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Which one...Vintage or Late Model as first Tbike

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OK, here's the scoop. I'm 49 years old and got the trials bug. If I compete (I live in the WDC area) I'll ride in the vintage class. But for now, I just want to learn and I have no idea which bike will help me the most; i.e., the bike I "might" compete on or a late model T bike.

Given the following info, what do you guys think?

TIA, Bill Shaw

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If you can pick up a used vintage trials bikes worth the money thats the way I would go. I have 4 vintage trials bikes and think they are great. The vintage meets I believe will be more condusive to a begginer. That my .02's worth.

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If your going to ride the vintage class only, I would buy a vintage bike. This way you will get used to the lousy brakes, dragging clutches, heavy slow handling. I'm not slamming the vintage stuff, but that's just the way it is and a modern bike will spoil you.

I'm a vintage rider and grew up when vintage was state of the art. A well restored bike is neat to look at, but I would much rather ride my modern bikes. Personally, I would do both, if you want too. If your going to ride a lot, you will spend much more time maintaining your vintage bike, so I hope you like to wrench. You can ride a modern bike for several seasons with minimal maintenance.

Around here the beginners ride the same line, whether they are on vintage or modern bikes. So I think it's easier to be on a modern bike. But I understand the challange of riding an older bike well. And the nostalgia is something that's tough to put a price on.

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If you plan on having both you might think about watching for a good deal on either type. It will be a while before the season starts. If it were me and I could only get one bike for a while I'd probably go with the vintage. Get used to the handling and learn to know what makes it tick that way. Modern bike has way less maintenance. Both are very cheap to maintain compared to any other type of bike in competition.

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Thanks to all...now my next question: Since the consensus of opinion is to go with a vintage bike, is one better than the other respect to the engine, handling, and finding replacement parts? Should I steer towards looking at the Japanese bikes (TY, TL, KT, etc) or a European/Spanish bike?

I found a TL250 that's only been ridden one hour since new, but he's asking $2750. Seems sort of high especially since I'd have to replace the tires, chain and rebuild the carb. But I'll defer to experts here...

TIA, Bill Shaw

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I own a TL 125, TL 250, KT 250, and a TY80. All 4 bikes are in original condtion, look very good for thier years, and the most I payed for any of the 4 is $ 800. As far as maintaining them, I replace an occasional lever, tighten a chain, and really thats about it. My kt is a 2 stroke and the plug will run all season. We use these bikes mostly for trail riding and practicing trials. All are easy to start and ride, and with the way we ride little maintenance. And yes unless you are a collector $ 2700 is a high $ for what you are going to do with it. Good Luck. Again just my .02

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And yet another question: Where is the best place to shop for used/vintage bikes? Living in the Mid-Atlantic region, I'm not averse to traveling to NY or NC or even TN -- but there aren't too many avenues.

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For me, Ebay gives you an idea on where and how much. Then its just a matter of patience, so you can either find one locally or on ebay. Also talk to people who deal with motorcycles. Let them know what you are looking for; I have talked to complete strangers and just by being a little friendly have found some bikes.

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I would not buy a TL250 if you are wanting to compete in trials. Fine trail bike, but way too heavy and ponderous for serious trials.

I used to have a TL125 and a buddy had the 250. Everbody hated the 250. If you're not a heavyweight, the TL125 is a good little trials bike. Try to find one that isn't hammered or has been freshly restored. It's a Honda, so it's reliable and you can still get parts. A clean one may cost you a grand or more.

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Bill, I'm 48 and just started trials a couple of months ago. I would like to have a vintage bike, but I wouldn't want to have just a vintage bike. If you enter in the Texas State series (and some others) the vintage class is limited to the Novice line. Granted I will be riding the Novice line this year, but hope to advance to Amateur or Senior AM next year. Now, if you have a local Vintage club, your class options may be better. But in my area a modern bike has better options. It's nice to know that my bike is capable of at least an intermediate line, for when I'm ready. Good luck with whatever you buy. Trials riding is a lot of fun and as challenging as you want it to be (sometimes more so).

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I'll patiently wait for something to surface locally or on Ebay then. BTW, I do weigh about 220lbs so I think a 125 is probably out of the question.

Great info on the TL250 BTW -- I'll keep my search more focused for a TY250 then. I do find it interesting that the Kawasaki and Suzuki bikes are not very well represented. I guess they weren't as competitive or they were made in significantly smaller numbers. Just an observation.

