250cc vs 450cc Dirt Bike: Which Is Right for Me?

One of the questions most people ask me is which dirt bike is better for them between 250cc and 450cc. In fact, most people don’t really know the differences between these two engines and I personally see a lot of people getting a dirt bike with a 450cc engine, which is not at all stable for their riding level and puts them at risk. The same applies to beginner riders who think they can start riding 250cc engines, but they cannot.

Which should I get, a 250cc or 450cc dirt bike? Both types of engines are not for beginner riders but for advanced or medium riders who have the basic riding skills. The 450cc engines are specifically for people who want racing and crazy dirt bikes that can reach high speeds while 250cc engines are designed for people that have ridden small engines like 125cc and want to move forward with more advanced engines which will give them high enough speeds for fun and to also train their riding abilities.

I am sure you are confused too and that is why I decided to write this post to show you and explain both engines to you in detail. I will first explain to you what the 250cc and 450cc dirt bikes are, then explain which is more suitable for you, then state their pros and cons, and lastly, I will state 12 differences between these two types of engines.

So, let’s get started.

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What is 250cc dirt bike & who is it meant for?

250cc dirt bikes are designed for intermediate or advanced riders who have at least a few months of riding experience and know at least the basics and all the riding techniques. Know that you will need to exert more effort when riding a 250cc bike and you will even come back pretty exhausted after riding.

In addition, the maximum speed of 250cc engines is slower than 450cc engines while the average speed of 250cc engines is between 55-68 mph (88-104 km) and there are even some individual models that can reach over 70 mph (112 km).

Also, 250cc dirt bikes are lighter and smaller than 450cc models, so if you are a short rider, the 250cc dirt bikes will fit you much more because they are smaller and lighter in weight.

It is also important to note that 250cc dirt bikes, in general, are not intended for beginner riders because they are considered to be very fast, so it is very dangerous for beginner riders. For beginners, I would recommend buying 125cc models.

In general, a 250cc dirt bike will suit you if you:

  • Have trained on a 125cc engine and you want a bigger engine.
  • Have a limited budget.
  • Want to ride a dirt bike for fun. Think about your safety if you’re not prepared to take the risk.
  • Your physical fitness is important to you.

Advantages of having a 250cc dirt bike

  • Safe in case of an accident
  • Cheap
  • Easier
  • Easy to control
  • Improve fitness

Disadvantages of having a 250cc dirt bike

  • Less fun for riding
  • Require effort
  • Less faster than 450cc engines

What is 450cc dirt bike & who is it meant for?

Dirt bikes with 450cc engines are monsters that can give crazy riding power and can ride at very high speeds that, in most cases, reach over 100mph (160km) easily. They are much agile and faster than 250cc dirt bikes.

In addition, 450cc dirt bikes are heavier in weight than 250cc dirt bikes for about at least 10 to 15kg (22- 32 pounds) while they were also more expensive them for about $1,000. As expected, 450cc dirt bikes offer much better performance than 250cc engines, but the fact that they offer higher performance doesn’t mean they are suitable for you because they have different drawbacks and advantages that you will need to know in order to understand them.

The 450cc dirt bike rules will only work for professional racing riders who have ridden 250cc dirt bikes and want to win races. So, you must first ride a 250cc dirt bike before you ride a 450cc dirt bike to get used to the crazy speeds that the 450cc engines provide.

In general, always remember to buy a 450cc dirt bike if you:

  • Want to win races
  • Have experienced the 250cc dirt bike first
  • Want a very powerful and fast dirt bike
  • Are willing to take the risk that 450cc dirt bikes provide

Advantages of having a 450cc dirt bike

  • Very fast
  • Not tiring and fun to ride
  • Easier to ride
  • Very powerful

Disadvantages of having a 450cc dirt bike

  • Not safe in case of an accident
  • Much more dangerous than 250cc dirt bike
  • Much more expensive than the 250cc dirt bike
  • Difficult to control
  • A little bit heavy

Need dirt bike safety gear? Click here to buy safety gear for dirt bike riding on amazon or go check my sales pages of recommended safety gear page click here to view

12 differences between 250cc and 450cc dirt bikes

250cc dirt bikes are lighter than 450cc models

250cc dirt bikes are much lighter than 450cc models with very large differences in weight, that 450cc bikes are much heavier and bigger which can often be uncomfortable for a lot of riders. It is important to note that the lightest 250cc dirt bike is only 98 pounds (44kg) and that is Husqvarna FC 250, which seems to be nothing in weight and is just one example of every 250cc model that is considered the easiest on the market.

Just for example, the Yamaha YZF 250cc model weighs 222 pounds and the YZF 450cc model weighs 250 lb (110 kg), this is just another example of a lighter 250cc model and believe me, every company has both a 250cc and 450cc model, and in all cases, the 450cc models are always heavier than the 250cc ones.

