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I'm about to spend 10K on a dirt bike, is it the right one?!?

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At 6'3" and 180, you need to steer clear of a honda. Ktm and yamaha should be your choices and I believe the Yamaha is better just because of suspension, reliability, durability and over-all being the better bike. The stock map is of no use to a beginner, so add a power tuner in. Then ride it for years with only typical maintenance.

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Doc and Fish are clear thinkers.

 

First bike? Used, one or two year old. Get real experience. A dozen rides means nothing. Log fifty or more hours then think about what you like/do not like.

 

Do not think with testosterone 'because you are a big guy'. A 250 4S will have you crying like a baby.

 

Riding is about skill, not shear power. I've been on bikes since I was a nine year old. A 250 is fine unless you are running desert, sand or snow. I weigh in at a svelte 240 and a 250 is more than adequate.

 

Get a nice, well cared for used bike. Take care of it, do not modify it or add bling. Ride a year. Then revisit what kinds of riding you will do and what you honestly need. If you have money to pee away, you can then add 'wants'.

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Doc_D wow man thanks. That single post will completely guide what I buy. Thanks a lot man

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For about $2-3k you could get a very nice Yamaha WR500.

 

It is a 500cc engine in a 250 frame.

 

The motor is basically bullet proof and the gear ratio mean you will be mostly in two gears for most of your riding  2nd -3rd for the tight stuff, 3rd-4th for the open trails.

 

It will pull from a walk to 60 mph up most hills in 3rd gear.

 

http://www.yamahawr500.com/about.html

 

 

Here is one out in your area: https://www.smartcycleguide.com/L49610623

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I went through 3, 450s (05 CRF450X, 08 CRF450R, 14 CRF450R) riding in the woods. I don't recommend 450s for multiple reasons to beginner-intermediate riders. I am 6ft 195lbs. Too much bike for me. 450 over heat easily in tight woods and technical riding. Lots of centrifugal forces/rotating engine mass to muscle around. My 450s rode heavy and when you lay them down, they are heavier to pick up (a lot heavier when laying down hill and you can't spin out around because of trees).

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Thanks again everybody, a lot of great responses. I'm definitely going to stick to ktm or Yamaha and you guys are right about buying my first used, I'm going to do that now. I talked to a dealer today and as far as trail bikes he only has a Suzuki rmz 250 and a Kawasaki kx250f. I guess I'll check out the next dealer. I'm still torn between a 250 and 350. I like the idea of a 350 only because if I spend 5k on a used one it will still be enough power for me five years from now. I'm sure a real nice 250 would be the better choice though. I'm for sure going four stroke no matter what I get. Thanks again everyone, hopefully Saturday I'll post what I bought!

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Thanks again everybody, a lot of great responses. I'm definitely going to stick to ktm or Yamaha and you guys are right about buying my first used, I'm going to do that now. I talked to a dealer today and as far as trail bikes he only has a Suzuki rmz 250 and a Kawasaki kx250f. I guess I'll check out the next dealer. I'm still torn between a 250 and 350. I like the idea of a 350 only because if I spend 5k on a used one it will still be enough power for me five years from now. I'm sure a real nice 250 would be the better choice though. I'm for sure going four stroke no matter what I get. Thanks again everyone, hopefully Saturday I'll post what I bought!

 

Let me help you out with some terminology:

 

Trail bikes = air cooled 4 strokes (e.g. like your friend's CRF230F)

Offroad/enduro bikes = watercooled two strokes and four strokes with wide-ratio transmissions, usually lighting, usually elec starters, batteries and not as peaky motors as the MX bikes

MX bikes = watercooled two strokes and four strokes with close ratio transmissions, no elec start, no battery, 19" rear wheels, no spark arrestor

 

if you told the dealer you were looking for a trail bike and they showed you an RMZ-250 and a KX250F, you did the right thing by moving on.  Those are both motocross bikes with close ratio transmissions (translation  = cant go slow in first gear, cant go fast in 5th gear and you will shift a lot). Poor choices for offroad/trail riding.

