True but there probably aren't that many people who leave the 250 stock for very long.
I'm 6'0" #235. I got a great deal on an uncorked '01 WR250F for my wife, but it was too much for her first dirt bike, and now she's on a TT-R225 while I ride the WR. Dirt Bike nailed it in their 2007 buyers guide,
"Want to feel like a tight trail superhero? The WR250 makes you feel like you're Barry Hawk on level ground. Point it uphill, and you feel like Barry White."
We've got a lot of bluff riding down in SE Minnesota, and the parking lot is usually at the bottom of the bluff, the trails on top. Getting up there is a first gear, keep the revs up activity. There will be no chugging up the hills for me on the WR.
I'm looking to sell my KTM 570SX and get a WR450 or 450EXC
Back in the spring of 2006 I was in exactly the same situation you are. I was set on a 250, but then found a used wr450. I couldn't pass up the deal so bought the 450.
It had been 25 years since I spent any amount of time on a bike, and even then only a lowly Honda XL125. I was out of shape and only 5'10. So the 450 was a huge step up. My first few rides were easy trail rides - no issues whatsoever. Started to get used to the power.
However, my first ride with the "boys" was a 65 km loop of extremely tight technical riding with slimy muskeg crossings. Quad trails under 6 inches of water. I almost died. The weight of the bike just about killed me on numerous occassions and i couldn't pull that thing outta the mud by myself. Half way through the ride I felt I had made a mistake buying a bike period and I swore I was going to sell the bike. I never did. And I never told my wife about some of the pain I was in for the few weeks following the ride.
Fast forward to 2007, and a ride in the mountains with the same guys. I still had the occassional issue where I needed help getting the bike off of me. And what a pain to get through a clear cut area. Any forestry people will tell you the name clear cut just means all the trees are laying down. What a nightmare, but I digress.
But the power of that 450 was incredible. One particular hill I recall vividly. It took us about 15 to 20 minutes to go down this hill crawling along dragging the brakes. The trail is also the runoff for the snow pack in the spring so has some huge washouts and is covered in rocks. I remember asking my buddy "I hope the trail up is nicer than the one down" He said "this is the trail up". I was scared shitless. My buddy "don't worry, just stick that 450 in 2nd gear and tractor up that hill and ride over the rocks and around the washouts and you'll be fine". "Right" I said (I may have called him some bad names too).
Well be damned if he wasn't right. That 450 made that trail a breeze. It just kept chugging along. Over the rocks and around the washouts. It took less than 5 minutes to get back up that trail. The only guy that needed help up that trail (and more than once) was the guy on the 250!!!
So my point is:
If you are in excellent shape and will be riding the bike where the tractor like power will help - Buy a 450. For the record, it's not the power of the 450 that will hurt you (that is if you have any control of your right wrist), it is the fact it is a behemoth of a bike.
If you are out of shape, will be riding the bike anywhere really tight, or just putting along behind the kids - buy a 250.
But you know what..... you are going to have a blast no matter what you buy.
I went through the same problem a couple of weeks ago. I thought the 450 was going to be "too much bike" for me, but with my past 250's I was always looking for more power. So I bit the bullet and got the 450.... I couldn't be happier with my decision.
Just my 2 cents.
One more advantage to having the 450 over a 250- I keep mine quiet as possible. The 450 allows you to cork it and still developes plenty of power, it would be difficult for me to ride a 250 at 90% power(or whatever I loose with a quiet pipe) - thats not a problem with the 450.
One more thing I forgot to mention. I am now riding/racing in enduro's and desert scrambles. Its fun and a good way to learn to get better. When we are on the rocky single track or going up loose nasty hills, I always had trouble. I dreamed of getting a smaller lighter bike.
So I got the bike lowered professionally. I'm 5-9, 215lbs with a 31inch inseam. If I were faster, I would have more momentum and could keep going. But I'm not yet fast enough and I often need to paddle my way through the nasty stuff.
Being able to put your feet down will be a great for you. Lower it 1 inch and it will be much easier to handle . Take another inch off the seat and it will make all the difference in the world. I never used the full 12 inches of travel anyways.
My WR400 was my "first" dirt bike at age 36 last year...got it already jetted with FMF, etc. Tons of snort and the power of the 400 has saved my arse 100X more than it's ever hurt. Like anything, will take some time to get used to but once you're comfortable, you'll love having the chug when you need it...climbing up steep bottomless sand or mud pits for one...I probably never got out of 3rd gear the first year but now I'm occasionally tapped out in 5th and wonder if the bike got slower. Enjoy!
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