“SO, WHAT BIKE SHOULD I BUY?” There is no other question that is more frequently asked than this age-old query—and for good reason, because deciding which brand, size, and type of machine to spend your hard-earned dough on is one of the most critical decisions that a rider or racer can make. While the answer can sometimes be complicated, we can sum it up in one simple sentence: You should buy the bike that is right for YOU.

Now, we already know what you’re thinking: “Ok, so how do I know which bike is right for me then?” To find the answer, start with yourself. How long have you been riding? How old, tall, and heavy are you? What are your goals—do you just want something to have fun with once or twice a month, or are you trying to smash your competitors and grab a state championship? What class do you race? Are there any brands out there that you strongly like or dislike? What is your budget? Do you value durability over performance, or vice versa? These are all important things that need to be considered before you can zero in on the perfect bike for you. While this may sound like a daunting task, don’t fret—Keefer Inc. is here to help!

You see, when we evaluate a machine—be it a motocross bike or an off-road motorcycle—we take into account the overall performance of the bike as it relates to a wide variety of riders. This is the Keefer Inc. difference. There are many pro-level test riders out there who can ride a bike and tell you how it works for a pro. At Keefer Inc., our experience and formal training in evaluation, research & development, and comparison testing allows us to test a bike while keeping in mind how it would perform for various rider sizes, ability levels, and preferences. While most of our testers are in fact expert level or above, we know what to look for in a bike to be able to tell how it would work for a shorter novice rider, a lanky vet racers, an average weekend warrior, and everyone in between.

The truth is, the performance of modern motorcycles is incredible; today’s stock machines are every bit as good as factory race bikes from just a few years ago. Compared to another sport, the ability to walk in to your local KTM dealer to buy a stock 450 SX-F Factory Edition would be like jogging down to your local Mercedes dealer and driving away in a Formula One racecar. While this ultra-high off-the-shelf potential provides an amazing opportunity to competitive racers, there are enough subtle differences between various models that what would be the perfect bike for one rider’s season may provide a year of frustration for a totally different pilot. Plus, not everyone needs that much power; many bikes require the right handling modifications in order to make them usable in the first place.   

Taking all this into account, the best way to approach a Keefer Inc. test is with an open mind, while simultaneously knowing yourself well enough to be able to make the most informed purchasing decision possible. We’ll give you as much information as possible, but it’s up to you put this information to use in a way that benefits you. And if you find yourself stuck, simply shoot us an email—we love answering questions from readers, and we may even post your question on the site if we feel that it’s something that multiple riders could benefit from reading.

Above all, never forget: dirt bikes are awesome. It’s OK to get wrapped around the axle when it comes to performance, but never forget that these things are meant to be FUN!