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KLX300, KLX250 or XR250? (another "which bike" thread)

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Hi guys,

I've grown up with bikes but have sadly been without for some time. :) I'm now ready for a new/used bike, and I've been researching like crazy. If you could help me out with any advice that'd be great!

I'm about 5"9' (175cm) and 150 lbs (68kg). I've rode PW's, XR75/80/100/400, YX426F/450F. The YZ's have great power but it's not necessary for me - especially considering I don't want high maintenance and I don't like the Yamaha's high-balanced weight (I like to touch the ground!). I mostly ride tight trails and mountains (steep/rough/rocky) with occasional doubling. Mud riding is definitely there but seasonal. Sprints and jumps will happen but are a low priority. I'm into weekend joy riding only, no comp and no road. I don't care about electric starts.

I have my eyes on..

  • XR250 - Brand new 2004 are $7,650 and used 2001 models go for about $5,500 (AUS$).
  • KLX250 - Can get 2004 brand new for $7,000 - or 2002 used for $5,500.
  • KLX300 - Brand new are not available in Australia, but seen a 2002 for $5,000 (used on-road, ~12,000 km)

Apart from any general advice, I was wondering how much of a deal mileage is on these bikes? ie; 12,000km on the KLX300 - How long can these last? Would I expect major engine service in this situation?

I've read the KLX300 has plenty more power than the XR250, but where does the KLX250 come in (especially when compared to the XR250)?

Thanks!

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I would go with the KLX 300, since you are starting back up again it will not kill you, but once you get those skills back, put some parts on the bike, the bike can be a beast. Besides that it is lighter than the xr and it has a good suspension. If you don't think the 300 will work I would most certainly go for the klx250 :) . Hoped that helped

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KLX all the way. The 300 is definately better if you can find a good one. The bike is nimble, quick and will easily fulfill all your needs that you stated. Then, as you grow - riding wise, there are a ton of easy, cheap mods to really wake the bike up.

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Thanks guys,

I've been thinking the same thing - to enjoy a tad more power with the same frame. The only problem is there are VERY few KLX300's around, a couple 98/99's for $4,000-5,000 (AUS$) and only later model, a 2002 for $5,000 (which has the higher on-road mileage).

So I guess my question is, is it better to go for an older model (97-99) with normal off-road mileage (2,000km) or a later model (02) with high on-road milieage (12,0000km)? Either way, I won't be adding much to it (~800km/year). How long would they last?

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I just posted the following to another thread. maybe it will have some value to you. I have recently gotten back into dirtbikes after a 25 year absence. Street bikes only since 1980. I'm having a blast!!! Happy Motoring!!!

I just bought a '98 KLX-300 about three weeks ago. Mine does have a 340cc kit as well as other mods. and is in exceptional shape.

Other than on this forum, I've heard some really bad things about this bike. I can only tell you that I am extremely happy with mine,

The magazines seem to think that this bike is heavy, slow, and hard to start (Dirt Bike Dec, 2004 Buyer's guide, among other's).

Compared to a WR, or a CRFX this may be true. However given it's price point within the market, new or used, it is more of a direct comparison with an XR 250, or a TTR-250, or a DRZ-250.

Compared to these bikes IMHO the KLX-300 is vastly superior. With this bike you get four valve heads, inverted forks, liquid cooling, disk brakes front and rear. None of the other bikes in this price range offer ALL of these. And all are of comperable weight. Hard to start? Mine has a 340cc high compression kit and always starts by the third kick when cold, first kick when warm. It should be harder to start than stock.

I believe the "testers" look at what this bike has to offer and then compare it to other bikes with the same level of componetry, ie WR250 or CRFX, and find it lacking in some areas. What they don't take into consideration is the price point. These other bikes are $1500 to $2000 more new, and comparably more used.

I read one reveiw online (I can't remember where) and they compared the KLX-300 to an XR 400. At the beginning of the article the said they felt it wouldn't be fair to do a comparison with the XR-250 because it was giving up 50cc to the KLX. So they decided to compare it to the XR-400 where the KLX is giving up 100cc's?!!!

Basically the article found the KLX supperior in every way to the XR-400 except power. No Shit!

