HomeTactical & SurvivalThe 10 Best Automatic Dirt Bikes: Twist and Go

The 10 Best Automatic Dirt Bikes: Twist and Go

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If you want to start riding motorcycles off-road but are unsure of your ability, why not try an automatic dirt bike? You can take one 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.

Honda Africa Twin DCT

The Africa Twin is Honda’s top-tier adventure bike, and the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) adds clutchless shifts to an already capable dirt and road touring machine. The Africa Twin DCT comes with an impressive list of modern motorcycle tech and features. Honda spared no expense in accessorizing the 1084cc liquid-cooled Unicam four-stroke parallel-twin rig.

Top-tier inverted telescopic Showa forks and shock handle the bumps, while dual twin-piston calipers with 310mm discs and ABS handle stopping duties in the front. A single-piston caliper and 256mm disc with ABS do the same at the back.

Electronic throttle-by-wire linked to a PFM-FI fuel injection system with dual air intakes manages induction, and a 5-gallon gas tank with a 1-gallon reserve ensures good range. The DCT manages a six-speed transmission and a claimed 529-pound wet curb weight.

Our Powersports editor, Seiji Ishii, has hundreds of miles of Baja riding experience aboard a Honda Africa Twin and can attest to the machine’s abilities to navigate the entire peninsula.

“The Honda Africa Twin was very Honda-esque, which is a great thing. The motor and chassis performed predictably and efficiently and never surprised me. Even fully loaded with a week’s worth of gear, the bike handled and powered through any terrain without issues,” Ishii stated.

“And I cannot give more kudos to the reliability. I hit a cow head-on early in a week-long trip in Baja. It was the deadly combination of dust and evening sun in my eyes. Luckily, I was unharmed, as was the cow. But the Africa Twin was beaten. But to everyone’s surprise, with a few trailside repairs, that horrendously maimed machine completed the trip, logging 600+ miles in a condition that would park lesser bikes,” Ishii recalled.

The Honda Africa Twin DCT starts at an MSRP of $15,999.

Top Features

  • 1084cc liquid-cooled, Unicam parallel-twin motor
  • “Clutchless” Automatic Dual Clutch 6-speed transmission, with four shifting modes
  • 9.1″ front suspension travel (inverted telescopic fork), 8.7″ rear suspension travel (Pro-Link single shock)
  • Dual four-piston front calipers with 310mm discs and ABS, single-piston rear caliper with 256mm disc and ABS
  • Throttle-by-wire, PGM-FI fuel injection, twin air intake induction
  • 6.5″ touch panel LCD multi-function display

CAKE Kalk OR Race

It’s hard to deny the unique and clean aesthetics of the CAKE Kalk OR Race, which matches the no-emissions performance attribute of electric motorcycles. The Swedish brand was among the first to offer a “fully capable” electric dirt bike. The “Apple-like” looks garnered much attention from the brand from both moto-heads and outdoor generalists alike when CAKE launched in 2018.

The CAKE Kalk OR Race boasts an electric motor with three riding modes capable of 11Kw peak power and 280 Nm of rear-wheel torque in a package that only weighs 165 pounds. The top speed is over 56 mph, and three different braking modes (no engine braking, four-stroke engine braking, two-stroke engine braking) harness that speed. The “engine braking” modes are regenerative, helping boost the 50Ah battery run time.

The CAKE Kalk OR Race also boasts premium Öhlins suspension, with an inverted air fork and TTX22 shock.

Our powersports editor, Seiji Ishii, took a CAKE Calk OR into the deserts around Moab, Utah, for a few days. He was shocked at the performance.

“The light weight and available torque was exhilarating when traction was high on the slickrock. That amount of power at that low of a chassis weight was fun, and I cannot see how even a die-hard petrol-head could deny that. And the absolute lack of sound, which was strange at first, created a different experience in the backcountry. One that even I have to say was a positive, as much as I like exhaust sounds.”

The bike was good for about 3 hours of trail time while out in Moab, and a full charge only took 3 hours on a standard 110V outlet.

Top Features

  • Electric motor with 11kW peak power and 280 Nm torque
  • 6061 T-6 aluminum frame and swingarm
  • 3 engine ride modes
  • 3 braking modes, 2 regenerative
  • High power-to-weight ratio

Stark VARG

For true dirt bike riders, the Stark VARG represents the first “real” electric motocross bike that has successfully shipped to customers in legitimate numbers. The Spanish brand has developed the first electric motorcycle that could potentially be competitive against its gas counterparts in professional motocross and supercross racing. Former professional rider Sebastian Tortelli is head of testing, and it shows.

Not only does the Stark VARG look like a current motocross bike, but the chassis and motor specifications say it can equal or possibly beat gas bikes in the same category. In “standard” format, the VARG churns out 60 horsepower, more than stock 450cc motocross bikes.

