yet another which bike thread.

I really need some advice here. i have been riding on and off in phases for most of my life. the last major riding phase i went through was 5 or so years ago and i had a kdx220. i rode this for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. I ride mostly trails and gravel pits in the nj pine barrens. sometimes peoplewill cut lines into the pits with jumps but they are never huge mx type doubles, yet they would still get the best of the suspesion on the kdx. sold the kdx a while back and a couple of years later i was looking for another bike. All my buddies said the same thing.....crf450...crf450. so i got a 2007 and it is a great bike. However i think it is too much for me, it is so powerful, especially for the woods. i should also mention the i am only about 5' 4" and around 150 with my gear on. To be comfortable on the crf i lowered it with a link, slid the forks up in the tubes amd have the lowered durell seat. This worked out pretty good. but still i just don't remember fighting the kdx like i do the crf. It beats the hell out of me. I am to the point where i am considering a crf250r or maybe even a 125. a cr125 weighs about 30 lbs less than the crf and i know that will make a big difference. I just don't want to sell the crf to get a smaller bike and regret it. Most likely i will buy the bike from craigslist and that means i will be test riding it on the asphalt in front of their house. A lot different than getting the feeling of a bike by throwing it into a rutted berm. Would a 2 stroke 125 be a better fit for me, i have never ridden one. Should even consider a supermini like a ktm105? Maybe i should properly get the crf set up for my weight? I am just looking formsome advice here.

I would think a 250 would be better for you, unless you can live with the power output of a 125. Your size and weight does make it a big deciding factor. I think most might say go for the 125. I personally never owned a 125. I shot up from a 90cc to a 400 Yamaha and never looked back. Yeah bigger bikes are harder to control because of their weight, but for me, it's always been about having the power to get out of binds when I ride. Remember too that at the end, it always boils down to rider vs. bike. More to the point, it's always closer to 100% rider and 0% bike. So for example if you buy a 250, and find it's still a little too much for you, if you stick it out and bond with the bike, after a time, it won't be much of an issue because you'll know what your bike is capable of and not capable of and be able to handle it better. But again, if you're comfortable with a 125 and the power it puts out, and it's a better fit, then that might also be the way to go. You should try riding both and see what you're comfortable with and then decide. Sorry I couldn't be much help, but didn't see too many posting so thought I would at least try to help some way. You know, if money isn't an issue, then you know what.....get the 125, ride it, and if you out grow it (experience wise), you could always just get rid of it and go to a higher class bike. Yeah, I think that will be my final advise, get the 125, it will fit you well. If a time comes when you craving for more power and speed and think you've chalked up enough experience to go to a higher class bike, then go for it. Better safe than sorry huh? Good luck and let us know what you ultimately decided on.

I was looking at specs for new 125's and 250's, I was surprised the the 125 was actually a taller bike than the 250, not by much, but taller. If you liked the kdx's power, but not the suspension..yeah I know I have a couple of em, I'd look at the KTM 200 (whatever letter configuration goes here), as they are not super tall, have KDX like power (better I think) and decent suspension.

To be comfortable on the crf i lowered it with a link, slid the forks up in the tubes amd have the lowered durell seat. This worked out pretty good. but still i just don't remember fighting the kdx like i do the crf. It beats the hell out of me.

 

Could it be the modifications you've made to the CRF have altered the handling characteristics of the bike and therefore they're the cause for the beating? I'm no expert in this area but the bike was designed with a specific geometry in mind and lowering the forks and rear link probably resulted in handling characteristics sufficiently different enough to make it more difficult to ride. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this.

Edited by reco2011

Could it be the modifications you've made to the CRF have altered the handling characteristics of the bike and therefore they're the cause for the beating? I'm no expert in this area but the bike was designed with a specific geometry in mind and lowering the forks and rear link probably resulted in handling characteristics sufficiently different enough to make it more difficult to ride. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this.

 

I slid the forks about 3/4" up the tubes.  The link lowered the rear about an 1".  I believe the link does in fact increase the leverage on the rear shock, which should help with me being only 150 lbs.  The rear actually feels good when I ride.  However I can tell when I ride that the front is stiff, I have the compression at only 2 clicks out and it is still pretty hard.  Before I bail on the 450 I think I may do one last ditch effort to soften up the front end with softer springs and see if that helps.  In the back of my mind I am struggling with knowing that there are bikes out there that are lighter and easier to toss around.  The almost 30 lb difference between the CRF450R and the CR125 is so hard to ignore.  At some point I got to get on one and feel for myself.

I slid the forks about 3/4" up the tubes.  The link lowered the rear about an 1".  I believe the link does in fact increase the leverage on the rear shock, which should help with me being only 150 lbs.  The rear actually feels good when I ride.  However I can tell when I ride that the front is stiff, I have the compression at only 2 clicks out and it is still pretty hard.  Before I bail on the 450 I think I may do one last ditch effort to soften up the front end with softer springs and see if that helps.  In the back of my mind I am struggling with knowing that there are bikes out there that are lighter and easier to toss around.  The almost 30 lb difference between the CRF450R and the CR125 is so hard to ignore.  At some point I got to get on one and feel for myself.

 

I agree with this 100%. When I was your size I owned a CR500. For one of my races the 500 was in the shop so I borrowed a CR125. What a difference. The 500 felt like the Love Boat in comparison. I ended up buying the 125 because I liked it that much.

Reco hit it on the head. When you alter the linkage and lower triple clamps you do sacrifice some handling. Unless you have the bike setup properly by a professional with proper springs that will be hard to get rid of. I would not get a 125 for trail riding in pines because they are way under powered for that deep sand. I had an 04 cr125 and it was so slow even on dirt. You might want to consider a 250 two stroke. You seem pro Honda and there's nothing wrong with that. Early millennium cr250s are excellent. I know someone in PA who wants to sell his custom cr. It's a 97 engine in an 04 frame. Thought to be the best combination. If you go with a crf250 make sure it's 07+ those were better then the earlier ones.

