Jump to content

Beginner looking for trail bike advice

Recommended Posts

I've ridden a couple dirtbikes before as a teen but haven't been on one in probably 10 years, and probably have less than 20 hours on bikes in total. I have however been riding sleds, jet skis, quads do I'm not a total newb to the motorsports world. I'm trying to downsize my hobbies and traded my sled for a 2005 yz250 thinking it would be easier to sell and take up less garage space in the meantime, but now that I have it in tempted to try and get into bikes. I'm kinda over quadding cause 2 hours with a pressure washer and picking grass out of axles after every ride gets really old. My only concern is that this yz is going to kill me. I've never really liked twist throttles(seem too easy to whisky throttle compared to thumb throttle) and I feel like a 250 2 stroke is probably too much for a beginner. Who knows I might like the yz after I try it but just out of curiosity what other bikes would you guys recommend? I'm kinda partial to the ease of maintenance on 2 strokes, I'm 5'8" 170lbs and would be riding trails in northern alberta. In my head I like the 150xcw but know I won't spend the coin for a new bike if I'm just dipping my toes into this new sport.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Put a 13oz FWW on it, and retard the timing a couple degrees should calm the power down a bit on the YZ. The other thing that usually needs attention is the suspension. MX bikes in the woods can be a handful due to the valving being set up for landing 60 foot doubles rather than negotiating wet roots and rocks without hitting a tree. As for other bikes, there's not much better in the way of a 2 stroke in the woods than a YZ250, unless you go with a newer e-start (huge thing there), KTM, Husky, Beta, etc.. Those aren't for the feint of checkbook though. Your other doable woods options are in the 4 stroke segment in the form of the WR250F or the CRF250X. E-start, woods suspension, smooth, calm running motors. And they usually don't require too much in upkeep.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Put a 13oz FWW on it, and retard the timing a couple degrees should calm the power down a bit on the YZ. The other thing that usually needs attention is the suspension. MX bikes in the woods can be a handful due to the valving being set up for landing 60 foot doubles rather than negotiating wet roots and rocks without hitting a tree. As for other bikes, there's not much better in the way of a 2 stroke in the woods than a YZ250, unless you go with a newer e-start (huge thing there), KTM, Husky, Beta, etc.. Those aren't for the feint of checkbook though. Your other doable woods options are in the 4 stroke segment in the form of the WR250F or the CRF250X. E-start, woods suspension, smooth, calm running motors. And they usually don't require too much in upkeep.

 

 

Thanks for the advice. You think it's worth it for me to just keep the yz? I don't ever really plan on going fast, and I can barely touch my tippy toes on the ground on the yz and that's just wearing normal shoes in the garage. I think with boots I'll be unable to touch at all with the bike vertical because of reduced ankle flex. Maybe I will just keep it and try it instead of trading it right away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Albertasledder said:

 

 


Thanks for the advice. You think it's worth it for me to just keep the yz? I don't ever really plan on going fast, and I can barely touch my tippy toes on the ground on the yz and that's justveearing normal shoes in the garage. I think with boots I'll be unable to touch at all with the bike vertical because of reduced ankle flex. Maybe I will just keep it and try it instead of trading it right away.

 

 

YZ250 is a great all around bike. Woods today, hit the track tomorrow type thing. It is kind of jumping in on the deep end, but unless you drop back to something like a TTR 230, everything is going to have pretty much the same learning curve. And if you did go to a smaller bike, within a few months you would be ready to move back up to the YZ, so I would recommend giving it a chance for a while at least, see how it goes. The 150XCW you mentioned is also a great little bike, but the reviews I've read on it state that it is a lot like a 125 in that it has to be kept on the pipe to get anything out of it, i.e.. "grip it and rip it". YZ250 with a heavy FWW will lug better than a 4 stroke, and said FWW will kill some of the hit when the revs come up (I have an 11 oz weight on mine). But, make no mistake, the power is still there when you want it. The only thing meaner than a YZ250 in the woods is a 450. Seat height is going to be the same on any full size bike, you'll get used to it pretty quick. Give it a shot, once you start getting the hang of it, they're an endless grin. :thumbsup:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm 5'8".  I bought a KTM 350 XCF-W which is probably one of the tallest, if not the tallest, common dirt bikes out there because of it's linkageless PDS rear suspension.  I also could only tip toe on each side which made me a bit nervous.  Trust me, you'll get used to it.  I'm super comfortable on it now.  Don't do anything weird like try to lower it until you get some seat time in.

The biggest thing is to just get seat time.  Some tips I can give you are to keep one foot on the peg, shift your butt towards the other side and put that other foot down.  Flat footing on one side is often much better than tip toeing  on two sides.  Practice getting on and off the bike from both sides.  Start in your driveway and then move up to varied terrain like hills, off cambers, etc.  Yes you might accidentally drop the bike a couple times when you start out.  That's not the end of the world.  Don't not try because you are afraid of dropping it.  You'll be amazed how confident and good you get if you just try and practice.

