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Going from KDX200>YZ250 - Any tips?

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Hello guys, this is my first post here, so please excuse me for the newbie questions (or if I managed to already break a rule!)

So, a little backstory.. A while back I got the itch to join the bad##& experience of dirt biking. I live in Oregon and we have some great rec areas for biking that are easy to get to. Having pretty much zero experience (I had messed around on some 50's I managed to wreck on as a teen), I went ahead and found a '88 KDX200 that I felt was a good way to start. Man oh man did I love that bike. It seemed like just the right amount of power and weight to take out on the trails. I never "seriously" injured myself on it, and a few of my friends got to get a taste of the sport without me worrying they'd break themselves or the bike.

Long story short I lost my bike transportation and pretty much quit riding for a good year and a 1/2. I sold my KDX awhile back - naturally I regret it.. Luckily I recently I came upon a 1987 yz250 that seems pretty tricked out.. It's bored .30 over with wiseco pistons, FMF pipes, boyeson reeds and some other stuff I'm probably forgetting.. The dude I bought it from definitely came across as knowing his bike.. Just recently rebuilt the whole engine, had all the paperwork for parts he's put into it/photos of the work he did. I had him do a few laps with it, and everything looked good. Anyways, at $600 I figured it was a steal, and I'm now a proud owner of my first yamaha! While older, I want something I can re/learn on without being bummed when I wreck it. :D

Now! I haven't had the chance to take it out yet. I started 'er up in the driveway today, and I'm not afraid to admit that just sitting in neutral I could just tell this thing is a beast. I didn't have my gear, so I left it at that hah. From what I've read/heard, yz250' s are a different sort of bike than my KDX was. I haven't ridden in looong while either and I guess I'm just curious if this is something I should be extra careful with? I remember my KDX was pretty forgiving even balls out and never really scared me or anything. If I could have found another I would've gotten that instead (it's like loving your first car haha), but knowing how abused bikes get I really liked how this bike was taken care of.

What do you guys think? Should I be *extra* gentle on easing my way back into riding? Is this something I should try doing more than just trails with? I'm extremely excited to get back into the sport, I remember it being pretty much the best hobby I'd ever had. Anyway, I appreciate any tips or advice you guys might have on converting to a 250 from a trail bike. Thanks for any help!

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Haha, somehow I KNEW the first reply would be along the lines of "Hold On!"

But thanks Tillamook, I figured as much.. I'll be learning A LOT of clutch control these next few weeks. I'm curious if with a bike that's setup like this one, would a flywheel weight have any downsides? Again I only really plan on trails until I learn the bike really well. I've heard they help keep 2-strokes from bogging out as easily (and being as short as I am, I'm dreading killing it on a hill!)

Thanks guys!

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To ride a KDX200 or a YZ250 well, the same skills apply. Go to an open field and practice ovals in both directions, some figure eights, then do it all over again while standing. You should feel a lot better when you start practicing slowly some basic turns and braking to answer these questions based on your personal experience.

Yes, heavier flywheels can help keep the bike going, but if you keep a finger on the clutch at all times it can really help, too.

Edited by anoolite76

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Thanks anoolite, I think you sort of hit the nail on the head about feeling better after a few loops. I just need the confidence back!

I'll let you guys know how the conversion works out for me. I'm not *too* worried, I just don't think I'll be going WOT too much for the next couple weeks haha.

Thanks for everything!

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A flywheel weight would help a lot to soften the power delivery. The Boyesen reeds are reputed to be excellent for the same reason. You didn't say whether the FMF pipe was a Fatty or a Gnarly, but the Gnarly is more robust and tuned for more bottom-end pull and a milder mid-range hit.

 

Learning to cover the clutch to keep the engine from stalling is one skill to work on, but a much more important skill, to practice in conjunction with clutch management, is throttle control and constant awareness of where you are in the powerband. Grabbing too much throttle when the engine is just about to hit the pipe will put you on your head quicker than you can can blink. Feathering the clutch, when you are going slow, lets you bring the engine up to that power spike to get the front wheel up and over things or to get you moving in a hurry.

 

You put all this together by practicing on easy terrain going only as fast or as gnarly as you feel you are ready for. Speed and control will come without you realizing it. Ride for fun, not for ego pumping.

 

Oh, and get a copy of  Paul Clipper's book The Art of Trailriding (Kindle only, but you can read it on almost any device, phone, tablet or computer) and start with his guidance on getting the bike to fit you before you do anything else. There's a huge amount of good advice in the book to benefit everyone from novice to expert. Clipper will help you develop good habits from the start. Bad habits are really hard to break, so be patient and learn it right from the start.

