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54 year looking for bike to start racing again.

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Hi All,

This is my first post but with more to come. I am 54 and I am thinking seriously about going MX racing again. I raced a YZ125 almost every weekend from 1976 - 1984. I spent the last 3 of those years riding 125A and raced in two Supercrosses on amateur night. I weigh about 180 and am in pretty good shape. I rode a buddies KTM250 4stroke last spring and had a blast and it made me realize that I could still ride.

My question is I need some help in figuring out what size bike to ride. I've always been partial to 125's because I feel so comfortable on them. I've been reading about the Honda CRF150R and it looks pretty interesting. Is there something smaller than a 250 that I could ride and be competitive in the over 50 class? I was always able to go faster than my friends riding their 250's on my 125. Does the Honda have enough umph to handle a 180 lb guy? If not is there something that would.

I'm not looking to go out and win, of course that would be nice, but I would like to be able to be middle of the pack or better.

thanks,

Espo2199

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The newer 250f’s are more forgiving than a 125 but they are heavier and many say they are not as much fun to throw around. A KTM 150 SX or 200 SX will easily hang with the 250F’s and can be competitive in the senior classes. For someone your size I would look at the small bore KTM 2-strokes.

CoKTM

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I am a old fat 53 year old and have followed the trend with the 250fs and the 450fs, recently I bought a husqvarna 125 mainly because it was a steel

Well I had to ride the thing just to see what it was like and I fell in love with the little thing! I had forgotten how light and fun 125s are to ride

My results have moved upwards, I can get up and go to work without feeling like I have been hit by a truck

I have ridden it in some fairly hard enduros and have done really well on it

So if you like 125s buy one you wont ever look back and wonder what if I bought a four banger

Oh and my other bikes at all TM four strokes and they are fantastic machines but they havnt turned a wheel since I bought the 125 as I am having so much fun on the little thing:thumbsup:

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Jonnyboy, that is what I have been thinking myself. Why not go and get a 2009ish YZ125 and race it again. I only weigh 30lbs more than when I was a kid. If I can get into shape enough to race I should be able to hold my own in the over-50 class.

thanks,

espo2199

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I say find a deal on a YZ125. If you're comfortable revving out a 125 and cornering like a cat on velcro then it's a good choice.

Or relearn the basics of jumping and engine braking with a 250F and go with that. I find a 250F easier & faster when the track gets really rough and nasty and dry slick, and the two stroke 125 easier when it's more smooth. It's the torque and wider power band of the 250F which doesn't send me off the track when it gets slick and square edged. But that's just me.

Maybe consider race contingency when picking your next bike. Sounds like you may do some damage to the podium on the MX and off-road course!!

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I'm 53 and last raced MX in 79, last kid graduated from college and decided to get me a toy. Bought a used CRF450R some new gear and headed out to the track. The first thing I found out....the tracks are scary, there were not big doubles and triples back in the 70's. The second.......bikes were not this fast. The third......it's expensive to fix the 4 strokes when they break. The last bikes I owned were 78 KTM 250 and 400. The 450 might have been a bad choice for a first bike but at 6'2" and 240lb I thought I needed the extra power of the big gun. Thought I would just jump on the bike and be fast as I was in 79, not so!!! I was scared of the bike, scared of the track and terribly out of shape. By the 4th trip out to the track I was doing pretty good, clearing the smaller doubles and not in every ones way. Progress was slow after that with a rash of bike failures. Seems it cost about a grand in parts alone to rebuild a 450 after a timing chain tensioner breaks. Trying to decide if my first race should be 450 begginer or Over 50 class. Wife wanted in on the action so bought her a CRF250X and we ride the trails in the local National Forest. But one thing I know....It's great to be on a dirt bike again!!!!

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Thanks for the inspiration, im 38 and was thinking i was to old!!

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At your age, you should not have any cc restrictions. Try a KTM 200 or 150.

