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Bikes for short rider 5'3"

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I've done a little research, but I wanted to clear few things up before I made a purchase.  I'm 5'3" and have not ridden dirt bikes for about a decade, although I do have experience on street bikes since then.  I have ridden a Ninja 250/500 and GSXR 600.  I can tip toe on a the 600 GSXR and the tallest dirtbike I think I'd be comfortable on is ~34in seat height. 

I'm mainly buying to ride around with my son who is on a PW50 and will be graduating up to something bigger probably by the end of the year.  Reliability is paramount because I do not want to be working on my bike, I want to be out riding with my son. 

So, that puts me smack dab on a TTR230 or CRF230 seat height wise.  However, power wise I think a 125cc 2-stroke or 250F would be right up my alley.  The 3-5in seat height difference (seems KTM's are about 39in?) is a major barrier though since I plan on riding technical trails that I really want to put my feet down on.  

What is my best bet here?  I see a lot of people modify these 230's.  What type of bike does these compare to when full modded with high compression pistons and opened up air boxes, etc.?   Am I still gonna get blown away by kids on 85cc/100cc race bikes? 

Would I be better off getting a KX100 or trying to lower a 125/250F 4 inches? 

All insight is appreciated.  I'm looking for reliable, but I'm an aggressive rider so I want a little bit a power on tap. 

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I am about 4'8" almost 5 and ride an rm250 2 stroke, my father splurged on a replacement for the dog bones under the bike, that you can lower the bike from stock to taller or even 4 inches lower. give me a second for me to try and find a link.

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I am about 4'8" almost 5 and ride an rm250 2 stroke, my father splurged on a replacement for the dog bones under the bike, that you can lower the bike from stock to taller or even 4 inches lower. give me a second for me to try and find a link.

all you need to do is loosen 2 bolts and done, and you can put it lower or higher for more comfort.

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I lowered my KDX 200 to 33" down from 36". I lowered the forks, installed lowering links and made a custom gel/neoprene seat with a flat aluminum sheet metal base. I removed the brace under the seat and moved electronics to make seat fit flat on the frame. I use a Maxxis IT rear tire that is lower in height than other tires I have been using.

With the lowering links my tire is hitting the fender on big jumps.

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I lowered my KDX 200 to 33" down from 36". I lowered the forks, installed lowering links and made a custom gel/neoprene seat with a flat aluminum sheet metal base. I removed the brace under the seat and moved electronics to make seat fit flat on the frame. I use a Maxxis IT rear tire that is lower in height than other tires I have been using.
With the lowering links my tire is hitting the fender on big jumps.

For me I used http://soupysperformance.com/lowering-links.html and that lowered my 250 which is about 37 inches seat height all the way down to 33, and also with adjustable links so while I grow (because I'm only 13 years old) I can raise it back to 37 inches

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Thanks for the link to the lowering links.  I'll definitely keep that in mind should I choose a bike that needs them. 

 

 

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Thanks for the link to the lowering links.  I'll definitely keep that in mind should I choose a bike that needs them. 
 
 

of course! Have fun!

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On 6/26/2017 at 11:39 AM, beastykato said:

I've done a little research, but I wanted to clear few things up before I made a purchase.  I'm 5'3" and have not ridden dirt bikes for about a decade, although I do have experience on street bikes since then.  I have ridden a Ninja 250/500 and GSXR 600.  I can tip toe on a the 600 GSXR and the tallest dirtbike I think I'd be comfortable on is ~34in seat height. 

I'm mainly buying to ride around with my son who is on a PW50 and will be graduating up to something bigger probably by the end of the year.  Reliability is paramount because I do not want to be working on my bike, I want to be out riding with my son. 

So, that puts me smack dab on a TTR230 or CRF230 seat height wise.  However, power wise I think a 125cc 2-stroke or 250F would be right up my alley.  The 3-5in seat height difference (seems KTM's are about 39in?) is a major barrier though since I plan on riding technical trails that I really want to put my feet down on.  

What is my best bet here?  I see a lot of people modify these 230's.  What type of bike does these compare to when full modded with high compression pistons and opened up air boxes, etc.?   Am I still gonna get blown away by kids on 85cc/100cc race bikes? 

Would I be better off getting a KX100 or trying to lower a 125/250F 4 inches? 

All insight is appreciated.  I'm looking for reliable, but I'm an aggressive rider so I want a little bit a power on tap. 

5'6" all I did was cut the seat on my yz125. Not only did it help my feet touch but I feel like I'm "in" the bike more as well instead of being on top of it. I want to say the seat height is 35" or 36" maybe?

Not aware of your fabrication skills but I read once that they used to lower Carmichaels subframe to help his feet touch. But there's a lot of potential for error there and I'm not sure what the affect on the air boot would be. It might end up rubbing the rear shock.

i think if you just wanna gas her up and go the TTR or CRF would make you feel fine. You and JR would spend less time waiting on you to jet it right and mix the gas and whatnot. 

Edited by 505 YZ125
Didn't mean to quote the other post

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Don't buy a high-strung, prone to overheat, overly stiff suspension MX race bike to follow a kid around while learning & trail riding.

If/when you son graduates to MX track riding, then buy an MX bike if yourself are also interested in track riding.