I started riding trials after I got my KTM.  I can now ride very slowly and even come to a complete stop and balance stationary without putting my feet down.  That's another huge help.  You don't have to ride trials or learn of to balance at a complete stop.  But if you practice riding very very slowly in a wide range of terrain it will help all your riding but really give you extra confidence if you're in a situation where you can't easily get your foot down.  And when I say practice riding slowly, I'm talking snail slow.  So slow that you have to be slipping the clutch at idle.  Like 1 MPH or less.

Believe it or not I think there is an advantage being short.  You are forced to learn to ride on the pegs and not paddle through ever little minor thing.  I see s lot of taller guys sitting on the seat paddling up every hill that has rocks, roots, etc.  Since we never had that option from the start, we never developed that bad habit.  We have to be on the pegs and off the seat which is the right way to do it.

Doc

 

Edited by Doc_d
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Doc_d said:

Yes you might accidentally drop the bike a couple times when you start out.  That's not the end of the world.  Don't not try because you are afraid of dropping it.

 

Lol, I've been riding woods for 15 years, still have to pick my bike up a time or two every ride.. :lol:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can beg, borrow or steal some seat time on a mild trail bike like a TTR230, CRF230 or heck even a CRF150F that would go a long way towards shortening your learning curve on the YZ250.

Besides a flywheel weight to tame that motor down,  I believe there are aftermarket throttle tubes available for the YZ that change the ratio of how much throttle cable gets pulled for a given amount of throttle tube twist.  That can be helpful for a beginner.

Whiskey throttle is a very real thing that often bites beginners.  The handle bars are not for hanging on to the bike.  If you use the handle bars to hold yourself on the bike, you are at a high risk of having a whiskey throttle event besides the fact you'll suffer massive arm fatigue.  You should have a light grip on the bars.  You should be shifting your weight in anticipation of accelerating or decelerating.  You should be using your ab muscles to keep yourself in position.  That'll go a long way to keep you from experiencing a whiskey throttle.  The other defense against whiskey throttle is to always be covering the clutch with at least one finger.  If you do find your weight shift backwards and you are pulling on the throttle just instantly pull that clutch.

 

Just take it very easy when you start out.  Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Doc

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might want to try a lower seat.  You can cut the foam down and re-staple the seat cover back on (or get a new cover).

 

I have a 13 KTM 350XCF-W.  I had the suspension lowered/revalved and added the low seat.  Makes riding single track easier for me.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rode it for the first time yesterday, took it very easy just putting down a few trails and messing around in a field. My flywheel weight just came in, I'm excited to install it but honestly he bike wasn't as bad as I was expecting it. The height and twist throttle will take some getting used to, but it's nice to be pushing out of my comfort zone and learning new skills.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

albertasledder ,

if you want to make the bike easier to ride you need to dive into some carb tuning

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm 5'8".  I bought a KTM 350 XCF-W which is probably one of the tallest, if not the tallest, common dirt bikes out there because of it's linkageless PDS rear suspension.  I also could only tip toe on each side which made me a bit nervous.  Trust me, you'll get used to it.  I'm super comfortable on it now.  Don't do anything weird like try to lower it until you get some seat time in. The biggest thing is to just get seat time.  Some tips I can give you are to keep one foot on the peg, shift your butt towards the other side and put that other foot down.  Flat footing on one side is often much better than tip toeing  on two sides.  Practice getting on and off the bike from both sides.  Start in your driveway and then move up to varied terrain like hills, off cambers, etc.  Yes you might accidentally drop the bike a couple times when you start out.  That's not the end of the world.  Don't not try because you are afraid of dropping it.  You'll be amazed how confident and good you get if you just try and practice.

I started riding trials after I got my KTM.  I can now ride very slowly and even come to a complete stop and balance stationary without putting my feet down.  That's another huge help.  You don't have to ride trials or learn of to balance at a complete stop.  But if you practice riding very very slowly in a wide range of terrain it will help all your riding but really give you extra confidence if you're in a situation where you can't easily get your foot down.  And when I say practice riding slowly, I'm talking snail slow.  So slow that you have to be slipping the clutch at idle.  Like 1 MPH or less.

Believe it or not I think there is an advantage being short.  You are forced to learn to ride on the pegs and not paddle through ever little minor thing.  I see s lot of taller guys sitting on the seat paddling up every hill that has rocks, roots, etc.  Since we never had that option from the start, we never developed that bad habit.  We have to be on the pegs and off the seat which is the right way to do it.

Doc

 

 

 

All this^^^

 

Although I take issue with the "weird" comment for lowering it! Lol nah just kidding. I'm a freak with 28" inseam, so lowering was an absolute necessity for my riding style.

 

OP listen to Doc's post. And if I might reiterate, learn to ride standing with your feet on the pegs! I mean, to the point where your prefer to stand. As Doc pointed out, it will help you tremendously. I watch tall guys who try to paddle up rocky stuff, and are barely in control of their bikes, the suspension bouncing their butts off the seat and they appear to be hanging on for dear life. You can dab a foot just as easily from a standing position as you can from a seated position. You'll keep better traction on the rear tire, and will be able to absorb much larger obstacles.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:


×