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XR as the "A" bike for a season?

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Hi folks,

I have a myriad of questions rolled into a general thesis that no amount of searching seems to get to the heart of.  

 

Here is my situation......

 

About 2 months ago I sold my "A" bike, a TE 310, and have been looking for a good 2 stroke offroad fast trailbike to replace it. The bikes I have been looking at as an "A" bike are still stretching my budget a bit.  I have the money, but I have to borrow it from our general house fund and pay it back, which although the wife is okay with, still makes riding a bit stressful. 

 

In the meantime I have been riding my XR 250 that is uncorked and with a steering damper, but otherwise stock.  I love riding the XR.  It has a beautiful powerband and handles excellently, but lacks power.  I basically ride it wide open and row the gearbox to go fast.  

 

I have the silly idea of doing the 280 kit and seeing where that leaves me for next riding season (2015), and saving my pennies for a newer bike the winter of 2016.  The XR is a bit low on compression and needs a refresher anyway.  The 280 kit doesn't cost much more, but rather makes the cost come this year instead of 2 or 3 years from now. 

 

The thing is, the XR is making me faster and better, but at the same time I am slower than I was on my TE.  The gap has closed quite a bit due to my skill increase (thank you XR!), but now I think it is going to plateau.  The XR just can't carry me much faster through hilly terrain.

 

FWIW last I checked I was a midpack C rider who weighs about 200 lbs and am slightly north of 6'1".  I understand suspension is the next step but without adjustable rebound, will stiffer springs overrun the valving and make the bike handle strangely?  It is soft but corners with excellence.  I don't really feel that the bike warrants 400-500 dollars in revalve and respringing, as that defeats the cost saving angle.

 

Also, there is zero chance the XR gets sold and closes the price gap (which it would do).  It was my best friend's bike when he died and it will never leave my garage if I have anything to say about it.

 

Still there is the chance I land a good KTM, Gas Gas, Husaberg, or Beta in my price range, but they are hovering around a grand more than I feel comfortable with right now.  If so I would jump on it, but I wonder just how fast a guy can get the XR to go without dropping more than 4-500 bucks in it.

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Why would you borrow from you house fund? That's a fools choice and your only setting yourself up for failure....DO NOT BORROW FROM HOUSE FUND!

 

I see 250 2ts all day in Washington for under $2k that would be competitive with anything else out there and you could easily sell it for close to what you paid for it in a year....

 

As for the XR, see it for what it is....

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Why would you borrow from you house fund? That's a fools choice and your only setting yourself up for failure....DO NOT BORROW FROM HOUSE FUND!

 

I see 250 2ts all day in Washington for under $2k that would be competitive with anything else out there and you could easily sell it for close to what you paid for it in a year....

 

As for the XR, see it for what it is....

 

Agreed on the house fund.  Just doesn't feel right.  (For the record we are talking relatively small amounts, 4-800bucks tops.)  The 250s I have seen under 2 grand still have the same problem for me in that (for my comfort) they need suspension work to be manageable in the woods.  the XR is coming from the other direction and I like it/am going to keep it either way it to boot.  I am no speed demon, but am fast enough to push the XR to its limits.  You would be surprised how many people say they need a much faster bike than the XR that can't keep up with me on the trail.  Actually you probably wouldn't be surprised. I am just wondering if the 280 version pushes those limits at least a riding season away.

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What about Yamaha? A decent YZ 250 can be had for a fraction of the price of the brands you mentioned, they have HUGE aftermarket support, they don't take much to be made into a woods weapon, and the suspension is near-perfect out of the box.

Or do you need that magic button?

Edited by ITLKSEZ
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The 250s I have seen under 2 grand still have the same problem for me in that (for my comfort) they need suspension work to be manageable in the woods.

 

Learn to revalve your own suspension.  Get a copy of Restackor Pro, jump into the Suspension forum and have at it.  I just did the shock on my bike.  It isn't hard, at all.  ANd you'll end up with something that works just the way you want to make it work.

 

FWIW, I think the suspension systems on certain bikes - KTM, Gasgas, Beta - have a greater chance of being "off the mark" and are much more difficult to work on and get right.  I know that the guys I ride with have spent a lot of money just getting their suspension to the level of a stock KYB suspension on a Japanese bike, let alone better.

 

FWIW, I think its really neat that you "stepped back" to the XR and used it to hone your skills.

