Looking through a Western Auto Catalog today, I was reminded of how important a dirt bike was when I was growing up. It seemed to give you street cred, although in my case that "small town middle class suburbs" street cred.. The kids with the dirtbikes were the ones people flocked to, an early version of the muscle car, I guess.
I had a conservative model from Sears for much of my childhood, it was yellow and I often worried it would be branded a "Girl's Bike", a shame that I could not recover from. One kid in my school called me on it but he wore pajama shirts to class and wasn't exactly a big threat to my name.
I eventually bought a BMX when I was 13. I still sometimes hit the same trails I did as a kid, I find the "Monkey trails" a lot harder now.