We’ve had both, so I have a few comments. I think in general, both are great low tech. Little bikes.
JR50 – Nic’s bike from 4 to 6 ½. Then Cam’s from 4-5. = 3 ½ year hard riding. Still owned by a neighbor of ours for 2 months now.
- Two heights. Can simply be adjusted to be one+ inch higher when ready.
-“Real” rear suspension. Has two cheap (non-rebuildable) rear shocks that DO suspend the rear in the normal fashion.
-Can modify for 2nd gear (very low).
-2001 and later look “more like a real MX bike” than earlier JRs and current PWs.
-Slightly higher gearing than PW50, makes the JR50 less able to climb steep hills (at least at slow speeds).
PW50 – Cam’s bike from 2 ½ to 5. = 2 1/2 year hard riding. Owned by a neighbor of ours for the past 1+ year
-Shaft drive. Adds weight, but for very small children; they just can’t get the foot in the chain, no matter how hard they try. And this removes the largest maintenance item for dad/mom.
-These bikes are everywhere. Have their own race classes everywhere. The only more dominate mini bike may be the XR50.
-Low geared and strong. Seemed to pull steep hills better then the JR.
-Rear suspension is marginal. Drive shaft and part of motor are unsprung mass.
-I don’t like the ON/OFF/START switch, and the rest of the handle bar gear, but this is subjective.
Both are great starter bike, and I’m sure both of you will get many years of enjoyment out of either.
I went with the JR as my son's first bike also. In addition to the points in favor mentioned above I also liked the fact that it has two full size bike feratures that most other mini's don't. The first is a foot operated 'gearshift' even though the only stock gears were neutral and 'in gear'. It got the little guy into the habit of finding neutral and clicking into gear before he could move. I also liked the foot operated rear brake. Once again it got the little guy used to operating a brake just like he would on his subsequent bikes.
I don't think that you could go wrong with either choice. Given that I would choose the best deal.
i just bought a used 2000 pw50 for my boy and he loves it , the maintaince is real easy and he even helps with it . i dont think you can go wrong with either bike , best $800 i have ever spent seeing that big smile on his face that first day he rode it .
I started my little one on a JR and it was a great bike for him to learn on. Oil changes and air filters was all I did to it over 2 and a half years. Sold it to a friend of mine and he has started two of his kids on it.
the pw comes stock with a throttle stop screw. also there is an avail pipe washer that limits power to about 6mph. Nice. You can also regear the PW with the ring and pinion from the Yamaha QT50 to limit topend and it makes it climb hills better.
But the JR has a "hidden" 1st gear. What you are actually in normally is second and a simple dremel job will unleash it. This gives the JR good bottom end.
I'd go with whatever is the best deal but it seems the PW's have better resale value.
I know this is an old post however i am trying to find info on the low gear mod for our newly purchased JR50. I have an awsome set of tools just point me in the right direction. :D
seriously, i just got my boy a brand new 04 jr50 and wanted to do the low gear mod. i knew it was an option on the jr and its twin the Kawi kd50 this and the controls being the same as a regular bike was why we chose the jr over the PW. Oh, and the little detail that we couldnt find a KTM Mini adventure in a showroom within four states of us.