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Yamaha YZ250X vs 250FX vs. KTM 250XC

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Ladies and gents...First post and I will keep this short as possible!  I recently bought my kids (7 y/o boy and 8 y/o girl) a Honda CRF 50 to play on and they are really taking to it, especially my son.  I live on some land in West Texas and already have a decent trail layed out for them. Currently chasing them on my ATV but am now looking for a dirtbike for myself.

A little background on myself.  I am 36, 6'3" 215lbs and workout a minimum of 5 days a week.  I have been a competitive mountain biker (downhill and enduro) for the past 8 years.  I grew up riding but never racing dirtbikes, and my last bike was a 1995 Honda CR250 I had about 13 years ago!  I have had numerous street bikes since then.  I discovered that there is a nice and tame local motocross track about 15 minutes from my house and we watched a race a few weeks ago and was bitten by the bug.  We also have an amazing ranch about an hour away that has held some national level enduros with tight, super rocky trails.  Some of my coworkers ride and all have 250 or 300 2-strokes (KTM/Husky).

Now onto the bikes.  I might play/race occasionally at the local track.  I will definitely be trail riding and possible hare scramble/enduro with the guys and chasing my kids.  I also foresee some trips into the mountains of New Mexico and CO fairly frequently (currently do this with mountain bike).  I think I want to get a new bike just to keep from getting someone else's problems.  I have located a leftover 2016 Yamaha YZ250X for $6,000 within a few hours drive.  I have also found a 2016 KTM 250XC for the same price.  My other option is a Yamaha YZ250FX.  The maintenance and cost has me leaning toward a 2-stroke plus that is what I know from my CR days.  But I have to admit a modern FI 4-stroke is intriguing (and what my local shop is pushing me towards).  I feel I will pick up on riding pretty quickly, and I want something fun over outright speed, but not something I will outgrow and want to upgrade quickly. For someone of my size what would you recommend for an all-around bike?  I also am considered a KTM 300XC but 250's are much better deals and I can always convert to 300 later.  

From all my reading as far as the 2-strokes go, it seems that the KTM has the advantage of E-start, hydro clutch, wired for lights, larger gas tank and possible a better fit for a taller guy.  Yamaha is simple, bulletproof and better suspension.   Due to the MSRP on paper the 2016 KTM 250XC is the much better deal, but I am kinda digging the yamaha after reading reviews. Please HELP!!

Edited by Aaron Barr
typo

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the 250X is like riding a mountain bike.  I love mine.  2 stroke all the way.  I wrote a review I will try to post on here later of it.  You won't be dissappointed

 

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Andrew,

Thanks for the wisdom, I recently read that post.  Yours and many others are what have me strongly considering the X.  I have been smoking the internet the last couple of days reading reviews and forums.  Of course everyone loves their bikes! lol  I definitely like the idea of a playful bike that feels like a "mountain bike."  I have found myself watching hard enduro racing and really see myself enjoying technical riding and playing versus high speed racing...but who knows what the future holds.  I don't see myself doing much upgrading besides skid plate, handguards, springs for my weight and eventually tubliss (works on my mountain bikes!).  With my weight and size is there a notable difference between ktm vs yamaha?  Can I make the yammie fit me fairly easily?

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First, 250 2T vs 250 4T. At 215 pounds and riding mountains stick with the 2T or a larger 4T.

Carb vs EFI. I was a die hard 2T guy until I bought a 2012 EFI 250. Eff the carb (I haven't owned a carbureted car since '84, why should my bike have one).

KTM vs Yamaha. For the same price get the KTM. I agree that out of the box the Yamaha suspension is better, but you will need springs and a revalve for either machine. After suspension work they are still equal on price and with the KTM you get the happy button and hydraulic clutch.

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28 minutes ago, Aaron Barr said:

Andrew,

Thanks for the wisdom, I recently read that post.  Yours and many others are what have me strongly considering the X.  I have been smoking the internet the last couple of days reading reviews and forums.  Of course everyone loves their bikes! lol  I definitely like the idea of a playful bike that feels like a "mountain bike."  I have found myself watching hard enduro racing and really see myself enjoying technical riding and playing versus high speed racing...but who knows what the future holds.  I don't see myself doing much upgrading besides skid plate, handguards, springs for my weight and eventually tubliss (works on my mountain bikes!).  With my weight and size is there a notable difference between ktm vs yamaha?  Can I make the yammie fit me fairly easily?

what does hard enduro need? a low first gear (ktm has this!). YZ250X first is same as mx version. 

