Automatic Dirt Bike off-road riding

10 Best Automatic Dirt Bikes: Twist and Go

Automatic dirt bikes might be the easiest way for beginner riders to learn off-pavement skills — but they’re not just for kids anymore. Here’s our top 10 list for clutchless motorcycles.

If you want to take your riding from the streets to the trails, but are unsure of your ability, why not try an automatic dirt bike? You can take the hassle out of riding by ditching the clutch in favor of a semi-automatic or completely automatic machine.

For many riders, the thought of riding off-road without a clutch is borderline heretical. However, there are times and situations when having an automatic dirt bike can be beneficial.

Young riders and new riders can benefit from clutchless riding, allowing them to focus on learning other skills such as staying up on two wheels in the rough, refining their body positioning, and learning how to apply the throttle and brakes.

So, what models are available?

Top 10 Clutchless Dirt Bike Models for Off-Road Adventuring

There are plenty of automatic dirt bikes on the market, including top-shelf offerings from the most popular and well-known motorcycle brands, electric motorcycles (which by definition are almost always automatic), and cheaper pit bike-style models. To give a broad snapshot of what’s available, we’re going to include a mix of all three types in our top 10 list.

Let’s look at the best automatic dirt bike models you can currently buy.

A quick note about sizes: The majority of automatic dirt bike models are targeted at young riders rather than adults. Most of the world’s biggest manufacturers have automatic and semi-automatic products, but they usually come packaged with smaller frames, lower saddle heights, and smaller wheels. For the sake of a balanced list, we’re going to include a few models for kids as well as for adults.

Kawasaki KLX110R

Kawasaki KLX110R

Kawasaki is one of the most successful off-road brands in the motorcycle industry, and it’s got plenty of off-road models to suit a broad spectrum of riders. However, if you’re looking for an automatic dirt bike, there’s only one choice available to you from Team Green, and that’s the KLX110R. This bike features a four-speed automatic transmission and a 26.8-inch seat height.

This bike stands a little taller than some others. It’s still a long way from being a full-size off-roader, but that doesn’t mean the fun is reserved only for kids. With a punchy 112cc air-cooled four-stroke engine, the KLX110R has more than enough grunt to put smiles on the faces of older riders — it just happens to be good for younger riders to have a rip on, too.

Riders just have to ease off the throttle and click the bike into gear via the usual foot-operated gear lever — that’s it. Or for riders wanting a fully automatic experience, leave the bike in third gear and twist. There’s enough suspension to handle average off-road and trail-riding terrain and obstacles, and the mechanical drum brakes offer ample stopping power.

Plus, there’s plenty of room for upgrades. Say you want the fun of a semi-automatic dirt bike from Kawasaki, but would prefer a taller saddle height. Swing by an aftermarket store that specializes in kits to add inches to your front suspension, with special rear swingarms that help raise the height.

At $2,349 MSRP, the KXL110R is one great little dirt bike.

Top Features:

  • 112cc air-cooled four-stroke engine
  • Four-speed gearbox with automatic clutch
  • Saddle height of 26.8 inches
  • Tough and sporty race-inspired bodywork
  • Easy to graduate to the KLX110R L (manual) for those wanting more

Honda CRF110F

Honda CRF 110F red
(Photo/Honda)

Honda’s CRF110F has long been one of the best midsize, small-capacity dirt bikes out there. The CRF series is legendary, so it makes sense that the smallest member of the family is just as capable as its bigger siblings.

The CRF110F shares a lot of DNA with the smaller CRF50F, but it has a bigger engine, an increased ride height, and plenty of other cool features to keep riders coming back for more.

The most significant difference is the addition of an extra gear, with the CRF110F boasting a four-speed gearbox, powered by an automatic clutch to make life nice and easy. Though it’s not much bigger than the CRF50F, adult riders will definitely benefit from the slightly increased ride height and the extra grunt from the engine, making climbing hills much easier — and possible — for most riders.

