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Haven't ridden a dirtbike in about 10 years. Moved to Colorado two years ago and get a quarter chub every time I see dudes ripping through the campgrounds. I took a look at a 05 CRF 450 for 3 down the street from my house at the Honda dealership and wanted to pull the trigger. I have a few questions I was hoping someone could help out with.


How do you feel about a CRF 450 mx bike on Colorado trails vs a 450x? Will I have to lower the gears on the mx bike to cope with mountain trails? I've always known mx bikes to be a little bit more work than a typical trail bike, is this still the case? Will I be rebuilding the top/bottom ends every winter on an mx bike that old?


I've always been a Honda guy for reliability, but whats with all the KTMs in Colorado? The 500 EXC looks sick, but 11k price tag is a no go from me. What's your favorite trail bike for Colorado trails? In terms of price I could probably go up to 5k, but would prefer to stay around 3k. I was hoping to keep shopping the market, what are the chances of me finding an old fart selling his 450x/wr450 trail bike that barley leaves the garage? Should I wait until winter to buy?

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In my opinion, don't buy an MX bike for the woods.  Buy a woods bike.  MX bikes have tall first gears and then the other gears are very close.  Enduro bikes have wire ratio gear boxes often with a low first gear for tackling the slow technical stuff.  The 18" rear wheel on the Enduro bikes has a tire that has more sidewall and volume that results in better fractions over rocks, roots, etc.  The Enduro bikes have suspension that will go over the roots and rocks without deflecting.  The MX suspension is made to land 60 foot triples and will have you bouncing from one side of the trail to the other going down a steep gnarly, rooted, rocky hill for example.  MX bikes weren't designed to be ridden slowly and can overheat in the slow stuff.  Enduro bikes often have  e-start.  Kicking a 450 4 stroke when you stall in steep awkward terrain when you are tired after a long hard ride sucks.  MX bikes have small gas tanks although this is less of an issue with 4-strokes than it was with 2-strokes.

Look for Yamaha WR250F, WR450F, YZ250FX, YZ450FX, KTM 250 / 350 / 450 / 500 XCF-W or EXCs.  The Honda CRF250X and CRF450X really weren't at the same level.  Honda didn't update those bikes for a long, long time.  They aren't horrible but they definitely weren't on the same level as the Yamaha and KTMs.  If you're into two strokes the KTM XC-Ws are pretty much the gold standard.

You asked why there are so many KTMs in Colorado?  First it's not just Colorado.  It's a sea of orange here in Michigan too.  The bottom line is they were the first to put together a really great woods bike package that included light weight bikes with suspension oriented towards rocks and roots instead of huge jumps, electric start, , bigger gas tanks, hydraulic clutch, 18" rear wheel and wide ratio 6 speed gear boxes.  There are other companies now putting together similar packages but KTM still has a pretty loyal following because they were the first to really embrace building enduro bikes.

Doc

 

 

Edited by Doc_d
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Couple things...dudes that rip through campgrounds on bikes are a**holes.

MX bikes are crappy for trail riding.  I believe the 05 CRF450R is a four speed tranny...even worse.

I too like Honda reliability....but for motorcycles, Hondas have had some valve recession problems on their four stroke motors.  The widely held opinion is that Yamaha offers the most reliability.

Shop in winter.  I picked up an '07 WR450F about 3 years ago for $2950 during early Feb (low hours likely less than 40 hours)..  Picked up a '06 KDX200 on New Years Eve a couple years ago for $1800.  Had literally 84 miles on trip meter and owner didnt know it could be reset.  Start shopping in October and look for bargains through early March.

What's up with all the KTMs in Colorado?  Well, as you see everybody bailed out of the offroad/enduro market except KTM.  Until some recent FX models from Yamaha and then Honda, both these manufacturers had literally two models each (CRF250X/450X and WR250F/450F).  Suzuki didnt even offer one (well sorta...the had the RMX-450Z which had some troubles).  Kawi offered two KLX300R/450R....discontinued after a couple years.  None of the Japanese manufacturers had an enduro 2 stroke offering until the YZ250X and it is less well equipped than the KTMs/Huskys/Betas.

