Parents are always looking for that one toy worth buying that kids spend hours playing with and I can tell you that unless your child is immune to anything fun, an MX350 dirt bike will likely be just the ticket you're after.
Recommend this product?
Is My Child Ready?
This is a very personal call but I can tell you that having other kids in the neighbourhood will often push even the most uncoordinated kids toward being able to keep up with the pack. My son started riding his 12" bike with training wheels just after he turned 2 years old. By 2.5, he was riding without any help on just two wheels (mainly due to watching other older kids riding and wanting to keep up with them). Another child in the neighbourhood only learned to ride a bike by age 8 so it really depends on the child's abilities and the neighbourhood you're in. If you think your child might be interested in the MX350, get the bike early and let them get used to playing on it before it's moving. When your child's ready to actually start riding, I'll bet they won't be shy about letting you know.
Electric vs Gas Motors
The main rationale for us going with electric over gas was the problem of noise. Our neighbourhood is quite suburban so if your little one is like ours and wants to start riding his or her bike from sunrise to sunset, then you'll be getting far fewer police visits with electric vehicles. The second reason is that most municipalities have strict rules on the operation of gas powered vehicles and at least in our area, electric vehicles were relatively unregulated (ie no limits on the age of child, the size of the machine being operated, etc). Third, gas motors in the hands of youngsters are dangerous if unsupervised. Once they are familiar with the operation, I feel quite safe letting my little one use the electric dirt bike (with a full face helmet) unsupervised but due to gas bikes being faster and the possibility of burns (motor hot, gas flammable) I would not feel the same about him using a gas dirt bike at such an early age. I will say I have used gas dirt bikes throughout my youth so I have nothing against them in that respect. Finally electric bikes are non-polluting so it's nice to have a motorized sport for the kids that is also good for the environment as well.
Age & Weight
Both this MX350 and the MX400 are basically designed with younger riders in mind. Razor states that the minimum age for the bike should be 9+ years old but in my experience by the time a child is that old, they are far too big for the bike to be any fun. My son started on it when he was 3.5 and by age 5 he was complaining the bike didn't go fast enough for him. Now he's a bigger child so I'd expect the bike to last up to age 8 or 9 for children of smaller stature but if your child is over 80 LBS, you should be looking at a bigger bike (like the MX500).
Specs for the MX350
•Top speed of 12 MPH (20 KPH)
•Single speed twist grip throttle
•Hand operated rear drum brake
•Front fork suspension
•Rear Suspension with adjustable shock
•Adjustable riser handlebars
•Folding metal pegs
•12" Front and rear dirt bike tires
•24V (two 12V, 7AH) sealed lead acid batteries
•Powerful 350 watt electrical motor
•Geared for riders up to 140 LBS
•24V UL approved charger
•Assembly tools included
•Product Weight: 70 LBS
•Assembled Product Dimensions: 44″x 24.5″x 31″
Assembly, Tools & Maintenance
The bike does come with instructions and tools needed for assembly. It certainly helps to either possess or have handy (ie get a case of beer for a mechanically inclined friend) mechanical skills to set up the bike. The tools provided with the bike leave a lot to be desired (ie they are junk). The bike can be assembled with those tools, but it's good to have at least a good adjustable wrench, some (Philips / flat head) screwdrivers and a metric Allen wrench set around for when the cheap tools fail.
It is likely the back brake will need adjustment to ensure the child can operate the brakes with minimal hand movement. You'll also need to charge the battery overnight (roughly 8 hours, until the charging light turns green) before its maiden voyage. It is also good to oil the chain with a good Teflon impregnated bike lube (get at any bike store) regularly to prevent excessive chain wear.
If you are looking to get the most out of your bike then reducing friction will be key. Make sure the brake is loose enough that it does not rub on the brake hub during coasting. The wheel bearings are quite decent, but I found the freewheel caused quite a bit of friction on the bike during coasting. Taking the freewheel apart and re-greasing it can vastly improve the coasting. This should only be done after your warranty period expires since it will likely void any warranty for the MX350. This should also not be attempted unless you have more than a reasonable level of mechanical ability because there are what seems like hundreds of ball bearings in there and they all need to make their way back into the assembly for it to work properly. You'll need Park bike tools FR-6 to remove the freewheel from the bike rim and the SPA-2 spanner wrench to disassemble the freewheel for cleaning. Use a good quality wheel bearing grease when assembling and keep track of how it is assembled (taking pictures during the process can be a big help).
I won't get into battery modifications possible, but needless to say that with the new lithium iron phosphate LiFePO4 batteries, this bike can be made to put a smile on the older crowd as well.
The warranty for the bike is usually 90 days from the date of purchase and you can either telephone or email Razor in California for a warranty claim. If you come across a manufacturer defect (such as a bad battery, faulty charger, etc) then as long as it is within the warranty period they are quite happy to send out replacement parts to fix the bike. Best advice I can give is to take digital pictures or video clips of the bike's symptoms/defect and use those when dealing with Razor on any claims.
Common Problems & Replacement Parts
The price tag of the bike should tell you that at the very least there will be some maintenance involved and on the other end you may need to do some repairs for the bike. Let's face it, kids will ride the bike into the ground while having fun so you can expect to replace parts like tires, batteries (plan on yearly replacement) and brakes. Luckily the parts for the bike are available from Razor as well as many other places online including eBay.
Amount Paid (US$): 249 CDN
Type of Toy: Sports
Age Range of Child: 6 to 8 Years