What 250/450 trail bike for an adult beginner?

Hello there, this is my first post on thumper talk. 

 

For my first bike, i'd like to get a 250 or 450 4 stroke trail bike. I feel like I have somewhat of a special case, since i'm not unfamiliar on two wheels. Thing is i've been a downhill mountain biker for 4 years. I'm comfortable hitting big 40 ft jumps and riding technical trails, on a 35 lb mountain bike with big suspension. I don't know how this may factor in to the dirt bike selection process, that's why i'm asking you. Other things are I enjoy working on bikes and am interested in dirt bike maintenance, if that matters. 

 

I'll be riding OHV parks in Nor Cal mostly, maybe hitting up the track on occasion. I'll also do some desert riding too. But I'm a mountain biker and love trails so that's the type of riding I anticipate doing most of. I'm 6'3, 200lbs, fit. 220lbs with gear.I'm not sure whether to get a 250 or 450. My fear is that a 250 will leave me wanting more power after only 6 months or so. I learn quickly and know i'll want more power, but at this point 250 4 strokes are cheaper than 450's.

 

My budget is $2500 max.

 

Some possible choices i've considered are

 

-Honda crf250r/450r

-Yamaha wr250f/450f
 
I went to my local motorsports store and sat on the wr250f. The size felt right, I could reach the floor easy with both feet. And the blue/white theme is beautiful in person. Obviously size and looks arent the only factors.
 
I'm also looking to buy used. 
 
So what do you guys suggest? Any help is appreciated thanks

Hello there, this is my first post on thumper talk.

For my first bike, i'd like to get a 250 or 450 4 stroke trail bike. I feel like I have somewhat of a special case, since i'm not unfamiliar on two wheels. Thing is i've been a downhill mountain biker for 4 years. I'm comfortable hitting big 40 ft jumps and riding technical trails, on a 35 lb mountain bike with big suspension. I don't know how this may factor in to the dirt bike selection process, that's why i'm asking you. Other things are I enjoy working on bikes and am interested in dirt bike maintenance, if that matters.

I'll be riding OHV parks in Nor Cal mostly, maybe hitting up the track on occasion. I'll also do some desert riding too. But I'm a mountain biker and love trails so that's the type of riding I anticipate doing most of. I'm 6'3, 200lbs, fit. 220lbs with gear.I'm not sure whether to get a 250 or 450. My fear is that a 250 will leave me wanting more power after only 6 months or so. I learn quickly and know i'll want more power, but at this point 250 4 strokes are cheaper than 450's.

My budget is $2500 max.

Some possible choices i've considered are

-Honda crf250r/450r

-Yamaha wr250f/450f

I went to my local motorsports store and sat on the wr250f. The size felt right, I could reach the floor easy with both feet. And the blue/white theme is beautiful in person. Obviously size and looks arent the only factors.

I'm also looking to buy used.

So what do you guys suggest? Any help is appreciated thanks

have you considered a 2 stroke? They are lighter, easier on the wallet, less maintenance, and cheaper. For what you want I'd recommend a KTM 300 2t, a yamaha YZ250 2t, or either 450 4t. The 250 4t 's won't be enough power for you. I'm 190lbs and 6'1 and the 250 four strokes aren't enough power anywere. I do love my 450 In the woods tho! I also loovvveeee my 250 two stroke! I have owned 2 KTM 300 xc's in the past and really, really liked them for trail riding. It's up to you in the end, but don't make the mistake and get a 250 4 stroke

Good advice!

have you considered a 2 stroke? They are lighter, easier on the wallet, less maintenance, and cheaper. For what you want I'd recommend a KTM 300 2t, a yamaha YZ250 2t, or either 450 4t. The 250 4t 's won't be enough power for you. I'm 190lbs and 6'1 and the 250 four strokes aren't enough power anywere. I do love my 450 In the woods tho! I also loovvveeee my 250 two stroke! I have owned 2 KTM 300 xc's in the past and really, really liked them for trail riding. It's up to you in the end, but don't make the mistake and get a 250 4 stroke

Thanks for the advice. I've heard 2 strokes require more skill to ride, something about having to keep it high in the powerband? Sounds like 250's wont have enough power, in which case i'd go with a 450. A 2 stroke does have it's appeals but I also want a bike that will be fast in the desert and on climbs

First off why do you have 2 threads basically saying the same thing? You can edit your original post in the other thread.