I overlooked this bike at the beginning of my dirtbike search because of the remarks made by DirtBike magazine in it's Dec. '04 buyer's guide (slow, heavy, and hard to start). I am glad that I didn't buy at that point!

IMHO, dollar for dollar this an exceptional enduro. Don't let the four valves, water cooling, and inverted forks fool you into thinking this is a cutting edge motorcycle. But a better motorcycle will cost you $1200 to $3000 more. And if you are looking for a bike that will "putt" along with your kids, this is it. This bike (even with the high compression 340cc kit) will putt all day. But twist the wick, and you will be rewarded with instant power. The suspension isn't as good as a WR-250 or a CRF-250X but is is vastly superior to an XR-250, TTR-250, or a DRZ-250.

For it's price, new or used, you can't go wrong. This is truely an undervalued model. Their loss is our gain!!!!

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I've owned an XR250 and now have a KLX300

XR250

Plus: Very reliable, very good build quality, lots of parts around, air cooled engine has less maintenance hassles

Minus: Older frame design carries it's weight high, stock handlebars suck(but then again don't all stock handlebars suck?), it's pretty heavy for a 250

KLX300

Plus: Perimeter frame design carries the weight lower and handles very well, lightest stock bike in it's class, lower seat height for verticly challanged (5'8" here), once it's uncorked the bike has great low end power

Minus: You have to do a number of mods to make the bike reliable (do a search it's all here), the overhead valve configuration of modern 4 strokes require constant maintenance (not picking specificly on Kaw, all of them)

I only owned my XR250 for about 6 months, and it was my first Honda. It was just getting sorted out with suspension adjustments and new handlebars that fit me when it was stolen. A local guy had a KLX300 up for sale (some of you may remember KLXMike). He took me out riding for about 2 hours on some singletrack. By the time we got back to the truck, I feel in love with the bike. He had done all the mods, except the shifter star, so I bought it. What I really like about the KLX is the handling. I've had the bike for a little over a year now, and it's been very reliable, although a valve job is right around the corner. I'm a trials rider and enjoy tight rocky desert singletrack. I'm the slowest guy in the crowd and usually ride sweep, so power is not an issue with me. However when I grab a handful to get up a step hill, there's plenty there to get the job done. I really can't say anything bad about the XR250, it's just that the KLX fits me and my style of riding.

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Good tips there Eric23!

Turns out that the 2002 KLX300 was actually a 2000 (stock), and the guy doesn't like to get his hands dirty - only the kawasaki scheduled services were done. So perhaps that means the oil, air & valves would have been a little neglected, and I'm guesing that the timing chain will need to be done (it's done 13000km / 7500 miles?). That plus the idler and star mods have to be done straight away.. argh! On a positive note the plastics are perfect!

Is the timing chain part of the Kawasaki service schedules? And at what interval?

I don't know if I can get the stroker parts here in Aus. Maybe I should just go for the brand new KLX250 (2004) - Do they have any problems that require fixing?

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Has the bike been ridden mostly on the street? 7500 miles is quite a bit for a KLX - especially hard dirt miles. A lot of people replace the cam chain in the 3-4000 mile range because of the "clicking" noise and general looseness. With 7500 miles, I'd definatlely think about replacing it. The Kawi general maintainence schedule is BU$$#@%^! You'd only do 3 oil changes in 2000km. By that time, I'd changed my oil at least 15 times. I don't think the bike would still shift well with that few oil changes. I'd look carefully at the bike if the owner has only done the scheduled work. If he's only had it on the road though, the wear and tear would be less.

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I had a feeling his oil changes weren't enough - His schedule specifies maintenance at 1,000, 6,000 and 12,000 KM (621, 3,728 and 7,456 miles), which is all he's done. If there is another part that specifies 3 oil changes between the full services, I'd say he's missed it!

On the other hand it is 99% road riding.

I might have to be patient and wait for a better buy. (but finding them is somewhat of a lottery here).

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On modern 4s dirt bikes that share oil between the engine/clutch and tranny, oil changes frequently are critical. I ride 99% dirt and after 200 miles, I cannot stand the shifting on the KLX and must change the oil. Preferably after 150 miles. Good luck with your search.

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