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Tahoe Gator

Bike for 13-year old for 2/3 trail & 1/3 track

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My 13 year old son has well outgrown his TTR110 and has been riding his older brother’s ‘18 TTR125LE, which fits him fine and works well for the 2/3 of time we are trail riding but when he takes it on a track, my sense is it is lacking in terms of suspension and is too heavy (198 lbs for the TTR125 vs, say a YZ85 at 161 lbs).

 

Ideally, I’m riding with both of my boys at same time, so it’s time for another bike. A 2nd TTR125 just seems silly when there is the option to diversify the collection.

 

A YZ85 would be the easy choice if not for the trail riding, which can sometimes be at a pedestrian pace when we bring along any one of their friends who are often newbies.

 

Is there a bike out there in the YZ85 / TTR125 size that is capable on a track but can still work out on trails? I guess I could try to “X” the YZ85 (I ride a YZ250X) but not sure that’s so feasible and why bother if a stock bike could work? E-start isn’t a must but would be nice too since he’s used to that.

 

To answer the questions:

 

1. Skill Level :: best guess is beginner/intermediate ... he’s been riding one year and has 35 hours on the TTR bikes...he can clear the teenage MX track’s 10 foot table tops on the TTR

 

2. Height & Weight :: 5’3” and 113 lbs ... growing as all 13 year olds are

 

3. Coming from :: TTR110 & TTR125LE ... Want new bike to do better :: track

 

4. Budget :: prefer to buy new if the right bike exists

 

5. Terrain :: 2/3 trail riding (open trails and some singletrack); 1/3 teenager MX track

 

6. Racing or Riding :: just riding

 

Here he is on his too small TTR110...

 

IMG_1007.thumb.JPG.3331b343b6c2b714082f2990184a44f1.JPG

 

Thanks for any advice or tips!

 

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The YZ doesn't have a power valve, or, at least pre 16 didn't.  Not a very easy to ride 85.  The KX and RM have PV's, and very rideable engines, the KTM is a mini missle.

 

Our KX's have been great for my son, we went KX 65, KX 85, and now a KX 100.  We ride track and woods.

Edited by poldies4

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The YZ doesn't have a power valve, or, at least pre 16 didn't.  Not a very easy to ride 85.  The KX and RM have PV's, and very rideable engines, the KTM is a mini missle.

 

Our KX's have been great for my son, we went KX 65, KX 85, and now the KX 100.  We ride track and woods.

 

2019 YZ85 is all new and has a power valve. That said, we don’t have to stay with blue.

 

How do you compare the KX85 and KX100?

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New is great, I knew they redid the YZ 85, just wasn't sure when.

 

The biggest difference is the big wheels on the 100.  The engine has a little more punch, and a touch more off idle.  He says, and I agree, that the handling is so much better with the big wheels.  Sand (a lot of it here), and trail hazards have become much easier to handle.

He is about 5'5" at the moment, and growing fast, he will be 14 in May.  I expect he will be moving up to a full size bike by fall.  The KX's have treated us very well, dead reliable.  We bought the 85 new in 15, was a leftover 14, and the 100 is a 16 we bought with very low hours.

 

That new YZ looks pretty sweet by the way!

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1 minute ago, nobade said:

How about a KTM 105 XC if you can find one.

My nephew has one, good little bike, but the KX is better IMO.  The only difference between the 105sx, and 105 xc is the kickstand spar on the frame, engines are identical.  We bought an 04 105 sx and bolted it in to my nephews 08 85xc chassis, also swapped the big wheels over.  Threw the 85 engine in the 04 chassis with the small wheels and sold it.  We recouped most of our investment.

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When I was in your shoes, I bought my son a CRF150RB and because like all track bikes, they lacked the lower first gear and/or flywheel weight for trails, I put a Rekluse in my sons 150RB as well as a bigger tank.  Problems solved.  It was a fantastic bike after that.  The bigger tank gave it the ability to get the miles needed for the longer trail rides and the Rekluse removed the frustration of killing all the time and having to start it again.  My son is now 17 and rides a full size KTM and does very well in the local desert races.  He can still use a clutch as well as anyone who has never had a Rekluse so I'm not worried about that argument.

The problem with the TTR125LE which you noticed is the track characteristics just aren't there.  The Honda CRF150F is the same way but even heavier than the Yamaha TTR125LE.  The Kawi is in the same boat as these two mentioned here.  

A KTM 105 or a KX100 would be good options in a big wheel version.  You want him to be able to ride it for a few years so that is why you need a big wheel version.  Its far cheaper to get a big wheel bike upfront than it is to convert it.  Its not just the wheels that are different.  While adjusting to a bigger bike, teach your son to make sure he is in first gear when he comes to a stop and to look for a good place to stop where he can get his foot down easily.  As he grows, these things will be become second nature to him and will transition with him into the big bikes.

What ever you find, make sure it is the big wheel version.  You won't regret it.

