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What to buy for dual sport/enduro on a budget?

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Good to be back on TT after many years. Looking to seriously get back into off road enduro and dual sport riding this year. Looking to find the right bike for my riding style and goals. I'm taking the advice from the top post so here's a breakdown of the questions:

1. What is your skill Level (be honest)? Intermediate to Advanced (depending on terrain)

2. What's your height & weight? 5'11" 175lbs

3. What year, make, & model of motorcycle are you coming from? 2003 Suzuki DRZ400S & 2008 Honda CRF450R
    And, what do you want the new bike to do better? Electric start, a good clutch, road legal, fairly low maintenance, similar power to the 450R.

4. What's your ballpark budget? $2500-$4000

5. What types of terrain will you be riding? Dirt, woods, mud, small jumps, pavement

6. Will you be racing or just play riding? Mostly play but I'd like to enter some hare scramble & enduro races later this summer once I'm used to the new bike.

My current choice: 2006-2009 Honda CRF450X w/ street title

Reasoning: Obviously, I'd love a new CRF450LKTM or Husqvarna but I can't afford them. The CRF450X seems to be the best choice for what I'm looking for because it's been out for 15+ years so prices are reasonable, there's good aftermarket support, I love the engine, and if I get one out of PA, many are already have motorcycle titles so I would be able to register it for the street in New York. Also, I feel I could handle any of the maintenance issues I've read about with them. My other contenders are the XR650R, a heavily modded DRZ400S or an older KTM.

What are some thoughts?

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Your price range will be tough to find a good bike. We all understand our budgets. The CRF 450 X would be good. Just tread lightly when looking, and don't buy one from anybody under the age of 50! Mostly likely the guts are rung out? (No insult to any one)!

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39 minutes ago, InsaneClownPossum said:

Find a clean 525exc? Really balanced bike for what you're describing at a reasonable price point. Might be hard to find one that's not hammered. 

That was definitely a consideration, I've seen them here and there but yes, it's going to be hard to find a clean one.

 

5 minutes ago, piltoyougram said:

Go to Cycle Trader and look.

I was on there yesterday, most stuff anywhere near me (Western NY) is all from dealerships which means more $$. I did find some 2019 CRF450Ls at a discount on there but still out of my price range. Everything seems to be shifting to Facebook Marketplace these days, there's a lot of bikes on there.

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Im going to throw this out there knowing good and well this probably isn't what you want but you can pick up a really nice xr400 at lower end of you budget, then have enough money left over to get the suspension rebuilt and tuned or possibly USD forks from a crf450x, and some upgrades like a pumper carb or even a 440 big bore. 

for $4,000 total you can have a kick ass xr400 that will never need anything except oil changes and air filter cleanings. 

They do fine for dual sporting on road and are good bikes for just about any type of riding. 

They don't have e-start, but with a pumper carb they start easily, even after dumping it over. They don't have as much power as the modern 450s but they are not slow by any means. Especially with a carb and big bore and the right rider. 

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8 hours ago, puhz said:

That was definitely a consideration, I've seen them here and there but yes, it's going to be hard to find a clean one.

 

I was on there yesterday, most stuff anywhere near me (Western NY) is all from dealerships which means more $$. I did find some 2019 CRF450Ls at a discount on there but still out of my price range. Everything seems to be shifting to Facebook Marketplace these days, there's a lot of bikes on there.

Yup FB market is the spot now. Thankfully you don't need a FB account to surf it, Idk if you can reply without one though. I'd add that my buddy Mike rides his 525 everywhere i go on my 701 Enduro for dual sport and also follows me everywhere i go on single track rides on my woodsified YZ250. So it's amazingly versatile and has electric start. If i could only have one bike for a $3500 budget, I'd be looking for an 05-07. Anyway, happy hunting. 

Edited by Doctor Shakalu Rotazion

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Can you convert bikes in NY?  The WR450F in my mind is a more bulletproof bike than the CRF450X.  WR450F was carbureted until 2011.  07-11 were alum frames.  I see bikes in that year range from $2500-$4500.

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since you seem to be into 4 strokes try to find the one in best condition in your price range. the Wr 450s seem to be cheaper used then the 450x. the Italian era Husky 450/510 are good and can be found cheaper the  KTMs of the same era. I have a 07 450 that has been very reliable. parts are a bit pricey though.

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8 hours ago, SilvFx said:

Can you convert bikes in NY?  The WR450F in my mind is a more bulletproof bike than the CRF450X.  WR450F was carbureted until 2011.  07-11 were alum frames.  I see bikes in that year range from $2500-$4500.

very hard to convert in NY. you could find used ones that have been converted though, especially in PA and CT.