The throttle is responsive, the ride is smooth, and the tires have enough grip to tackle challenging terrain. While there isn’t much suspension travel, it’s plenty for beginner to intermediate riding. Honda’s automatic clutch is excellent, and clicking through the gears is a dream. If you’re not ready to change gears, just stick it in third and cruise; the bike can handle it.

The CRF110F is $2,499 MSRP — a great price. Even a second-hand one will be worth the money, too.

Top Features:

  • 109cc air-cooled four-stroke engine
  • Four-speed gearbox with automatic clutch
  • Saddle height of 25.9 inches
  • Easy-to-operate electric starter with optional kick-start function
  • Adjustable throttle stop for limiting younger riders
  • Additional kick-starter for manual starting

Yamaha TT-R110E

Yamaha TT-R110E

The Yamaha TT-R110E is the big brother of Yamaha’s awesome mini off-roader, the TT-R50E. Unlike the smaller model, this one is a good selection for older riders, making it a fun choice for everyone in the family. The engine packs a more powerful punch and, thanks to the taller ride height, it is an ideal bike for youth getting into motorcycling.

With a tough, compact 110cc air-cooled four-stroke engine, the TT-R110E has plenty of grunt delivered to the wheels through a sophisticated four-speed gearbox. The automatic clutch allows for effortless gear shifting, marrying the best of manual riding with the simplicity of an automatic. All you have to do is click through the gears without worrying about the hassle of a clutch — or leave it in one gear and stick with it if you don’t feel like shifting at all.

If that wasn’t enough, Yamaha also decked out the TT-R110E with an electric starter, a well-damped telescopic front fork, advanced Monocross rear suspension, grippy knobby tires, Yamaha’s aggressive and stylish aesthetic, and a forest-friendly USFS-approved exhaust.

Yamaha’s flagship off-road series, the YZ family, shares a lot of DNA with this little number, making it the perfect introductory motorcycle for young riders to cut their teeth on before graduating to the bigger YZ models.

The Yamaha TT-R110E is offered at a $2,299 MSRP.

Top Features:

  • 110cc air-cooled four-stroke engine
  • Four-speed gearbox with an automatic clutch
  • Saddle height of 26.4 inches
  • Keyed ignition for additional safety
  • 7.1 inches of ground clearance that allows for real off-road riding

Suzuki DR-Z50

 

Suzuki DR-Z50Suzuki used to have a mean little number called the DR-Z110, which was very similar to the Kawasaki KLX110. But in recent years, the company has done away with its 110 option and now only stocks the DR-Z50. An ideal size for young beginning riders, the DR-Z50 is powered by a smooth 49cc engine.

Unlike other small-capacity bikes that come with a single-speed transmission, this one comes with three gears and an automatic clutch. Essentially, you just click through the gears with your foot when the engine feels like it needs it.

For a fully automatic experience, you can put the bike into second gear and leave it there for enough forward motion to get young riders started before they have to learn how to change gears.

Can an adult ride one? With a seat height of 22 inches and a weight limit of 88 pounds, it’s not advisable. However, if you’re looking for the first dirt bike for your child, the Dr-Z50 is a great option for teaching your kid how to ride. There are some cool safety features for young riders such as an adjustable throttle limiter and a keyed ignition, making it totally child-friendly.

With an MSRP of $1,799, it’s an excellent price for a cool little motorcycle that your kid is sure to enjoy.

Top Features:

  • 49cc air-cooled four-stroke engine
  • 3-speed gearbox with automatic clutch
  • Saddle height of 22 inches for younger riders
  • Kick starter and electric starter

KTM 50 SX

 

2020 KTM SX 50

KTM has long been the go-to brand when it comes to off-road dominance, but when it comes to automatic dirt bike models, the company doesn’t have much on offer. Or rather, it doesn’t have much for adults to enjoy.

