’s wisdom that you were supposed to start on a Honda CRF 50 for a year or so riding around in a neighborhood field by your house.  And if a little late to the game , a Honda 70. Then it was clutch time…wheelies and jumps…enter the Honda 80 or 100. Learning the clutch . (These bikes are gone now and replaced by the larger 125). Now dad would take you to a race track to give it a go. You would catch the fever to race and after a few more years of riding,  you got a race bike. 

Today that doesn’t seem to happen as much…I think it’s mostly land access, but I also see a lot of kids go from only  a year of  trail bike riding straight to race bikes and then they have a bad crash and quit forever.

Take Away Lesson: Take it slow and let the good times roll….

And don’t forget the gear and clothing for safety.  For beginners, always ride with a helmet, chest protector and gloves, closed toed shoes, long pants and long sleeved shirts.   Racers use full motocross pants/jerseys and neck braces.  We love O’Neal – they are a supporter of our camp and have great looking gear:

Motocross gear helmet

So, that’s my 2 cents worth.  Riding a motorcycle is the most fun thing I think a kid will ever do.  It was for me.  Even just getting one and storing it in the garage is great for kids… you will never see a happier child,  showing off or polishing their motorcycle,  dreaming of what they can do on it.   If you have any questions , just ask!

Good Luck and Happy Riding!

Eric Turner
Director – Iron Horse Country Ranch
The Motorcycle Summer Camp for Kids,  U.S.A.












The Motorcycle Summer Camp for Kids