 

I understand the desire to buy one bike that meets all your needs for the next 5 years.  It will never happen.  Just know that if you spend $5K for a used bike and buy it at a competitive price, take care of it, etc you can resell and move on to something else when you  need more bike or you get a feel for what you are seeking.  Look at the price guides to see how much it will depreciate each year and you will see that it is not huge when you buy it used to begin with.  It's a lot better deal than buying a $10K KTM and reselling a year or two later for $6-$7K if you figure out it is not right for you.

 

You are getting tons of good advice.  I don't see a bad recommendation in the lot and people are doing their best to keep you from making an expensive mistake.   Just based on some of your comments it is apparent you are a newbie and still have a lot to learn before jumping in and buying a bike.  I don't mean any of this in a bad way.  Everybody starts out as a newbie.  My suggestion is to keep reading the forums and proceed a bit slower than you are (even for your first used bike).

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Your choices in a mainstream four-stroke enduro bikes are going to be as follows. All these bikes have an 18" rear wheel, large fuel tank, electric start and an o-ring chain. I've not ridden all these bikes, this is just my take on them from reading the mags, watching videos, reading people's opinions here, etc. But this should at least give you and idea. With so many models out there it can be quite confusing. I'm doing this from memory so if there are any errors, I'm sure someone will call them out.

Yamaha YZ250FX - this is a newer model, so finding one used will be tough. Great choice if you are buying new though. This would be Yamaha's 'tweener bike. Meaning you could almost use it on a track or as a woods bike. Consider it either a very competitive enduro bike or a high performance MX bike with just enough softening and enduro features to make it work well in the woods. This would be best for a more aggressive rider. The WR250F would probably be a better choice for a less aggressive rider. It has fuel injection and 6 speed semi-wide ratio gearbox which is great for fast riders or flowy trails but might suffer a bit compared to a true wide ratio gearbox in very slow technical terrain. The suspension would be on the firm side lending itself to being ridden aggressively. It should shine in the fast whoops and jumps but at some expense in not being able to eat up trail trash without deflecting (roots and rocks). Your PA trails look like they are slower with a lot of rocks, so that might be a consideration. This model does not have a headlight or computer (speedo, odometer, etc). This model does not come with a radiator fan. That works for faster riders on flowy trails but can be a problem for very slow technical terrain. This model does not come with a spark arrestor which is often required when riding public land.

Yamaha WR250F - this version comes quite restricted from the factory making it mild and easy to ride. Yamaha makes it pretty easy to derestrict it and even replace the ECU programming. So when you are ready for more power it'll be there. Compared to the YZ250FX it has a headlight, computer (speedo, odometer, etc) and a true wide ratio 6 speed gearbox with a very low first gear that makes slow technical terrain a little easier to deal with. The suspension is plusher meaning it won't pound the whoops as well but should glide through the roots and rocks without deflecting a lot. They have a headlight and computer (speedo, odometer, etc). This bike has been around for a number of years and has been updated regularly. The latest models have aluminum frames, fuel injection and a radiator fan (no overheating in slow terrain). I believe they received the new rearward slanted motor recently as well. So if you go this route do your research to determine what model years you want to look at because there can be significant differences. This model comes with a spark arrestor which is often required when riding public land.

Honda CRF250X - This is Honda's offroad bike. Compared to the other bikes on this list it is a very old design. They don't have fuel injection. They are considerably down on power compared to the other bikes on this list. It's the only bike on this list with only a 5 speed gearbox, but it is wide ratio. I don't believe they ever came with a radiator fan, so overheating is a possibility if you ride very slow technical terrain. At the right price they make great starter bikes because they are very mild and easy to ride, but I'd only consider one if it was a good enough deal that you could ride it for your first year and then sell it to upgrade without losing any money. This model comes with a spark arrestor which is often required when riding public land.

KTM 250 XC-F / 350 XC-F - Like the YZ250FX this is KTM's very aggressive enduro bike. They are fuel injected and have a semi-wide ratio 6 speed gear box. They do not have a headlight or computer (speedo, odometer, etc). They have firmer suspension. Just like the YZ250FX that means they are best suited for faster riding, whoops and jumps at the expense of not eating up the roots and rocks as well as a plusher suspension. First gear isn't super low which is good for faster trails but might be a slight handicap in super slow technical terrain. They do not come with a radiator fan which is no problem on flowy trail but can be an issue in very tight technical terrain. This model does not come with a spark arrestor which is often required when riding public land.