KTM/Husky on the other hand offers two strokes and 4 strokes in 3 flavors (XCW = enduro; XC = Cross Country Hare Scramble [hybrid of Enduro and MX]; SX = motocross) and they offer in multitudes of displacement from 125 up to 701.  That is why you see them everywhere.  And they are pricey new and pricey on used market and they generally get ridden by enthusiasts, so there are fewer (as a %) of creampuffs to be found compared to other bikes.

The quintessential Colorado offroad bike is probably a KTM 300 XC/XCW.  At your $3K budget, I would look for '07-09 WR450F.  And, yes you can find them that havent been abused.  I dont see nearly as many CRF450Xs for sale, but look for those.  Also in your price range, look for KLX450Rs.  They made them in '07 and '08.  Good bikes.  Very similar to WR450F's.  Deals can be had because the discontinued the enduro model.

Good luck with your search.  You ask good questions.  Hope my answers dont come across as flippant.

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Thanks for the great information! From what I'm reading I should be looking for a WR 250/450 or XCW 250/350/450(Not interested in 2 strokes)? I should mention I'm 6'4 so a taller seat height is desired.  The main question I have is in regards to engine size. I live about 30 minutes from the trails (Rampart Range), should I be looking for a bike with a bigger engine to take on the highway there and get plated?  Was looking at the XR 650L in particular, just looks heavy as hell. I'm thinking I may be fine with a 250/350 KTM which leads me to my next question.  

What's the maintenance like on KTMs vs the Yamaha?  I tend to abuse my bikes, and the meticulous care required with MX bikes in the past has annoyed me.  Will I have to change the oil/air filter after every ride with these bikes?  Do KTMs on average last longer than Yamaha? What would you ride in my shoes?  I'm comfortable spending more for a KTM if the resale will be higher than the WR.

Thanks for all the info, been posting this all over reddit for weeks and getting SHIT responses. I'm very thankful I found this forum. 

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Bikes like the KTM XCF-W and Yamaha WRF are high performance bike with high performance bike maintenance schedules.  Miy KTM 350 XCF-W is plated but only so I can stay legal connecting trails, running into town during a ride to get gas or lunch, etc.. It's also geared for serious competitive riding in the dirt which means it wouldn't be much fun at highway speeds.  You can look up the maintenance schedules but for me, I would only trailer these bikes to the trail head unless the trailhead was just done the road a mile or two.

I did just pick up a Suzuki DR-Z 400S which is a nice compromise between low maintenance, on road functionality and dirt capability.  To put it into perspective the DRZ requires an oil change every 3,500 miles and it's first valve check st 15,000 miles.  My KTM in that same 3,500 miles would require 10 oil changes, 3 valve checks and 2 piston replacements.  

The DRZ isn't a light fast race bike though.  But if you are going through easier trails, fire roads, two tracks, etc at a slower pace it's something to consider if you want to ride it around town and to the trail head and not worry about maintenance.  If you look in the DR-Z forum I just started a thread about how many miles people have on their DR-Zs... You'll see that these bikes can go 30,000+ miles without internal engine work.

Doc

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Bikes like the KTM XCF-W and Yamaha WRF are high performance bike with high performance bike maintenance schedules.  Miy KTM 350 XCF-W is plated but only so I can stay legal connecting trails, running into town during a ride to get gas or lunch, etc.. It's also geared for serious competitive riding in the dirt which means it wouldn't be much fun at highway speeds.  You can look up the maintenance schedules but for me, I would only trailer these bikes to the trail head unless the trailhead was just done the road a mile or two.
I did just pick up a Suzuki DR-Z 400S which is a nice compromise between low maintenance, on road functionality and dirt capability.  To put it into perspective the DRZ requires an oil change every 3,500 miles and it's first valve check st 15,000 miles.  My KTM in that same 3,500 miles would require 10 oil changes, 3 valve checks and 2 piston replacements.  
The DRZ isn't a light fast race bike though.  But if you are going through easier trails, fire roads, two tracks, etc at a slower pace it's something to consider if you want to ride it around town and to the trail head and not worry about maintenance.  If you look in the DR-Z forum I just started a thread about how many miles people have on their DR-Zs... You'll see that these bikes can go 30,000+ miles without internal engine work.
Doc

Hey doc, change your drz oil more often than that. Mine gets pretty dirty by 1k.

