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Girlfriend and I need our first bikes -- desert/trail riding

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Hi folks,

My girlfriend and I are moving to Arizona (NW side of Phoenix) at the end of this month. I've ridden street bikes for years and never had a dirt bike, but now that I'm moving to the desert I'd like to get one for each of us.

I'm 5'10", 170 lb, and have very little (few dozen hours) dirt bike experience. I'd like a bike that's versatile and will allow me to determine what I really need out of my next bike. Because I'm new to off road, I think I need a versatile bike that lets me figure out which way I want to skew the compromise for the next bike -- e.g. higher power, less weight, better suspension, 2v4, road legality. I have honestly been looking at everything from a 150cc trail bike to big bore dual sport. I have a truck so a plate isn't required, just convenient. My gut is saying to get something small and cheap, but I'm open to suggestions. Budget would ideally stay cheap (~$2k) but I could double that if necessary. I had been leaning towards a 4 stroke because that's what I'm familiar with but again open to suggestions.

My girlfriend is about 5'3", 120 lb. She can ride a bicycle but that's it -- I've barely started teaching her to drive a manual car. So I'm looking for something very lightweight, docile, and confidence-inspiring. Current thoughts were something like an XR100 or TTR 125.

I would appreciate any and all suggestions this group has on displacement, models, etc. 

Edited by swolfe

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Welcome to the heat I live North Phoenix and your going to love riding here. Any crf100,150f, ttr125 would be great for your girlfriend. But for you maybe a crf250x, an xr would be good and very reliable. But welcome to Arizona.

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Buy a bike that you won't constantly be waiting for her on.  Ie if you get her an xr100 buy yourself something like an xr200 or crf230,  ttr 230 etc and that is her second bike and one you can enjoy while she is learning.  if you buy something race or enduro oriented like a wr or crfx,  ktm exc etc you are going to feel really cramped riding with her.   So make your first bike, her second one.   

Edited by ossagp
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I like the idea of my first bike being her second, makes sense.

Is a dual sport convenient to have in Arizona? I'm not sure if it makes sense to ride to trails (when I'm without the girlfriend) or if hauling the bike makes more sense. Seems like a lot of those bikes have a dual sport option.

How different are a CRF230 and CRF250? How would you characterize the difference?

What about a CRF 150 vs 125 for the girlfriend? Are they significantly different?

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the 230 and 250 are completely different machines.. the 230 is an air cooled trail machine with mediocre power good torque and low maintenance. the 250 is a liquid cooled race derived bike with great power and great torque but comes higher maintenance example is valves and more frequent oil changes. rebuilds will also be more common. also just my personal 2 cents but buying a used 250 four stroke bike is always a gamble unless it has been well cared for with documentation etc..

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16 hours ago, 207RIDER said:

the 230 and 250 are completely different machines.. the 230 is an air cooled trail machine with mediocre power good torque and low maintenance. the 250 is a liquid cooled race derived bike with great power and great torque but comes higher maintenance example is valves and more frequent oil changes. rebuilds will also be more common. also just my personal 2 cents but buying a used 250 four stroke bike is always a gamble unless it has been well cared for with documentation etc..

OK, thanks for the info. It sounds like the 230 would be a good reliable bike to start out with and then keep for the girlfriend/visiting buddies.

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My dad rides a 230f and it's a great little bike it will do all the trails you want. My dad has short legs so he's limited on what bikes he can ride without lowering the suspension. Unless you're really tall the 230 should be perfect for you to start your dirt bike journey. They also hold value really well and you can always resell and upgrade.

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