Junior Thumper

I need some advice. I am looking for a bike for my son who is 17 years old 6'2" 180 lbs.

He gets on my WR and it is just to much bike for him right now. We ride sand dunes, Desert cross country, rocky trails with a fair amount of climbing. No real time on the track. I am looking for something that will be compatable with my bike with a little less weight and a few less ponies. Picks seem to be Yamaha TTR-250, Honda XR-250 and Kawasaki KLX-300R. I have even considered YZ-125 and CR-125. I have Blue blood but would like to put my money on the best bike. Any suggestions would be great.

The KLX is a great choice. It will have more oomph than the 250's but it is one of the lightest feeling bikes. If he starts to outgrow the power, you can add some Stroker add ons and it will be much more of an animal. Cutting the flywheel weight and replacing the carb will make it rev/accellerate lots quicker and a pipe will save some weight and let it rev higher. And for the price you can do a lot to it!

The two stroke 125's aren't designed for trail use and would require more mods for use on public lands. BTW, the 250 MX bikes translate to trail use a lot better than the 125s. The 125s just don't have the torque.

It wouldn't surprise me to see a KLX with a good rider leave a WR in the dust on a tight trail.

It sounds like you will be riding a lot of high rpm stuff. I would absolutley stay away from the 125 2-strokes. You will be going through pistons and rings at a pretty high pace.

I agree w/ James. The Kawasaki KLX 300 is a great starter bike that can be modified. The only setback is it is a small size'd motorcycle. It is popular with the shorter riders.

The TTR 250 is an option. I couldn't help but think with a little time on it, your son may be searching for more power. There is a kit out to boost the displacement and power up substantially. I recall the price to be kind of high though.

Maybe a WR400 with the exhaust and intake intact?


99 WR, 84 Kaw 900 Ninja, '82 Honda CB750F clothes hanger, '84 Honda Z50 "Berm Destroyer". Always thinkin' "Hell, this worked on my 2 stroke!!"

The only setback is it is a small size'd motorcycle. It is popular with the shorter riders.

That is true. With your son's size he'll have to see if he's comfortable on the KLX. But then the 250s you listed are smaller as well and underpowered.

Another option would be an XR400R. They have the size and power for a big rider but a easier power band to deal with.

The Suzuki DRZ is also an option. It sits somewhere between the XR400R and the WR in power. It is definately easier to ride than a WR and revs better than the XR. The downside of the Suzuki is that if he gets better than you he can probably beat you on it. :)

The XR400 is a nice mellow bike but the weight can be an issue. The BEST adult starter bike IMHO is the KDX 200......yes I know it's a two stroke...it's light, which the XR's are not and makes it easy for a beginner to manhandle if they need too. It also makes good power but it's easy to use.


Chris in the Mojave

'98 YZ400F

Thanks for the advise . I have found two KDX 300's in our area for sale. I plan on going out and looking at the 300 before make a decission. Is the resale on the Kawasaki as good as the Yamaha or Honda?

The re-sale on a KLX300 is nothing like a WR or XR. A mate had a KLX300, and I had an XR400. The XR is heaps better, even for a learner, but my friend has since bought a WR400 and thinks is just the greatest. A WR400 works best when pushed hard, but I beleive that it can be ridden just like an XR400 if you are not a hard charger. I bought an XR400 as a step towards a WR, but now I wish I just bought a WR in the first place.


R o d. H. Canberra, Australia400 Thumpers Australia

Almost a 2000' WR400

What is you son's riding ability?

I've recently learned a few things with my own sons. The oldest is thirteen and has been taught and rides on a 86 TT225 Yamaha 4-stroke. It was easy to teach him and the bike is very forgiving. After a few months of riding my youngest wanted a bike and after listening to me and the older one talk. He wanted a 2-stroke. Would not consider anything else. I had discussed the issue of power and what this would mean to a beginner. He still did not understand.

I ended up buying him a CR80. Tried several other 2-smokes, but the CR fit him the best. Others were to small. He looped the bike the first time he tried to take off...it's ok he got right back on. He is learning but the process is going to be long. My oldest now wants a YZ125 so I let him ride the CR and now he is saying maybe a TTR250 would better suit him. He doesn't like the peaky powerband of the CR.

My point is regardless of your son's size get a bike the he can lift off the ground after a crash, start on his own (compression) and that has power within his riding ability. Good luck.



86TT225, 98CR80, 99WR, WR timing, throttle stop trimmed, air box lid removed, White Bros head pipe, silencer and air filter. Odometer and headlight removed. Moose hand and mud guards.

Bill, my son has been riding sport 4-wheelers since he was eight. He currently rides a Yamaha 350 Warrier. He rides this well and has limited hours on a an older Honda 185. The Honda 400 would be nice but it is around $800.00 more than the Kawasaki. If price were not an object I would buy a new 2000 WR keep and give him my 99'. I could always put the throttle stop and baffle back in. Anyway I figure that that by getting the Kids set up on bikes it will be easier to get Kitchen passes for more trips riding.

At 6'2" and 180lbs I don't think picking up the bike is the problem. Once he got used to the power the WR would be fine for him I'm sure.

A WR with the baffle in might be an option.


Check this out. I owe getting b TTack into bike to my year old. I had an 86 TT225 sitting in the corner of the garage for years. He kept asking me to teach him to ride, so I told him when he could touch the ground I would. He can this year, so now he's riding. We used to go out and I'd unload his bike and ride around at a distance that i couls see him. He started to get bored with that and wanted to venture out and discover things.

So he said hey dad you should get a bike and we could ride together. I figured if a thirteen year old was asking to spend time with Dad. I should buy a bike. Explaining to the wife that this was a great opportunity to spend "quality time" with him, my "kitchen pass" was granted. I now am back into the sport on a 99WR....Thanks Son XXOO!

Most of the mags give the KDX200 the nod for most bang for the buck, if your looking to maximize your money.

Happy Trails


The KDX and KLX are both great bikes. Just keep in mind if you go the KDX route he'll be mixing gas/oil. On top of that I absolutely dispise the way they sound but YMMV.

Thanks for all the advice. I checked out all the Bikes and slapped the leather on a new KLX 300 today. On the showroom floor it's seat sits a little higher than the WR but weighs in at 131 lbs.. If you were color blind you might even think it is a brother to the WR. We are planning on going riding next week. I think I will be able to keep my son off my WR now, I just hope we can all get use to that green.

Let us know how he likes it.

Here is the web site for the company that makes the KLX mods I mentioned earlier in case he starts to outgrow the power of the KLX. BTW, they offer WR mods too.


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