Lets face it, dirt bike manufactures just didn’t have the female form in mind when designing their bikes.
Yes, we can get custom graphics and gear, but what about a bike that is the right size and powerful enough for a woman? Typically we are the ones left to make the adjustments to make our bikes “fit” us. This article outlines the evolution of dirt bikes that I’ve ridden and why I loved each one.
The Honda CRF 100, my very first bike.
Not just for kids, the Honda CRF 100 is the perfect beginner bike for women and here’s why.
Seat Height: At only 30.9 inches most beginner riders can easily touch the ground making it much easier for you to kickstart your bike as well as catch your balance if you need to.
- Weight: The CRF 100 weights about 170 pounds, which I found very manageable even as a new rider.
- Motor: You can’t go wrong with a 4-stroke motor when you’re first learning how to ride. These motors are powerful enough to chug up any hill, yet don’t have the aggressive acceleration rate of a 2-stroke. This means, if you have the unfortunate experience of whisky throttleing down the trail, you at least have the chance of recovering. Also, with proper maintenance these bikes last forever, my bike was over 10 years old when I purchased it and it ran great! So no need to break the bank on a new bike.
The Kawasaki KX 100
I loved the KX 100 so much I’ve had 2 of them!
The Original (with a few parts): The KX 100 is a spicy little thing, with a similar seat height and weight as the Honda CRF 100, but a totally different attitude. If the Honda were your mom’s sedan, the KX 100 would be a Ferrari. It has better suspension and breaks for a smoother ride, and a whole lot of top end power. However, as a trail rider, you want bottom end power, so there are a few adjustments that need to be made. But before we get into the adjustment, lets first explain bottom end power. Bottom end power means you get more power with less RPM’s. This means you can open the throttle less, and still get lots of power; essentially with more bottom end power you are able to have a slower more controlled climb up a technical hill or through a river bed. To get more bottom end out of the KX, I recommend a few additional parts. Parts I added to my bike were: the Pro-Circit Power Valve/Governor Spring, a Carburetor Choke (a custom insert to make the diameter of the carburetor smaller), an FMF Shorty Muffler, and a Reed Spacer. These parts really helped me control the bike and get the most out of my ride, but if you’re on a budget and you want to make just one adjustment for more bottom end, I would highly suggest the reed spacer. I found the reed spacer to make the biggest change and I wouln’t want to ride without it.
- Stroker Crank: My next bike had all the same parts as the first, but one key change to the motor, the Stroker Crank. Now this one wasn’t a simple add-on, changing the bike to a stroker crank ment physically changing the displacement or size of the engine. For this modification we had to take apart the motor head for machine work. We were able to do this ourselves, but you can also go to a professional machinist. In all, converting your motor to a stroker crank is a big time and money investment, but I could really feel the difference in the motor and in my opinion it made my KX 100, an awesome “petite” trail bike.
The KTM 150 XC-W, my latest love.
The KTM 150 XC-W was my first full size bike, and while I absolutely LOVE IT. It took me a few years to be strong enough as a rider to have fun on this bike. If this had been my first bike, I definitely would have been frustrated and exhausted picking up 202 pounds of bike and trying to balance on higher seat height. But, despite being tougher to manage the size of the bike, there are many reasons I really love this trail ready bike.
Electric Start: Having both a kick-starter and an electric push button start is awesome! Restarting on a hill has become so much easier and with the option to kick-start if necessary, you don’t have to worry starting your bike if your battery dies.
- Bigger Tires: With an 21 inch front and 18 inch rear rim, the full size tires on the KTM 150 XC-W make a world of a difference in what you can roll over, and is number one reason why I loved upgrading to this new bike. When going up step-ups or rooted hill climbs, the KTM 150 seems to effortlessly glide over the bumps compared to the smaller bikes. The full size tire also gives you many options as far as tire compound and style, allowing you to customize your tire selection to the terrain you will be riding. For my bike I run the stock front tire and a
- tubliss setup with a trials tire in the rear.
- Trail Ready Motor: The last thing I love about this bike is the trail ready motor. As advertised, this bike was designed with trail riding in mind. Compared to the KX 100 it has a ton of smooth, low end power, allowing me to stay slow and controlled in almost any situation. Unlike the KX 100, the only thing we did to this motor is choke down the carburetor with a custom insert made by a friend.
While the KTM 150 XC-W might be perfect as-is for a taller women, at 5’4″ I needed a few additional parts to make the bike my perfect fit. Modifications I made to my bike included a KTM Lowering Kit, appropriate springs to fit my body weight, and a shaved seat so that I could have an easier time touching the ground.
The Honda CRF 100, the Kawasaki KX 100, and the KTM 150 XC-W were all great rides and tons of fun in the trails, but there are so many other options out there. What’s your favorite ride? Leave a comment bellow with your favorite women’s dirt bike or modification.