 

As to the 2 stroke vs 4 stroke, the reason I recommended the KTM 300 2 stroke in the other thread is that it's not necessary to rev it up really high to keep it in the power band. It's often called a "3-stroke" because of it's ability to be lugged way down, often even lower than a 4 stroke. I ride mine solely in the very tight, muddy, rutted trails and am constantly amazed by how low I can lug it. It is insanely fast when you want it though.

 

Maintenance on it is going to be much cheaper than a 4 stroke as well.

 

Some of the smaller displacement 2 strokes, especially the racing 2 strokes, yeah you're right about harder to ride.

Thanks for the advice. I've heard 2 strokes require more skill to ride, something about having to keep it high in the powerband? Sounds like 250's wont have enough power, in which case i'd go with a 450. A 2 stroke does have it's appeals but I also want a bike that will be fast in the desert and on climbs

the trail oriented 2 strokes such as the Ktm 300. Don't need to be ran high up, you can lug around then get high into RPMs when you need it, you won't foul plugs like people think! A 2 stroke 250mx bike like the YZ250 isn't hard to ride either with a few easy mods such as a fly wheel weight, a rekluse clutch(only if you want it) and or a FMF gnarly woods pipe. 2ts aren't any more for maintenance then a 4t matter of fact they are cheaper, also rebuilds on 2ts are cheaper. I'd look around a little and see what you want. I'm gonna say a 250/300 2 stroke or a 450 4stroke! Don't go any lower then a 450. For a 4t tho!

First off why do you have 2 threads basically saying the same thing? You can edit your original post in the other thread.

 

As to the 2 stroke vs 4 stroke, the reason I recommended the KTM 300 2 stroke in the other thread is that it's not necessary to rev it up really high to keep it in the power band. It's often called a "3-stroke" because of it's ability to be lugged way down, often even lower than a 4 stroke. I ride mine solely in the very tight, muddy, rutted trails and am constantly amazed by how low I can lug it. It is insanely fast when you want it though.

 

Maintenance on it is going to be much cheaper than a 4 stroke as well.

 

Some of the smaller displacement 2 strokes, especially the racing 2 strokes, yeah you're right about harder to ride.

Yea I messed up the title and couldnt change it. i havent been on a forum in a while, i feel like a noob.

 

That KTM sounds interesting, I do like the sound of cheaper maintenance too 

My friend's wallet just got pounded for a top end on his 06' YZ450F. Yesterday his bottom end went bad. Gonna cost him another 700 bucks.

He wants to scrap the 450 4 stroker engine and throw a CR500 motor in the frame.

I don't blame him! If you're on a budget, definitely go two stroke ;)

Basically the rule of thumb if you're riding trails is unless there's a good reason NOT to use a 2 stroke, use one.

 

They're lighter, simpler, much cheaper to maintain and cheaper to buy. They will usually make you a better rider than a 4 stroke because of learning to control your powerband. That doesn't really apply with the KTM 300 though.

 

The only downsides are somewhat worse fuel mileage and the need to mix oil with your fuel. Neither of those are a big deal at all.

 

For trails pretty much the reigning kings are the KDX200 and the KTM300. The KDX is a bit older but still great, the KTM is like the next gen KDX, more power, more torque and bottom end, and faster. There are of course a lot of other options, but those are the most often recommended.

 

Practical reasons a 2 stroke wouldn't work would be if for some reason you're not allowed to ride them emissions wise in your area, or if you're planning on dual sporting it and the area you're in won't allow a 2 stroke to be plated. Some US states will allow a 2 stroke dirt bike to be plated though.