Thanks again for all the responses. And don't forget to forward any leads on used bike in the Mid-Atlantic region. :worthy:

TIA, Bill Shaw

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Great info on the TL250 BTW -- I'll keep my search more focused for a TY250 then. I do find it interesting that the Kawasaki and Suzuki bikes are not very well represented. I guess they weren't as competitive or they were made in significantly smaller numbers. Just an observation.

TIA, Bill Shaw

In the mid '70's when the Japanise entered the trials arena, the europeans ruled. Bultacos, Ossa, Montesa, etc...were the kings of the sport. The Jap bikes met a slow reception. They just didn't sell well, that's why Suzuki and Kawasaki bailed early. I don't think there's anything wrong with them and would certainly be ok to start with.

But for me, IF I was to get into vintage trials, it would have to be with a euro bike.

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On the RL250, the bolt on flywheel weight was the biggest improvement on mine. It made it more trackable and then you could pull taller gears when needed. The 247 that I have now has noticably more and smoother power.

CYA JOE

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I like my KT better than the TL's because of the motor. While both are reliable bikes, I just prefer the two stroke motor over the 4 stroke. Both are good, it's just what you like.

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I would definatly go for a late '70's early '80's Bultaco or Montesa,the Japanese stuff was just never competitive,no body ever rode them in the top grades.Over here we call a classic pre mid '60's,mainly British bikes and old school 2 Strokes,after that we call them Twinshocks...both can still ride the same lines but have seperate result placings.It's not fair to have an old British thumper have to compete on the same level as the last Twinshock Fantic.We have seperate Classic/Twinshock trials,but Twinshocks are catered for at any trial and can ride any line they feel capable of.I've seen blue Sherpa T's and TLR250's riding the expert line and winning against all.It's the rider of course.

Riders of modern bikes often won't go back to an older style bike,it's just too much hard work after a modern bike...and they don't see the point in getting all the 5's and 3's for no reason.If you are going to ride a modern,get a modern.

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Bill,

I use to do a lot of vintage trials and motocross. For vintage trials I would suggest that you look into getting a Bultaco Sherpa T or maybe an OSSA MAR. I rode OSSA & Bultaco trials bikes. Both were awesome.

I would reccomend that if you do go the vintage route, get something that has good parts availability/support.

Check with Hugh's Bultaco in New York at http://www.bultaco.com

Bultaco parts are plentiful.

OSSA parts are available as well. Check with my good buddy Keith Lynas at www.ossaplanet.com

A lot of the older Japanese trials bikes are very hard to get parts for, due to the fact they were only made for a brief period. Yamaha had the longest uninteruppted run. Stay away from the Kawasaki and Suzuki trials bikes as you will not find many parts for these. Same situation for the Honda TL's as well.

Good luck with whatever you choose. Most of all, have fun.

Mike

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i've got a '76 TY175 i'm kinda toying with the idea of selling... It was a lot more manuverable than my TL125. Felt lighter and would probably be a lot more fun than the TL, but i've got to many bikes and not enough time. Its pretty complete but needs some work. pm me if anyones interestested.

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The KT250 has very good support on the internet,with parts and workshop manuals online.Fred from here in New Zealand makes many parts for them.He supplied me a Honda piston he machined to fit as a replacement for Kawasaki ones,carb and air filter rubbers,decals,bars,fuel caps....if someone has a need he gets them made.

Personaly I found the TY175 the best Japanese trials bike,it could pull anywhere in the same gear as my 350 SherpaT,and as it was narrower with more ground clearance and lighter to boot I prefered it over the Bultaco.But I never liked the forks.The KT250 was by far the most popular 250 Japanese bike,good suspension and grunty motor,but they are just not ''quite right''.I always remember it was very hard to turn tight with throttle,it just pushed.

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You have a great vintage trials club in the Washington DC area. Potomac Vintage Riders. Join have fun and drink beer. They have a Yahoo group

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i have had a 74 ty250 and a 73 sherpaT 350. the ty250 was a fun bike but the bultaco is a much better trials bike. i still have the bultaco and i ride it when i can. it doesn't break down but can be hard to start at times even with a mic carb on it. so not that i am a great (or even good) trials rider but, i suggest the bultaco. also if you find a bike that is a good deal but needs to be shipped, see if the seller will take the bike apart and box it up in 3 boxes and ship via ups. it will cost around $100 for the shipping. i use to do it all the time but i am not sure ups' rules/prices have not changed. good luck!

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