Sent from my SM-G935V using ThumperTalk mobile app

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Doc_d has good advice above.  I wouldnt ride even to Rampart (and I am about 30 mins away as well).  Get a small trailer or hitch rack.  You will save yourself lots of energy as well and if you have mechanical damage or problem on the trail you only have to get back to the car/trailer...not limp all the way home.

XR650L is a pig.  wouldnt even consider it for trail use.  Used to ride with a guy that had an XR600R that was plated.  He was a big guy but would wear out faster than us because he was dealing with so much weight.  He sold that and got a KLX450R....and then sold that and bought an ATV.

As Doc_d noted above the 4 stroke KTMs are are XC-F, XCF-W and SX-F.  For what its worth, you aren't going to be able to get any of those in decent shape for $3K.  Probably be on the high side of $5K and probably wont find a 350 in that price range (I believe first year for those was 2014 but dont quote me).

On your comment about you tend to abuse your bikes....that tells me don't buy a KTM.  I am not knocking KTMs - I own one,.  When you review all the components of a KTM vs. Yamaha/Honda/Kawi, you will see that from everything such as nuts/bolts, subframes, frames, etc that the design objective for Japanese bikes leans more toward durability.  The KTM engineering design objective (IMO) is to save weight and provide only enough strength as needed which is why they typically have the lightest bikes.

All these bikes have a pretty tall seat height, but taller riders may want to change up footpeg and handlebar height.  Depending on your weight you might need to respring the front forks and rear shock (170-180 lb is what they are set up for from factory typically).  KTM PowerParts does offer a ton of aftermarket parts such has tall seats, low seats, cushy seats and their are just tons/tons of aftermarket providers.

I still think that from what you have described that a WR450F would hit your price range and durability requirements.  They will do more double duty street riding that other 450s, but at 200-250 or so hours you are going to need a full top end rebuild (and the older WRs dont have hour meters or odometers - trip meters) including timing chain.  In my opinion, the problem with riding 30 plus miles to the trails and back is that you begin compromising on the tires to handle street duty.  Rampart (all decomposed loose granite) is a nightmare on dual sport tires or even worn dirt bike tires.  And, then what happens when you want to ride the thousands of miles of 4WD and singletrack that are not within 30 mins of Denver?  You will need trailer or hitchrack.

 

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only problem with winter shopping is that inventory is low. used to be that you could snag up bargains but people aren't as desperate for cash anymore it seems (to me anyways). They hold their stuff until April when prices favor the seller. 

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I've been reading a lot about the EXC 300, seems like the prototypical Colorado woods bike and great reliability.  I've been against 2 strokes due to an 03 kx 250 I use to ride that was a nightmare to maintain.  Is there a 2 stroke bike with similar maintenance as a XR/DRZ?  I'm not mechanically sound so the thought of replacing a piston or adjusting valves scares the shit out me. I can do the regular oil change, air filter, spark plug, chain etc. but outside of that I'm quite lost.  

Thanks for all the advice, I've gathered great info from this thread.  Choices are narrowed down to the WR 25/450, DRZ, and potentially a 2 stroke if I'm capable of maintaining. 

Is this a decent deal? 
https://boulder.craigslist.org/mcy/d/2013-ktm-300-xc-rekluse/6272699741.html

Edited by coloradodirtbag

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1 hour ago, HeavyRotation said:

Maintenance on a two stroke is fun, how was it a nightmare?

Sent from my SM-G935V using ThumperTalk mobile app
 

Bike was raced/thrashed to hell when I got it.  This was 10 years ago so I don’t remember specifics, but we could never get the bike tuned in right.  Always smoked terribly, fouled spark plugs on a regular basis, top end needed rebuilt, cylinder replaced, just seemed to always fail on me when I needed it most, really left a bad taste in my mouth for 2 strokes.