Edited by ripsnorter

Bump

Only one bike I can recommend for 100% trail riding is the ktm 200 exc/xc/xc-w. Keep in mind I have ridden a 300 and while you will appreciate the extra power and luggability the nimbleness of a 200 in single track is undeniable. Ride them back to back (I have) and you will find the 300 is much larger feeling and harder to maneuver. If you want a very cheeper version of a ktm 200 the kdx 200 is no slouch ,but is outclassed in every way by the ktm.

Now to 250 2stroke. I have ridden a 2001 cr 250 and a 2002 yz 250 in the woods. Lots of clutching in the tight stuff but overall very capable in the woods with the right rider(keep in mind both were full on, bone stock mx bikes, no flywheel weights) I would not recommend them to a beginner (I am no expert but can hold my own) the power is furious and can bite you in the woods.

Now the 4 strokes. Do not take my opinion on these because I have only ridden one. That was an xr250 and it was horrible... Why anyone would own one is besides me. When a kdx is 10000x better with the same reliability and 3x the power and half the weight. With that out of the way I think they are great for what they do (harmless to beginners, easy to ride, and no maintenance required). Also it's not the bike it's the rider. While on the horrible pig of a bike xr 250 I was able to overtake a ktm 300, ktm 200 and a kdx 200. What I am not supposed to say is they didn't know the trail and I did hehehe ;) .....and in the straightaways they came flying past in a swirling dust cloud, stained by a blued tint of bell ray Hr1.

That's my opinion and you know what the say...

Only one bike I can recommend for 100% trail riding is the ktm 200 exc/xc/xc-w. Keep in mind I have ridden a 300 and while you will appreciate the extra power and luggability the nimbleness of a 200 in single track is undeniable. Ride them back to back (I have) and you will find the 300 is much larger feeling and harder to maneuver. If you want a very cheeper version of a ktm 200 the kdx 200 is no slouch ,but is outclassed in every way by the ktm.

Now to 250 2stroke. I have ridden a 2001 cr 250 and a 2002 yz 250 in the woods. Lots of clutching in the tight stuff but overall very capable in the woods with the right rider(keep in mind both were full on, bone stock mx bikes, no flywheel weights) I would not recommend them to a beginner (I am no expert but can hold my own) the power is furious and can bite you in the woods.

Now the 4 strokes. Do not take my opinion on these because I have only ridden one. That was an xr250 and it was horrible... Why anyone would own one is besides me. When a kdx is 10000x better with the same reliability and 3x the power and half the weight. With that out of the way I think they are great for what they do (harmless to beginners, easy to ride, and no maintenance required). Also it's not the bike it's the rider. While on the horrible pig of a bike xr 250 I was able to overtake a ktm 300, ktm 200 and a kdx 200. What I am not supposed to say is they didn't know the trail and I did hehehe ;) .....and in the straightaways they came flying past in a swirling dust cloud, stained by a blued tint of bell ray Hr1.

That's my opinion and you know what the say...

Hahaha. I've still got an old xr 250 in my shed. When I rode it I could still keep up with all my mates on 400's and 450's in the tight stuff but once it opened up...

If you are serious about the budget of $2500, I think your only real possibility is a maybe an '06 WR450F.    '06 was the last year of the steel frame.  You might be able to find someone to sell an '07 WR450F (alum frame) for $2500-$3000 if you look long enough. An older CRF450X can maybe be had for that price, but they have more valve wear issues ('07 and prior) and are less reliable than the WRF's 

 

KTM 200/250/300 XC-W/EXC's are great bikes.....good luck finding one for $2,500 that isnt well used.

 

If you up your budget to $4,000 you will have a better chance of getting some of the bikes people mentioned above.

If you are serious about the budget of $2500, I think your only real possibility is a maybe an '06 WR450F.    '06 was the last year of the steel frame.  You might be able to find someone to sell an '07 WR450F (alum frame) for $2500-$3000 if you look long enough. An older CRF450X can maybe be had for that price, but they have more valve wear issues ('07 and prior) and are less reliable than the WRF's 

 

KTM 200/250/300 XC-W/EXC's are great bikes.....good luck finding one for $2,500 that isnt well used.

