Old guy, slowing down

I'm now a ripe old 56 and slowing down. My current ride is an '08 300 XC. Prior to that I had a KLX450R and before that a KX500. I really love the 300 XC but it's just not the bike I want to ride. As much as I hate to admit it, the tractable 4 stroke power delivery was wonderful but the KLX was WAY top heavy. Actually, just too heavy all around. I've never really been a competition rider, just fast trails and hill climbs. One last item: At 5'8" and a short 29" inseam, I HATE TALL BIKES. I usually cut the seat foam, drop the clamps down the fork tubes and change links on the rear.

My youngest son has a KX250F. It feels nice and nimble, certainly not over powered either. For most of my riding, the power level would be acceptable but as you may have noticed, I like big motors. I would consider a 450 but it would have to be very light. What I MUST HAVE is an electric start. I refuse to kick a 4 stroke.

I've been looking around at Yammy WR250s, the Honda 250X, and KTM XCFs. Here are my hot buttons:

-Light weight
-Electric start 4 stroke
-Carbs over FI (unless tuning the FI is dirt easy)
-Street registerable is a plus but not mandatory

That's all I can think of. What say yunz?

Never slow down.... rock gardens are harder going slow :)

Also don't prefer the carbs over injection, they don't flood if you drop the bike end you'll never have to clean another pilot jet again

Beta 350 or 390.  Betas have the lowest seat height in a full sized bike.  I'm seeing a ton of them here in Michigan because, like the KTMs, they just work really well in the woods.  I probably saw 3x new 2017 Betas last year than I saw new 2017 Honda's, Kawasaki's or Suzuki's.  Only KTM/Husky and Yamaha had more new 2017 bikes out on the trails (that I saw).

I haven't ridden the Beta 350 or 390 but I know a guy that owns both.  From talking to him, the 350 and 390 have similar displacement but different character.  Like the KTM 350s, the Beta 350's engine character is like a a 250 that's stronger everywhere.  They have very wide useable RPM range.  The torque is mild.  They like to rev.  The 390 has the engine character of a mild 450.  The RPM range is smaller, there's more torque off the bottom and the power feels more abrupt.


The Betas are nice bikes but there aren't many available near me.

Right now I'm looking at KTM 350s.  Seems like a perfect bike, other than the seat height and that can be fixed.

2 minutes ago, gwcrim said:

The Betas are nice bikes but there aren't many available near me.

Right now I'm looking at KTM 350s.  Seems like a perfect bike, other than the seat height and that can be fixed.

I have a '16 350 XCF-W and it's a great bike.  It's about the tallest bike you can find though.

Also keep in mind they no longer make the XCF-W, but the EXC-F is the street legal version of it.  The XC-F has the motocross engine and a semi-close ratio gear box.  The XCF-W / EXC-F have a completely different engines than the XC-F.  If you like lugging the bike through slow technical stuff the EXC-F engine is the better choice.  However the EXC-F is street legal and subject to EPA emissions regulations.  So if you go that route you'll need to desmog it and shell out money for the Vortex ECU.

I wouldn't recommend the XC-F unless you are doing all fast terrain.  While it's a brilliant motor and really fast, it is not designed to lug down low at all.  You'll stall a lot if you ride slower more technical stuff.  It also doesn't have a fan like the EXC-F / XCF-W.  Which is another reason it doesn't like the slow technical stuff.  In past years the XC-F suspension didn't eat up the rocks and roots as well as the XCF-W / EXC-F but was better on whoops, jumps, etc.  I have heard the new air forks are more flexible and can be made quite soft for dealing with the roots and rocks or firmed up for faster whoops, jumps, etc.w

Good luck!


I'm a ripe old 58 and trying to go faster, but  getting there "easier"...that's one reason why I bought a 300 XC-W and selling my 15' 350 XC-F...With the little time I have on the XC-W, it seems to be proving me right..the lighter weight, the less stress getting through technical, and just the awesome throttle response has made me a believer..

If I was you, I would take a good hard look at a newer 250 XC-F..It would definitely be my 1st choice if I was gonna double up and get another 4T...

Plus, watching Kailub Russell racing on one is very impressive..

Interesting info on the XCF.  Certainly not the story you get at KTMTalk for sure.