KTM 250 XC-F-W / 350 XC-F-W - these bikes were discontinued in '16 but are still great bikes to look for used or maybe even catch a new one that didn't sell last year (unlikely). They have a completely different motor than the KTM XC-Fs that is designed with more flywheel mass and more low-end power with the downside being they don't have the quick revving feel or the top-end the XC-Fs do. They are no slouches though and pull hard to over 12,000 RPM. Because of the extra flywheel mass and overall design for low-end, they won't stall out as easily in the though stuff. They have a true wide ratio 6 speed gear box, plush suspension and radiator fan making them excellent for more technical terrain. They come with a headlight and computer (speedo, odometer, etc). This model comes with a spark arrestor which is often required when riding public land.

I didn't mention a few other possibilities because I didn't want to confuse things too much. There are KTM EXCs (street legal variant of the XCF-Ws) but if you aren't specifically looking for a street legal bike I'd skip them due to price, smog equipment, etc. There are the Husky's but they are a bit more of a boutique brand in my opinion but you may want to investigate them if there is a dealer nearby. Beta makes some phenomenal bikes but they are definitely a boutique brand. As a noob you want to have dealers nearby carrying the parts you need. You also want the people you know and ride with to be able to help you with knowledge, spare parts, etc. So as much as I love Beta, I'd recommend a more mainstream brand for your first bike.

Doc

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Doc again thanks man. I'm really taking everything you guys say with me in every step of this decision. SilvFx you're right about moving from this dealer I guess the salesman was just being a salesman. I read your list Doc, what about a 2012 Yamaha WR250R? It's four stroke(like you guys recommend for a humble noob) and it's a couple years older than what I'd like but I really want to buy used from a dealer; no Craigslist.i just don't have the knowledge for that yet plus with a dealer they have to stake their reputations behind a sale, for the most part. The Yamaha has 3100 miles on it. Or maybe a Yamaha YZF-R1? (Just kidding I'm not that noobish)

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Also I did research Beta before posting to you guys and I think they were the ones that make 300cc bikes. I thought that would be perfect but I haven't seen any used or really any new ones around me in PA.

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Yamaha WR250R is a dual sport bike. It's a bike designed for pavement and light off road use. They have their place, but it's definitely not what you are looking for.

It's January in PA. I wouldn't be in a rush. Take your time and find the bike that is right for you.

Don't forget to budget for the other stuff you'll need. At a minimum for safety gear that means helmet, glove and boots. If you are transporting the bike in a pickup, you'll need a ramp and tie downs. You'll probably want a dedicate gas can and at least a cheap bike stand for working on it.

Doc

Edited by Doc_d

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Get a Wr 250f great for trails and it is a pretty tall bike as well!

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Trail riding get a ktm the e-start is a very nice feature when you stall on a hill and want to start the bike easy. I ride a ktm250sxf 2015 on trails and I love it. The e-start saved me so many times.

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Doc-D....my only point of clarification is with regard to the KTM XC/XC-F models.  My understanding is that the transmission is a semi close ratio transmission.  I have not ridden one.  You describe it as semi wide ratio transmission (I realize this is merely semantics).

 

To be more precise my understanding is that 1-4 are the same as the SX or close ratio transmission specs and 5 and 6 are the same as the XC-W/XCF-W models which means a bigger space between 4 and 5  and a fast first gear.

 

Granted I havent looked in the owners manual or service manual to see the exact ratios and compare, but if my understanding is correct, this is going to mean the XC models will have a 'fast' first gear and even with changing the sprockets you aren't going to be able to get it down the the W speed in 1st gear (or crawling speed).  And, to me this is where the SX or XC models could be difficult on the trail when you are trying to crawl or pick your way through rocks and need more rpm but slower speeds.