Edited by shrubitup

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DaveCR...definitely good points and the FI is probably the one thing making me consider a 4-stroke.  Another reason to lean to the KTM for me is that it's wired for lights.  A good friend and older gentleman who used to race at a high level now spends his time on dual-sport rides in CO and NM on a highly modded KLX.  It is fairly easy to plate a bike in TX and I could see myself riding with him as well.  I would only need it legal to get to trails...no real road time.

 

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2 minutes ago, shrubitup said:

what does hard enduro need? a low first gear (ktm has this!). YZ250X first is same as mx version. 

So the KTM has a lower first gear?  I was not aware of that and definitely a plus for tech riding.

 

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I know KTM came out with a new counter balanced motor and air fork for the '17 XC, which is probably why the screaming deal on the '16.  Is the deal on the 16 worth it or save a little more and go for the newest tech?  I want this bike to last me a long time

 

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3 minutes ago, Aaron Barr said:

I know KTM came out with a new counter balanced motor and air fork for the '17 XC, which is probably why the screaming deal on the '16.  Is the deal on the 16 worth it or save a little more and go for the newest tech?  I want this bike to last me a long time

 

get the old tech now, develop skill, pickup a 17 when the 18 comes out with FI. old tech rules and the 17 will be dumped like the 16s now.

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If I was the dealer I'd be trying to sell you the 250fx for sure, please come buy some titanium valves and top end components every year:goofy:

semi kidding. All those are great choices. Got $$? 250fx may work.

i cast my vote for Ktm 2t and then the yz250x. Both are mostly tied for me. Ktm gets a slight edge, but Yamaha may be a bit tamer, and cheaper to own. Go with either:thumbsup:

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I have all but ruled out a 4-stroke.  I am leaning heavily toward the KTM right now, it just seems like more bike for the money with the prices being equal.  Thank you all for your input and I will let you know when I decide with my wallet.  Now to get the final approval from the "boss":ride:

 

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First off.  Check the actual gear ratios for the XC.  My rough understanding is the XC has a semi close ratio transmission for 1-4 (e.g. in my mind it will be like a MX transmission where you are shifting alot in 1-4 and cant go slow in 1st gear).  Fifth and Sixth are like the XCW transmission to my understanding.  I would recommend looking at actual facts.  Get the ratio for each gear on XC vs. XCW, get the primary reduction ratio and then get the front/rear sprocket ratio.  You can literally calculate the RPM/speed for each gear and then sort through the facts. 

The YZ250X has the five speed wide ratio with a slow first gear and a tall 5th gear.  The Yami 5 speed WR transmission is just fine for a 450 4T....dont know about a 2 stroke.  It think so, but never ridden one.

The lighting thing can be a big deal.  Having a plated bike to get from trail to trail is very helpful here in Colorado.  Elec start is also nice to have (not required but all other things being equal gives an advantage to the KTM).

Are you saying you can get the KTM250 XC for the same price as the YZ250X?  If so, that might be worth it if you work through the transmission gearing question.  What about a KTM 250 XC-W what kind of price can you get on that?  That would be a better choice for riding mountains in NM and CO.

 

P.S.  I think a 250 2t will be just fine in TX.  A 300 2T is preferred up here in Colorado, because they run out of power above treeline (just like humans do - since you have done MTB up here).  That is why you see so many KTM 300s up here. Can you get by with the 250....sure especially since you arent living here and doing all your riding at high altitude.  Good luck with your decision.  You seem like you are on the right track and taking a very detailed approach.

Edited by SilvFx
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12 hours ago, RawbW said:

If I was the dealer I'd be trying to sell you the 250fx for sure, please come buy some titanium valves and top end components every year:goofy:

semi kidding. All those are great choices. Got $$? 250fx may work.

i cast my vote for Ktm 2t and then the yz250x. Both are mostly tied for me. Ktm gets a slight edge, but Yamaha may be a bit tamer, and cheaper to own. Go with either:thumbsup:

The 250FX is every bit as reliable as anything else out there... The BS is strong with you... 

