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Is it the Bike or the Rider?

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Okay, so I already know the answer most people will give:

"It ain't the arrows, it's the Indian."

But still. We were riding up Tin Cup this weekend, the guys on KLR650s and the gals on 250s (a KLR250 and a Super Sherpa). Near the top, we hit a steep loose wet rocky section where we felt we couldn't go any further. We were just too tired and lacking in talent to do the next stretch.

Finally, my wife offered to let me ride her beloved Sherpa to rest of the way up. I had very little problem bumping and bouncing through the rock garden and getting the front wheel up over ledges and boulders. Before long I was through the rough stuff and cruised the rest of the way. What a total, incredible blast!

I can afford to buy a little trailie for the rough stuff, to compliment the KLR. Is that the way to go? Is a little, light weight trailie the ticket for an old (55 years) fairly n00b trail rider? Or do I just learn how to do on the KLR what I was doing on the Sherpa?

BTW: I just want to explore, not do 3rd gear wheelies on single track. That's why I'm thinking about a trail bike - something with a tail bag big enough for a sandwich, water, tools and cell phone. Thanks, Larry

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How about something somewhere in the middle like an XR400 or WR250? I used to ride a 650 on tight technical trails, and I always thought it was like working out with a medicine ball.

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How about something somewhere in the middle like an XR400 or WR250? I used to ride a 650 on tight technical trails, and I always thought it was like working out with a medicine ball.

I just sold an XR400 because it just sat in the garage unridden (dammit). Still, I'd prefer something with electric start. On Mt. Antero, the trail was really steep and just made up of wet round babyheads, so kick starting or bump starting would've been tough.

I don't know anything about the WR250. Would it make a good trailie? I'll research that one.

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that WR250 is so fun, and extremely easy to ride. it's almost like cheating!

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WR would probably be lighter & more powerfull than the Kawi 250 ya rode, for a used bike they would be a great choice, along with XR250, I think there may even be a Suzuki DR250?? not sure, but that would be the ideal size for you to get your trail riding skills up, when you feel comfortable enough with rough terrain, then try your 650, but not alone :ride:

P.S. if you are looking for new.. Husky makes a great street legal TE250 :thumbsup:

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It's the bike, not the rider. The KLR is a top heavy beast not meant for technical trail riding. Get a WR250 :thumbsup: . It's light, nimple, and just the right amount of torque/HP to get you through the tough/fun stuff.

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Interesting that you bring up this question. I've taken the last year off from riding because of my last injury. It took me 10 months to heal and the time off made me think about all the injuries in our group of riding buddies. Many have been signigicant, like my buddy who crushed two vertabrae and is lucky to be riding today. We generally ride 400's, 450's and 525's. We range in age from 38 - 57. And, of course, we ride too fast at times. I've thought about giving up riding all together - reason - just too many injuries. But, the exploration and adventure of dual sporting is really calling me back. I've theorized that if I get a low powered, low to the ground bike like an XT225 or a mellow 250, then maybe I could putt down the trails and explore to my hearts content.

By the way, I had a WR400 and a WR250. The 250 was lighter and more flickable, but still a high strung, race oriented maching. I brought it to Colorado a couple of years ago and had to ring it out to make it up big hills - kind of an adrenaline filled proposition.

So, I'm thinking the same thing. Small, low powered bike, that will still go 65 out on the street if I need to connect dirt roads and trails. A friend and I borrowed two XT225's a few years back and enjoyed tooling around in the mountains.

I think there would be something cool about taking a small and underpowered bike and seeing how far I could go with it.

Thoughts?

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But, the exploration and adventure of dual sporting is really calling me back. I've theorized that if I get a low powered, low to the ground bike like an XT225 or a mellow 250, then maybe I could putt down the trails and explore to my hearts content.

So, I'm thinking the same thing. Small, low powered bike, that will still go 65 out on the street if I need to connect dirt roads and trails. A friend and I borrowed two XT225's a few years back and enjoyed tooling around in the mountains.

I think there would be something cool about taking a small and underpowered bike and seeing how far I could go with it.

Thoughts?

Mike, I wish I'd expressed myself as well as you did. That's what I'm getting at . . . would a fun little bike let me go exploring where my combination of poor skills and heavy bike won't go? Would it compensate for my skill set and still provide thrills and adventure? Or should I just work on my technique and stick with big bikes? I definitely want something that is street legal from the get go.

I have an order in on an '07 KTM 525EXC (the street legal one), but I'm thinking a Husky TE250 would be a better choice - for me. I don't know how to say it but I truely believe that a bike that has "just enough" power is the best way to go. (Like, I won't have to worry about doing an endo or accidentally launching off a mountainside.)

