The Yamaha PW50 is an iconic dirt bike that has stood the test of time and if you didn’t have one as a kid I bet you knew someone who did.
These 49cc dirt bikes are one of the most popular models for kids to learn on, and they are still going strong today, with over 40 yrs in production.
In this post I will share everything there is to know about the PW50, from its history, to specs and pricing. If I havent covered something just drop a comment and I’ll do my best to get back to you.
PW50 Brief History
The first Yamaha PW50 was unveiled way back in 1980 and it was available to buy throughout Europe and North America in 1981. Back then, this kids dirt bike would set you back around $450 as standard, and the early models were known as a YZinger, which I guess comes from the time of its incepetion as Yamaha had it’s YZ50 model previously.
PW50 is also known as the PeeWee, and it was created to target the US and European markets, aimed towards children between the age of 5 & 7 yrs old.
The result is the smallest dirt bike you can get with a seat height at just 18.7 inches. It’s perfect for kids and proved to be a big hit with 8000 units sold and shipped in its first year. That’s not bad is it!
Costs were kept down to a minimum and the bike was made to look small as if it would be ideal for a xmas present. The tank also made the most of the newer blow moulded technology that we are now very familiar with.
The engine used was from an adult model and simply restrictred in power to make it easier for kids to manage. This was achieved using Yamahas two-part limiter system.
|Engine||2 Stroke – Air cooled|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||2.0L|
|Engine Oil||YamaLube 2 Stroke|
|Transmission Oil||10W 30|
|Fuel||Regular – Unleaded|
Dimensions & Chassis
|Seat Height||18.7 inches|
|Wheel Size||10 inches|
|Tyre Size – Front & Back||2.5-10 4PR|
|Tyre Pressure – Front & Back||15 PSI|
|Brakes Type||Drum Brakes|
|Rear Suspension||Unit Swing and Dual Shocks|
Weights & Length
|Max Rider Weight||25 kg|
|Weight – incl fuel & oil||41 kg|
|Overall Length||1.245 mm|
|Overall Width||610 mm|
|Overall Height||705 mm|
One way to limit the power is a screw that restricts the rotation of the throttle. Parents can simply adjust it with a screw driver ‘as and when’ which mean they can increase the speed as the child becomes more confidient and achieving a better riding ability.
The second way that Yamaha restrictt the PW50 is by adding a washer inside the exhaust. This requires a 10mm spanner to undo the nuts but after that it can be simply removed to increase the flow.
Here’s a great little video I found which clearly explains both.
The handle bar set up mirrored that of a childs bicycle, with the back brake on the left and front brake on the right. This made riding easy for kids.
Why Are PW50’s Called PeeWee’s
The nickname PeeWee comes from Australia, where a Yamaha dealership used it to name an adventure club aimed at kids who wanted to try riding. The Peewee Adventure Club was a hit and allowed parents to bring their young along to have supervised and instructed experiences on a range of kids dirt bikes.
The PW50 was one of these bikes, and it was a first bike for many people who progressed onto a motocross career. Chad Reed is probably the most famous Aussie who started out on a PW50.
What Has Changed On PW50?
Very little has changed from when the original PW50 entered the market back in the 80’s. Different colours and the price are the main 2 things that have differed.
The bike has always been a 49cc, 2 stroke air cooled kids dirt bike with 10″ wheels and a shaft drive. These are easy to ride and easy to maintain.
How much is a Yamaha PW50 worth?
In 2023 a brand new Yamaha PW50 start at $1700 in the USA and £2000 in the UK.
Used bikes are no way near as plentiful as other used dirt bikes, because families tend to just hold on to them, long after the kids have grown up.
When they do come up for sale on places like eBay, you can expect to pay around £750 sterling. The older bikes also dont fall in value compared to a model only a couple of years old.
At the time of writing there wasn’t a single PW50 available on eBay for the USA. Thats crazy!
If you are on the hunt for a second hand one then also check out Facebook marketplace, they do appear on there from time to time.