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If you like 2 smokes, I agree with the others look for a good used KTM 150SX or 200SX or even a 250SX. Forget about the CRF150, it's a good bike but you will become bored with it quickly.

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if you like to trail ride along with track, it's hard to beat one of those pumpkins, the 300 has ele start, but that 150 can be made into a 200 sx, as youre skill and confidence comes back. I'd reccomend taking it slow, and not try to be mc too soon, and try hooking up with an OTMX group in your area. I'm 56, and trail and track a pair of cr's, and you got it right, those 125's are fun, but a real workout in comp, where the 200 is competitive and as fun to ride. I think the 250 2 stroke is the perfect bike IF it's not smokin, it's broken!

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Thanks for all the reply's. It's also nice to see there are so many guys our age that rode as kids riding again. The more I read these the more I think I'm going back to what I know best which is a 2-stroke 125. I raced a YZ 250 in the over-30 class 20 plus years ago and I knew back then I didn't like the 250's. When I rode my buds KTM 250 4-stroke last spring, I will admit that the speed and power took me by surprise. I'm not sure if part of that was me processing things to slow since it been so long since I rode or if they're just that fast. It seemed like corners were there before I knew it. The second thing I realized is that the suspensions they have today I would have killed for back in the 70's and 80's. I ran over things that would have been almost too much for a 80's bike and I hardly felt them. I think it's one of the reasons the speed took me by surprise. I have also got to admidt that I realized how out of shape I was. I could only ride hard for 2 or 3 laps before I had arm pump so bad that I could hardly hold on to the handle bars. But when I was through I felt better than I had in years.

I hear what your saying about the doubles and triples. I figure if I could at least learn to do doubles again I'd be fine in the over-50. Honestly, I don't think I'd triple even if I could. I do have to remember that I am the sole bread winner and can't afford to hurt myself because I ran out of talent.

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I see that you are in SC. I'm 50 myself, but I have given up on MX, as the tracks just seem unnecessarily dangerous to me these days (I also need to go to work on Mondays). Have you considered HS racing? A lot of guys from SC do the SORCS and SETRA races, and it is a blast. MX is mostly standing around, and then racing for 10-15 minutes. A HS will give you all the riding you can stand. Slap some handguards on just about any MX bike and you are ready to start. Add a big tank and a suspension revalve if you really like doing it!

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I also say get a YZ125.

Not sure how much MX riding you've done lately, but the sport is constantly changing. The only time you could ride an MX track back in the day was during a race day. Now the racetracks have open practice days, and there are also groomed practice tracks you can pay to ride at. There are people that ride MX all the time that don't actually race. The downside is that this does hurt turnouts on raceday. But this means we get to ride real tracks for fun without pressure if we want. So you can get a feel for all the jumps if you haven't ridden in awhile; they're quite a bit bigger! And it's the big tables that areactually tougher than the triples...

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I think that if you want to be somewhat competitive on the track you will be at a big disadvantage with a 125. I don't know how it is at the tracks around you, at my local tracks there is not a single guy on a 125 in the plus 30,40 or 50 class that is not in the back of the pack.. There are a couple of 250 2 strokes, but they are at a big disadvantage to the guys on 450's and 250 4 strokes even. I love 125 a lot, my wife has one. I've rode it at practice a couple of time with guys that i beat every weekend and they just walk on by, and thats just wearing myself out running the crap out of it. Now if you were going to run like a 2stroke class and just practice days I'd say have a blast and you would. After reading your post you don't sound like you just want to be a also run. With that in mind you should checkout a couple of friends bikes on a practice day before you buy a 125. I hope this helps you, I by no means am trying to look down on 125, I love to ride them too. I just would not want to race one with a bunch of guys on 450's or even 250 4strokes for that matter. good luck, and I hope you have fun.

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Hi All,

This is my first post but with more to come. I am 54 and I am thinking seriously about going MX racing again. I raced a YZ125 almost every weekend from 1976 - 1984. I spent the last 3 of those years riding 125A and raced in two Supercrosses on amateur night. I weigh about 180 and am in pretty good shape. I rode a buddies KTM250 4stroke last spring and had a blast and it made me realize that I could still ride.