So today I checked out a local guy selling a 2003 kx100. I don't think that is going to work. It was a cool bike but It is not going to be enough. It was just too down on power. What a shame because the size and weight of that thing was right on!

I have a kdx 200&220. I now ride a 2005 ktm exc 200 and love it. The KDX's collect dust these days.

How much do those ktm 200s weigh. There are couple younger guys who ride in the area and every sigle one of them has one of those 200s except for one guy who has a trails bike. So many people in my area ride those ktms. I guess for a good reason right?

Older ktm 200's have a low seat height and are light in feel and weight.

Ktm200 is around 97kg or 213lbs.

Reco hit it on the head. When you alter the linkage and lower triple clamps you do sacrifice some handling. Unless you have the bike setup properly by a professional with proper springs that will be hard to get rid of. I would not get a 125 for trail riding in pines because they are way under powered for that deep sand. I had an 04 cr125 and it was so slow even on dirt. You might want to consider a 250 two stroke. You seem pro Honda and there's nothing wrong with that. Early millennium cr250s are excellent. I know someone in PA who wants to sell his custom cr. It's a 97 engine in an 04 frame. Thought to be the best combination. If you go with a crf250 make sure it's 07+ those were better then the earlier ones.

As an update I have decided to really give the 450 another real shot.  I went riding Sunday morning and really tried to pay attention to what was bothering me the most about the bike and really the front forks just are not compressing/moving like they should.  I was hitting some smaller jumps and landing on the flat to see if I could squish the forks and I might have been using only 3/5s of the available travel.  I am taking them to a suspension guy to help me out, for all I know there might be springs in there for a 200 lb guy in there.  I thought about what you said regarding the sand and you are right and I wasn't really thinking about that but it is a big deal.  I don't even think about being underpowered anymore on the 450, it just rips through the soft terrain.   

As an update I have decided to really give the 450 another real shot. I went riding Sunday morning and really tried to pay attention to what was bothering me the most about the bike and really the front forks just are not compressing/moving like they should. I was hitting some smaller jumps and landing on the flat to see if I could squish the forks and I might have been using only 3/5s of the available travel. I am taking them to a suspension guy to help me out, for all I know there might be springs in there for a 200 lb guy in there. I thought about what you said regarding the sand and you are right and I wasn't really thinking about that but it is a big deal. I don't even think about being underpowered anymore on the 450, it just rips through the soft terrain.

That's a good move. Having your suspension set up properly is the best upgrade you can do. Better then any bore kit or exhaust out there. KPS does great work. Have you tried making adjustments with the clickers yourself? Or even adjusting your sag? That might improve the handling unless you are at the softest of your adjustments already. Also I didn't mention before, when you raise the forks in the clamps, lowering the too clamp, bikes tend to have more head shake where the bars will go back and forth. You should run your steering a little tight especially for sand.

That's a good move. Having your suspension set up properly is the best upgrade you can do. Better then any bore kit or exhaust out there. KPS does great work. Have you tried making adjustments with the clickers yourself? Or even adjusting your sag? That might improve the handling unless you are at the softest of your adjustments already. Also I didn't mention before, when you raise the forks in the clamps, lowering the too clamp, bikes tend to have more head shake where the bars will go back and forth. You should run your steering a little tight especially for sand.

I am going to KPS.  The bike (I bought it used 2 years ago) already has KPS stickers on the forks and the rear shock is inscribed a couple times from them already, so at one point it was already in their shop.  I did the best I could to adjust it myself.  I did play with it a little on Sunday and made some decent progress, mostly with the front dampening.  The forks are about 2 clicks out from full soft and the dampening is somewhere in the middle, maybe a little on the slower side (returns to height slower).  On Sunday I made the dampening a little slower and it rode a little better but they are still way stiff.  I am going to try to drop off the forks on Friday.  I am also going to talk to him about possibly lowering the forks by about an inch or so I can get them back to the stock position in the clamps.

 

Oh yea I have the sag set in the rear just under 4"...this is with the lowering link.

Edited by NJ450R

As an update I got my forks worked on and the bike back together.  I have been out riding for the past two weekends and the work done to the forks made a big difference.  The front end is not working against me so much and the bike is more enjoyable to ride, which was my main goal.  My arms are way less tired than before and it just seems more easy to ride.  I am going to stick with the 450 for now and for the time being I stopped looking for another machine.  One of the biggest turn offs of the smaller bikes was the power.  I have gotten used to the power of the 450 and I like it.  Something like a 2-stroke 125 is going to have a difficult time in the sandy terrain that I encounter where I ride.  On the 450 I don't even think about it, it just powers through.  Thanks for everyone's advice!

And yet another update i did end up selling my crf450r and i pickup up a mint 2003 ktm 125sx. That year ktm 125sx is noticably physically smaller than most current full size motocross motorcycles and that was one of the primary reasons for getting one. It just fits my smaller size so much better without altering the factory suspension and geometry. I picked up a lowering bushing and played with the hieght of the forks to bring it down just a little, 1/2" maybe. That year 125sx also has a strong motor and it pulls me around just fine, it is also over 30 lbs lighter than the CRF. I have ridden it a bunch of times already and it took some getting used to a 2 stroke again but it is a ton of fun and way less tiring to throw around, which is what i was after. I would have grabbed a ktm 200, as it has the same frame and size, but they are the bike of choice in this area and the prices i feel are inflated. I wanted to update the thread because the seat height for smaller riders comes up a lot and i wanted to share the success i experienced.

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