Here are some examples of the differences in weights between the 250cc & 450cc dirt bikes

Dirt bike company Weight of the 250cc model Weight of the 450cc model
Yamaha YZF 250cc weighs 220 pounds (100 kg) YZF 450cc weighs 250 pounds (110 kg)
KMT KMT 250 SX-F weighs 218.3 pounds (99.0 kg) KMT 450 SX-F weighs 234 pounds (106 kg)
Honda Honda CRF250R weighs 237 pounds (107 kg) Honda CRF450R weighs 242.7 pounds (110.1 kg)
Kawasaki KX250 weighs 221 pounds (100 kg) KX 450 weighs 233 pounds (105 kg)
Suzuki RM-Z250 weighs 106 pounds (48 kg) RM-Z450 weighs 112 pounds (112 kg)
HUSQVARNA FC250 weighs 219 pounds (99 kg) FC 450 weighs 222.7 pounds (101 kg)

250cc dirt bikes are cheaper than 450cc dirt bikes

250cc models are very cheap and sold for a price range of $5,000 to $8,000 compared to most 450cc models that cost between $5,149 to $9,599.

The 450cc models are considered more expensive mainly because they provide better performance and much more powerful than the 250cc models, but in my opinion, the 250cc models are still quite sufficient and also very powerful, so it depends on what you are looking for.

If you have the money and you want a 450cc model, there is no problem but do not force yourself to buy a 450cc model because they are only considered better than 250cc, but the 250cc still manages to be very good and also deliver better performance. So, if you have a limited budget, I would highly recommend you buy a 250cc bike.

Here are some examples of the differences in price

Dirt bike company Price of the 250cc model Price of the 450cc model
Yamaha YZ250F costs $8,199 YZ450F costs $9,399
KTM KTM 250 SX-F costs 9,099 KTM 450 SX-F costs $9,999
Honda CRF250R costs $7,999 CRF450R costs $9,399
Suzuki RM-Z250 costs $7,899 RM-Z450 costs $8,949
HUSQVARNA HUSQVARNA FC250 costs $9,199 HUSQVARNA FC450 costs $10,099

250cc dirt bikes are less dangerous during accidents than 450cc models

The biggest advantage, in my opinion, is that 250cc dirt bikes are less dangerous during big accidents because 250cc engines are much less powerful and strong than 450cc engines, which means that the accidents you do with 250cc dirt bikes are far less severe than with 450cc dirt bikes. Also, those who ride the 450cc models usually have accidents because they are really crazy engines that are very difficult to control.

Also, know that having an accident with a 450cc model is sure to be a serious one that can even be life-threatening, which is precisely why they are not recommended for beginners because even if you ride on a 450cc dirt bike and you wear protective gear, in most cases, it will not help you prevent injury in case of an accident. So, for your safety, it is more important that you get a 250cc model.

250cc dirt bikes are more suitable for city riding than 450cc dirt bikes

If you want to ride in the city and make your dirt bike legal on the street, it would be much better for you to do so with a 250cc model because it is very suitable for city riding and neither too fast nor too slow and, in general, riding a 450cc dirt bike is very uncomfortable for city riding because of its big size and also because it is so fast that you had a very hard time stumbling on the street which can even be dangerous.

In addition, it is important to note that even though a 450cc model is intended for off-road riding, and even more for paved terrain where there are no cars and no people who can interfere, 250cc engines can also handle it better.

450cc dirt bikes are bigger than 250cc dirt bikes

The 450cc models are much larger and wider than the 250cc models that are lower and smaller. So, that sometimes implies if you are very tall that you can only ride a 450cc model, you can make a quick jump from 125cc to 450cc. However, short riders should continue to ride 250cc engines and not 450cc because 450cc models can be too big and wide for their height, and hope you remember that 450cc dirt bikes are much taller? So, take note of that.

Therefore, 450cc dirt bikes are more suitable for high riders while 250cc dirt bikes are suitable for low riders.

250cc dirt bikes are more tiring than 450cc dirt bikes

250cc engines are much more tiring and require a lot more effort and endurance than 450cc engines that are much easier. You won’t even have to struggle while riding 450cc engines because of the very fast speed they produce. For 250cc engines, no matter how fast you ride, you will still have to struggle between your footwork and knees with the handwork and also requires full concentration and focus from you compared to 450cc engines that are lighter and even spoonful for riding.

In addition, it is important to know that even though it is more tiring and difficult to ride on 250cc engines, it can be an advantage because it provides riding in a controlled way, which makes it safer for you to ride on them. This, in the case of 450cc engines, is dangerous because you uncontrollably ride at speed despite the fact that they are very easy to ride and does not require much effort and concentration.

So, it’s important to take this into account as some will like the idea that although 250cc requires more effort, it is safe while riding, and those who don’t want to struggle when riding will want to get a 450cc engine which is more fun for riding and less tiring.

