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First time trail bike buying advice

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I've been a long-time street rider for almost 20 years and moved to Colorado in '97. Last weekend I had the opportunity to go trail riding at Rampart Range with a buddy of mine who had an extra bike and loved it (the riding, not so much the bike I was on). So much so that I'm actually considering adding a new moto to the garage.

I rode a very beginner bike he bought to teach his girlfriend to ride; an older Yamaha TTR225, I believe. He's riding an '07 WR450F. I liked the fact that the TTR had a nice low first gear to let me climb and descend the steeps at a reasonable pace, but that little motor was lugging pretty hard and I stalled a few times. By the end of the day I was keeping up with my buddy pretty well and really enjoying myself.

If I dive into this I see my riding to be almost strictly mountain/tree trails, jeep roads, a little dirt road riding, and trips to Moab -- very unlikely to ever hit the track. I think 2-strokes are out since I may need to license it, and I'd like to stick with similar tech to those I'm riding with most often. What I'm torn on however is what size I should be considering -- I'm leaning toward 450.

I'm 6', athletic build, and run about 150-160 pounds, so I don't have much weight to tow around. 32" inseem (I'm all torso). Obviously I'm a beginner, but I have a lot of street motorcycle experience. Whether or not that helps much, I don't know. At least I know how to operate a clutch and know not to grab my front brake.

My street bike is a Yamaha, but I'm not necessarily brand loyal. I've heard good things about KTM and found an '05 450 EXC with about 3K mi on it, asking $3200 OBO on Craigslist. From what I understand the EXC models are KTM's trail gearing and suspension setup. Electric start and a kickstand are also necessary. Options to add bags would be a plus. Lighting is necessary if I'm going to license it.

Any input and opinions are greatly appreciated.

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Your on the right track!!

Remember though that most people will go through a few diffrent bikes before figuring out what kind they really want.....

You are def going to want a bike with a wide ratio trans.

(Make sure you get the valves checked before you buy that KTM!!!)

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I agree you are on the right track with the KTM EXC. The Yamaha WR450 is also an excellent big bore trail bike...I have a 2001 WR426 with a few simple mods. As you are probably aware, the WR450 is night and day from the TTR225. I would recommend riding your buddies WR450 before buying anything. $3200 for an 05 450 EXC sounds a little high for my area...it all depends...different area of the US seem to have different rates. I bought my second bike, a 2007 KTM 300 XC for $2700, but have put about $700 into the bike getting everything up to par. Buying a used 4t can really get you into trouble if you dont know what you are doing...take someone who does or learn what to look for.

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As the weather cools here in Co. bike prices will drop. If you take your time there will be plenty of great deals going through CL. Watch for a bike with low hours/miles that has been taken care of. It sounds like any of the off-road 450’s will work for you but don’t rule out the KTM 400, 525, and 530’s also. If you are looking for a plated bike you will pay a bit of a premium here in Co. As stated previously, get a ride on your buddy’s WR if you can to make sure you like the power.

Here is an example of a bike that is very low miles (I know the owner) and well maintained.

http://denver.craigslist.org/mcy/2619452640.html

CoKTM

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I have a 450 EXCR and have been riding on and off road(last road bike was Ducati) for a long time, I would suggest maybe trying a 250/300 exc first as the step as you would know from the TTR to the 450 EXC is massive, on road you rarely get out of shape enough to lose control of the power of the bike, trails can throw you around and with a powerful bike like a 450 you could get hurt very quickly. Its not that the bike develops more power than you are used to, it just delivers it differently in a sometimes confined environment.

Not sure of your regulations up there but either KTM or Husaberg are very hard to go past.

Have fun

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