Minibikes offer a great gateway to motorcycling for children, and Polini Motori stands out among the specialists in this field. Its new XP line targets riders aged 4 to 10 years old, producing two fully-equipped minicross models that leave very little to be desired compared to dad's motocrosser.

Polini Motori was founded in 1946 in the north Italian city of Bergamo, starting out as a bicycle manufacturer, before expanding to small-capacity two-stroke engines and scooter parts. In the early 1990s it started producing mini motorcycles, rolling out a wide range of street minibikes, minicross and minimotard models, and making a name for itself as the first ride of many renowned Italian motorcycling champions.

Recently Polini also introduced the Thor paraglide motor, and just last year came up with the E-P3 add-on electric motor for bicycles.

The XP range of mini motocrossers currently offers several models, with both air- and water-cooled engines and several sizes to suit young riders of different ages. For 2018, Polini has just unveiled the latest versions of the entry-level minicross models XP1R and XP3R.

The new tiny motocrossers run on a 50 cc two-stroke water-cooled single engine, sitting in a steel cradle frame with detachable subframe. Compared to the current engine, it features a redesigned cylinder head that increases the compression ratio from 15.2:1 to 16.5:1, fed by a Polini carb via reed valve. Although power figures have not been released, Polini does point to a 2-hp (1.5 kW) increase.

Fiddling with suspension settings will no longer be a privilege reserved only for daddies, as the new XPs sport fully adjustable Paioli gear all around, with 37 mm inverted forks up front and a monoshock unit at the rear.

The only difference between the two XP models is the front wheel size; 10-inch rim for the XP1R, 12 for the XP3R and the same 10-inch rear wheel for both. With a simple change of the front wheel, the same motorcycle can adapt to the growing body of the young rider.

Although Polini has not yet revealed the weight of the new bikes, a logical estimate would put it a few kilos above the 43 kg (94.8 lb) of the current model, as the only part that should make a noticeable difference is the front suspension; the 37 mm inverted forks should be a bit heavier than the 33 mm conventional ones used until now.

In Italy the XP1R will cost €3,070 (approximately US$3,700), adding another €20 ($24) for the XP3R.

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