Edited by MidlifeCrisisGuy

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Agreed on the house fund.  Just doesn't feel right.  (For the record we are talking relatively small amounts, 4-800bucks tops.)  The 250s I have seen under 2 grand still have the same problem for me in that (for my comfort) they need suspension work to be manageable in the woods.  the XR is coming from the other direction and I like it/am going to keep it either way it to boot.  I am no speed demon, but am fast enough to push the XR to its limits.  You would be surprised how many people say they need a much faster bike than the XR that can't keep up with me on the trail.  Actually you probably wouldn't be surprised. I am just wondering if the 280 version pushes those limits at least a riding season away.

 

if the xr is never leaving , why not set it up for yourself?  then you have forever and it works for you.  do the suspension yourself, there are many here to help.

 

when funds are better get the bike you really want.  myself, I would never buy a $2000.00 used dirtbike,  too much expense after the purchase.

 

cj

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You can make the xr250 fast and handle,but not for 400,500$. Waist of time to dump money on Stock Xr250 forks. Dont get me wrong love my Xr300,but after spending over 3,000 I Dont want to know how much anymore.

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Just leave the 250 as a rockin trail bike. Leave the racing to something more appropriate. Not saying it cant be done. You could use a F1 car to go get groceries but why. Get a used 125, 200 or 250 2 stroke and would do better. Plus you wouldn't be destroying your XR.

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As someone who also went big bore on a stock XR250, I can tell you it won't be a simple $4-500 spend to get what it sounds like you want from it. If you are keeping it for sentimental value and it's due for a top end, keep it stock or 1 over bore. Stock cam. I wrapped up silly money into a 2004 xr250 over the years. 278cc bore, then 284cc. lots of cams, valves, etc. At the end of the day, it was still not what I was looking for and became a spare bike that when loaned out came back needing work for the abuse it took. SO I went through it top to bottom and sold it to a friend. He's now enjoying it. It's a fun bike, lots of torque and very reliable.

Yes, you could revalve the suspension, and that would help you find some speed. The more I ride, the less I believe that the ability of the bike is a determining factor in gauging the speed/talent of the rider. I have a handful of friends that ride modern bikes, with all the bells and whistles. I can't say that any of the money spent has really made them a better rider. Some I have watched get worse.

Freshen up the bike, ride it. Save the pennies and buy what you really want later with cash position not being the main factor in whether or not you buy it.

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The only reason I'm not riding a lightweight two-stroke YZ or CR250 is because I need a 250 mile range.

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As someone who also went big bore on a stock XR250, I can tell you it won't be a simple $4-500 spend to get what it sounds like you want from it. If you are keeping it for sentimental value and it's due for a top end, keep it stock or 1 over bore. Stock cam. I wrapped up silly money into a 2004 xr250 over the years. 278cc bore, then 284cc. lots of cams, valves, etc. At the end of the day, it was still not what I was looking for and became a spare bike that when loaned out came back needing work for the abuse it took. SO I went through it top to bottom and sold it to a friend. He's now enjoying it. It's a fun bike, lots of torque and very reliable.

Yes, you could revalve the suspension, and that would help you find some speed. The more I ride, the less I believe that the ability of the bike is a determining factor in gauging the speed/talent of the rider. I have a handful of friends that ride modern bikes, with all the bells and whistles. I can't say that any of the money spent has really made them a better rider. Some I have watched get worse.

Freshen up the bike, ride it. Save the pennies and buy what you really want later with cash position not being the main factor in whether or not you buy it.

:thumbsup:  :thumbsup:

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Or how about this sweet KDX 220?

 

http://spokane.craigslist.org/mcy/4638997089.html

 

I've had my eye on that one for a while. I've been trying to talk the wife into it, but she can't bring herself to ride green.

 

Jeez that's a nice bike for this area.  I was also looking at a Gas Gas 200 (total price to my door around 3800) but I wonder if I would be just as fast on a KDX like that   My budget is just short of 4K right now, but should be a little better come this winter, (hence the holdout for a bike that I probably can't ride to its potential.)  The KDX is a notch above the XR I understand, but I would like to eventually have something as capable as or moreso than my TE for those times you just gotta let it hang out. 

 

redhurricane-you are completely in line with my thinking about bikes not being the limiting factor.  My relatively close speed on my XR compared to my TE shows me that.  The problem for the XR is that I actually run out of power even with suspension out of the equation.  My Husky wasn't a powerhouse by most people's metrics, but if you kept it in the right gear it could reasonably keep up with anyone in the woods (not that I was good enough to do so).  The XR flat out cannot put enough power down to keep up with well-ridden, more powerful bikes on moderate hills.