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21 hours ago, Patrickpnw said:

Im going to throw this out there knowing good and well this probably isn't what you want but you can pick up a really nice xr400 at lower end of you budget, then have enough money left over to get the suspension rebuilt and tuned or possibly USD forks from a crf450x, and some upgrades like a pumper carb or even a 440 big bore. 

for $4,000 total you can have a kick ass xr400 that will never need anything except oil changes and air filter cleanings. 

They do fine for dual sporting on road and are good bikes for just about any type of riding. 

They don't have e-start, but with a pumper carb they start easily, even after dumping it over. They don't have as much power as the modern 450s but they are not slow by any means. Especially with a carb and big bore and the right rider. 

Funny you mention it, I always wanted an XR400, I love those bikes but they're nearly impossible to find. Definitely on my list of options but I'd have to find something plated out of CT or PA as elrontx mentioned. 

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What should I expect to pay for an older 2003-2007 525 EXC KTM? I see people asking over $6500+ for these. I found one for $3700 that looks promising.

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26 minutes ago, puhz said:

Funny you mention it, I always wanted an XR400, I love those bikes but they're nearly impossible to find. Definitely on my list of options but I'd have to find something plated out of CT or PA as elrontx mentioned. 

Lots of them available on the west coast... Can you just not find any or no plated ones? I thought those things were all over the place. 

 

A KTM 500 definitely would be a step up in performance. I think they are pretty reliable from what I have heard. 

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I did a fresh search and there are about five or six 525's but most are in PA or near New York city, only 1 is close to me (an hour away). The main thing I worry about with a KTM though is part prices and maintenance/reliability.

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3 hours ago, puhz said:

What should I expect to pay for an older 2003-2007 525 EXC KTM? I see people asking over $6500+ for these. I found one for $3700 that looks promising.

3500 to 4200 in NY give or take. 

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that era of EXCs are known to be reliable but with any old bike its still a risk.  parts shouldn't be an issue. Most people that ride dual sport are on Euro bikes these days at least in NY.

Edited by elrontx

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On 4/23/2020 at 6:49 PM, elrontx said:

that era of EXCs are known to be reliable but with any old bike its still a risk.  parts shouldn't be an issue. Most people that ride dual sport are on Euro bikes these days at least in NY.

That's what I'm going to aim for then, I've always wanted an EXC I've just been weary of them due to maintenance concerns. 525's seem to be the most prolific from that era around here. I'm getting close so hopefully I'll have something in the next 30 days. Will post an update of what I get. Thanks everyone for your input!

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38 minutes ago, puhz said:

That's what I'm going to aim for then, I've always wanted an EXC I've just been weary of them due to maintenance concerns. 525's seem to be the most prolific from that era around here. I'm getting close so hopefully I'll have something in the next 30 days. Will post an update of what I get. Thanks everyone for your input!

It's a myth to think that a modern 350 XCFW (EXCF without smog stuff and blinkers). I put 180 hrs (all off road) on it and all I did was change the oil and cleaned the air filter every 10-15 hours and check the valves every 50 hours.  After adjusting 1 intake shim which was still in spec, but on the tight side) I never had to touch them again.  I've owned 9 KTM's since 1998 and have never had any mechanical issues.  Bullet proof.  The haters always spread this myth, but never seem to mention the various issues inherent with any brand/model.  If they really required more maintenance, do you think that every event would be a sea of Orange (and white)?

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32 minutes ago, Ktmshorty said:

It's a myth to think that a modern 350 XCFW (EXCF without smog stuff and blinkers). I put 180 hrs (all off road) on it and all I did was change the oil and cleaned the air filter every 10-15 hours and check the valves every 50 hours.  After adjusting 1 intake shim which was still in spec, but on the tight side) I never had to touch them again.  I've owned 9 KTM's since 1998 and have never had any mechanical issues.  Bullet proof.  The haters always spread this myth, but never seem to mention the various issues inherent with any brand/model.  If they really required more maintenance, do you think that every event would be a sea of Orange (and white)?

Very true. I would say riders that have never owned a KTM would compare them to say a Porsche; amazing performance and engineered to perfection, but costly to maintain and repair. But I hope that is a myth because I love KTMs and the new Husqvarnas as well.

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1 hour ago, puhz said:

Very true. I would say riders that have never owned a KTM would compare them to say a Porsche; amazing performance and engineered to perfection, but costly to maintain and repair. But I hope that is a myth because I love KTMs and the new Husqvarnas as well.

Compared to an old school 4 stroke bike, they will require more maintenance, but any modern day water cooled 4 stroke is every bit a "Porsche" as a KTM/Husky. 

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