I love riding my wife's Super Sherpa. It's like rding an old-time trials bike. But the frame is too small for me (and I'm only 5'9") and the suspension is way soft (I'm 195#). I wish there was a KTM alternative to the TE250. Husky dealers are pretty scarce around Denver.

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TE250 would be fun, but thier 450 and 510 are less then 10lbs more. :applause::thumbsup:

But I also understand your not wanting to launch yourself off a cliff.

Anyone making a larger tank for the TE250 yet?

Id like to walk in & buy a TE610 and either the TE250, 450, or 510 for 2nd bike.

My bank account doesnt agree. :ride:

Maybe I should play the lottery so I can throw in a KTM950 Super Enduro too.

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There is a Dualsport ride here in California, around Big Bear Lake, to be specific. It's put on by the Big Bear Trailriders every summer. This is one of the most challenging rides in the West. Out of 250 riders, only 35 finish the entire course. A couple years ago a guy on a CRF 230 finished first. The 230 is an often overlooked option for Dualsport, a conversion kit is readily available from Trickdualsport.com for about $400.00 bucks. Jerry Counts, one of the best known promoters, and pioneers of Dualsport, rides a plated CRF 230 as well.

The KTM 450 EXC might be more suited to single track than the 525, I've heard from more than one person the 450 feels lighter and more nimble than the 525 due to the bore differences. The KTM might be better for the trail stuff due to the 6 speed over the Husky.

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Colorado and All:

On the KTM's - I have a buddy who is a KTM dealer here. Says they will come out with an all new 250 EXC four stroke in 2007, which will be a significanlty upgraded bike from their last attempt in the 250 fourstroke market. I think the most felt the last one was a bit underpowered. Also, a couple of my buddies went with the little known new EXC 400, instead of the 450. These KTM's are still some of the lightest 4 stroke off road bikes made and in our State, we can get a tag for them right out ot the box.

Overall thoughts on bikes for trail riding. As Americans, we have an infatuation with more and more horsepower. A Spanish motorcycle racer and national trials champion came to stay with me for a couple of days. He just couldn't understand why my Jeep Grand Cherokee had a V-8 and why we all thought we needed v-8's, especially when we our speed limits were 65. He told me a point of view about not needing horsepower, but of best using horsepower and getting the most from it. He kind of related a "Big hat, no cattle" kind of story. This way of thinking has kind of intrigued me, even before I realized most of my buddies were getting hurt on a fairly regular basis.

Plus, I'm starting to really be drawn to more of a laid back, get out there and enjoy the scenery, type of experience, vs. pure adrenaline rush anyway.

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PS Colorado - More thoughts on your original question (sorry for the long post). I agree with the other posters that for where you live (Colorado), the big KLR 650 is OK for the smooth dirt/gravel roads. But for the single track and steep rock garden trails, anything lighter would be quite an improvement. Even the most experienced riders would be very challenged with a KLR 650 on Pearl Pass, trail 409 or something like those trails.

But, these modern race bred off road bikes - WRs, EXC's, CRFx's etc, are a bit high strung with their power delivery patterns, racing suspensions etc, seat height etc. They are basically de-tuned and changed gearing motocross bikes with lights. In some ways - very cool bikes. But, here I am in my late 40's able to take single track and other knarly stuff much faster than I ever could in my teens and twenties, because the technology is so much better. Everyone says that the secret is in just controlling the throttle - that is true in theory. For me, it's just too tempting when I have this awesome suspension and power under me, to ride faster than I probably should.

So, the answer I'm comtemplating - go with a bike my buddies would normally laugh at - a low to the ground, limited suspension (in modern terms), underpowered bike. Something that could just chug up the hills. It's intersesting that a guy above wrote about a Honda CRF230. On our last trip, one guy brought his 17 year old son. He brought a 230. One guy, who rides an XR650, traded with him for a while. Besides the suspenstion being set up way too light, the 650 rider seemed to really enjoy himself.

Here is my summary - you would see much improvement of going from your KLR 650 to say a modern 450 off road bike. But, these bikes are like riding a tall and high strung race horse, compared to what you are riding. Sounds like you just want to be able to chug up a hill with a light bike you can control, so be careful about selecting one of these modern beasts. The XT225, KLR250, Suzuki 200, etc., are low powered, low to the groud, old school type bikes. Current normal thinking is that they are too limited in suspension and power - but is this really true and according to what standards? Then, there are the modern 250's like the WR. I find you have to rev. these high like a two stroke to conquer the big hills - they don't seem to lug/chug well. And they are also very tall, modern suspension bikes.