Edited by SilvFx
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Doc-D....my only point of clarification is with regard to the KTM XC/XC-F models. My understanding is that the transmission is a semi close ratio transmission. I have not ridden one. You describe it as semi wide ratio transmission (I realize this is merely semantics).

To be more precise my understanding is that 1-4 are the same as the SX or close ratio transmission specs and 5 and 6 are the same as the XC-W/XCF-W models which means a bigger space between 4 and 5 and a fast first gear.

Granted I havent looked in the owners manual or service manual to see the exact ratios and compare, but if my understanding is correct, this is going to mean the XC models will have a 'fast' first gear and even with changing the sprockets you aren't going to be able to get it down the the W speed in 1st gear (or crawling speed). And, to me this is where the SX or XC models could be difficult on the trail when you are trying to crawl or pick your way through rocks and need more rpm but slower speeds.

Spot on there mate definitely not a beginners bike, the 350 I was referring to in my earlier post was the EXC . In Aus we don't get all the restrictions on the engine like you guys, the gear box on the EXC is what you want for trail Edited by Gypsy501

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Also I did research Beta before posting to you guys and I think they were the ones that make 300cc bikes. I thought that would be perfect but I haven't seen any used or really any new ones around me in PA.

the Beta 350 or 390 is a very good bike, more than enough power for anybody your weight, but no nasty habits. It's a boutique brand though. The Beta smokers could work well if you treat the throttle with respect. Maybe.

I would suggest something more mainstream.

WR250f is a good choice. Might be able to find a leftover new one. YZ250FX, also, but good luck finding a used or leftover one.

A clean KDX 200 or 220 would be a very good ride, if you stick to trails. They are old at this point, though.

A 150XC-W could serve you well, and force you to learn clutch control, but make you work for the power. If you want to go fast, you'll have to develop the skills to do so. Same with the TE150. Just brainstorming.

A lightly used KTM 200XCW or Yamaha or KTM 250-350 woods bike would be my best advice for you. Spend the rest on protective gear, fuel, and oil.

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Hey thanks everyone for the great advice, this thread is an awesome guide for buying a woods bike. Thanks to everyone's suggestions and some shopping around, I found a local dealer selling an '08 KTM 250XCF-W with 53 hours on it $3900. It's a beautiful bike and I'm gonna take great care of it....while I ride the wheels off

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That's a lot for that bike man did you look on local CL you could get a bike that's only a few years old for about the same price and a 350 at that. If you like it then go for it but the 08 is now 3 generations behind as far as design, engine, chassis and suspension

That's a lot for that bike man did you look on local CL you could get a bike that's only a few years old for about the same price and a 350 at that. If you like it then go for it but the 08 is now 3 generations behind as far as design, engine, chassis and suspension

Edit: saw you don't want to do CL. I would highly recommend finding a knowledgeable friend to go with you to look at a CL bike. There are awesome bikes out there for killer prices. If you are diligent, I've never had a bad CL experience, and I've bought about a dozen bikes off the site. You'll know the good ones and you're more likely to strike a fair deal. That '08 is gouging you pretty good at that price. For example on CL it's probably a $2500 motorcycle. There are deals to be had don't be afraid to go look.

Edited by garce250sx

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I'd grab something used and start riding to see what you really want, once your riding  try other guys bikes to compare.  10K is a lot to  learn you have the wrong or too much bike.

I agree - pickup say an older Honda CRF250X for $2000 or so and ride the living crap out of it for a summer. Hook up with some ridding buddies and once you've earned their trust, try their bikes.

 

I'm 5-11 and 170ish and I got back into dirt biking in 2010 after not being on a bike for 20 years. Got a 2005 CRF250R for $2500 (which was and awesome deal IMO) but had no idea at the time what the bike was nor where or how I wanted to ride. I still ride it today and never ride the track but hard slow technical to fast and flowy and put a fair bit of cash and time into turning into a reasonable bike for me BUT its taken my about 4 years after also riding lots of different bikes from KTM's 150, 200, 250, 350's, Yamaha YZ250FX's, CFR250X's and some others to narrow down what I want for my next bike.

 

Worst thing is that we live in an amazing time for dirt bike options and far to many awesome options.

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