I guess what I’m asking is which will be less maintenance long term, WR 250/450 or 2 stroke?  If the situation does arise where I need to the rebuild top/bottom end or adjust valves, which will be cheaper to take to the shop or easier DIY?   

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If you were to buy a brand new 2 stroke and  brand new 4 stroke, do all the normal maintenance on them (oil changes, clear air filters, adjust and lube chains) you'd probably have about the same amount of maintenance time and money into them over the long term.  The big difference is the 2 stroke requires easier and cheaper maintenance more often and the 4 stroke requires complex and more expensive maintenance less often.

I said new bikes because they have a known history.  As your previous experience dictates if you buy a used bike of either type that has been trashed, then all bets are off.  Personally if I was buying used and had the unfortunate experience of ending up with a trashed bike, I'd rather it be a 2 stroke than a 4 stroke.  I don't think anyone will argue that a trashed 2 stroke motor will always be easier and cheaper to fix than a trashed 4 stroke motor.

Doc

Edited by Doc_d
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Agree with what Doc_d has written above.  On the bike you linked for sale in Boulder CL, that seems like a reasonable deal.  Would want documentation on the top end rebuild.  Photos/receipts, etc.  I can tell you that on my 2012 KTM 300 XC-W I decided to replace the piston at about 110 hours.  Piston looked almost new.  Cylinder was clean and had all the crosshatching still there.  I cleaned up the powervalve (which wasnt showing wear) and replaced all the o-rings and gaskets.  I send the head and carb to RB Designs to do some mods for higher compression and better low end response and put it back together.  It was simple enough to do if you have time and some mechanical inclination.

The 2013 XC you linked is well equipped and seems priced about right for a 100 hour or so bike.  My question would be when and why he replaced the KTM odometer/hour meter with the trail tech hour meter and is the ~100 hours on the Trail Tech device only or a combination of the factory hour meter + trail tech hour meter?

I personally prefer the XC-W to the XC in that I believe the XC has semi wide ratio transmission where 1-4 match the MX gearing and 5-6 are close to the XC-W gearing.  I have also read that the XC 1st gear is just like the XC-W first gear....so frankly dont know what to believe until I can get my hands on the XC service manual that should show the individual gear ratios and you can compare XC to XC-W with all the facts in hand.  A Rekluse (autoclutch) can make the close ratio portion of an XC a bit more forgiving and more rideable like an XC-W.

I run the Z-Start Pro in my 2012 model.  I think Rekluse only offers the CORE EXP 3.0 (very expensive) and the EXP 3.0 model (cheapest one with mixed reviews) for the 2013 and later models.  Would be best to find out which one they used.

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Alright you guys got me back on the 2 stroke bandwagon.  KTM XC-W 150/200/300 seems to the preferred woods bike in Colorado. These seem like the best bikes to buy from an investment standpoint in CO(Low cost maintenance, reliable, desirable, holds value extremely well).  Are there any main differences between the sizes and are there any particular years I should look out for/stray away from.  Also are there any jap enduros I should be aware of or does KTM pretty much lock down this market?

What's up with this bike, why do you think its so cheap?
https://rockies.craigslist.org/mcy/d/08-ktm-xcw-300/6246264921.html

Edited by coloradodirtbag

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You forgot the 250.  

The smaller bikes are high strung and have to be ridden aggressively to keep them on the pipe.  The bigger bikes can be tractored around off the pipe.  Another big consideration for you is altitude.  If I was riding at high altitude I'd definitely be leaning towards the 300.  

The 250 and 300 are basically dead even in a drag race.  The 300 has more bottom end grunt, the 250 has more top end.  If you're a more aggressive rider you might like the 250 better.  If you want a bike that can be tractored, will lug super low and is about as stall resistant as a bike gets, go for the 300.

