I am just about nuts with indecision... HELP!

I am up, down, sideways, and back again with trying to figure out what bike I should buy... XR400, YZ426F, WR426F, KTM520MXC, XR650R, something otherwise... I am just about nuts trying to figure out what's going to give me the versatility I want without the "mess, expense and smell"... I am 6'5", 260 lb.; 25,000+ miles of mixed street/trail riding under my belt with '83 Yam XT550 (sold years ago) and '99 Kaw KLR650 (ride it everywhere; on-off; but it's too BIG for the harder dirt riding that I also want to do now). I own 80 acres of woods with trails right out my back door and there's an active SX-style club track just four miles away... I need a stone-reliable dirt bike that requires little maintenance (because I do NOT dig mechanical stuff -- I'll do basics, but that's it... it just doesn't trip my trigger)... The bike has got to be able to deliver excellent trail performance (XR400), but also I want to learn how to ride that SX track (YX426F)... so, it'd be cool if I am not very interested in racing; just want to get into the dirt glide and the challenge of it without losing my shirt (like the 520MXC price does to you)... I have a Honda/Yam dealer within 5 miles and a Kaw/Yam dealer within ten miles... So, I can get a deal and I can get parts readily, if necessary... OK, what would you recommend? You probably know more about this than I do, but I share your passion for riding, having fun, and a solid challenge. Care to help me out with your opinion?

XR 650

Unless you are really serious about the motocross stuff, in which case you need the Yamaha.

Yeah, Hick... I looked into the XR650R, and I was really fired up... it does fit with the kind of riding that I've been doing with the XT and my KLR, mostly... and if I were still living in San Diego, I might just go for it because I used to go to Baja and Borrego all the time (for SCUBA, boating, backpacking, not O/R stuff; but my passion for riding has increased a lot over the last few years)... anyway, and then I figured that the XR is more of an open country bike and, now that I live in tight-trailville CT and given that I have some aspirations to learn how to navigate that track, I thought maybe the YZ426F would be better, too... I can't tell you how many times I visited that track last summer, just itchin' to try it out... again, I don't want to race, but I do want to get the knack of it and have some fun... Hey, man, thanks for your reply.

Your requirement for "stone cold reliability" and desire to do MX is mutually exclusive. Can't have your cake and eat it too!

Get the XR for stone cold reliability. Get the KTM/Yamaha for anything else. Learning to like twisting a wrench will greatly enhance your seat time enjoyment.

I'm not a woods rider though so I can't help you there.

Whatever you decide, you will have fun as you push the limits of what your bike can do. The problem is that no one can really help make the decision for you. Only you know what you like. The bikes you mentioned all have different personalities and target audiences.


Steve T

So spake Steve-athustra... Yeah, Steve... You are so right... I mean I KNOW you are right, but not from the personal experience of maintaining an MX bike... and, like so many humans who get a little silly about wanting to 'have it all,' I... well... I want to have it all... When I read what the KTM520 guys are saying about oil changes after every ride, I'm thinking "Yeah, I guess I could do that... but..." SO, If changing oil frequently seems like a big deal to me, then you can imagine where I am with the wrenches... "Hey, I just need to hire a good mechanic... he can live out in my garage, and he'll just take care of all these matters for me..." OK, so I get you, and yeah, I'm gonna have to learn how to swing some tools other than a ball peen hammer... Thanks for your point. I need to 'get real' in that respect if I want to do this stuff.

One thing I'm pretty sure of is that you don't really want to be pushing an XR around an SX track!

can i ride in your woods? ( I won't tell anyone) :)

If you don't want to spin wrenches for yourself then don't get the YZ. It is reliable (at least mine has been) but for every 2 or so days that I ride it I'm doing a couple hours of maintenance. Lubing things, changing the oil, etc.. The YZF also has a really tall 1st gear which is great for MX but for the tight woods it's not so cool. XR's have the rep of lasting forever but I've never owned one over 100cc. Can't help at all with the other bikes, never owned or ridden a KTM. If you decide that you can do maintenance then the YZF is a stellar bike overall (especially for MX), but if you don't do the maintenance then I'm guessing you'll be cursing at it sooner or later. Good luck!

my buddy is sellin a 2000 xr650 brand new only ridden twice asking 3900 or best offer willing to deal for more info call 330 666-4191 thats in akron ohio

Sounds like you might want to consider a WR426. Great trail bike, and I always see guys with them on the track too.

