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Short middle-aged unambitious weekend TT/MX racer

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I am 42 years old, 5'6 with a 29 inch inseam, and weigh 155 pounds.

I have a 2000 YZ426F in good shape. I bought it to race supermoto 8 years ago. I have since learned to ride in the dirt.

I race C class TT races on knobbies. I am proud to say I usually don't finish last. That's about all I can say, though. I'm not fast.

I also rode on a motocross track for the very first time this summer. I circulated without incident. I had fun, but, of course, I was not fast.

I want two things - I want my cheapskate little brother (who trail rides with me) to race with me - probably only because I think I can beat him, but maybe partly because I like hanging out with him, and I think he would enjoy racing. I intend to give him my YZ426F and buy a new or NOS (New Old Stock) MX bike for myself.

And I want to put myself on a bike that's easy for a low-ambition novice so I can continue TT scrambles and attend more MX practices, and maybe even enter a few MX races.

Here's what I don't like about the YZ426F:

  • It starts as well as any 426, but it's tall, and if I stall it, I struggle to get it re-started again, usually wearing myself out in the process. My very short legs contribute to this difficulty, as does the fickle starting routine of the old 426.
  • I suspect that my 426 is heavier than most modern MX bikes. I would be immediatelty happier with a lighter "feeling" bike, regardless of what a manufacturer's spec sheet says.
  • The suspension on my 426 is correctly sprung for my weight, and it seems to handle braking bumps and acceleration bumps well. It also does a great job of absorbing the impact of my landings, although as previously stated, I don't jump that far because I'm not fast. But otherwise, over less extreme terrain it frequently feels quite stiff and wooden, despite having been carefully serviced. I'd be happier with something that felt more supple.
  • For fast flat hard pack corners, my corner entry speed suffers because I am always managing rear wheel hop, usually by lightly feathering the clutch, but in later laps by going slower... I'd like to be able to chuck it in with less compression braking hop like I can on my play bike.
  • I like the power of the 426 - mine fuels well, but I feel like the wooden suspension, fear of stalling, and poor corner speed have me using full throttle a lot less than I should be. I suspect I could be just as fast, or faster on a less powerful bike that handled better.

I would ride anything that was fun. I don't have a particular class I want to compete in, but I do want to enter TT and MX races. I won't hate myself if I'm not on the podium. I can turn a wrench, and have serviced everything on my YZ that can be serviced without compressed nitrogen.

In order, I have considered:

  • New KTM SX250F (e-start!)
  • latest generation Honda CRF250R (praised for balanced handling)
  • 2011 KX250F (short seat height, supple suspension)

My racing friend (who is an expert, former pro) keeps steering me back to 450 four strokes.

TT tracks are TT tracks. The MX tracks here seem to be a mix of hard packed clay and sandy/loamy corners.

What else should I consider?

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haha... love the title!!!!

sounds like the E-Start Katoom 250f is the hot ticket. Won't wear you out and has plenty of Vet power. Seems like there are a few Vets going for the less is more approach these days.

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How about the 2012 Husqvarna CR125 with the 144kit? How much fun would that be?

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I think that you would like it alot... I like my 150. Lightweight, easy starting,easy maintenance, great handling, great price... you would have to modify your riding and realise it is a small bore. May take a little adjustment period.

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Interesting scenario. I owned a "trailized" YZ400F for a while until I got tired of its MX roots...gearing, overheating. I sold it and bought a 2001 WR426, which I still own...so I am familiar with the starting routine. I would steer you away from the 250Fs. On the trail, I just dont think the 250 will give you the power you are used to...not to mention they are high maintenance. Im not a 250F fan. I would recommend a KTM 450 EXC if you want another 4t. If you are open to a 2t, ride a KTM 300, you will never look back....thats my second bike.

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On the trail, I just dont think the 250 will give you the power you are used to...not to mention they are high maintenance. Im not a 250F fan.

I have a trail bike I am completely happy with. I am looking for a TT and MX race bike.

But thanks.

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Since writing this, I have become fascinated with the KTM SX 150 - their 144 cc two stroke motocross machine. Competitive with the best 250Fs, and considerably lighter and easier to maintain...

Thoughts?

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Yeah, moving from a 450, I would think the 250sx would be a logical move. A 125 smoker or 250f is going to feel like a bit of a dog to ya.

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I bought... none of the above.

I pick up my new bike this week: A 2011 Husqvarna TC449.

weighs about the same as my 426.

makes somewhere around six more horsies

electric start

fuel injected

hydraulic clutch

brembo brakes, braking rotors

akrapovic Ti pipe and muffler

crazy CTS frame that appears to make a noticeable difference in traction, both on the gas, and in transitions.

"supple" suspension (some would say too soft, probably not me)

either sexy as hell, or the most horrible thing you ever laid eyes on

Best part? $5,600 OTD, brand new out of the crate from my local BMW/Husky dealer.

It's either going to be awesome, or the stupidest thing I've ever done. Go big, or stay on the porch, as they say.

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I think that is a steal of a price! Good for you. I haven't ever ridden a Husky before but they are great looking bikes IMO. My guess is that you are going to love it. I had a few KTMs and the hydraulic clutch is really nice. Good luck with it and let us know how it rides.

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It will be my 2nd Husqvarna. My first was a 2000 SM610S street legal motard. It was a great handling bike, very easy to ride, but had a series of stupid little component failures - fuel petcock, valve cover bolts, exhaust cans, carb throttle cable guide...

I'm hoping that the BMW designed motor is put together with better hardware... down there in Taiwan... #fingerscrossed

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