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Bike for a New Adult Rider (Street Experience, Long Time Since Dirt)

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Hello All,

 

I'm finally looking to buy myself a dirt bike after having played with the idea in the back of my mind for a few years now.

 

First off, a little background. Currently I'm 22, recently graduated with my bachelors (and now with enough spare income to buy any decent used bike). I've ridden atv's occasionally since I was 8, but only in the most casual sense. I also rode dirt bikes from 8 to 13 on mild trails on family property, but haven't touched one since.

 

Two years ago I went ahead and bought a street bike as I could ride that daily rather than once every two weeks with a dirt bike. I've been riding that constantly since buying it. Having finished school now though, I really want to get off the pavement and into the mud and bumps. I currently live near Denver, CO and would like to ride trails in the mountains primarily, but I'm also extremely interested in trying out some track riding in the area after acclimating myself to dirt a bit. Plus, the tracks are closer than the trails. At this point I consider myself all but clueless about dirt riding I suppose, and I realize my street experience only has limited application.

 

Physically speaking I'm 5'9" and a bit of a skinny fellow @ 125 lb (130 wet and with a full stomach!).

 

I've been tossing around the idea of a CRF230F or a CRF250X mostly due to a slight Honda preference, but prefer choosing the right bike over any specific manufacturer. I'm also curious about a 125 two stroke as well, but don't know what would really suit my needs best at this point.

 

Finally, my budget is pretty flexible, but I'm not looking to spend a ton just to have the nicest of the nice. Odds are I'm going to drop it, crash it, and generally make it through the worst of my growing pains on this bike.

 

What specific bikes would you guys (and ladies) recommend and why? (Plus what price range SHOULD I be looking at for these bikes).

 

Thanks for any and all input!

 

-Nick

Edited by xJustRidinx

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Hey man how's it going, so I'm 30 and I hadn't ridden dirtbikes in 10 years recently my buddy give me a rip on his 125 2 stroke suzuki rm, I was on the flat track and on the pee wee track it was so much fun that was me hooked, I sold my r6 and bought a 2003 yz 250, a word of warning if your thinking about doing track don't get a 250, mine is up for sale now and I'm going to get a 125, I had a pretty bad crash and busted my knee open pretty bad, also if your thinking of doing track, learn the techniques first because if you don't your going to hit a jump to hard for your comfort zone and when you land with the front wheel at 10 o clock in the air your going to whiskey throttle it and have a pretty sore crash, if I was you also I'd pick up some gear especially for starting out it's only a matter of time before you come off.

Get a good cheap used 2 stroke stay away from 4 stroke unless your buying it new any of these bikes would be good yz 125 rm 125 cr 125 kx125 and if you have a local ktm dealer for parts well then a ktm also, enjoy it bud your going to love the change over, I can't wait to get back out on my dirtbike if this leg ever heals over,

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So, stay away from the 4 strokes because of maintenance costs and initial cost? Power is roughly the same on a 250 4 stroke as a 125 two stroke, just not as smooth on the 125 and much more screaming at the top. Also, I like aggressive, but I don't want to rush. I can appreciate learning skills the slow and steady way, but yes, I'll wreck, just hopefully not at 10 o'clock while casing a double.

I'm going to start looking for two strokes on Craigslist to compare to the 4 strokes I've found. Price and condition that is.

Edited by xJustRidinx

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The 4 strokes are nice. They are easier to ride fast because the power delivery is smoother. That is a good thing in the trails or anywhere really.

The downside is buying a used one scares me a little. If the previous owner didn't maintain it like it should have been it can cause serious problems. That is true with any bike, but the 4 strokes have cams, valves, etc. To make a long story short a lot of times when they go, they go big. I've seen some cases where the repairs can cost as much as the bike.

That's not saying a 2 stroke can't blow up. They definitely do but it's usually not as catastrophic.

When I read your post my first thought was a 125 would be good. They don't have the low end torque that a 4 stroke does, but if you keep it revved up (feathering the clutch) it's no problem. I think with your light weight that would be a good bike.

One more thing, you can buy pretty much any used bike, keep it for a year and then sell it for the same amount when you're ready to move up.

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I always forget something, the crf230 is a good trail bike, but you would be disappointed at the track with it. The CRF250X would be a good compromise.