Is A Yamaha PW50 For Kids
The PW50 is a kids dirt bike that has been in production for over 40yrs. It has the lowest seat height on the market at 18.7 inches (475mm), and is both easy to ride and maintain.
Is PW50 2-Stroke or 4 Stroke?
The PW50 is a 2 stroke and has seperate tank to add the oil into, which means the enigine mixes it’s own fuel and oil ratio.
How Heavy Is A PW50
41kg is the wet weight of a PW50 which means the figure is calculated with a full tank of gas and full tank of oil.
How Many Gears Does The PW50 Have?
The Yamaha PW50 is a fully automatic dirt bike so doesnt have gears to worry about.
Is Yamaha PW50 Automatic
Yes, fully automatic and this means they are brilliant as a childs first bike.
What Size Tyres Are On A PW50?
2.5 inches is the tyre size for the front and the back wheel. These fit the 10 inch, chunky 3 spoked wheels that are stock on all PW50’s.
2.50-10 33J is a tyre example from Michelin. These are their starcross tyres and you can see from the code that at the start it tells us the tyres are 2.5inches. The 10 denotes the wheel size.
Yamaha list the correct tyre as 2.50-10 4PW.
How Old Can A Kid Ride A PW50?
It is not necessarily the age more than the physical height and weight of the rider, which will determine how old a kid has to be to ride the PW50.
It was originally designed for children between the ages of 5 and 7, but this a very loose guide and you commonly get younger and older kids riding them.
In an ideal situation, the rider should be tall enough for both feet to be able to touch the floor with their toes/balls of the feet. However because you can get training wheels for the PeeWee then even shorter kids can ride it.
If you child is tall for their age then they may grow out of the bike quicker, but then riding a slightly smaller bike for your height wont hurt if they are still early beginners.
It is more likely the childs ability to ride that will dictate taking the next step up in dirt bike size.
Handy Article On Dirt Bike Size: What Height Dirt Bike Should I Get? – Full Guide and Chart
Do They Still Make PW50
Yes, new bikes are still being made and sold around the world, and have been for over 40 yrs. That also answers the question people often ask – When did they stop making the PW50!
How Fast Does A PW50 Go?
Expect to achieve a top speed of around 30mph on this little 49cc engine when fully restricted. That should be plenty fast enough for most small kids.
Is The Yamaha PW50 Electric Start
No it isn’t. It comes with a kick start
Does A PW50 Have A Choke
Yes, the choke is located infront of the handle bars, left of the oil tank.
Are All PW50 The Same?
On the whole, yes they are all the same when we talk about a stock example. Over the years you will find different colour combos but the spec is the same apart from later models getting a suspension upgrade.
What Fuel Does A PW50 Use
Standard petrol is the fuel you put in a PW50. There is a seperate oil tank located in front of the handle bars and behind the front number plate. This is because the bike is a 2 stroke and it mixes the oil by injecting it into the carb automatically.
What kind of oil goes in the crankcase of a PW50?
Yamaha recommend you use a 10w-30 in the crankcase. This is different to the oil you need to add in the tank by the handle bars, which is the 2 stroke oil used that mixes with the fuel.
The oil in the crankcase is what lubricates the engine parts.
You can view all lubricant specs in the PW50 manual
How much oil does a Yamaha PW50 hold?
The crankcase holds 300ml (0.3L) You drain it when you do an oil change and add the full 300ml of fresh oil.
The 2 stroke oil tank found up near the handle bars holds 350ml
How do you attach training wheels to a PW50?
Simply line up the bar of the training wheels, which will have a couple of notches in it, to the foot pegs. Then use the clamp to secure it in place.
The training wheels should be touching the floor on both sides at the same time. The idea is they rock so the child can benefit from learning to balance.
If you purchase a set of training wheels from somewhere like Amazon then they may fit in a slightly different way, but the principle is the same.
Where’s The VIN Number On My PW50
Find the VIN Numbrt in 2 locations on a PW50. The first is on the steering head pipe which can be seen be turning the handlebars onto full lock. The second is under the seat, simply take of the seat and you will see the sticker attached to the frame.