KTM’s only real internal combustion engine automatic dirt bike model is the SX 50, which only children or very slight riders will be able to ride.

That said, it’s one of the most highly spec’d small dirt bikes out there, and, in truth, it’s a championship-winning model. If you’ve got a young rider with aspirations of dirt bike race podiums, then this 50cc mini dirt bike is the stuff of small-capacity dreams.

This little champion maker is powered by a kick-start-only, 49cc two-stroke engine. The engine itself is a minor marvel, but what makes this ride so good is the fact that it has a single-speed automatic transmission, which allows young riders to unleash two-stroke fury without having to worry about clutch control or gear changes. Combine that with some top-shelf KTM accessories and plush WP suspension, and you’ve got yourself one hell of an automatic dirt bike.

With an MSRP of $4,449, the KTM 50 SX is pricey compared to Japanese offerings. But, if you’re serious about getting your kid up on two wheels and want to make them into a real competition motorcyclist, you’ll want to arm them with the best tools for the job, right?

Top Features:

  • 50cc two-stroke engine
  • KTM-engineered single-speed automatic transmission
  • Seat height of 26.2 inches
  • Official KTM race-proven technology
  • Front/rear hydraulic disc brake technology
  • Can be upgraded using KTM performance parts

KTM Freeride E-XC

 

KTM Freeride E-XC

If you want another automatic offering from KTM, check out the brand’s ground-breaking KTM Freeride E-XC: the company’s first electric motorcycle. Because electric motorcycles don’t require a gearbox to translate engine power into forward motion, almost all electric motorcycles are completely automatic. You simply twist the throttle and go.

The KTM Freeride E-XC is no exception. This wonderful motorcycle isn’t street-legal, and it doesn’t have a fantastic top speed or maximum range. But, as far as electric automatic dirt bikes go, it’s still pretty incredible.

The electric motor delivers an impressive 24.5 horsepower and 31 pound-feet of torque, allowing riders to hammer off-road trails at some fairly feisty speeds.

However, it’s not the speed of this motorcycle that has everyone interested — it’s the speed of its battery-charging capabilities. On paper, the biggest drawback of the KTM Freeride E-XC is that the battery can only provide about an hour of ride time per charge.

Not very inspiring, right? But what if we tell you that it can charge to 100% in only 110 minutes?

In reality, the fast ride time is more than compensated for by the fast charge time. It might not be the highest-spec’d automatic dirt bike on this list, but the KTM E-XC is pretty impressive no matter how you look at it.

The starting price is $10,699 MSRP — which isn’t bad for something with KTM written on it.

Top Features:

  • 3.9 kWh lithium-ion KTM PowerPack
  • Single-speed automatic transmission
  • WP suspension
  • No kick start required
  • 80-minute 100% charge time
  • Three selectable ride modes

Zero FX

 

Zero FXZero is probably one of the most famous names in the electric motorcycle industry and is well-known for producing top-quality products. Because all of its models are electric, they’re all equipped with automatic transmissions.

The Zero FX model is no different, and while it’s not strictly a dirt bike — it’s more of a dual-purpose machine — we think it still counts as an automatic dirt bike, and one of the best that money can buy.

Of course, you can buy the Zero FX in several trims, with a wide range of add-ons, so we’re going to be quoting the top-spec model here. Powered by a ferociously strong electric motor that produces a whopping 46 horsepower and 78 pound-feet of peak torque, the Zero FX can reach a handsome top speed of 85 mph and boasts a range of about 90 miles per charge.

An optional fast-charging kit can fully charge the FX’s battery in 2 hours, which is extremely fast compared to other electric motorcycles out there.

For an automatic dirt bike though, it is expensive. The asking price for a fully kitted-out Zero FX is about $13,000 MSRP. Sure, it’s expensive, but this is a fully road-legal motorcycle. If you want the best automatic dirt bike with an electric powertrain, then this is the ultimate motorcycle for you.

