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Hello Newbie/Advrider BIG bike want a dirt bike, your opinion please..

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Hello everyone, This is my first post/topic to this forum. I am looking to get a dirt bike, a smaller, lighter bike. Trying to decide between 250 350 or 500

Me:140lbs, 5'7" 

My experience with off-road were mainly big bikes. 3 years on F800GSA and now R1200GSA, I ride them well on most trails. The 800 is gone, was a bit top heavy, last year I did a dual sport ride SheetIron300 in Mendocino Mountain and it was very hard(everyone else was on 500 or smaller KTM). I did the similar route on the 1200 last month and it was much more pleasant. I can definitely muscle with the big bikes and had done several classes. I rode DR650 in S.America for a week and love it, but I think DR650 is also a heavy bike.

Why I want a dirt bike? I want to be able to trail it on my 4Runner to Baja or Death Valley. I also think it will help me improve my riding skill. There are lots of dirt biking trails around here, and I want to be able to hitch it on my truck go ride the trail. (I need to put airbag to my truck but that's easy)

Did I consult my dirt bike friends? Yes, two of them, one said 250(he think I will have more fun doing single track, I rode his 450 and love it) and one said 500(he think I will hate the 250 on the road leading to trail, I rode his 500 and love it), they both have all the bikes :|

I am leaning toward 500 because sometime I will ride on the road, like Death Valley and I don't want to buzz out with 250 or 350. I fear I will out grown the 250 and want bigger. I am a fast learner and really enjoy riding off-road. For a 3-4 days weekend I want to be able to trail the bike to Tahoe or High Sierra instead of riding my 1200 there.

I hope anyone can provide their insight to this newbie to dirt bike. I like to hear more opinion. say so if I shouldn't get a dirt bike too haha.

Thank you! below is my big bike, my only bike.



Edited by puckitpuck

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I will caution you that these KTMs (250, 350, 450 or 500) are race bikes and have race bike maintenance schedules.  I plated mine so I can connect trails legally.  But I'd never pound street miles on them when they have 15 hour oil changes and 45 hour piston replacement.  Sure if they are ridden gently those can be pushed out but they are still very maintenance heavy compared to true dual sport bikes which call for oil changes less often than a high performance bike calls for a piston replacement.  

I bring it up because there was s guy that bought a KTM 500 and used it as a daily commuter.  In less than a year the motor grenaded  and he came here complaining that KTM sucked, it shouldn't be sold as a street legal bike if it requires all the maintenance, blah, blah, blah.  So I just wanted you to be aware since you come from a dual sport background.  Also anything geared to be really good in the dirt is going to be buzzy on the road regardless of displacement.  

As far as which one you should buy?  That's personal preference. You should get one of the off-road oriented models (XC-F, XCF-W) and not an MX model (SX).  I have a 350XCF-W and love it.  

If you plan for it to primarily be used in the dirt, if you want to go with a really pure dirt bike, look at a two-stroke 300 XC-W or XC.  That's the pinnacle of pure off-road bikes.  I love my 350 but there will be a 300 in my garage at some point.


Edited by Doc_d
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I owned a 800gsa now a r1200gs and am the same height. All I can say is if you can ride either of those beast's on anything other than a dirt road your good. 

Just get the 500 if it's a little too tall maybe cut the seat down or get a low seat. They are all tall however it will feel weightless and likely may make you stop taking the big monster in the dirt. 

Edited by stevethe
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Thanks Doc and Steve! There's ain't gonna be a bike that do it all. I wish could have em all, but for now I think I could manage and grow into the 500. Several dealers near me having a huge sale on the Husky 501.

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