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c_myersgo

Whats the best bike for me?

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So i have been wanting to get into dirt bike riding for a while now and finally went out with  a few friends and long story short i'm addicted. So talking with some friends about what i should buy and shouldn't buy they have a lot of opinion and i wouldnt necessary say they are super experience in all bike since they havent been riding dirt bikes for very long either as to why i am reaching out to the world community to get others opinions on the matter as to what bike i should get for trail riding and single track 

As far as experience goes i road street bikes for a long time 5+ years so i understand the fundamentals of riding and i am comfortable on 2 wheels. The first bike i road was a wr250f which was a ton of fun to ride. I did try a ktm 2 stoke not sure if it was a 250 or 300 and i road a kx450f. i could handle both the bigger bikes but it wasnt as fun to ride the 450 cause through some of the technical stuff the 450 was just a little to much power for me. all in all the wr250f was a lot of fun but i could see how i would probably get a little bored over time with the bike. 

What bikes i have been looking at. KTM 250xc w 300xc w and the KTM 250sxf. From a ton of reading and youtube worm holes it seems like a 2 stroke is the way to go for the kind of riding we have here in AZ desert, single track, and some rock/ technical riding. The only problem i see for myself with the 2 stroke is that it would be a slower learning curve with the bike based on the one i road. 

Sorry for the jumbled thoughts i've been trying to wrap my head around this for a little while now and there are just soooo many changes between years and mx bikes vs offroad bikes ect that its a ton of information to take in and hoping by posting this to the world community some long time OG's may chime in with there experience and give me a good idea as to what direction i should look into going.

so here it is... 

1. Novice

2. What's your height & weight? 5'7' 145lbs

3. What year, make, & model of motorcycle are you coming from? And, what do you want the new bike to do better? 

4. What's your ballpark budget? 

this is tricky I'd like to start out on the cheaper end 3k but looking at the market for about a 1k more you can almost get a bike that is 10 years newer which is that the better route to go? save a little while longer and get something newer or stay on the cheap end cause i'm still learning the ins and outs of a dirt bike. 

5. What types of terrain will you be riding?

I'd like the bike to be able to do trail riding, single track and some technical stuff as well (future) AZ riding

6. Will you be racing or just play riding?

just play riding strictly for the weeks to refresh before the start of a new work week.  

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Let's start with a bit of education about KTM nomenclature.

  • XC = 2 stroke cross country hare scramble bike (typically no lighting and semi close ratio transmission and elec start)
  • XC-F = 4 stroke cross country hare scramble bike.
  • XC-W = 2 stroke enduro/offroad bike (typically with lighting and wide ratio transmission and elect start)
  • XCF-W = 4 stroke enduro/offroad bike
  • SX = 2 stroke MX bike (without lighting, some without elec start, close ratio transmission, stiff suspension, power typically made at high rpm)
  • SX-F = 4 stroke MX bike

The WR250F that you rode is Yamaha's 4 stroke wide ratio enduro/offroad bike.  The KX450F is Kawi's 4 stroke MX bike (FYI KLX450R is the Kawi enduro bike - not made anymore).  Not sure on the 2 stroke 250/300 KTMs that you rode which category of bikes those were (MX, CrossCountry or Enduro) and it makes a difference.

For the riding you have described, I would stick with the Enduro/Offroad models.  Would also be easier for you to plate those models as that is a simple task in AZ (at least to my understanding).  Plated bikes are very useful for connecting from trail to trail when attempting to ride loops and when you might need to ride into a town for gas, etc.

For your budget of $3K, I doubt you are going to be able to touch anything but maybe the Honda (CRF250X/CRF450X) and Yamaha (WR250F/WR450F) enduro bikes.  Probably going to have to spend from $4K to $7K to get decent low hour KTM/Husky/Beta 2 or 4 stroke bikes.

I personally think the WR250F is a great place to start for someone that doesn't have any dirt bike experience but knows the basics.  Other than clutching, braking and shifting, I am not sure any of your street bike experience is all that helpful for dirt biking.  So, it can be a problem to start out with too much bike.  As you found out the a 450 MX bike aint much fun on trails since it is too much power and doesn't want to go slow (due to high performance motor, stiff suspension and close ratio transmission).

The 4 stroke bikes are generally 20-25 lbs heavier than their similar performance counterpart 2 stroke.  So the downside to the WR250F will be weight as compared to a 2 stroke KTM XC-W.  KTM makes a 150/200/250/300 2 stroke.  The 150/200 2 stroke has roughly the power of a WR250F (fully uncorked).  A 300 2 stroke will perform like a 450 4 stroke.  250 2 stroke is about equivalent to 400 4 stroke.  These are general rules of thumb but can vary a bit.

I think it is a mistake to attempt to buy a bike you will grow into.  Best to start on something that you can learn dirtbiking on and then sell it when you are ready to move up.  Can you start on a 300 2 stroke/450 4 stroke enduro bike....yes...but not the recommended approach.

