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After compromising with my girlfriend(read: getting yelled at), I've decided to get a dirt bike or two rather than a street bike. I've ridden dirt bikes before, but not since I was about 13 (14 years ago). I don't know anything about bikes/brands. IE - SV650 is a good 'grow-into starter bike' in the street world. 
 
Can anyone give me some tips on how to get informed enough to make a decent decision on which bike or category to start out with? I am still a competent rider on flat surfaces, so I'd like something that I wont grow out of in three months. 
 
I should also note that I wouldn't mind have the option of it being street legal, or being made into street legal without too much pain(swapping tires, adding lights etc). I don't plan on using it to commute or anything, but you never know. 
 
Starting out with something that isn't street legal is fine if I can mod it to be so. Legal off the bat isn't a requirement.
 
LOCATION
Right now I live in Las Vegas, which has a lot of riding to offer. However I am military and wont be here much longer. I'm not sure where I'll end up. For that reason I'm looking for a "do-it-all" kinda bike. I may end up somewhere where the only options are commercial tracks/parks. I do know I'll be in the Norfolk area for at least half of 2014. 
 
MECHANICAL SKILL
I'm pretty mechanically inclined but have not really ever needed to learn or dig deep into a problem or machine. If that makes sense. Wouldn't mind being forced to really learn bikes, just another part of the hobby I guess. 
 
BODY
I'm 5'10 and 190. Pretty strong and decent runner.
 
BUDGET
Open ended, but would obviously want the value to be there if I spend more.

 

 

Any tips?

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Again being relatively ignorant, I was thinking some type of 250 2t. Seems like that would be a decent "all arounder" that I wouldn't get bored with. I could be way off here, though. Or maybe maintenance with something like a 250 2t would be way too much for me to start out with. Not sure. 

 

Someone recommended a wr250r. Would if be more cost effective to get a dirt only and spend some money to make street legal or would I come out about even?

Edited by GeologyRocks

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GR,

 

Honestly, you came to the right place.  Read the forums (not just the "what bike should I buy forum" but those forums on what bikes  you are interested in).  I completely agree on trying to get a bike that can be plated....it makes trail riding so much better as you have your pick of loops/options when you have to drop out onto a county road or hwy.  My guess is that Nevada has pretty easy regulations on how to convert a dirt bike.  My guess is also that Virginia is very picky and may not even allow.....but I would start there at least to figure out if what works to convert a dirt bike in Nevada will even be viable in Virginia.  You may have to realistically look at purchasing another bike when you move to VA.  Buy used at the right price and this wont be an issue to resell.

 

A 250 two stroke may be a decent place to start looking, low maint, lots of power, and a bike you can grow into - this also means that unless you can control your throttle hand you can easily get in over your head while you are learning.  My only caution for you is that you need to look at the difference between a wide ratio transmission (for example, KTM 250 XC-W) and a close ratio transmissioni (usually found on MX bikes such as the YZ250).  I am a big proponent of a wide ratio trans as needed for trail riding ....at least the type we see in Colorado).  The reason is  you can use the low gears to crawl up stuff when you need it and with the high gears go 65-70 mph down a forest service road or hwy when you want to).  I find the close ratio transmissions are too tall in the low gears (e.g. cant ride slow) and too short in the upper gears (high rpm and buzzy at 45+ mph)  and require too much shifting.  Many here would disagree with that.  A 450 wide ratio bike works very well in my experience (WR450F, KLX450R, CRF450X, KTM 450 XC-W) for what you are trying to do.  But, these are heavier than the 2 stroke equivalent bikes and in my experience run hotter than a 2 stroke and are more costly when they need to be rebuilt.

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Also...if you are truly interested in a dual sport such as the WR250R, understand these are total compromise bikes (read, not very good on the dirt and not very good on the street).  You need to think long, hard about what % of riding will be dirt/trail/single track and what percentage will be asphalt.  I imagine Nevada will be like how I ride in Colorado.  I intend to ride 100% dirt, but occasionally have to ride on paved road to connect to another trail where having a bike with no street manners makes no difference as its only for 5-10 mins. 

 

Just so you know & understand my perspective and experience, I currently own '10 Husaberg FE450, '05 WR250F, '06 KDX200, '86 Honda CR250R, '09 KX100.  In the past, I have owned '08 YZ450F, '07 YZ85, '06 CRF150F, '05 CR100F, '82 IT 465, '82 KTM 250, etc - hey you go through a lot of bikes with 3 kids.  And, I have exclusively ridden only here in Colorado (so that limits my perspective to similar type of terrain).

Edited by SilvFx

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How difficult/expensive is it to get a non dual-sport to be street legal? Is that even advisable or does it significantly diminish the off road capabilities? The priorities is DEFINITELY off-road, but it would be fun to round around on the streets, maybe on a crisp morning when the ride into work would be nice. Make sense?

 

Edit: Looks like in NV only bikes that are designed for DUAL use can be used on roads, even if a designated off-road bike has road gear installed. Looks like it's dual-sport, dirt only, or one of each ;)

Edited by GeologyRocks

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How difficult/expensive is it to get a non dual-sport to be street legal? Is that even advisable or does it significantly diminish the off road capabilities? The priorities is DEFINITELY off-road, but it would be fun to round around on the streets, maybe on a crisp morning when the ride into work would be nice. Make sense?

 

Edit: Looks like in NV only bikes that are designed for DUAL use can be used on roads, even if a designated off-road bike has road gear installed. Looks like it's dual-sport, dirt only, or one of each ;)

 

Are you sure about that?  A search of topics here at ThumperTalk led me to this.  Assuming this document is current, it sure looks to me like you can convert an off road bike to street legal.  Probably the biggest compromise on the list is the DOT tires...but the rest wont hurt their offroad performance - other than breaking off a blinker or two when you drop them.

 

http://www.dmvnv.com/pdfforms/equipreqmc-conversion.pdf

http://www.dmvnv.com/pdfforms/vp254.pdf

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Copy. Must have misread. That complicated the decision a bit, but I think something like a wr250 would be a good start. Can anyone think of any good arguments against a dual sport for my situation?

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