 

If you up your budget to $4,000 you will have a better chance of getting some of the bikes people mentioned above.

 

Yea i've always had my eye on the wr450F more than other bikes because they're cheap, reliable, and have gotten tons of praise. I've been looking at wr450F's and ive found quite a few under $2500. After 2006 they get too pricey, but I see nothing wrong with learning on a steel frame. The reason for my small budget is that ill still need money for gear which I dont have yet, and I like to get high quality gear. 

Edited by Chartercon

Only one bike I can recommend for 100% trail riding is the ktm 200 exc/xc/xc-w. Keep in mind I have ridden a 300 and while you will appreciate the extra power and luggability the nimbleness of a 200 in single track is undeniable. Ride them back to back (I have) and you will find the 300 is much larger feeling and harder to maneuver. If you want a very cheeper version of a ktm 200 the kdx 200 is no slouch ,but is outclassed in every way by the ktm.

Now to 250 2stroke. I have ridden a 2001 cr 250 and a 2002 yz 250 in the woods. Lots of clutching in the tight stuff but overall very capable in the woods with the right rider(keep in mind both were full on, bone stock mx bikes, no flywheel weights) I would not recommend them to a beginner (I am no expert but can hold my own) the power is furious and can bite you in the woods.

Now the 4 strokes. Do not take my opinion on these because I have only ridden one. That was an xr250 and it was horrible... Why anyone would own one is besides me. When a kdx is 10000x better with the same reliability and 3x the power and half the weight. With that out of the way I think they are great for what they do (harmless to beginners, easy to ride, and no maintenance required). Also it's not the bike it's the rider. While on the horrible pig of a bike xr 250 I was able to overtake a ktm 300, ktm 200 and a kdx 200. What I am not supposed to say is they didn't know the trail and I did hehehe ;) .....and in the straightaways they came flying past in a swirling dust cloud, stained by a blued tint of bell ray Hr1.

That's my opinion and you know what the say...

 

At this point im leaning towards a 4 stroke 450. Thanks for the trail bike info, but i dont want a dedicated trail bike. I want something to ride in the desert, fire road and trails. wr450F's are everywhere online for cheap and fit my budget. 

Thanks for the advice. I've heard 2 strokes require more skill to ride, something about having to keep it high in the powerband? Sounds like 250's wont have enough power, in which case i'd go with a 450. A 2 stroke does have it's appeals but I also want a bike that will be fast in the desert and on climbs

250 2 strokes have a lot of power.

Generally 2 strokes have more power per pound than 4 strokes.

 

Don't discount the bigger 2 strokes until you give them a shot!

 

As for price, I've found quite a few 98 to early 2000s KTM300s in my area for under $3,000. It's the WR450s that are expensive here.

 

Honestly though most new bikes of any make are so darned good that whichever you get, 2 or 4 stroke, I think you'll be happy.

Generally 2 strokes have more power per pound than 4 strokes.

Don't discount the bigger 2 strokes until you give them a shot!

As for price, I've found quite a few 98 to early 2000s KTM300s in my area for under $3,000. It's the WR450s that are expensive here.

Honestly though most new bikes of any make are so darned good that whichever you get, 2 or 4 stroke, I think you'll be happy.

I live in the California valley so there are lots of 450 desert bikes for sale. Not too many KTMs in my price range. It's also real easy to convert a dirt bike to a street legal bike in California, so that adds to the amount of 450's. Right now 450's are miles cheaper so that's probably what'll go with

Bumping one last time

Charter....you would know better than I, but your comment about it being easy to convert a dirt bike to street legal in California is nearly the opposite of everything that I have read on the forums.  I thought I had read that unless it comes street legal from the factory, it is nearly impossible to convert one.  Not sure if that is a big deal for you, but you should probably dig a bit deeper on that if you expect to convert a WR450F or whatever you pick up.

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