Edited by Old Plonker
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Wow Plonker! I really appreciate you taking the time to lay that all out for me. I had a strong feeling this bike would have a bit more bite than the KDX, but they only go as fast as you let them, so I suppose I'll just take it easy for now. I'll be taking it out for a spin on my buddies farm sometime this week, so I'll be sure to focus on the throttle/clutch control mostly. I have a lot to relearn!

I'll check out that book (good idea, I do usually research the hell out of something when I get into it, so that fits my style - thanks for the suggestion!).

For the record, it's a Fatty pipe.. From what I can tell, this bike was setup for hauling ass, but in the long run that should be a good thing hah. Thanks again guys, it's nice to see this forums just as supportive as I imagined. Hopefully someday I'll be able to throw in my 2 cents.

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For the record, it's a Fatty pipe.. From what I can tell, this bike was setup for hauling ass, but in the long run that should be a good thing hah. Thanks again guys, it's nice to see this forums just as supportive as I imagined. Hopefully someday I'll be able to throw in my 2 cents.

 

Another thought: Dave Simon of Best Dual Sports recommends a pair of flow splitters for YZs and other highly tuned two-strokes. They keep the intake flow laminar at low rpms and smooth out the low-end power delivery a lot (I run an FMF Snap, which is the four-stroke equivalent, in my little CRF150RB, and it has done wonders to increase throttle response off idle). PowerNow is the brand he is known for. He has a street-legal dual-sport YZ250 he built for himself and is a cool guy. You can find his web site at bestdualsportbikes.com and his email is Futureman50@gmail.com.

Edited by Old Plonker

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If you had a kdx, then you won't be in for any surprises. The pipe's still there, it will come on stronger and more abruptly then on your kdx. You're still using the clutch to keep the bike on the pipe and modulate the power delivery on the pipe when throttle alone isn't enough. I wouldn't worry about adding mods, ride a bunch, keep fresh tires and do general maintenance and  you'll  be good for a while. You'll notice more powerful bike can wear you out faster. Be stoked, 250 2t's are the shit.

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Something I haven't seen mentioned is regarding suspension. Your previous owner may have revalved it but if it's a typical $600 old bike it will still be in MX form and probably badly in need of servicing.

Be careful of it. A KDX is forgiving enough to soak up rocks and roots but an MX bike will put you on your ear.

 

I'd hate to see someone put too much money into an old dinosaur bike but a decent suspension can prevent a lot of spills and add a lot of enjoyment to riding. 

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you will learn to use the clutch as if it replaced your throttle.. when riding switchbacks and steep technical terrain you will need to keep the bike in the powerband and use the clutch for speed control, along with blips of throttle as necessary.

 

get bark busters and a skid plate if you don't already have them.

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As an update, I took it out last weekend and discovered I was worrying about nothing really. Yes it's faster than my KDX, and if I dropped the clutch in pretty much any gear I'm bound to get put on my ass, but it's not uncontrollably fast like I was scared of.

I wouldn't suggest someone with no experience ever start off with a 250, but those of you out there with experience on a 125 or trail bike need not worry about an MX bike! Even one that's been souped up slightly (albeit mine is almost 30 years old haha).

My only real fear now is fouling plugs (from just putting around) and maybe preparing myself to try some jumps. I haven't gone balls to the wall either, so that will probably be a new experience altogether.

Thanks for the support guys! I highly recommend moving up in CC's as you get older/gain experience riding, it really brings it to a whole new level. My KDX was AWESOME, but I think in the long run I'll have more fun with this bike.

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Glad you're enjoying the bike! Get your jetting sorted out and you won't foul plugs, even when just casually trail riding. It's funny, but people are intimidated by and have a stigma about 250 two strokes. I have friends on 450's who are hesitant to ride my RM 250 because its "it's 250 two stroke man!" Cracks me up.

 

As an update, I took it out last weekend and discovered I was worrying about nothing really. Yes it's faster than my KDX, and if I dropped the clutch in pretty much any gear I'm bound to get put on my ass, but it's not uncontrollably fast like I was scared of.

I wouldn't suggest someone with no experience ever start off with a 250, but those of you out there with experience on a 125 or trail bike need not worry about an MX bike! Even one that's been souped up slightly (albeit mine is almost 30 years old haha).

My only real fear now is fouling plugs (from just putting around) and maybe preparing myself to try some jumps. I haven't gone balls to the wall either, so that will probably be a new experience altogether.

Thanks for the support guys! I highly recommend moving up in CC's as you get older/gain experience riding, it really brings it to a whole new level. My KDX was AWESOME, but I think in the long run I'll have more fun with this bike.

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