 

One nice thing about the 277 kit is that it isn't exactly a big price jump, especially considering it will eventually need a rebuild anyway.  Sounds like for under 300 bucks  (with boring) its doable.  They even sell it through Amazon where I have a 90 dollar credit waiting to be used.

 

I appreciate everyone's advice.  I don't really need to make the decision until this winter either way, but I want it to be an informed one.

Edited by Wonderspoon

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Jeez that's a nice bike for this area.  I was also looking at a Gas Gas 200 (total price to my door around 3800) but I wonder if I would be just as fast on a KDX like that   My budget is just short of 4K right now, but should be a little better come this winter, (hence the holdout for a bike that I probably can't ride to its potential.)  The KDX is a notch above the XR I understand, but I would like to eventually have something as capable as or moreso than my TE for those times you just gotta let it hang out. 

 

redhurricane-you are completely in line with my thinking about bikes not being the limiting factor.  My relatively close speed on my XR compared to my TE shows me that.  The problem for the XR is that I actually run out of power even with suspension out of the equation.  My Husky wasn't a powerhouse by most people's metrics, but if you kept it in the right gear it could reasonably keep up with anyone in the woods (not that I was good enough to do so).  The XR flat out cannot put enough power down to keep up with well-ridden, more powerful bikes on moderate hills.

 

One nice thing about the 277 kit is that it isn't exactly a big price jump, especially considering it will eventually need a rebuild anyway.  Sounds like for under 300 bucks  (with boring) its doable.  They even sell it through Amazon where I have a 90 dollar credit waiting to be used.

 

I appreciate everyone's advice.  I don't really need to make the decision until this winter either way, but I want it to be an informed one.

go the 277cc route, stock cam. It will make a noticeable difference in torque over stock bore. Still gives you one more bore before sleeve replacement although that is pushing it. that's probably the most bang for the buck in the near term, and save for the bike you really want.

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A little research shows the wiseco kit for 150 bucks on amazon. I figure 100 bucks tops for the bore job and use my amazon credit and I am in fewer than 200 total, easy. May be a good time to check out the rest of the head while I am at it. Still leaves a good amount in case a good 2 stroke comes along.

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The 280cc kit is just the start,you will find out fast racing the xr intake valves.If you have to remove head,you will need SS valves,new valve seals.Best advice from others,keep as a play bike,dump little money in it.Get a race bike,KDX 220 great bike,but little low end. The xr300 with every mod. I could think of,with no limit on $.Is the best overall  bike(for riding hard)single track. Big plus as we have major hill climbs on our single track,with no run to start.Another plus even built,they have out lasted by 10 times.My KTMs, and Husa shits. At the cost of buying another whole bike.BTR

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I still stand by the $1500 '99 yz 250 in post #11. Bulletproof engine, steel frame, already has a lot of trail goodies...

Rejet and adjust valves to get the XR to start easier, otherwise I'd leave it alone. Once you tear into it, you'll never stop and you'll regret it.

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Just built a 1990 model XR280 to race in our local Hare scrambles series double decade class. The only requirements is the bike be 1991 or older. The XR can be a great tight woods racer but you do need to dump some stupid money in it, or at least I did LOL! All our races down here or at least the one ones I can drive to are tight with very few straights. Not that you would want to go to the extremes I did but here’s what I did.

1990 XR250R
277mm Piston
Web Cam
Light port work on head
48 pilot and 140 main, needle on stock clip position
Open air box, Uni filter
Rear shock set up for my weight and riding style ( Factory Connection)
2000 XR400R Forks with fork brace, set up for my weight and riding style ( Factory Connection)
Supper Trap exhaust system w/14 disks installed
Welds ground down on header

Now I guess I’m a freak because I’m faster on the XR than my 12 WR450 with all the goodies! The first race I got 2nd and this last race this weekend I got first and overcalled the hole morning classes! The suspension and power delivery is great and doesn’t wear me out like the 450. The only thing IMO that the XR is not going to do good on is high speed straight with sand and woops. Before I got in this class I was in 450B finishing 5th to 6th out of 10 to 12 riders. I checked their lap times to mine this last race and I would of gotten 2nd in that class on the XR or at least my lap time were faster than 2nd place who knows I could of crashed! LOL. I know you don’t want to take you bike to this extreme but the point is the XR 250 is a great platform and you don’t want to go out and buy a 6K to 7K bike right now. If you spend any money on your 250 IMO I would get the suspension set up for you weight and riding style and make sure you have the bike jetted right and uncorked. You’ll see a big improvement with just that.

Stewart



 

1990 XR280R-1.jpg

1990 XR280R-2.jpg

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