Another bike I always recommend is a KDX 200/220. They aren't really too great for the mx track but you could have fun messing around on one there. They are a 2 stroke trail bike. They are pretty mellow stock and have good low end torque which would be nice in the trails. They also respond to mods really well and everyone says they really grow with you and your ability.

I think there is always a compromise. A good track bike isn't the best trail bike and vice versa.

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I think there is always a compromise. A good track bike isn't the best trail bike and vice versa.

 

This is probably the heart of the issue. Eventually I'll just settle on one and give it a go. I can always sell it and swap for something more suitable if I feel the need! Thanks for the advice.

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My story isn't all that different from yours. I had been riding performance ATV's for most of my life. 2 years ago, I decided to venture out on 2 wheels and thought a good adult starter bike (230F) might be a good pick. I outgrew it in 2 rides, sold it, and was looking for a 250F. It's was a great bike, but it's just not enough. 

 

As for the "4 strokes are more maintenance" comments you've been receiving, they're misinformed. A CRF230F is as maintenance free as it gets. You will not find a bike, 2 stroke or 4, that requires less maintenance. It's an air cooled, low revving engine. It'll last forever even with the worst of owners. The 250F's that you'll see are liquid cooled, high-revving bikes and require more maintenance, but as with anything, it's as good as you maintain it. Meaning if you keep your valves in spec, change your oil regularly, and clean your filter every ride, you'll have minimal issues. The cost of a total rebuild is probably double the cost of the same for a 2 stroke, however, if maintained properly the 4 stroke will require half as many rebuilds as the 2 stroke, so it really all evens out. 

 

The real difference here is the way these bikes perform. A 2 stroke's power stroke is every other stroke, so it builds power twice as fast. The 4 stroke builds it's power slower, as it has 1 power stroke for every 4 strokes (hence the name) making it easier/smoother to ride, and thus, a more comfortable pick for a new rider. But the playing field is being leveled. Newer 2 strokes have a tunable power valve, which basically allows you to regulate how quickly it builds it's power. So you can basically "de-tune" your 2 stroke to ride like a 4 stroke if you'd like, and make changes as you grow in experience if you so choose.

 

I have one of each. I have a 250F, and a KTM 200 XCW. I love them both for different reasons, and I think either of those would be an excellent choice for your first bike. 

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Well, by total chance I was invited by a group of coworkers to go out riding with them this weekend (just moved to town). I rented a CRF230F and found it to be extremely anemic. There was simply no punch to it, even on flat ground, much less on any incline. It feels like a bike I could outgrow quickly, and grow a bit bored with.



On the other hand someone let me try out their 08' KX250F and man, was that spot on. Definitely has more power than I have skill to make full use of yet, but didn't feel unmanageable. We were riding trails (50 in. OHV), so I didn't get very rowdy with it or anything, but it feels like a bike I could grow into for years to come, without killing myself on it either so long as I stay level headed about things. What I really loved was how planted it felt throughout my time on it, be it loose gravel or hard pack. Power delivery and gearing was fine for me, but then again, I'm not too picky yet having so little experience.



I also saw a KTM 150 XC that looked like a hoot, and quite nimble according to it's rider who owned a 250F as well. On that note, how well suited are the 250Fs (MX bikes) for trails in general (or when compared to their enduro counterparts)? I noticed probably 60% of the other bikes on the trails were 250 or 450 MX bikes, with the remainder being small displacement trail bikes like the 230 or 2/4 stroke enduros with headlights. Like I mentioned before, I don't have any experience to draw from, but the Kawi 250F seemed fine to me. No headlight, but I wouldn't plan to ride after dark anyhow. E-start is the only thing I think I may miss.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by xJustRidinx

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On a side note, I also stumbled upon this tonight. The two strokes are very appealing since most say it trains you to be a better rider by learning better control while trying to keep them in their power band. My only problem is the 125 (or 150 KTM) two stroke classes seem to be in short supply in my area. Most are older than 05' and quite a few look to be in rough shape.

 

http://denver.craigslist.org/mcy/4612895847.html

Edited by xJustRidinx

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I told you. (about the 230F)

as for the 150XC, I think that would be a great bike, but I would go for the 200xcw if I could find one. Little more room for growth, but also allows for you to learn safely.

A 250F is a fine choice, but not purpose built for the trails. You can fix that, sure, but if you're buying a bike for the trails, buy a bike for the trails.

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