Is it smart to try and learn on a CRF450x?

Hi guys,

I am in my late 30s and have not ridden a motorcycle since I was 18. I can barely remember how to ride, but I do remember it being really easy. The trails I did were always flat double-track stuff that was easy as well. I now want to buy a new dirt-bike and I am 6'3" and 230lbs. I live up in the mountains of Colorado(8200ft) with miles of open land and single-track trails all around. Do you guys think I should start off with a CRF450x? I am thinking the other option is to buy a CRF230F and use it for a couple of years and then buy a 450x. I can always keep the 230F and let friends use it when they come out to visit, etc. Maybe in a couple of years the 450x has fuel injection(like the 450R), which I am guessing is a bigger deal up here because the elevation can change 1000ft in just a few miles. I would rather go ahead and get a 450x, but just do not want to kill myself. What do you guys think?


I got my first dirtbike in 2005 when I was 24. I always wanted to learn to ride one but had always ridden and raced atvs. I bought a wr450 and I would've been better off with a yz 2 or 4 stroke. i thought the wr would be better because it was a trail bike and would be easier to ride and it was. However, I was used to a lot of power hitting hard and the yz had better forks and a better shock set-up for my preference. The trail bikes are heavier and not as nimble.

I've been learning because I want to do some desert racing. I live in an urban area and needed something that was plated and could back up my daily ride so I ended up getting an '05 WR450. Having spent some time (~ 50 hours) on the WR offroad I can say that I would probably have been better off with a 250 of some sort unless in deep sand.They have enough power and you can really throw them around and it makes the learning a lot more fun. The 450, by contrast, has so much kick that it is easy to have the rear wheel get squirrelly coming out of the corners.

That said, I'm 5'10" and 180 so a 250 might be a little small for you.

My wife who is 5'7 and 145 rides my 450x around, she has only ridden a 125 2 stroke 2 other times for about 10 minutes each time so i think your safe. The x's stock are very user friendly, very smooth power and not alot of jerk if you want to take it easy, dont get me wrong grab a fist full of throttle and it will take you somewhere but theres alot of room between idle and full throttle.

the X is borderline slow in stock form compared to even a 250F motocrosser ---- add in 8200 ft of altitude, and it will magnify this ------ but it does have plenty of torque ----

I'd get the X, then optimize the jetting for your altitude , open up the airbox, and go ride! ---- most people bolt on a new exhaust immediately too -- but I have mixed emotions about this as the stocker is so quiet --- after years of riding loud bikes myself, quiet bikes make me smile now :ride:

Buy the 450X and call it a day. You won't regret it. Just keep in mind it's got balls. Respect it's balls. Get some nice bark busters and a set of pastrana pro tapers. They're supposed to be pretty indestructible. The 450X is super easy to ride, it's a fantastic bike.

I agree. The x was my first bike - also in Colorado. The 450 is great in the altitude. You can ride everything with this bike.

You'll outgrow the 230 real quickly. The 450X has a pile of torque, but it's an easy bike to ride. I'd buy the 450X so you can grow into it. It's a good all around bike, you can ride it at the limit in the desert or at the track, or just putt around trails on it, it does just about anything.

I will say this though, it won't feel "normal". No modern bike will. There's a big difference with how bikes ride now, as opposed to the early 90's. So just be prepared for the change. It's not worse, just different. Probably not as plush and forgiving as you remember. I have my 2008 450X, and a 1990 CR250R, and they feel worlds apart.

I would also go with the "X". Order the JD Jetting kit, add some bark busters, and leave it. I ride my "X" at 5500 feet to 10,000 feet plus and it hardly notices the difference. I usually don't even mess with the fuel mixture screw. Bigger bikes seem less sensitive to altitude changes. My wife and kids bikes always require a Jet change.

I have never owned a dirt bike alwats street bikes but circumstance made it a little more realistic to just have a trail bike i could go ride when the family went up north camping or just rippin around with the guys. I found a 2005 450x for 3000 bucks an never looked back. It has a 450r cam air box mods jetting a 450r header pink wire snippified and spark arrestor removed . That work was done before i bought it. I am yur size and this bike rules.....keeping i mind my last street bike was an R1 i would say this bime is even more fun. Hey its a little heavy but your not a 150 lb motocrosser so giver hell. Id reccomend getting the work done that mine has. Every one that rides it says it is night and day fro. A stock x.


Get the X. As your riding skills get better you can mod it to your liking. Also get the suspension set for your weight. You will need stiffer springs. It will make you a better rider. The suspension on the 230 is mediocre at best. Especially at your size. My son had a 230 which was great great for him as a first bike he is also 80 lbs lighter. He has out grown that bike and now has a WR 250. Enjoy the X.

I started riding about 3 years ago. This is how I started. I am 30 and pushing 200lbs. I had never rode a motorcycle.

2004 CRF 450R (this was really stupid but it was an awesome craigslist deal and everyone said I could grow into it. Boy was I dumb.) I learned how to launch the bike and almost kill myself the 3rd time out. Traded straight up for the 250X that day. This was the smartest thing I did. Also the 250X held its value way better. Sold it for almost what I paid for the 450R after riding the crap out of it.

2006 CRF250X Loved this bike but once I moved to the Fort Piss, TX (Fort Bliss) this bike was not enough for the desert. I had primarily done woods riding.

(2) 2009 CRF 450X I love these bikes. Only complaint is the maintenance schedule. I guess that’s the price you pay for fun. I do beat the shit out of them though and ride almost every day.

(1) 2003 CR 250R My woods bikes for when I get back into civilization in San Antonio, TX.

Hope this helps. I would say go for the 450x but if you can score a 250x used at a good price don't pass on it. The 250x is something you can sell pretty easily since a lot of folks are shy of the 450. You might enjoy the riding a little more on the 250x at the beginning but if you ride a lot you will yearn for the 450x.

It's all about good throttle control

It's all about good throttle control

Yes it is, but for some ham fisted riders, finding that out takes many wrecks in which they end up claiming "dirt bikes are dangerous"! Thats why crf50's have throttle limiters. Edited by ickfinger

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