Motocross racer

450cc dirt bikes are much faster than 250cc dirt bikes

450cc engines are much faster than 250cc engines and this is not only in their speed but also in their acceleration, power and agility while the average speed of most 250cc engines is between 55-68mph and some even manage to exceed 70mph.

On the other hand, 450cc engines can reach an average speed of 75mph to 123mph which means they are twice more powerful and faster than 250cc engines which is why you will have to be a very good and skilled rider to ride 450cc engines because they are very fast and you have to be very careful when riding them.

It is important to take into account that these speeds can be very dangerous and therefore, the 450 engines are only suitable for very advanced dirt bike riders who need very powerful dirt bikes for racing because it is really a crazy engine that not only reaches crazy speeds but also has very fast acceleration, so take that into account.

450cc dirt bikes are better for racing than 250cc dirt bikes

450cc engines are much better for racing, and I think it is understandable why they are better? Because they are more agile and fast, and their acceleration is much faster and more powerful. In general, they perform much better than 250cc engines and I am not saying that 250cc engines are not good for racing; I only mean 450cc engines better.

Think about it that you are going for racing and you will be riding a 250cc dirt bike while your competitor will be riding a 450cc dirt bike, it is most likely that your competitor will beat you because he uses a more powerful model, and no matter how good your riding technique may be, it will be harder for you to beat him with a 450cc engine.

But I want you to note that riding a 250cc dirt bikes will make you a much better racer because they require a lot of effort from you and will teach you how to ride at high speeds as well as how to deal with obstacles much better than riding a 450cc that is easier to ride in a race. So, if you are competing with people who jumped from 125cc to 450cc, you are more likely to beat them with a 250cc engine because they were less flawed and good like you. Hence, it is important that you ride all the engines on the road and do not skip the 250cc engine because you will be a less good rider.

Riding a 450cc engine is more fun than riding a 250cc engine

Riding a 450cc engine is a lot more fun than riding a 250cc engine because you won’t struggle at all, and the best thing is that 450cc engines have a higher speed range, which means you can ride at really high speeds. If you decided to ride at higher speeds on a 250cc engine after riding 450cc engine for a few months, it would be slower which might even be boring to you since you’ve been used to riding 450cc engines.

In addition to speeding, you just won’t get tired and put less effort into riding a 450cc engine, which means that sometimes when you don’t have the energy and effort to put, you can always ride and get more adrenaline which can be a very big factor in deciding.

I personally recommend you to ride both the 250cc and 450cc engine and only then to see what you like and prefer more because the two engines have a different riding style and each one has what it is suitable for. So, I highly recommend taking a riding experience in some dirt bike center or even from a friend and try both engines.

Enduro bike rider on action. Turn on sand terrain

Riding 250cc engines is better for fitness than riding 450cc engines

If one of your main reasons for buying a dirt bike is to get in shape and strengthen yourself, then go for 250cc engines because they are much better at strengthening than 450cc engines.

As said earlier, riding a 250cc engine require effort and energy. You use energy all over the body — legs work, hands, body movements, etc. — which will help you burn fat to strengthen and even build some muscle. This is impossible with 450cc engines because they are easier to ride and require less effort from the rider.

It is more difficult to control 450cc engines than 250cc engines

You have to understand that 450cc engines are simply very powerful and fast. They run at full speed in which whenever you spin the handlebars, you won’t even realize how much power is generated in the engine. It can be the smallest displacement in the handlebars that run the smallest gas, and you just fly at full speed, so it is much harder to control a 450cc dirt bike.

In general, if you are riding a 450cc engine and you are not skilled enough, you will see that  the dirt bike just control itself instead of you controlling it which can be very dangerous and which is exactly why you must be very skilled before riding a 450cc engine.

250cc dirt bikes are much slower and less powerful and if you accidentally operate them too fast and you press too long on the gas, they will give you the time to slow down and fix it to avoid an accident. This compared to 450cc engines, you will have a harder time slowing them down, and most likely, you will just fall off the dirt bike, so take that into consideration.

In addition, it is important to know that it will take you a few good weeks to learn how to control 450cc engines even if you know how to ride it. It is still not easy to control at slow speeds, so it will definitely take longer to learn how to slow down and reach high speeds.

The best 250cc dirt bikes

Kawasaki KX250F
Honda CRF250X
Yamaha YZ250F
Kawasaki KLX250
KTM 250 XC
Suzuki RM-Z250
Honda CRF250L
Yamaha WR250F
Husqvarna TE250i

The best 450cc dirt bikes

FX 450

For any questions, you may have or opinion on the article, feel free to write us a comment, and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Thanks for reading, until the next post


I’m Rob, the owner of RX Riders Place. My family and I have a long history of riding dirt bikes and ATVs and want to share what we have learned.

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