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Late 70's early 80's Enduros

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I just recently started riding again after a 27 year hiatus. I purchased a 93 Kawasaki KLX650R. It does the job for me, but I have a yearning for a big bore PE, IT, KDX etc. Talk me out of it. :thumbsup:

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- 2 stroke doesn't smell as good as you remember it. Your neighbours will remind you of that if you're in denial.

- Dual rear shocks may have been the hot ticket back in the day, but modern suspension won't leave 'you' in traction.

- Seats now have ergonomics to go with the foam.

- Are you really going to trust a 25 year old pre-mix pump?

- Rust: It has a quarter century head start on you.

- Oddball tire sizes means limited selection.

- 2 words; Dry rot.

- Parts are like diamonds, hard to find and expensive as hell.

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I wont talk you out of it but they can be difficult to fix up at times. I have an 74 MX175 and an 85 IT200. The bikes took some work but both run great now. They are easy to work on and it was an interesting learning experience. I'm keeping my eyes open for an old big bore enduro to register and plate.

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Theraymondguy makes a very good case for not going old. I would absolutely buy new(er) if I could, but money is always an issue with me. If you feel the need to relive the old days on a bike pick a bike that was in production for a while. preferably without significant changes, for parts availability and interchangablity. 7 years ago I bought a Yamaha XT 550 and I love it. I paid 300.00 for the bike. Invested another 300.00 and have had a blast on it. All the power I could want (like you I was off bikes for a long while). However now the bike is starting to smoke a little, use a little oil and things are starting to need replacing. Here is the rub. They only made the bike for 2 years. Some parts not engine related are interchangable with other models, but when you get inside the engine, you're at the mercy of salvaged parts for the most part.

A few months back I picked up a 1971 Honda SL 125 for the soon to be wife. It was cheap, 100.00 and had 2 new tires. The owner before me had really screwed it up and 40 years had taken their toll. However, I have the luxury of owning a bike that was in production for 3 years and most parts are interchangeble between all years and 100-175 cc not to mention the same engine was used in all the SL, TL, CB, and CL models. That's a lot of bikes out there and tons of NOS stuff around. So I basically rewired the bike and rebuilt the top end and still have less that 500.00 invested.

These bikes won't rip up the trails or be competitive. All we want to do is putter around on the trails, get a little mud on us and maybe take on a hill within reason and play around. And for us it's nice to be able to do this for less than a 3rd of the price of a new 125. I also want to add that the experience of rebuilding these old bikes and bringing back to life a scooter bound for the junk heap feels pretty good and I get a little redemption for the abuse I dished out on all the bikes I owned when I was a kid when I didn't even know my bike had an oil strainer or centrifigul oil filter.

After all that, still if I had the bucks, I'd get a new(er) one, but the experience of working on these old bikes has been priceless.

Whatever you do have fun. If you buy a project and don't have your heart in it, you'll regret it.

H aka RRR

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When come older bikes it really only way go is with bike that in high production counts, when it comw to Dirtbike or Dual Purpose it like this

1: Honda

2: Yamaha

3: Suzuki

4: Kawasaki

less than a 3rd of the price of a new 125

You also forgot one other thing the old SL100 and 125 still today have more power then let say a vs a gutless DR-Z125, TT-R125, KLX140 :thumbsup: unless it 2-stroke.

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You all make good points. I realize the issue with age and parts availability. I do like the feel and sound of a 2 stroke but have gotten a little more environmentally conscious since owning my last one. I'm not trying to relive the past, just don't like the looks of the newer bikes. I may go towards an XR600 instead since parts are probably more available. I just prefer older vehicles. My newest car is a 91 Ford Festiva and that is because it gets 40+ MPG. My favorite ride I own is my 86 AMC Eagle wagon and I really miss my 65 IH Metro van that I sold a little over a year ago. I know it takes a little more effort to keep older vehicles maintained and running.

Here's my taste in vehicles

AMC Eagle

photobucket-1437-1319407808870.jpg

IH Metro

Downtown1.jpg

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Two words... power valve.

2-strokes are different now. You will see a lot of riders going back to two strokes. One reason is the "power valve" made the power band wider. If at all possible, I'd try to get a 2-stroke with a power valve.

Two more words... Small bore

You have a big bore bike, get something smaller, like a KDX200 or PE175. My only 2-stroke is a KTM 200SX, but that might be above your price range.

Last words... Honda 4-stroke

I have bought a few used bikes in the last few years. All of the old bikes are Hondas. As was said, plenty of used parts. I have a TL125. When I shop for parts, I check to see if the part is TL125 specific (rare and expensive) or hopefully from a CB125 (cheap and millions out there.).

Recently I was a Honda MR175 for a great price. A friend told me the bike had better be good as there are no new pistons for the MR175. Not even some weird, "Shave down a YZxxx piston" patch job. Buy it and if the motor goes south, find a whole new power plant. That ended that purchase. Not having a critical part would be a bummer.

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Two more words... Small bore

You have a big bore bike, get something smaller, like a KDX200 or PE175. My only 2-stroke is a KTM 200SX, but that might be above your price range.

Being close to 6'3" and 260+lbs. geared up, I need a bigger bike. I haven't sat on the smaller bore bikes so I'm just assuming they are set up for smaller a lighter riders than me.

