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2016 leftovers shootout: KTM 250 EXC-F (XCWF), FE450, Beta 250rr

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After waiting too long to pull the trigger on two separate bikes, I’m now down to 2-4 choices. Last bike was a WR450F (2005). 
The first is a brand new euro spec EXC-F KTM 250 for $8500. I like the idea that it’s a KTM (would be my first). I already have a footpeg lowering kit hanging around for KTM/Husqvarna (Fastway pegs), risers and so on. I like that it’s ready to go off the showroom floor: skidplate already on. All I would need to buy is wraparound handguards in the near future and maybe a clutch plate protector. The only thing worrying me is whether it think it has too little power… Now I’m no expert by any means but more than one friend have told me I’ll be disappointed with it coming off a 450. I know I’d have to djust my riding style by keeping the revs up a lot (which I already did in 3rd a lot on the 450). We do ride some semi-deep sand for some short 10 minute stretches at times. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to test ride on properly. I rode a friend’s 2014 250 on the pavement for 10 minutes, trying to lift the front wheel up just to see and I had a lot of trouble (maybe because I didn’t know the bike/no kicker). It definitely doesn’t have the torque of a 450 but revs really high which I do like. I just don’t know how difficult/possible it’ll be to lift the front when flying down a track in 3rd or 4th and I see a gully/tree truck or something. Part of me thinks it’ll only help increase my skills by sticking to smaller bore, but part of me does wonder if I’ll find it boring. Some people seem to love them because it makes them faster, while some say they’re too “surgical” and boring in some kind of way. One thing noteworthy is that this bike would have the best resale value of all the choices where I live. Since this would be the first new bike I buy, I would plan on keeping whatever bike I buy for several years, but worth noting regardless.

FE450 for $9000 with 55 hours on it but very well maintained by head Mercedes mechanic at a local dealer who knows bikes as well. It’s very smooth and nice. Only problem is he has it in full SM kitout and wants to sell the whole package for $9000 vs the bike only. He dropped the bike once at a standstill so the rightside radiator is bent, but that’s it. Never ridden off-road: two sets of slicks, two sets of SM calipers, left-hand rear brake system, unbreakable levers etc. The guy spent a ton on it to convert to SM but now wants a CR500. If I could bring him down to $7800 for bike only this might be my first choice as it’s perhaps more versatile than a 250 for longer rides, has a map switch, linkage etc. Pistons for this are for some reason way cheaper than the 250 on RMATV? 

Beta 250rr brand new for $8600. This sounds like a nice bike but the dealer he is brand new so people are reluctant to buy (so resale wouldn’t be good). I also find it expensive for a 2-stroke since I can get a 4-stroke for roughly the same price. I would have to buy a pipe guard and handguards as it comes with zilch. I like the idea of doing topends in 3-4 hours for very cheap… However, my biggest worry is the poor range. People seem to only get 35-55 miles out of one which is terrible IMO. I wouldn’t want to fiddle around too much with jetting so I find that disheartening. Could get different needles or a lectron, but that’s more $$$ to try to make a bike run well while FI does it from the start. I’m 6’5” so not sure if it would be the best fit (would need new Fastway fitkit for it as well). However, this bike has good reviews and people seem to love em’ as they bring a lot of smiles per mile. Supposedly well-planted for a smoker and even though it’s near power, lot’s of fun. I haven’t really seen a single poor review. I found craftsmanship a bit lower than KTM but very good overall. 

One more possibility is a Beta 300rr with 65 hours on the clock for $7800. Fully kitted out, but I find it a bit pricey given it has 60 hours already. He said his gets good range now. It’s the Beta that’s better known as many have ridden it/own them. If he sold it for $7500 I’d be interested but now I can’t see justifying it when there’s a new 250rr around the corner for $800 more. Well maintained as well since I know the owner.

Will a 250 4-stroke be enough to lift the front at speed? Enough in the occasional deep sand? Would the smoker be more fun given the increase in power over the KTM? FE450 FTW? I’m at a loss and missing out on rides already so it’s tearing me apart and I’m tired of annoying friends for their input when they obviously just want me to buy one and get it over with… 

Edited by Bitteeinbit

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If it were me, I think that I would go sit on the 250 RR. I have a 2015 300 RR and love it, but I am 5'10" tall. If you are comfortable on it I would not hesitate on getting one. I have never ridden the 250, but as you said there are no bad reviews out.

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Thanks. I'm actually 6'5"! Haven't heard much about taller riders on them. Either way, given my height the Xtrainers are definitely a no-go and I was put off by Betas at first, but I tried the 350rr and it didn't feel noticeably shorter than other bikes. I sat and stood over the 250rr and it felt alright, though the seat did feel small. Well, I guess I mean teh bike felt slender. On the FE450 my legs clamp on the bottom of the frame (by the footpegs). It's weird. On the KTM they clamp on the side plastics. On my old WR by the seat...

No matter what bike I get I'll be installing fastway lowered pegs (have a kit for yamaha and ktm/husq, would need one for Beta) and risers. Can't ride without them now...

Edited by Bitteeinbit

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The seats are horrible on the Betas. A 2x4 would be a nicer ride. I tried a seat concepts tall seat, but at my height it was to tall for me to get a foot down. They make several different seats for the Betas. I would encourage looking in to one if you decide to go with the Beta. I still have that one if you would like to try it on for size. I would be happy to ship it to you.

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On 5/23/2017 at 8:23 PM, CEW1970 said:

The seats are horrible on the Betas. A 2x4 would be a nicer ride. I tried a seat concepts tall seat, but at my height it was to tall for me to get a foot down. They make several different seats for the Betas. I would encourage looking in to one if you decide to go with the Beta. I still have that one if you would like to try it on for size. I would be happy to ship it to you.

Is it standard width or wider seat? 

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