Top Features:

  • Clutchless direct-drive transmission
  • Cutting-edge electric technology
  • 100% road legal
  • Real dual-sport motorcycle
  • Incredible 90-mile range

Honda Trail 125 ABS

2022-trail125-abs-glowing_red-650x380
2022 Honda Trail 125; (photo/Honda)

The Honda Trail 125 is an automatic dirt bike that might actually fit better in the “scooter” category. We’ve included it here because this minimoto can not only do trails but also all the roads in between. That makes it a practical choice for non-trailering individuals, or those who what to keep things simple. Plus, it looks bad-ass retro.

With a price tag set at $4,000 MSRP, it’s not the cheapest option, but since it can almost do it all, you won’t need to spend money on other bikes. Unless, of course, you’re like most motorcycle owners and can’t have just one.

This take from Honda’s Trail 90 and 110 has a fuel-injected 125cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine with 10 horsepower. It is geared with a four-speed centrifugal automatic clutch — not the slowest, not the fastest.

For those of us who are height-challenged, the Honda Trail offers a seat height of 31.5 inches and a low step-over. The luggage rack is very handy, as well.

Top Features:

  • 125cc fuel-injected four-stroke engine
  • Ideal for height-challenged folks
  • Integral luggage rack
  • Electric start
  • Front-wheel ABS
  • Disc brakes

SSR SR110TR

 

SSR SR110TR

You might not have heard much about SSR Motorsports, but it’s doing some interesting things. For a start, it’s one of the most trusted importers of powersports engines and vehicles from China and also the U.S. distributor of Benelli products. A great example of the quality of its products is the SR110TR.

The SR110TR comes powered by a tough 107cc air-cooled four-stroke engine from Lifan. This semi-automatic dirt bike offers more than just an engine, though. It comes equipped with upside-down forks with rebound adjustment capabilities, a rear monoshock, front and rear disc brakes, tough and durable plastics, and a kickstarter.

But what about this semi-automatic gearbox? Well, it might not be fully automatic, but it’s clutch-free, which means you can shift by simply clicking through the gears on the pedal without having to worry about pulling in a clutch lever.

In fact, you don’t have to change gear if you don’t want to — leaving it in third gear will work just fine for most riders, though it might not be best in the long term for the engine.

This bike is a good way to bridge the gap between automatic and fully manual for beginning riders. And the price? These retail for around $1,764 MSRP.

Top Features

  • 107cc air-cooled four-stroke engine
  • Semi-automatic transmission for clutchless gear shifting
  • Saddle height of 28.4 in.
  • Kick-start ignition
  • Inverted USD style shocks with adjustment
  • Front and rear disc brakes

Electric Motion Epure Race

Electric Motion Epure Race
Electric Motion Epure Race; (photo/Electric Motion)

While on the expensive side, the Epure Race appeals for a few reasons. One, many riders like the idea of a dirt bike, but hate the noise factor. This is where electric bikes shine. Next, electrics are the way of the future and riders are turning to environmental choices — especially because the places these riders like to go are off the beaten track.

Though quiet, the Epure Race is powerful with a 125cc engine that’ll get you close to 45 mph. Where it differs from the rest of the clutchless bikes in this article is the company’s own Hydraulic Diaphragm Clutch.

This allows the rider to personalize movement from a standstill, and smoothly transition to higher speeds with the clutch and tick-over combo. You can also shut this system off for a twist-and-go conventional e-bike. The company’s hydraulic clutch feature allows riders to control the bike in challenging sections where electric bikes used to fail.

For all that get up and go, what’s powering the Epure Race? An extra-capacity battery produces 1,875 Wh over 1,000 cycles. The standard 15A charger takes just under 3.5 hours to charge, and the optional 25A upgrade takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. The bike has a range of 26.5 miles.

