Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Can I get some “Street Legal” Dirt Bike Advice?

Recommended Posts

I will preface this post by saying that I’m a newb. No doubt about it – I’m clueless about motorcycles. I joined these boards a year or two ago, but got “sidetracked”. With that in mind, I offer you this….

I have quite a bit of motorsport experience, but never on a motorcycle. I currently ride downhill mountain bikes, but would like to get a dirtbike as well. The thing is, I’d like it to be street legal as well. I wouldn’t ride it on the road much, just to get me from trail to trail without loading it back in the truck.

Originally I really thought that I would like to get a CRF250X, but am unsure about getting it plated in CA (yes, I’m from CA). I was also looking at the DRZ400SM but those slick tires don’t look like they would be too great riding trails.

Would anyone be nice enough to give me some general direction? Like I said, I’m pretty clueless about this, so I’m just looking for a starting point to do my “research”.

Any help is appreciated!

Might want to consider getting some seat time before deciding. If nothing else, and as silly as it may sound, there is an MSF dirt bike course in addition to a MSF street bike course. If you do well with the street bike course then that eliminates the need for the driving test at the dmv, you only need to take the written test. In my experience the bikes are furnished for both the dirt and street courses.

Yes the Husqvarna TEs & SMs 2006 and newer, and some of the ktm 2007 and newer come with a license plate from the factory. My Husqvarna TE250 is registered just like a car i.e. license plate only, no green/red sticker, and needs insurance to be maintained - or the dmv will send a letter asking for the plate back. If the bike is valued at $5000 then the registration is the same as a $5000 car. The insurance is not expensive though.

If you are looking around there are 2 specifications that may be of interest. The weight and the gear ratios. Dirtbikes with plates are lighter and may not have a wide gearbox (my TE250). The 'dual sports' tend to be heavier with wider gearbox. "Gearbox width" means the ratio of top gear/bottom gear. Sprockets can be changed on bikes, but being able to do slow trails and still ride at high speeds with out having the engine spin fast is what a wide gear box will allow.

The ktms have wider gearboxs than the Husqvarna's, both of those are significantly under 300 lbs. Bikes like the DRZ400, klr250, and the newer Yamaha/Hondas that come with a plate all seem in the 300 lb range last I checked.

It is not just horsepower and torque.

I vote used and cheap for a first dirtbike, and put $ into riding gear, :busted:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KTM 530 excellent choice...........

I agree...I ride an '07 525EXC and it makes a ton of power but the power is so

smooth and controllable that even a beginner can ride it easily. My 13-yr old

prefers to ride my KTM instead of his WR250. The power of the 530 is very

similar.

Now, if your budget is up to $10K, I'd definitely give the Husky TE line a good,

hard look. That line of bikes are all FI, factory street-legal and light weight!

If my bike weren't paid for, I'd really consider trading it for a TE510...:thumbsup:

Oh and as far as KTMs overheating in the woods...don't believe everything you

read. If the bike overheats you're riding too slow, the jetting is too lean or

both. Mine doesn't overheat even on +100-degree days. :busted:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The ktms have wider gearboxs than the Husqvarna's, both of those are significantly under 300 lbs. Bikes like the DRZ400, klr250, and the newer Yamaha/Hondas that come with a plate all seem in the 300 lb range last I checked.

As mentioned, the main problem with the Japanese street legal dual sport bikes is their heavy weight. KTM and Husky make much better, much lighter dual sport bikes. The KTM 450/530 are the lightest plus they have a very versatile, semi wide ratio six speed tranny.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The closest I've seen any bike that can do it all is the KTM 530 EXC. A friend of mine has one, paid an arm and a leg for it, but it's an ecxellent offroiad bike and can still comfortably cruise on roads. The only limitations with it are tires - there's no such thing as a perfect tire that will perform well on and off road and still hold up more than a few rides.

If you don't have $9000 to spend and you still want something street legal then look for a used plated bike like others have suggested, or even consider the street legal WR250.

Since you have experience with downhill mt biking, you're probably an adventurous person and honestly you're probably better off with a pure offroad bike - you will want something that's lightweight and has a good suspension.

My suggestion is to get a 02 or older two stroke 250 like a YZ250, CR250, etc. They're cheap, fast, fun, powerful, easy to maintain, and they have green stickers allowing you to ride year round. A 250F would also be a good choice, maybe even easier to ride because the power is easier to manage, but my vote goes to the 250 two stroke.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ktm530 is a lotta balls for woods though, specially for a beginner... If the 450s over heat in woods I couldnt see how a 530 is going to be any better.

Both have super linear power curves, so if you have any throttle control, they are easy to ride. My 450 only boils in nasty conditions if you get stuck and are trying to grind your way out. But it only pukes a little and not enough to stop a day of riding. On slow, technical trials if you are moving even a bit, it does not overheat and I have no rad fan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Under some of the conditions where we ride, ALL bikes even those properly jetted, etc require a fan to keep from overheating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you have experience with downhill mt biking, you're probably an adventurous person and honestly you're probably better off with a pure offroad bike - you will want something that's lightweight and has a good suspension.

My suggestion is to get a 02 or older two stroke 250 like a YZ250, CR250, etc. They're cheap, fast, fun, powerful, easy to maintain, and they have green stickers allowing you to ride year round. A 250F would also be a good choice, maybe even easier to ride because the power is easier to manage, but my vote goes to the 250 two stroke.

This is also something that I'm strongly considering. I have a fair amount of experience with 2 stroke engines (raced shifter karts for a while) and the price/power ratio is attractive. I can't ride it to the trails, but a bike like that with a heavy flywheel weight may do the trick.

Choosing is confusing :busted:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×