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Buying advice for father/son needed

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New member...this is a great forum and I appreciate any and all input in to my decisions.

I started riding with my dad when I was around 12 in the late 70s on a YZ80. By about 15 I had moved up through a 250 trials my dad got on the cheap and my uncle's old Maaco 400 to a 78 YZ400...that was a great bike. During the 80's I switched to an IT200 for a while and then an 88 yz250 which I loved.

This was all just trail riding, no racing, I wouldn't call myself an expert but I was pretty good and fast. In the early 90s I was chasing women full time so we sold the bikes.

Now I am 46 and my son is 10 and I want to get us bikes to relive some of the awesome good times I had with my dad growing up. I am 5'9" and about 195 and my son is about 4'8" and about 75 pounds and growing fast.

I am considering a KDX200 or a KTM 200/250/300 EXC for myself if I can find one cheap enough. Unless someone can give me a compelling reason I should get something like a CRF230 or TTR230/250 instead.

For my son I am considering a KTM 65. I haved talked to him about it and he feels that he would prefer to go ahead and learn on a bike with a clutch.

Plus in Kentucky the idiots passed a state law on ORVs that says max engine size under 12 is 70cc and under 16 is 90 so in order to ride at one of my favorite places--Land Between the Lakes state park--he has to have a 70 or below until he is 12 and then can only progress to a 90 until he's 16!

On the other hand I can veto him and get something like a CRF70 and then upgrade him to something like the KTM in a year, or wait a bit longer and move him up to an 85 or something. I haven't ridden a bike made in the last 20 years so I am hoping someone can give me advice...let him start on a 65 motocross bike for trail riding or make him start on something tamer?

thanks in advance for any advice...

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Plus in Kentucky the idiots passed a state law on ORVs that says max engine size under 12 is 70cc and under 16 is 90 so in order to ride at one of my favorite places--Land Between the Lakes state park--he has to have a 70 or below until he is 12 and then can only progress to a 90 until he's 16!

Wow, that's an incredibly stupid law!

As far as your son goes, he is definately not too young to learn to ride a bike with a clutch. My 8 year old is riding an XR80. It was a bit of a steep learning curve, but he's doing great now after having been riding for a few months. In your state, he wouldn't be able to ride that bike for almost four more years! Rediculous!

You will probably be happy on any of the bikes you mentioned, just because you said you haven't really ridden a "modern" bike. If I was you, I would look at the CRF230 and the TTR. Or maybe even a WR 250F. That's just me though, others will undoubtably have differing opinions.

Good luck with whatever you decide...

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Good for you! One of my best fatherly decisions was to get my son started on bikes! The time we spend together is awesome.

I agree that the Kentucky law is ridiculous. My son started on a CRF50 at 6, and quickly moved his way through a JR80/RM65 and is currently on an RM85 at 10. Your son will learn quickly on a 65, and then have a great time mastering it while scaring the crap out of you!

I would think depending on what type of riding/jumping you plan on doing you may run out of suspension on the CRF230/TTR bikes. I don't know much about them but can tell you after years not on a bike myself, I quickly relearned and went through a CRF250X in no time looking for more!

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For the record, I agree that is a very stupid law.

I think you are on the right track with the KTM 250/300. It sounds like you enjoyed trail riding 2 strokes in the past, so I would stick with that. Like yourself, I grew up riding at 9 on a XL75, progressed to a YZ125, then to a YZ250 at 18. I took a few years off during my college years. When I got back into riding almost 3 years ago, bikes had come full circle. I have owned 6 bikes in the last 3 years...trying to figure out what is right for me. I had a 2001 XR400 and a 2002 KDX220 that I sold to friends I recruited into the sport, so I have some insight on these bikes. I currently own a 2001 WR426 and a 2007 KTM 300 XC. The KTM is the best trail bike I have ever owned. Its very nimble and has tons tuneable power...the bike is a trail beast. The KDX isnt close to the KTM's performance..even a KDX200 vs a KTM 200...different league. The CRF/TTRs are heavy underpowered beginner bikes that you will get bored of very quickly. Save yourself some time and buy a KTM.

For your son, I really dont have much experience with small bikes, but I would hesitate buying a MX bike for a complete beginner his age. I would go with the CRF or something similar.

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Wow...this is a really great forum...thanks for all the advice. I have included a Yamaha WR250 in my search but I have seen very very few of them in my price range. Nobody seems to be selling the 2002-2005 models and the newer ones are a bit high.

The KTM is the preferred option based on my reading but the KDXes are much easier to find and from what I have read they were pretty much the same from the late 90s til they stopped making them so there is a good chance I can find a well maintained one for cheap. Also, I expect our riding difficulty will ramp up slowly and I'm thinking a KDX will do the job until he has progressed to a bigger bike as well.

I see a lot of small KTMs but I'm not set on that brand...I would consider a japanese 65 as well...I think the size of the bike will make it manageable and hopefully I can find ways to make the power more woods friendly as well.

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