Another great addition to the Epure Race is its anti-reverse feature, which stops you from rolling backward. Lock the back wheel with the push of a button at speeds of 0-3 mph.

The Epure Race comes with a base MSRP of $11,000.

Top Features

  • Anti-reverse
  • Hydraulic diaphragm clutch with switch-off capabilities
  • Lithium-ion 50.4V battery
  • 1,875 Wh
  • 26.5-mile range; top speed 43.5 mph
  • Hydraulic diaphragm clutch
  • Front suspension: 6.9-in. travel; rear: 6.7-in. travel
  • Seat height: 26.4-in.

Get the Best Automatic Dirt Bike and Get Out Riding

If you’re wondering what the best automatic dirt bike is, there are some options available to you depending on what you’re willing to pay and what you want out of your bike. Whether you want to go fully electric and tackle some off-road trails or you want something fun that won’t break the bank, there are a variety of fully automatic dirt bike models that you can choose from.

Automatic Dirt Bike FAQs

What Is an Automatic Dirt Bike?

An automatic dirt bike is like any other automatic motorcycle in the fact that power is transferred from the engine to the drivetrain via an automatic gearbox.

In short, it’s a motorcycle that doesn’t require changing gears with the use of a conventional manual clutch. The term “twist and go” is often used with automatic motorcycles because a rider can simply twist the throttle.

An automatic dirt bike specifically refers to an automatic motorcycle that’s designed for off-road riding, with long-travel suspension, off-road tires, and other accessories for improved riding across unpaved terrain.

What Is a Semi-Automatic Dirt Bike?

A semi-automatic dirt bike isn’t the same as a fully automatic one. A semi-automatic motorcycle works very much in the same way as a step-through scooter or moped. There are gears that can be used and selected, but the use of a clutch isn’t required.

Riders can click through the gears with a foot-operated gear shifter. The shift pattern differs between models, with some requiring clicking down through the gears, and others requiring flicking up with your toe.

How Does a Semi-Automatic Motorcycle Work?

Though you may see it said that there isn’t a clutch in a semi-automatic motorcycle, that’s not strictly true. In fact, there are two clutches at work, but the rider doesn’t have to worry about them.

One is a centrifugal clutch that works to keep everything running smoothly, and the other is engaged by your foot as you shift gears. The two work together to ensure that gear changes run smoothly and that the engine doesn’t stall.

The clutch is still there; the rider just doesn’t notice it.  There’s plenty of information on how semi-automatic clutch systems work out there if you want to learn more.

What’s the Difference Between a Pit Bike and a Dirt Bike?

First, a pit bike is a small motorcycle that was originally used to ride around the pit area of motorcycle races. Traditionally, they were like small dirt bikes with small engines, used for transporting racers and crew around. Naturally, they were also raced.

A dirt bike is a motorcycle specifically designed for the purposes of off-road riding, with long-travel suspension, knobby tires, and with engines traditionally from 80cc up to 500cc.

But is a pit bike a dirt bike? Well, they share a lot of the same DNA and if you’re riding and racing a pit bike off-road, then by definition it has to be a dirt bike, too.

Generally, most people consider a cheap, small-capacity pit bike to be a dirt bike. If it gets ridden or raced off-road, then we think that’s enough to class it as one.

What's the Difference Between a Pit Bike, Pocket Bike, and Mini Bike?

All small bikes are considered mini bikes, but what’s the difference between a pit bike and a pocket bike?

A pit bike, by nature, has off-road origins and generally takes inspiration from larger dirt bikes. A pocket bike, on the other hand, is more like a mini moto.

The term “pocket bike” doesn’t have a solid definition, but most riders would agree that when you’re talking about a pocket bike, you’re talking about a scaled-down version of a sport bike.

You could say that mini bikes, pit bikes, and mini motos are all pocket bikes since they’re all small in stature, but most of the time pocket bikes are little sport bikes oriented for on-road riding.

ktm electric mini bikes
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