 

There are easy mods to un-cork a CRF230F, but it's limitations are rather the suspension and it's relatively heavy weight.

I wouldn't invest much in modifying one, the same amounts are better put aside for a more performance oriented bike if ever future needs be.

If extreme reliability, bulletproofness, ease and simplicity of maintenance are important to you, a CRF230F is your best bet.

Skip the mods, spend more time riding than wrenching, IMO stock bikes are easier to sell when it's time to upgrade.

 

At 5'3" and depending on your son's age, a Kawasaki KLX140L  (19"/16" wheels) could make a nice 'hand me down' bike when he's ready, 

plus the excuse to get a newer bike for yourself.

 

Street bike experience doesn't transfer much on dirt, you'll quickly realize that even a 140-230cc recreational bike can

be a handful in tricky off-camber & technical situations etc. where you can barely tip-toe to one side.

 

 

Edited by mlatour
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Buy a ttr230 or crf230 for 1500-2500 use it for a year or so and and sell it for the same u bought it for. Only thing working on it should be oil change airfilter and anything that breaks. Then buy yourself and your son "new" bikes. Good luck. U will still have fun on a 230 

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I would also recommend getting one of the 230's.  I came from street bikes also, I had a ninja 250, 500 and had a ZZR600 until I crashed it.  I got myself a used crf230 for a great price and it has been a lot of fun.  It has plenty of power for me (where I am just learning to ride on dirt) and I can't see myself getting bored with it anytime soon.  The great thing is like others have mentioned, when/if you want to get a different bike you should be able to sell the 230 for the same price you paid for it.   They seem to hold their value well.  Good luck with whatever you choose!

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Can't imagine a lower risk investment in the bike world than the crf 230. I'm nearly a foot taller and with tall bars can ride the wheels off a 230. Cheap mods too if you decide to stay with it.

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I have a 08 yz85 in the stable and it will give them all a run for their money if it gets to choose the finish. and its been very reliable im 6ft and 270lbs and it will spin the rear wheel all the way through the gears. When I ride with the kids I ride my xl600r because it will put put put at a walking speed. I have a rm125 and the two stroke constantly challenges you to get on it.  I would recommend a four stroke. The 230 would do all the things the 600 will except turning into a dirt shovel when you wack the throttle open. if i had a 230 to ride i would probably take that out instead of the heavy 600. 

Edited by Michael Grappin

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Thanks for all the replies!  I'm definitely gonna go with a 230.  It just makes much more sense since I will be following kids around on it often. 

I am ok with buying used, but hell the good condition bikes in my area are 2500+ still and even bike 10 years old are asking for 2000.  Messaged a few people offering $1600 for them and no one wants to budge on the nice ones. 

Does anyone know good OTD prices on new ones?  I can't get ahold of a dealer with a CRF230 in stock, but a couple TTR230 dealers quoted me $4300 OTD and $4000 OTD.  If I can get a new one for $3600OTD  I'd take it over a 5 year old bike for $3000, but I don't know what a fair expectation is to look for at the dealer.  Any insight? 

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The crf230's go for $1500-2000 in my area if they are in good condition no matter the year.  I have seen ttr230's sell for as low as $1300 in excellent condition but I'm not sure of the circumstances, maybe someone needed some quick cash?   A buddy of mine was recently trying to buy a used crf50 for his son but everybody wanted new prices for their used crf50's!  Just a tip but a seller will be much more likely to take less money if you're standing in front of him/her with cash in hand.  It also helps to look at the bike in person so you can point out all the negatives to the seller.:rolleyes:

Have you tried a wanted ad on facebook or craigslist?  

Edited by jjmaine

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Yep, I've been making offers all over facebook.  I found one decent CRF230 here:  https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1895093854062914 .  

They want $2200, but agreed to $1800 over Facebook.  It's apparently a 2005 with title and it looks stock.  

 

I went and sat on some bikes today.  I could get my leg over a WR250, but it was very uncomfortable and couldn't really get my ass on the seat.  On the TTR230 I was tip toe and it's rear spring felt very hard and stiff and it didn't sag much at all when I sat on it.  It also felt very heavy.  I sat on the KX100 as well and it felt the best and its seat sag'd quite a bit and it's rear suspension felt soft and plush.   The extra sag helped me touch closer to the balls of my feet and it felt like a feather compared to the 230.  I didn't like the small wheels on it though and it's a two stroke that would be difficult to putt around on.  

Is it normal for the TTR230 rear suspension to feel so stiff?  I was actually quite surprised that the KX100 sagged so much with me on it.  I'm 64kg or 140lbs. 

Edited by beastykato

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The TT has less travel than the KX. You can't judge suspension by sitting on it. Hits that will bottom the TT out hardly will go unnoticed on the KX.

If you have the funds I recommended the Beta Xtrainer. It will idle along all day long chasing your kids but will be much more exciting than the over grown 230 play bikes when you decide to open it up.

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Trust me the Beta and the KTM Freeride are both very appealing, I'd love to have one of either!  I have to budget my funds between 4 rides for myself, the girlfriend, my son and her daughter.  

I know the suspension feel thru the stroke will be different, but I was just surprised the TTR-230 didn't sag at all with me on it.  Perhaps it just wasn't set up properly? 

 

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