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Thank you for all the info silvfx! This is what I was looking for. The only thing I would say I’m still in limbo with is price which I know that’s all on me really. I’ve found a couple of wr250f for pretty cheap but I don’t want to have to work the bike I want to spend time riding like I’m sure everyone does. If you went with an older bike which would you say is the most dependable and I would have less issues with.

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Thank you for all the info silvfx! This is what I was looking for. The only thing I would say I’m still in limbo with is price which I know that’s all on me really. I’ve found a couple of wr250f for pretty cheap but I don’t want to have to work the bike I want to spend time riding like I’m sure everyone does. If you went with an older bike which would you say is the most dependable and I would have less issues with.
Sorry, dirt bikes require constant maintenance and repair. You should figure on an hour of maintenance work for every 5 hours of riding, IF you don't break anything.

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15 hours ago, c_myersgo said:

Thank you for all the info silvfx! This is what I was looking for. The only thing I would say I’m still in limbo with is price which I know that’s all on me really. I’ve found a couple of wr250f for pretty cheap but I don’t want to have to work the bike I want to spend time riding like I’m sure everyone does. If you went with an older bike which would you say is the most dependable and I would have less issues with.

Always depends on whether its been taken care of or abused.  The Yamaha 5 valve 4 stroke motor (e.g. WR250F/WR450F) has a largely bulletproof reputation on this forum.  The Hondas (CRF250X/CRF450X) had valve recession issues up to 2007.  Thereafter seems to be better.  Older KTM 2 and 4 strokes...bit of a mixed bag.  Where I live, KTMs are bought by enthusiasts and most seem to be well used (and more so than the Japanese offroad bikes - IMO).

What you will find if you read long enough around this forum is a real concern about the cost of having to rebuild older four strokes (especially MX bikes that have been raced) due to all the moving parts.  A new 4 stroke topend can cost $1000 with parts and labor and that is without having to replace cams, cylinders or cylinder heads.  New top end and bottom end...can exceed $2k parts and labor...which in many cases almost exceeds the market value of the bike.  A two stroke has fewer moving parts to replace but may need shorter service intervals than a 4 stroke.  Best advice is to buy lower hour bikes that have been well taken care of.  If you are not sure what you are looking at, you might find a buddy or TT forum member that is nearby to help you evaluate stuff.  KTM enduro models have odometers and hour meters.  Japanese enduro bikes do not.

I am biased since I own both a WR250F and WR450F and they have been trouble free.  The most work that is required is to simply change the oil/oil filter every 15 hours or so of riding and keep the air filter clean/oiled.  Some WRFs can take work to get the jetting just right.  A lot of people just spring for the JD Jetting Kit ($75) and set it and forget it.  Need to probably lube the steering stem, swingarm and linkage bearings each season or every other season depending on how much usage.  Keep and eye on brake pads, rotors, drive chain, tires, fork seals for replacement when necessary.

As @JefeRotacion mentions above, dirt bikes require inspection and some work just due to the operating environment where dirt, sand, mud can lead to more wear on parts.  But, I find once a bike is up to snuff and if you dont beat the crap out of it and inspect/address the wear parts as needed, the can be pretty trouble free and not that much maintenance.

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That all makes sense. One of my friends know quite a bit about ktm’s but not as well versed in other makes. I will say I’ve had a lot of hobbies and this hobby has by far the most mixed reviews on things. Haha from what I’ve gathered so far from research it’s just figured out what bikes have what bugs and whether or not they have been fixed and how well it has been maintained. I have started to lean more towards the wr’s since that seems to be the only bikes that everyone says has a really strong engine and somewhat bullet proof like you mentioned. Are there ways to help increase power to the wr250f if say down the road I started to feel like I wanted a little more power.

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9 hours ago, c_myersgo said:

That all makes sense. One of my friends know quite a bit about ktm’s but not as well versed in other makes. I will say I’ve had a lot of hobbies and this hobby has by far the most mixed reviews on things. Haha from what I’ve gathered so far from research it’s just figured out what bikes have what bugs and whether or not they have been fixed and how well it has been maintained. I have started to lean more towards the wr’s since that seems to be the only bikes that everyone says has a really strong engine and somewhat bullet proof like you mentioned. Are there ways to help increase power to the wr250f if say down the road I started to feel like I wanted a little more power.

WIth the WRs....the way to increase power over stock....was to follow the typical list of free mods.  Snip the gray wire, open up the airbox, get the jetting right, remove the smog equipment (if it had any).   Those were the so called free mods.  After that, you are looking at exhaust changes, camshaft changes, head porting and possibly changing out cylinder and piston to increase from 250 to 300 ccs or so.  All of which can get pretty expensive.  Best and most cost effective way to get more power out of the WR250F is to sell it and replace it with the WR450F or another higher displacement bike.

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