And for those lunatics who want to make history, Stark can unlock 80 horsepower with 938 Nm of torque! I don’t know anyone who can truly use anywhere near that much power, but Stark can deliver it! All the power is managed via an Android phone mounted as a display. The VARG has 100+ riding modes and seemingly limitless motor customization options.

Not only does the engine deliver gas-worthy numbers, the suspension does as well. Motocross and supercross suspension stalwart Kayaba partnered with Stark, placing its well-regarded and recognized fork and shock on the VARG. And, similar to gas-powered motocross bikes, these bits come with all the Kashima and niCr coatings, rear linkage, front triple clamps, and all the usual compression and rebound clickers.

The same goes for the brakes; industry leaders Brembo and Galfer provide the calipers and disks. In fact, all the components on the Stark VARG are recognizable and well-known in the motocross industry. The claimed weight of 260 pounds is a tad heavy for a 450, but then again, the horsepower and torque are there.

Stark claims up to 6 hours of easy trail riding or a full MXGP motocross race moto (around 35 minutes) is possible with the 6.5kWh battery. The brand claims a charge time of 1-2 hours. Stark offers the VARG in a motocross and off-road format with the MSRP starting at $12,900.

Top Features

  • 60- or 80-horsepower electric motor, 938 Nm peak torque
  • Well-recognized and regarded suspension, braking, and other motocross components
  • Traditional motocross bike aesthetics and dimensions
  • Extremely adjustable engine characteristics

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 has a four-speed automatic transmission and a 26.8-inch seat height.

This bike stands a little taller than some others in the category. 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.

Riders just have to ease off the throttle and click the bike into gear via the usual foot-operated gear lever — that’s it. There’s enough suspension to handle average “pit bike” 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 $2,899 MSRP, the KLX 110R 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″
  • Tough and sporty race-inspired bodywork
  • Easy to graduate to the KLX110R L (manual) for those who want more

Honda CRF110F

The Honda 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. 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.

Thanks to fuel injection, hard starts in the cold are a thing of the past, as is adjusting or cleaning a carburetor. While there isn’t much suspension travel, it’s plenty for beginner to intermediate riding. Honda’s automatic clutch is excellent, making clicking through gears and braking much easier. The CRF110F is $2,699 MSRP — a great price. Even a second-hand one will be worth the money, too.

Top Features

  • 109cc air-cooled and fuel-injected four-stroke engine
  • Four-speed gearbox with automatic clutch
  • Saddle height of 25.9″
  • Easy-to-operate electric starter with optional kickstart function
  • Adjustable throttle stop for limiting younger riders

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 kids. The engine packs a more powerful punch, and thanks to the taller ride height, it is an ideal bike for youths 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 four-speed gearbox. The automatic clutch allows for effortless gear shifting and braking, marrying the best of manual riding with the simplicity of an automatic.

If that wasn’t enough, Yamaha also decked out the TT-R110E with an electric starter, a well-damped telescopic front fork, 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. This makes the TT-R100E 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″
  • Keyed ignition for additional safety
  • 7.1 inches of ground clearance that allows for real off-road riding

Suzuki DR-Z50

Suzuki used to have a mean little number called the DR-Z110. It 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 the youngest 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.

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, such as an adjustable throttle limiter and a keyed ignition, making it extremely child-friendly.

With an MSRP of $2,209, 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″ for younger riders
  • Kickstarter and electric starter

KTM 50 SX

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 is only suitable for small children.

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 kickstart-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.

This 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 $4,849, the 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
  • Adjustable seat height from 25″ to 26.8″
  • Official KTM race-proven technology
  • Front/rear hydraulic disc brake technology
  • Can be upgraded using KTM performance parts

KTM Freeride E-XC

If you want another automatic offering from KTM, check out the brand’s ground-breaking KTM Freeride E-XC. It’s 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 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 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 or 80% charge in 75 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 impressive no matter how you look at it.

The starting price is $11,299 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
  • 110-minute 100% charge time
  • Three selectable ride modes

Zero FX

The Zero FX model is no different, and while it’s not strictly a dirt bike — it’s a dual-purpose machine — we think it still counts as an automatic dirt bike. It’s an interesting choice from a non-traditional motorcycle brand.

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 an electric motor that produces 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, fairly quick for the range.

For an automatic dirt bike, though, it is expensive. The asking price for a fully kitted-out Zero FX is about $13,270 MSRP. Sure, it’s expensive, but this is a fully road-legal motorcycle.

Top Features

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

Get the Best Automatic Dirt Bike and Get Out Riding

If you’re wondering what the best automatic dirt bike is, there are options available to you depending on what you’re willing to pay and what you specifically require. 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 automatic dirt bikes.

Automatic Dirt Bike FAQs

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. Electric dirt bikes are automatic by default.

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.

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.

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

One is a centrifugal clutch that keeps 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 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.

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 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 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 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.

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 pocket bikes are scaled-down versions of sport bikes.

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



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