Pit bikes or go-karts – what will be the favorite of tomorrow’s children?

In America and Europe, go-karts have long been the most popular motor-based kid’s sport, ranging from the pedal-powered Kettler and other karts to the gas-powered go-karts you’ll see racing fast at your local go-kart track. But the latest trend sees the introduction of a two-wheeled equivalent – the pit bike. With internet help fueling the popularity of pit bikes and ever-declining prices being pushed down by the larger volumes purchased, will midget motorcycles overtake the popularity of traditional 4-wheel go-karts?

Ever since there were cars in production kids wanted to build their own version, little has been as popular in America with young wannabe racers as soapbox racing, famous for bringing fathers and sons together and producing great races. great karts and ultimately led to the careers of some fantastic racers. But why choose a replica car – why not a motorcycle? Well, in those early days, probably more and more cars were being produced and it was a brand new invention that probably caused a lot of buzz. In addition, a 4 wheel kart seems much safer and easier to build than a two wheel motorcycle or moped.

So ingrained in American culture, go-karts were improved and produced on a larger scale by Japanese automakers like Honda and Suzuki. Until the production of the first few microbikes – the first generation of pit bikes – there was really little that competed with the go-karts from these companies. They really started out as “monkey bikes” – a title bestowed after they were often used as entertainment with specially trained monkeys riding them, but they were quickly picked up by smaller people as great fun, although their price tag was somewhat inhibiting.

From the first monkey bikes came a slow idea that created miniature replicas of real motorcycles. This went first from the companies that made scooters and mopeds, who made lower displacement bikes that looked like their full blown counterparts, scooters that looked like superbikes! This idea quickly caught on with the youth who wanted to feel like they were riding bikes well beyond their years. Pit bikes were an extension of that – trails bikes were miniaturized to bring a new kind of excitement to a younger audience. With a nod to the monkey bike and the style and design of a full size trials bike, these pit bikes were a huge hit and sales have continued to grow ever since.

In fact, today some major retailers are still unsure which is more popular – the go-kart or the pit bike, some London resellers are pivoting to the pit bike while another major American reseller continues to promote the go-kart, maybe they are a steady plane for now, but with pit bikes getting cheaper and cheaper it could change at any moment!

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