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@Monk

i wouldn't call 250f's unreliable, it was more frequent maintenance with higher costs, in MY experience. Mine never left me stranded, it was needing to buy titanium valves that killed me, and the machine work with it.It wasn't a 250FX though, so il let you rule the court on that one.

Also, I said semi-kidding so don't take that statement fully to heart

a 250 2t top end will carry me for either the same amount of time or longer, at a cheaper price.

Edited by RawbW
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3 minutes ago, RawbW said:

@Monk

i wouldn't call 250f's unreliable, it was more frequent maintenance with higher costs, in MY experience. Mine never left me stranded, it was needing to buy titanium valves that killed me, and the machine work with it.It wasn't a 250FX though, so il let you rule the court on that one.

Also, I said semi-kidding so don't take that statement fully to heart

I've been a 4t guy for a very long time, with high recorded hours. I haven't had half the issues (or any issues really) that people make mention of. That all being said, I take the time to perform preventative maintenance, use quality products, etc etc... Looking back over the years, I've probably accumulated 2-2500+hrs over the last 8yrs... Some training, some racing, some riding... I can't recall a single major failure. I've drowned bikes, swamped them and raced from the dusty of the dusty to the muddiest of the muddy. Every single time my bikes have made it home. I really think the 250FX is a gold standard as it kinda does everything really well and offers a fairly cheap buy in vs a KTM. The big stator, 6spd, both e-start and kick, good power and suspension, etc etc make it a very capable yet over-looked bike. I've been a heavier guy at well over 200+lbs and now I sit under that mark, the 250FX never cried...

I look at those earlier KTMs with the 4cs and just cringe. Maybe for the average guy its good enough (and the best you know is the best you ridden) but once you get moving your asking to get hurt or spend money...

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First off.  Check the actual gear ratios for the XC.  My rough understanding is the XC has a semi close ratio transmission for 1-4 (e.g. in my mind it will be like a MX transmission where you are shifting alot in 1-4 and cant go slow in 1st gear).  Fifth and Sixth are like the XCW transmission to my understanding.  I would recommend looking at actual facts.  Get the ratio for each gear on XC vs. XCW, get the primary reduction ratio and then get the front/rear sprocket ratio.  You can literally calculate the RPM/speed for each gear and then sort through the facts. 
The YZ250X has the five speed wide ratio with a slow first gear and a tall 5th gear.  The Yami 5 speed WR transmission is just fine for a 450 4T....dont know about a 2 stroke.  It think so, but never ridden one.
The lighting thing can be a big deal.  Having a plated bike to get from trail to trail is very helpful here in Colorado.  Elec start is also nice to have (not required but all other things being equal gives an advantage to the KTM).
Are you saying you can get the KTM250 XC for the same price as the YZ250X?  If so, that might be worth it if you work through the transmission gearing question.  What about a KTM 250 XC-W what kind of price can you get on that?  That would be a better choice for riding mountains in NM and CO.
 
P.S.  I think a 250 2t will be just fine in TX.  A 300 2T is preferred up here in Colorado, because they run out of power above treeline (just like humans do - since you have done MTB up here).  That is why you see so many KTM 300s up here. Can you get by with the 250....sure especially since you arent living here and doing all your riding at high altitude.  Good luck with your decision.  You seem like you are on the right track and taking a very detailed approach.

Yz250X gears 1 and 2 are identical to the yz250 motocross version. These aren't copied from the wr450f.

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@Monk

admittedly I've had bad luck with bikes that have been the years to have "bad" ti valves and stuff, so my experience is worse than the norm I think. But no bike has left me stranded or actually broken down(knock on wood). My 450f has been great in reliability and maintenance, and I know that they need to be taken care of. It hasn't needed any engine components yet, and has a good amount of hours. 

I will say I think Yamaha makes the most durable four strokes today that perform well(waiting for a Honda fan to bust in now). Especially on 250f's. I'm sure the 250fx is an absolutely great machine

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