I'm at these crossroads right now, daugther is 14, son is 15 (going to be 16 in 3 wks).
Both have been riding dirtbikes since they were 5.
My son is more excited about getting his bike permit than his car at the end of the month. With the auto permit he is limited to drive with a licensed driver(who's had a license for min 4 yrs) plus a few other stipulations. With the bike he's free to go, nothing holding him back. There are rules as well like, no night riding, no double riding, no major highways, and a few others. But he's looking forward to gaining some freedom on the bike.
As for trusting him on a bike, I don't worry too much about the decisions he'll make. But I worry about everyone elses around him. We've spent countless of hours on youtube videos watching worst case senerios so they understand the consquences of bad decisions/judgement. I also try to follow bikes on the road and I point out to the kids things that cars are doing wrong around the bikes and what the bikers might be doing wrong themselves. They both take it very seriously and ask questions, which I'm glad to see.
Bikes have always been a big part of our family. I ride an R1 and a WR450 converted to street. Wife enjoys riding the motard, and has ridden the R1 as well. My Dad also has an R1 and Virago750. My sis rides dads R1 and her hubby has a track 929.
So we bought a Honda Rebel 250 this past summer, great little beginner bike that my son can take to school when he gets his permit. He also wants to convert into a bobber. Great, he's going to learn to wrench too. Both kids spent some seat time on the rebel this summer.
Made the mistake of letting my daughter ride the motard and my son the R1.
She was never really keen on the Rebel and as soon as she rode the WR she loved it. She says it feels just like her dirtbike just a lil bigger.
My son was flunking out in mathematics, (every other class he was doing great) and it wasn't looking good. I told him if he fixes his grade by yr end he can ride the R1, and he did!!! So he got to ride the R1 one time.
Well now no one wants to look at the Rebel. I think they're hoping to slowly take over my bikes and I'll get stuck with the little cruiser. They wish!
Let me tell you, its not a good look for me (my fat ass) on a little bike like that.
Oh yeah, my first bike was a 84 Honda VF1000 interceptor when I was 16.
My son and my dad (who's 83 yrs old)