Help me return to the fold!

After retiring from motorcycle racing/riding over 10 years ago, I’m ready to get back into the sport. I have been totally out of touch with the sport over these years and I desperately need some sound advice from the riders of this forum.

I am 45, 6’3”, 220 lbs, strong and healthy. I was racing expert level desert/hare scrambles on 250cc Huskys and KTMs when I retired. I now need a new bike that will perform well on National Forest type single-track and fire roads 80% of my riding and open desert the remaining 20%. Most of my riding will be recreation trailriding, with an occasional desert race thrown in.

My choices for a new bike are: the Honda XR650R, the Yamaha WR 426 and the WR 250. I have ridden a YZ 400 & 426, as well as a XR 600. All three rides were brief. I have not been able to catch a ride on any of the specific models I’m interested in. Now I call on your expertise to help me make a decision. Thanks for your input

I haven't checked but, you may want to post this on the 650 and 250 sides of TTalk.

IMHO the 250 is out, your to large, remember it is a 125 class bike. Espeically on fire roads and the desert. The 650 would be great for fire roads and desert and you have the size and strength. Obviously I would recomend the 426, it's fast enough for open terrain, less weight, more aggresive suspension and really is race ready.




97 KDX220, 86 TTR225, 99 WR400f, WR timing, MX-Tech suspension, throttle stop trimmed, air box lid removed, White Bros head pipe, silencer and air filter. De-octopussed. Works frame guards and Thumper Rad Guards, Scotts steering damper. Odometer and headlight removed. Cycra Pro-Bend hand and mud guards. YZ stock tank, IMS seat and number plate. Renthal Jimmy Button "highs" and Renthal Soft half waffle grips. AMA, SETRA, Happy Ramblers MXC, Rausch Creek MXC, Tower City Trail Riders.

I wouldn't throw the WR250 out based on rider weight until you can ride one.

At Reno I witnessed a guy that normally rides a KTM 380 & makes me look petite (I'm 6'4"/250 - sorry Kevin :D ) rocket up a hill climb on a YZ250F. His comment was the thing had plenty of power for him. I didn't ride it :)

Do a search on Clark Mason - he has a WR400 & an XR650 (BRP - big red pig). He has listed some very valid reasons for having both bikes for different types of riding.

The 250 may not be the bike the types of riding you do but only you decide what you're willing to compromise on.

I sure wish I had your problem. Have you considered a KTM 400/520?


IMHO, XR650 on open, high speed stuff. WR250F if it is all VERY tight. WR426 if you plan to mix it all up and expect good performance all-around. If you may want high speeds occasionally, stay away from YZ's. Most of my off-road friends either have WR gearing, or wish they did. All are very reliable and are magic when set up by someone who knows what they are doing. I was away for 15+ years, and I am amazed at current bikes.

Dennis, I stopped riding dirt 15 years ago and just got back into it May this year.

I am 41, 6ft 3 and weigh 215lb. I also thought about XR650 vs WR426 ( I didn't even consider a 250, as good as they might be )

I went for the 426 (thank God). Bikes have come a long way in the last 10-15 years, and they are all good. but some are more "good" than others. The WR is an awsome bike that IMO does everything well and I couldn't be happier on any other bike.



Tony Montana

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