Why not tune your 300 for more low end torque? Plenty of things you can do to it to make it even more of a tractor, and get it to do just what you want.

1 hour ago, gwcrim said:

Interesting info on the XCF.  Certainly not the story you get at KTMTalk for sure.

What part?  

As you probably know Husky's are made by KTM.  Graham Jarvis is running the Husky FE250 which is the equivalent of the KTM 250 EXC-F.  The reason he's not running the FX250 (the KTM equivalent of the 250 XC-F) is because for the slower technical stuff the XC-F isn't the best choice.  

I'm not saying one is better than the other.  It just depends on your terrain and how you ride.   If you are riding fast stuff the XC-F is amazing.  If you are riding slow and technical the XC-F would not be my first choice.  Especially if you are used to being able to tractor around on a 300 two-stroke.


I duplicated this post at KTMTalk and so far the 350 XCF seems to be highly recommended.  Actually, I think a Freeride would be da shizz but they're hard to find second hand as well.

My main gripes about my 300 is the seat height (and I've lowered it as much as possible w/out getting into the suspension) and the loss of traction when the power comes on.  The 4 strokes don't break the tire loose as easily.

Last weekend my 15 yr old son rode the 300 and seems to like it more than he thought he would.  I may spend some saddle time on the KX before I make a purchase.  I do recall that I hate how the 4 strokes stall so quick.  Maybe it's just the winter blues and I'm looking around for no good reason at all.  That 300 XC is one nice monster.















A year older than you and I took the leap from a  300 down to a XCW-F 250 and I like it.  

57 years old here. I have been on the KLX450R since 2011. Seems the perfect woods bike to me, but I am tall enough to love the seat height. I am still strong enough to flick it around easily even though it is 273 lbs all armored up.

My friend had the 2014 KTM Freeride 250 2T and it sucked big time for us.  No backup kick and the e-start never worked right. I was always towing him out of the woods.  Whatever you get, make sure it has a kick starter as well as e-start.  I don't think that 350 does.

Beta x trainer 300?

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      The angle of the camera cannot show the two screws. But one is visible. It has a red dot, and opposite of that side is a darker red dot. I made it darker because it’s not visible, but that is where it is. This is where I use the miniature screw drivers to get the screws. I magnetize the screwdrivers, and use care to make sure I don’t strip the heads. Metal pieces in a piston are not good! Remove the two screws. Put these screws on a clean surface so they do not get contaminants. Now get your vise grips and set it so that it will lock onto the throttle, not too tight, not too loose. Set the vise grips on the seat. Start to open the throttle slowly as you guide that “plunger holder” (as I call it) up to the top. Once you have the throttle all the way open, take the vise grips, and lock it so that the throttle does not go back any more. What I do is I hold it pinned and lock it up against the brake so it doesn’t rewind on me. If you don’t have locking grips, a friend will do, just have them hold the throttle open all the way until you are finished. How fold the plunger holder to the back of the carb and pull the piece up to the top. Take care not to remove it, as it is a pain to get back together! If it came apart on you, this is what it should be assembled to:

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      Now we must take off the bowl. Some people take that hex nut off to change the main jet, which you can, but you cannot access the pilot jet, and you can’t take out the needle jet (a piece the needle slides into), so we need to take it off. It’s just three bolts. As we look at the underside of the carb, this is what you will see:

      The bolts with the red square dots are the bolts you will be removing. These are Phillips head bolts, and the bolt with the blue dot is your fuel screw. This is what you will adjust when the time comes, but keep in mind where that bolt is. You need a small flat blade to adjust it.
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      The blue dot is for cross reference, which is the fuel screw once again. The green dot is the pilot jet. You can remove this using a flat blade screwdriver. Just unscrew it and pull it out. Once you pull it out, set it aside and put in the 45 pilot jet you got. The red dot is the main. You remove this by using a 6mm socket. Just unscrew it. If the whole thing turns, not just the jet, but the 7mm sized socket under it, don’t worry, that piece has to come out as well. If it doesn’t, use a 7mm to unscrew it off. Here is what the jets look like:

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      From left to right: Main jet, Pilot Jet, Fuel screw. Now in the main jet’s hole, if you look closely, you see a bronze piece in the middle of that hole. We are going to take this off. Since I did not do this part (I only changed my pilot jet when I took these pictures) there are no pictures taken for this section but this is really simple to do if you’ve been a good student and know where things go. You should know anyways, you have to put the bike back together!
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      If you look directly under the carb, the round hole is aligned with the pilot jet. Take the float bowl, and put it back on.
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      As you can see, you can slip your fingers in and pull it out. Do that. This lets more air in to the air box. Don’t worry about water getting in. There is a lip that is about 1/8” high that doesn’t let water in. When you wash, don’t spray a lot under the seat, but don’t worry about it too much.
      The next thing you must do is remove the exhaust baffle. The screw is a torx type, or you can carefully use an allen wrench and take care not to strip it:

      The screw is at the 5 o’clock position and all you do is unscrew it, reach in, and yank it out. This setup still passes the dB test. The bike runs 92 dB per AMA standards, which is acceptable. Just carry this baffle in your gear bag if the ranger is a jerk off. I’ve never had a problem, but don’t take chances.
      That’s it! Start putting your tank on, seat, and covers. After you put the seat on, pull up on the front, and the middle of the seat to make sure the hooks set in place.
      Turn on the bike, and take a can of WD-40. Spray the WD-40 around the boot where it meets the carburetor. If the RPM rises, you know you have a leak, and the leak must be stopped. You must do this to make sure there are no leaks!
      Here is my configuration:
      04’ 230F
      Uni Air filter
      132 Main Jet
      45 Pilot Jet
      Power up needle, 4th clip position
      Fuel screw 1.75 turns out
      Riding elevation: 2000ft - Sea level
      Temperature – Around 60-90 degrees
      Spark Plug Tips
      When you jet your carb, a spark plug is a best friend. Make sure your spark plug is gapped correctly, (.035) but that’s not all that matters. You want to make sure the electrode is over the center, and you want the electrode to be parallel, not like a wave of a sea. Put in the plug, and run the bike for 15 mins, ride it around too then turn it off. Then take off the spark plug after letting the bike cool. The ceramic insulator should be tan, like a paper bag. If it is black, it is running rich, if it is white, it is running lean. The fuel screw should be turned out if it is running lean, and turned in if it is running rich. Go ¼ turns at a time until your plug is a nice tan color.
      Making sure your bike is jetted correctly
      While you are running the bike for those 15 mins to check the plug color, you want to make sure it’s jetted correctly now. Here is what the jets/needle/screw control:
      0- 3/8 throttle – Pilot jet
      ¼ to ¾ throttle – Needle
      5/8 – full throttle – Main jet
      0-Full – Fuel screw
      Pin the gas, does it bog much? Just put around, is it responsive? When you’re coming down a hill, the rpm’s are high and you have no hand on the throttle, does it pop? If it pops, it is lean and the pilot jet should be bigger. If it’s responsive your needle is set perfectly. You shouldn’t have to go any leaner than the 3rd position, but I put mine in the 4th position to get the most response. Your bike shouldn’t bog much when you have it pinned. If it does it is too rich of a main jet.
      Determining the plug color, you will have to mess with the fuel screw.
      That’s it, have fun jetting, and any questions, post on the forum, but remember to do a search first.
      Also, if your bike requires different jets due to alititude, humidity, or temperature, please post the following so we can better assist you:
      Average temperature
      Altitude (If you do not know this, there is a link in the Jetting forum that you can look up your alititude)
      Average Humidity
      What jets you are currently running
      What the problem is (If there is one)
      Just do that and we'll help you out the best we can.
      EDIT: The girl using this login name is my girlfriend. You can reach me on my new login name at 250Thumpher
      Then again, you're more than welcome to say hi to her!
      -Phill Vieira
    • By kashlak
      JUst curious of how many bikes,quads,trikes people owned over the years and what they were?
      78 honda atc 70
      85 honda atc 110
      ?? handa trail 70
      78 yamaha mx 80
      85 yamaha yz 60
      82 yamaha it 125
      85 kawasaki kxt 250 tecate
      79 yamaha yz 400
      86 yamaha yz 125
      85 yamaha yz 80 (playbike)
      92 kawasaki kx 250
      93 yamaha xt 350
      and last but not least a 99 kawasaki kx 250
    • By Bosch232
      Were the XL's the predecessor to the XR's?
      I have a friend who's looking at an old XL350, and I don't know anything about these bikes.