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I enjoy the search for parts on the older bikes. I chose the MR 175 specifically because it was a Honda two stroke, parts were hard to find, that it was made for only three years and looked cool. I enjoy working on them more than actually riding them since I love riding my 2010 KTM. I've found many new OEM and Wiseco pistons, aftermarket pipes and other interesting and rare parts for the MR 175 on eBay so the parts are there if you look for them. It is disappointing that Honda has discontinued so many of their parts contrary to the promise made by the founder. Suzuki seems to do a better job of making vintage parts available than Honda (don't know about Yamaha or Kawasaki).

I also agree that the small bore vintage bikes are easy to ride, they are lightweight and small in comparison to the modern machines. Their modest power also doesn't overtax their primitive suspensions so much either. Based on my reading of the tests of the bikes done in the '70's the type of riding has changed today versus then - the vintage Enduro bikes seemed to be more oriented to slow speed, rugged, trail riding. The pooch XR 175 was rated pretty high in one test even though it puts out about 10 HP but it was very tractable and easy to ride.

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Don't let anyone talk you out of it if that is what you want. I trail ride on a 1980 PE 400. Fixing it up there was some issues with parts but it is a great bike. All my pals ride modernand I can keep up with them on everything but a whooped out trail but I don't think I could on modern. I hate those whoopte-doos. On a fire road or two track forget it all they see is my tail light. Stone reliable once the bugs from restoration were worked out.

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I hear you. I have the new technolgy bikes, fun, nearly maintenance free, they make you faster than you really are and save your ass more times than you know and when most certainly you would of crashed on a old bike.

Yes I have a yearning for something simple, throw it around, have fun. That is why I today brough home a 77 PE250B. It will go nice withe MR250 Elsinore.

I guess I am a vintage bike hoarder. I love the ones from my favorite time of life when I was young and carefree, I now collect them, the ones I read about back then. Ones I wanted. The ones that I just thought were cool. Here's my bikes

XL125 -75

XL175-75

XL250 -73

XL250-72

XL350 -74

XL350 -75

XL350 -77

SL125 -72

SL100 - 70

SL350 -71

TL125-75

TS125 -72

TS250 -72 (2)

TS250 - 71

TS400 -72

CL360 -75 (left to me by an old friend)

MT250-74

MR250 -76

PE250 -77

XR650L -05

XR250R -04

CRF450X -08

HD DYNA 07

GSXR-1250 SUZUKI 11

I'm spoiled.....

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I had one of thoses MR250 what a fun bike

Guest what engine had same bore x stroke 70 x 64.4 the ATC25OR Air Cooled only

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The MR's, PE's and IT's neat old bikes. I don't think they make anything like em now. Well I guess they do. The DRZ, WR and CRF -X, we have come a long long way.

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being close to 6'3" and 260+lbs. Geared up, i need a bigger bike. I haven't sat on the smaller bore bikes so i'm just assuming they are set up for smaller a lighter riders than me.

it400

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- 2 stroke doesn't smell as good as you remember it. Your neighbours will remind you of that if you're in denial.

- Dual rear shocks may have been the hot ticket back in the day, but modern suspension won't leave 'you' in traction.

- Seats now have ergonomics to go with the foam.

- Are you really going to trust a 25 year old pre-mix pump?

- Rust: It has a quarter century head start on you.

- Oddball tire sizes means limited selection.

- 2 words; Dry rot.

- Parts are like diamonds, hard to find and expensive as hell.

He's right except for the first point, pre-mix does smell as good as you remember and it will bring back a lot memories. Just get a newer bike to burn it in. Use the vintage for a pit bike, occasional easy ride etc. Seriously, the bikes from the 60's and 70's are super crude compared to today (or even 20 years ago) and not nearly as well built. Someone mentioned power valve on 2 strokes, that truly changed everything.

With all that being said I would love to resotre a vintage bike and use to it putt around on occasionally. No desire to take it on track or trail though....

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He's right except for the first point, pre-mix does smell as good as you remember and it will bring back a lot memories. Just get a newer bike to burn it in. Use the vintage for a pit bike, occasional easy ride etc. Seriously, the bikes from the 60's and 70's are super crude compared to today (or even 20 years ago) and not nearly as well built. Someone mentioned power valve on 2 strokes, that truly changed everything.

With all that being said I would love to resotre a vintage bike and use to it putt around on occasionally. No desire to take it on track or trail though....

All good points, they are fun if ridden within thier limits and do not tackle the same terrain you do on a new bike.

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Smaller PEs have the toughest motors. and Suzuki worldwide keep a long parts inventory, which some dealers are savvy to.. KLXs have superb handling but weak motors. They tend to lunch the heads, However quad and 3 wheeler KLT and 83 on KL roller bearing heads go straight on. and 81 82 KLs have identical engines as the plain bearing KLXs.

Thing is if you are big, and lets face it your average american is a lot heavier than he was back in 1980, then anything under 250 two stroke or 350 4 banger is going to feel pretty anaemic. When buying a bike get the most complete bike you can. It will ultimately save you loads. You are lucky; all this stuff is collectable over here. For Europe at least double the dollar price and then make it £s, it would still be cheap here. Back in the late 70s Japan sold more bikes in California than the rest of the world together. That's why we had to put up with tyres that were lethal in the rain, soggy suspension and iffy handling on our bendy roads.

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IT465 or 490. :busted:

Not late '70s or early '80s like you specified but how about a late '80s CR500 or KX 500? Shoot, for that matter you could pick up a later model of either of these since I don't believe they changed much, if at all, since then.

Install a flywheel weight, change the gearing to suite, maybe throw on a different pipe/silencer and there you go! Instant big-bore smoker enduro. :busted:

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