Fastkevin may be on the right track (so to speak) with the wide range gears on the WR it'd be more condusive to the trail riding thing. You wouldn't have to contend with the tall first gear like the YZ. Apparently the suspension would be able to stand up to at least limited track riding if the guys are running them out there. Maybe post something up on the WR page to see what they think.

I say go with the WR if you are going to evolve, or the XR if you are going to ride casual and enjoy (little maintenance).

You need to pick what is the most important thing to you, maintenance, performance, price, trails, MX, and then make your choice and keep these things in mind when you decide and ride your bike.

Okay Futura, If you don't like changing oil regularly, don't get the yammy. I've never changed the oil on a ktm 4stroke, but my thought is that it would be much easier and quicker than the YZ/WR which is a pain. When I rode a 2 stroke, I just pulled the plug when I got home from a ride, drained her, pluged her up and dumped in 700cc's. Easy. If the katoom is this easy it sounds like the right choice for you. My .o2

Oh yea, If you want something that will run forever, buy a Honda. xr400, cr450? xr650- (probably too big for your application) I wish I had.

If your not going to do any one type of pursuit seriously (read trail riding casual riding) buy an XR 400. Its gotta be one of the most versital motorcycles around. Its easy to start, has enough power for most folks, decent susupension and its a Honda, it will probably run forever without the oil change. Dont get me wrong ya oughta change the oil. But you could probably get away with it for years.

Well your a pretty big goy so you wont have a problem with the hight of the bike, and starting those YZ/WR is all in the technique (520 has electric start :) ). My dad's got a YZ 426, first gear was pretty tall until he took the front sprocket down a tooth, it runs alot better for the trails, and that bikes got so much throtle that you wouldnt notice the difference in the top end, in the trails anyway. The WR has a bigger tank than the YZ and has a throttle stop (for the whimps). My next door neighbor has a CR 450 and that is really nice too but you might want to gear that thing down too. I havent had much experince with the XR 650, but my friends dad is switchen from his XR 650 to a YZ 426 becuase it has a very noticable power difference. If youre given 100's to bums ide say go for the KTM 520 sounds like a nice bike, but then again ive never even heard one roar. Im not too fond of XR's (no offense to people that are). If your gettin a YZ, WR, or a CR all i know is you wont be disapointed. But then again its all what you like.

ALL dirt bikes require more maintenance than a car or streetbike.

The YZ/WR bikes need a lot of maintenance and a lot of fiddling with the carb. They will reward you greatly if you take care of them. They'll also bite you hard if you don't.

XR's need less maintenance, but are less advanced (engine, suspension, brakes, chassis). They are cheaper and more defined. They work fine on trails, terribly on an MX track.

KTM's are totally race-oriented and also require high maintenance.

Think about how many ponies these engines crank out compared to a car. The equivilent is a 2.0 liter car making 235 HP or a 3 liter making 352HP !!! They are going to need more maintenance-always!

The XR is probably a good bike for you. Good trail bike, dependable, less work. But don't cry if you can't take it to the MX track, it's not designed for it.

What about a DRZ? Probably a happy medium between WR and XR.

At your weight, just about all these bike will need some suspension work. Remember the target weight for setting up a bike at the factory is 170-180 pds for large bikes such as these.

Stay away from the KLX at yor weight it will be disappointing unless you keep tossing $$ at it.

Make a list of what is important to you. If performance (engine/suspension) is at the top of the list, you need a racing type machine such as a KTM or WR. If reliability and ease of maintenance is top priority, get an XR. Again the DRZ falls in the middle, it's worth considering.


I'd go with the YZ426.

You can this bike in the woods but you can't take the XR to a track (and throughly enjoy yourself).

I have a 99 YZ 400, I race MX, ride desert and trial ride with my boys.

Still need to properly maintain all bikes.

With all the technology today, you hardly can't go wrong.

Lotsa LUCK

Well, if you own 80 acres of land, you should buy all the bikes. Then you'll be set.

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