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Help an old unfamiliar rider..

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This is kinda long but ,by unfamiliar I mean any bike not 25 years old...Lol.  So I'm pushing 50 and I've always preferred bikes from around the mid 80's and older. I grew up in the 70's/80's and thats what I really still prefer.  Its hard for me to believe myself but im thinking of getting a newer bike. Hmm. By newer I mean something made in the last 8-10 yrs not "New" as that stuff is outta my range. Imtalking about $2000 or less. Where I need feedback is..is there a particular brand or year or size that was a know dud that I should stay away from?. Or maybe a bike that was great that I should look for?  I've always been a Honda XR guy but Im looking at anything now. Lastly would be size.  I am not gonna be a track ride,mostly trails and such. Are the 450's way heavier than the 250's. I want a comfortable easy to ride bike. Thanks for all replies.

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Oh yea forgot to say not interested in any 2 strokes

Edited by dwil4

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I've never left I've just been on old school. Lol. I have been wrenching on bikes for years so working on em is usually no problem.

Edited by dwil4

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Ah! I see your from NC so that's a good start to know. So if you ride trails in western NC you most likely will need a real torq. lugging bike for the mountain terrain. Rule out most older 2 strokes for sure. Lean towards some Honda XR's if your real lucky you may find a 1985 XR350R that is restored and ready to ride. The XR's 250 is also a good choice, No difference really between a XR350 and a XR 400. For these bikes a good one can be bought for under 2 grand and their reliable rides. Good luck and keep us posted

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10 hours ago, dwil4 said:

This is kinda long but ,by unfamiliar I mean any bike not 25 years old...Lol.  So I'm pushing 50 and I've always preferred bikes from around the mid 80's and older. I grew up in the 70's/80's and thats what I really still prefer.  Its hard for me to believe myself but im thinking of getting a newer bike. Hmm. By newer I mean something made in the last 8-10 yrs not "New" as that stuff is outta my range. Imtalking about $2000 or less. Where I need feedback is..is there a particular brand or year or size that was a know dud that I should stay away from?. Or maybe a bike that was great that I should look for?  I've always been a Honda XR guy but Im looking at anything now. Lastly would be size.  I am not gonna be a track ride,mostly trails and such. Are the 450's way heavier than the 250's. I want a comfortable easy to ride bike. Thanks for all replies.

I own and am selling an '04 KTM 450EXC that was ridden in Western NC and Eastern TN a fair bit. Left hand rear brake, rekluse set up. It was and is great for gnarly conditions, never stalls and tractor like traction. I think the weight of the bikes is going to be very minimal when talking about older XR's versus a newer more modern 4 stroke plus you gain water cooling and e start which in that part of the country is needed imo. I now live in WV and ride a 200exc two stroke and love it. Funny I just posted a video of the Tough One enduro where you can clearly see the four strokes outclimb and just hook up way better than the two strokes. I ride with a guy on a new 350 XCW F that has a rekluse set up on it and he walks up the greasy gnar where I am usually picking my bike up to make another run at it but the two smoker sure puts a smile on my face like nothing ever has and it is 30lbs lighter than the big'un. Tough to beat the four strokes for tractorablitiy in difficult conditions.

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17 minutes ago, piltoyougram said:

Ah! I see your from NC so that's a good start to know. So if you ride trails in western NC you most likely will need a real torq. lugging bike for the mountain terrain. Rule out most older 2 strokes for sure. Lean towards some Honda XR's if your real lucky you may find a 1985 XR350R that is restored and ready to ride. The XR's 250 is also a good choice, No difference really between a XR350 and a XR 400. For these bikes a good one can be bought for under 2 grand and their reliable rides. Good luck and keep us posted

Funny you say that because I have an 85 XL 350 that was stripped for woods a long time ago.  I freaking love that bike and it will year some ground but it is old ,worn and heavy as hell.  

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Ok fellas give me your thoughts on some bikes..

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Another vote for the venerable XR.

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Are the XR 400's good bikes?  Heavy?

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On 1/30/2018 at 10:56 PM, dwil4 said:

This is kinda long but ,by unfamiliar I mean any bike not 25 years old...Lol.  So I'm pushing 50 and I've always preferred bikes from around the mid 80's and older. I grew up in the 70's/80's and thats what I really still prefer.  Its hard for me to believe myself but im thinking of getting a newer bike. Hmm. By newer I mean something made in the last 8-10 yrs not "New" as that stuff is outta my range. Imtalking about $2000 or less. Where I need feedback is..is there a particular brand or year or size that was a know dud that I should stay away from?. Or maybe a bike that was great that I should look for?  I've always been a Honda XR guy but Im looking at anything now. Lastly would be size.  I am not gonna be a track ride,mostly trails and such. Are the 450's way heavier than the 250's. I want a comfortable easy to ride bike. Thanks for all replies.