Doc

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Japanese enduro bikes in 2 stroke?.....surely you jest.  Yamaha came out with a YZ250X wide ratio bike in 2015.  Good performance but doesnt have the features of the KTMs/Huskys/Betas including elec start or lighting.  Other than the KDX200/KDX220 that survived until 2006/2005, there were not really any Japanese watercooled 2 stroke Enduro bikes produced since 2000 or prior. 

Doc_d knows his stuff.  The big consideration in Colorado is just about everything runs out of juice at 12K elevation including the KTM 300.  That is where displacement comes in handy.  I personally think about 400-450 ccs of two stroke power is what you need...but KTM stopped making the 380 in early 2000's.

On the 300 for sale in Eagle CO, not sure...but seller may not know what he has.  It could be well used with just new aftermarket plastics on it.  I notice worn case sides and brand new plastics.  Any proof that it was recently rebuilt (pictures with dates and receipts)?  The 2007 and prior models were a bit lower and had smaller cockpits.  In '08 they went with a larger frame/cockpit.  Read up at the KTM 2 stroke forum here at Thumper Talk.  Im sure you could be reading threads for months.  Then you can go to KTMTalk and read for years.

 

 

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3 hours ago, SilvFx said:

Japanese enduro bikes in 2 stroke?.....surely you jest.  Yamaha came out with a YZ250X wide ratio bike in 2015.  Good performance but doesnt have the features of the KTMs/Huskys/Betas including elec start or lighting.  Other than the KDX200/KDX220 that survived until 2006/2005, there were not really any Japanese watercooled 2 stroke Enduro bikes produced since 2000 or prior. 

Yep, Yamaha's last one was the WR250Z which ended in 1997 I think. Suzuki RMX250 ended in 1998. Kawasaki KDX250 ended in 1994. You already covered the KDX200 and the new YZ250X. Honda never made one except the CRE or CRM 250 available in Europe and Australia I think from mid 80s to 91 or so. 

Edited by shrubitup

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On 8/20/2017 at 8:02 AM, coloradodirtbag said:

(Not interested in 2 strokes)

:facepalm:

 

Lol... But seriously, interesting thread with some good info.  I'm not nearly your size... but Rampart et al. is in my backyard (practically) as well.  Not much more to add really...  except that I run and race an older 300-XC (2007) and a 200-(M)XC (2003) OJ here.  Both are ideal for the CO woods/trails, both are extremely LOW maintenance and both are an absolute kick in the pants every time I ride them.  I also picked both of them up for less than the 300 for sale in Eagle CO (the 200 for WAY less)... fwiw.  My best, and fastest, riding buddy's all run KTM 2-strokes of various flavors as well (XC, XCW, SX).  Since we're all locals hit me up anytime for info, rides or whatever...  Be happy to help.  Ride on!

 

:ride:

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59 minutes ago, ColoradoJax said:

:facepalm:

 

Lol... But seriously, interesting thread with some good info.  I'm not nearly your size... but Rampart et al. is in my backyard (practically) as well.  Not much more to add really...  except that I run and race an older 300-XC (2007) and a 200-(M)XC (2003) OJ here.  Both are ideal for the CO woods/trails, both are extremely LOW maintenance and both are an absolute kick in the pants every time I ride them.  I also picked both of them up for less than the 300 for sale in Eagle CO (the 200 for WAY less)... fwiw.  My best, and fastest, riding buddy's all run KTM 2-strokes of various flavors as well (XC, XCW, SX).  Since we're all locals hit me up anytime for info, rides or whatever...  Be happy to help.  Ride on!

 

:ride:

Gonna try my buddies 300 out this weekend, but I''m already pretty much sold on the 300 XCW.  Where are you finding these deals?  Every 07+ KTM i see on CL looks thrashed or is 4k+, should I be looking elsewhere? Anything wrong with the 300s prior to 07?

One more question I just thought of.  I've always been told consistent low revving on a 2st fouls spark plugs.  Every 300 youtube video I've seen is ALLLLLLLL low end. How do they not constantly foul plugs? 

Edited by coloradodirtbag

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