A pit bike is a small off-road/on-road motorcycle originally used for riding around the pits or staging area of a motocross race (sometimes referred to as mini bikes). Since the early 2000s pit bike racing, a sport similar to motocross, has become popular in the United States, especially in Southern California. The name pit bike originated from the use of a Honda Z50 to ride around the pit areas of dirt bike races and race events across the United States. The fairly cheap price and the mobility of these bikes made them easy to use at racing events. By the time the trend caught, Honda had changed the name from Z50 to XR50 in 1999 and made great changes to the bike. A few of these changes include a plastic gas tank, single rear shock, spoke wheels, seat, plastics, total redesign of the frame, and the total appearance of the bike. As teenagers and young adults began to show interest in Z50’s, companies started to be formed which make upgraded aftermarket parts for pit bikes that make them comfortable and powerful for bigger riders. Some of these parts include heavy duty suspension, tall handle bars, tall seats, and big bore kits. As more and more people put these upgraded parts on their Z50’s their popularity grew and lead to pit bike races across the United States.
In 2002 Kawasaki came out with the KLX110. This bike, as with Honda’s XR50, was designed for smaller riders. The 110 is bigger and faster than an CRF50 and has a greater top speed so it needs fewer parts to make it comfortable for bigger riders. Pit bike riders realized this and started moving their focuses to the KLX110. Due to the popularity of the sport, many pit bike race series have appeared in various parts of the United States. Some examples of such series are the 2-Up Minis and Masters of Minis race series, the Sho-Me series in Missouri, and the annual Mini Moto Supercross race held the day before the final round of the AMA Pro Supercross series. Since 2003, starting with the SDG Speed Mini, an alternative to upgraded kids' bikes became available. In 2003 Xtreme Motor Corp, a company founded by ex-motocross champ Guy Cooper, and SDG began producing fully upgraded Chinese pit bikes, unfortunately in 2009 they went out of business. These pit bikes were designed around the Honda CRF-50's frame and used larger displacement engines, as well as tall handle bars, stronger suspension, and various other upgrades. The demand for these production minis was not quite as great as these companies had anticipated. Currently available production pit bikes include Coolster, SSR, WMX, APOLLO, and ORION. Companies like OGM, Thumpstar, and Sikk MX no longer have any pit bikes for sale.