Lord knows how many kids have taken their first few wobbly rides on one of these or on the CRF50F’s predecessor from a half-century ago, the Mini Trail 50. It’s practically incalculable, due to the phenomenon of these little bikes being passed along from sibling to sibling and later from family to family. Regardless, the number is most certainly vast. What’s most impressive, though, is that the formula Honda developed in 1968 to put kids on two wheels remains just as useful today.
The approach begins with an easy-to-kickstart, four-stroke, air-cooled 49cc engine driving through an automatic clutch and three-speed manual transmission. The original pint-sized Mini Trail was a hardtail, but the latest CRF50F has monoshock rear suspension backing up a simple inverted fork with 3.5 inches of travel. Not exactly Supercross-caliber stuff, but that’s unnecessary for buzzing around the backyard or campground. Safety features include an adjustable throttle limiter, protective chain guards, and an ignition key that keeps the littlest CRF off-limits while you’re at work. What the heck, dad!
Likes: Proven design, sturdily built, easy to buy and later on sell
Dislikes: Intake/exhaust noise could be lower
Verdict: The gold standard for kids' starter bikes