Another idea I'm comtemplating - Significantly De-tuning my WR400. I've already had it lowered by a suspension specialist, so that I can almost sit flat footed - really helps if I get stuck in a rock garden etc. I'm thinking about putting the stock pipe back on with stock baffle (blashphamy I know). Also, adding extra flywheel weight to increase it's lugability.

Anyway, good luck!

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Ever think about a DRZ. Power is mild (stock),but enough to ride the hiway.Suspenion is actually pretty good at lower speeds. S model is street legal. It isn't the lightest bike made, but when riding ,the only time you notice is in deep sand or after a mishap and you have to pick the bike up.

I have a S and a KTM 525 and for me, the Suzuki is way eaiser to ride singletrack.The power is so controlable.

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Another thought would be something like an XR250R.....

The old 4 strokes had a low to mid range powerband - you could just chug up hills and through stuff. The new bikes tend to have mid to high end power bands - gotta keep the r's up to make it - not always possible when you get out of shape going up a hill.

We've got a TW200 around here - amazing what you can get through on that things.

You won't get there any too fast, but you will get there.

The aircooled 4 strokes are ALOT less maintenance too.... I have bikes to ride, not work on.

I took a buddy of mine out riding last fall... I was riding a fairly modern bike ('94 KLX250 - first of the modern style bikes) while he was riding one of my old bikes ('79 KLX250) - he walked up some stuff I had a hard time with, and I am a much better rider.

Having just turned 50, and having done my share of racing, I just want to go out and enjoy the countryside.

Three years ago I rode all around Ouray... on my street legal XR200. It hauled me over every pass...(keep in mind I'm 6'1", 220) sometimes slowly.... but it made it. Black Bear, Imogene, Engineer Mt, Cinnamin, Red Mt, etc.... the views were great, the riding was fun, the bike solid, light, quiet and dependable. :thumbsup:

Having fun is what it is all about......

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Ouray on an XR200 at 6'1" 220!! That is interesting - where you trying to push the limits of smallness?? Good info:

"Having just turned 50, and having done my share of racing, I just want to go out and enjoy the countryside.

Three years ago I rode all around Ouray... on my street legal XR200. It hauled me over every pass...(keep in mind I'm 6'1", 220) sometimes slowly.... but it made it. Black Bear, Imogene, Engineer Mt, Cinnamin, Red Mt, etc.... the views were great, the riding was fun, the bike solid, light, quiet and dependable.

Having fun is what it is all about......"

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Lot of good thoughts and insights here.

A guy on Advrider posted this in a TE250 thread:

Some riders get their jollies with racing and speed. Not me, because I think the risk of injury is too high. I prefer slow technical stuff and long rides in remote areas. For that, you really need a reliable bike more than top performance. Of course any sort of riding is risky, but I try and control what I can.

I think that describes what Mikem and some of the other guys here are talking about. So, I guess we're not alone in this thought process.

The next question for me is, what smallish (seat height of 34?), light weight (230#?), reliable, electric start (street legal?) trailie would let us old pharts do "slow technical stuff and long rides in remote areas?" Are the KTMs and Huskys too high-strung and racey, like a WR or CRFx? Would a KLX250S be too weak and mild at Colorado mountain elevations? Is there something in-between? What about the GG 450FSE? Is that racey too?

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A 250 thumper for a dual sport bike is fine if your riding tight trails all the time and don't care about riding over 55 mph to get to them.

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there's also the Yamaha TTR250, the Honda CRF230??, GasGas Pampera 250. I'm pretty sure the Jap bikes have E-start, not sure of the Pampera, but all 3 are modern playbikes, much mellower than the Husky, KTM, Yamaha Wr's etc.

If you can do without E-start, there's a bunch of options

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Colorado and All:

Had enough of working today and left early for a ride up to a local popular street bike and dual sport area in our mountains called Suches. There was a guy at the store there with a fairly new Kawasaki KLX 250s. He was into street bikes until he recently bought this for the dirt roads and trails around there.

Here are my impressions: Comes street legal. He said it was luggable at slow speeds. I could sit flat footed and I can't do that on the 400/450's. It sounds a bit heavy for a 250 at 260lbs or so. He said it felt light on the trail. Modern suspension. Electric Start.

He also said he had be regularly cruising at 65 mph on the road. It has a sixth gear (overdrive).

Here are some opinions from another site:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=107591

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