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So we went to a local dealer yesterday and he sat on some bikes. Sadly, they didn’t have all the ones built we wanted to see, so we are still in a bit of quandary. But at the heart of the decision is the fundamental choice of 2-stroke YZ85/KX85/KX100 vs 4-stroke CRF150R/CRF150RB. Here are the factors:

1. The 2-strokes YZ/KX bikes are about 20 lbs lighter...

Model / SeatHeight / Wet Weight

YZ85 33.1” 161 lb
KX85 32.7” 165 lb
KX100 34.3” 170 lb

CRF150R 32.8” 185 lb
CRF150R “Expert” 34.1” 187 lb

TTR125LE 31.7” 198 lb (brother’s bike he is riding now for reference)

2. That said, the linear power on the CRF has a lot of appeal vs the powerband on the small bore 2-stroke bikes, which I wonder would be better for trails/singletrack? Also, he likes riding track to do the jumps and my sense is the 4-stroke will be less sensitive to getting the throttle just right on takeoff? He’s not going to race or spend all his time on MX mastering the powerband. But it weighs 20 more lbs of course.

Would really appreciate any comparative thoughts, especially from parents of kids with any of these bikes. Thanks!

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No way on the 4 stroke for me.  Maintenance heavy, and from what I have gathered a high revving four stroke to get into the power.  KX 100 still gets my vote, whatever he learns on that bike will translate to him being a better/more capable rider as he moves up.  If you're worried, spend the time to teach him, take him places to ride that will build his confidence.  It will do fine on single track, jet it right and he can go as slow as he wants.

 

 

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If he is not strong and enthusiastic forget the crf150r, can be difficult start.
My daughters 11 and 13 race enduros on rm85's. They have been very reliable.
I do strip down all our bikes every winter including our crf trail bikes. Any used bike will have bearings, cables, and fluids that should get some love.

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Another thought, he's 13. In 2 or 3 years he will be faster and more skilled then you.
Don't understand a youth's ability to accomplish.

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There is a group of videos on Youtube by Shadetree Surgeon (entertaining......).  He took a stock KX100 and made it into a trail capable bike for his girlfriend (different pipe, different sprockets, flywheel weight), etc.... look for the videos - below is one of the first in the series.

 

 

Edited by R1peacock
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I did that also. It works incredibly well, even for my full size 5'10" self. Do not underestimate what a KX 100 can do. And I wouldn't try that with a CRF150RB. Way less low end and much more expensive to keep. The KX doesn't have much low down torque but can be lugged to below idle and pull itself out. A 4t isn't going to do that, especially one tuned for big power on top.
Another thing to think about, though it takes a leap to get to, is a Beta 80cc Sr. trials bike. Useless on the track of course, but if you wanted your son to actually learn to control a motorcycle rather than just twisting the throttle and going fast, they are a great thing. Plus cheap to buy, need almost no maintenance, and can be sold for about the same amount when he's ready for a bigger bike. Once he figures out what you can do with a bike like that it will change his life.

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The only real issue I see with a 2 stroke in the woods with a young rider is the the lack of protection on the front pipe.  I’ve never looked to see if anyone makes a good pipe guard for the smaller 2 strokes. Might want to consider buying one of those dent removers.  Best and safest I’ve seen is the Hydra-Force.  They have an adapter for 85cc pipes, etc.  Company is in the UK but they ship to the U.S.

https://www.hydra-force.co.uk/

 

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Thanks for all the advice!

Proud owners of a new-to-us 2016 KX100 with only 10.6 hours on it...

IMG_2288.JPG

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2 hours ago, Tahoe Gator said:

Thanks for all the advice!

Proud owners of a new-to-us 2016 KX100 with only 10.6 hours on it...

IMG_2288.JPG

Nice find!  Congrats!!

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I’ve been thinking about the next bike for my son and the KX100 was on the top of the list.  Keep me posted if you don’t mind on how the bike does in tighter stuff and how it does overall.   My son has a 140L now and while that bike surprisingly does well on trails and can lug down low - its not a race bike like the KX100.

RP

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My biggest issue with the kx100 is the muffler is on the wrong side.
I know, I have issues.

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Try to get him on a CRF 150RB!!! I literally just got back in the house from cleaning up some parts to go on mine as I am redoing the entire bike to sell it. This little 150rb can haul. I rode my buddies CR 85 and when I swing a leg over the 150RB versus his bike you can tell that mine is faster. For the kind of riding I do it's geared a little high, but I am sure that if you geared her a little lower it would be the perfect hare scramble, trail, and motocross bike. I love the power on it but am a little to big for it. I think I am going to sell the 08' CRF 150RB for around $2,000, there is a race on the 9th down at my place in West Virginia and I might take it down there to see if I get any starrers. Don't think for a second that it won't be able to keep up with the two strokes causes it was designed to destroy them. 

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Try to get him on a CRF 150RB!!! I literally just got back in the house from cleaning up some parts to go on mine as I am redoing the entire bike to sell it. This little 150rb can haul. I rode my buddies CR 85 and when I swing a leg over the 150RB versus his bike you can tell that mine is faster. For the kind of riding I do it's geared a little high, but I am sure that if you geared her a little lower it would be the perfect hare scramble, trail, and motocross bike. I love the power on it but am a little to big for it. I think I am going to sell the 08' CRF 150RB for around $2,000, there is a race on the 9th down at my place in West Virginia and I might take it down there to see if I get any starrers. Don't think for a second that it won't be able to keep up with the two strokes causes it was designed to destroy them. 


Yeah we seriously consider the CRF and it does get some rave reviews but chose a lightly used KX100 which might have more power overall but mainly chose it for its ability to lug for woods riding and on account it weighs like 25 lbs less. We put a flywheel and a rekluse on it and it is a woods weapon for kids while still being more than MX track capable. Based on what we paid for a 2016 with only 10.6 hours on it I think $2k for a 2008 is steep but you might as well try. Good luck!
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