The XR400 isn't good, it's GREAT! If you find one that has been properly maintained, there are no bad years. And, from year to year, very little to nothing changed mechanically. Heavy? Compared to a 250 2T yes, but for an old school 4T, not unmanageably so. It's a fun, reliable all arounder that will take you pretty much wherever you want to go.

I had a 96 XR250R that I bought new that I loved, but buds had the 400, so I've logged some time on them as wel. Felt about like my 250, just more grunt, especially down low. For general plunkin' around trails, it's a good bike. Gas, oil changes, & filter cleanings was all I had to do and I rode the pee out of that bike, pretty much every weekend, both days up on the pac nw.

bosch-xr250 (2).jpg

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Are the XR 400's good bikes?  Heavy?



Bulletproof reliable and can go anywhere and will last for years with minimal maintenance. I'm probably overkill on the maintenance with mine: change the oil twice a year, one valve adjust in 5 years, changed the spark plug a few years ago as well. I typically ride it, park it without cleaning it, then just put gas in it and load it up in the truck as is for the next ride.
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Keep the suggestions coming please.... What about the Suzuki DR 350 or 400, the Kawaski KLX 300,the Yammy WR's ?    

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WR400/426F. Dead reliable, strong power, but can a handful in the woods.  I enjoyed mine for the most part, but I was also in my mid 20s. I found the bike to do better when you pushed it, but when relaxed in the tight or rough stuff, it could be a lot of work. Pretty much ride the bike or it will ride you. A YZ seat and tank help the handling a lot.  The XR400 is less powerful and has less suspension, but it's a more forgiving and easier to ride across a wide range of terrain.

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E41A0159.thumb.JPG.592771b9d9d05e9a106518b21004a4eb.JPG

Brought mine new in 2000. It was a 01. Raced Gncc, vchss for many years. Had it for over 11 years total, never a problem. Put a 440 kit in it and got moved to b class as I improved as a rider. Finally sold it to purchase something more race ready. Wish I kept it. As long as you can kick it and not fall to much, I would not hesitate looking one. Technique will start it every time and you will get tired of picking it up.

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E41A0159.thumb.JPG.592771b9d9d05e9a106518b21004a4eb.JPG
Brought mine new in 2000. It was a 01. Raced Gncc, vchss for many years. Had it for over 11 years total, never a problem. Put a 440 kit in it and got moved to b class as I improved as a rider. Finally sold it to purchase something more race ready. Wish I kept it. As long as you can kick it and not fall to much, I would not hesitate looking one. Technique will start it every time and you will get tired of picking it up.


Yes picking it up is no fun. Whenever there's a gnarly hill climb I gas it and tell myself "I HAVE to make this"! There's nothing fun about being upside down under the XR and then having to hot start it on the side of a hill.
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The klx300 is a great bike. Very reliable, comfortable, and easy to ride. The biggest drawback for me was the suspension.

My 07 wr250f had been the most reliable bike I've ever owned. Good suspension, electric start, lots of low end grunt for a 250. 200+ hours, nothing but routine maintenance and wear items. Down side would be the hard seat and I wish it had a little more snap for hopping over logs and such.

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i have had a CRF250x and 450x the 250x was the nicest bike to ride in singletrack perfect suspension and ergos very nimble and handled like a dream. BUT in faster deep sandy terrain when the bike spent most of its time in the far reaches of the rev range it was beyond a mere mortal to keep up the maintainance so i sold it and bought a 450x have never looked back in 10 years the valves have barely moved and aside from general maintainace (oil, filters tyres one set of fork seals etc.) I never touched it until this year i did wheel bearings, linkage bearings, headstem, suspension service and revalve new throttle cables and tube. awesome reliable bike. you wont regret it.

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Ah! I see your from NC so that's a good start to know. So if you ride trails in western NC you most likely will need a real torq. lugging bike for the mountain terrain. Rule out most older 2 strokes for sure. Lean towards some Honda XR's if your real lucky you may find a 1985 XR350R that is restored and ready to ride. The XR's 250 is also a good choice, No difference really between a XR350 and a XR 400. For these bikes a good one can be bought for under 2 grand and their reliable rides. Good luck and keep us posted

I have been looking at used XR400’s and they are hard to find in good condition. I do have a 2006 Wr250f and with jet kit, pipe and springs they make nice trail bikes and lots of used ones in good condition

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