My question is I need some help in figuring out what size bike to ride. I've always been partial to 125's because I feel so comfortable on them. I've been reading about the Honda CRF150R and it looks pretty interesting. Is there something smaller than a 250 that I could ride and be competitive in the over 50 class? I was always able to go faster than my friends riding their 250's on my 125. Does the Honda have enough umph to handle a 180 lb guy? If not is there something that would.

I'm not looking to go out and win, of course that would be nice, but I would like to be able to be middle of the pack or better.

thanks,

Espo2199

Espo, notice how many responses you've gotten for this question....There are LOTS of us out there (I'm older than you!) that are asking the same questions. But how about conditioning? Safety equiment? Injuries?

I asked TT admin. to consider a category on TT for us, the over 50 crowd for these kinds of questions but they said NO. I still think as more and more boomers get in this age category, it WOULD be a popular thing on TT.

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Espo, notice how many responses you've gotten for this question....There are LOTS of us out there (I'm older than you!) that are asking the same questions. But how about conditioning? Safety equiment? Injuries?

I asked TT admin. to consider a category on TT for us, the over 50 crowd for these kinds of questions but they said NO. I still think as more and more boomers get in this age category, it WOULD be a popular thing on TT.

What I'd really like to see on here is an "Amateur Racing" section. Could be split up into MX, harescrambles, etc. But any amateur racing could question could also go somewhere else, as I was told when I suggested it years ago.

This type of thread could easily fit into:

-General (probably best fit)

-Yamaha 2-stroke

-MX riding technique

-Regional Southeast

-Pro Racing

-Health and fitness

My point is, I race almost every weekend, am friends with many racers in the same situation and age group so I could offer some insight, and I just found this thread by accident...

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I'm 53 and last raced MX in 79, last kid graduated from college and decided to get me a toy. Bought a used CRF450R some new gear and headed out to the track. The first thing I found out....the tracks are scary, there were not big doubles and triples back in the 70's. The second.......bikes were not this fast. The third......it's expensive to fix the 4 strokes when they break. The last bikes I owned were 78 KTM 250 and 400. The 450 might have been a bad choice for a first bike but at 6'2" and 240lb I thought I needed the extra power of the big gun. Thought I would just jump on the bike and be fast as I was in 79, not so!!! I was scared of the bike, scared of the track and terribly out of shape. By the 4th trip out to the track I was doing pretty good, clearing the smaller doubles and not in every ones way. Progress was slow after that with a rash of bike failures. Seems it cost about a grand in parts alone to rebuild a 450 after a timing chain tensioner breaks. Trying to decide if my first race should be 450 begginer or Over 50 class. Wife wanted in on the action so bought her a CRF250X and we ride the trails in the local National Forest. But one thing I know....It's great to be on a dirt bike again!!!!

Careful in that over 50 class, that's a bunch of expert riders that can still walk....... If there is a +40 C class try that, they all have to get to work on Monday to.

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Guys,

You've all given me some great comments and pointers. I don't know what I am going to do. I was pretty darn fast on a 125 and didn't feel like I could ride a 250 near as fast. I do want to be competitive and yes I did win a couple over-30 races with the 250 so maybe that's the way to go. I'm think a 4-stroke would be better too because I don't have hours to wrench on the bike during the week.

To the guy who mentioned that there are a bunch of tracks around now where you can practice I know what you mean. There are two practice only track less than 30 minutes from my house.

I'm thinking that no matter what I get I am going to ride the practice tracks until I can ride hard for 20 minutes before I go and try to race somewhere. It's going to take some time to get into racing shape and I am not going to go out there and 1. make a fool of myself and 2. even more important, crash because I couldn't hold on the the bars.

Thanks again, I'll let you all know what I decide. Oh, I forgot to tell you all that I still haven't convinced my wife that getting an MXer at 54 is the sane thing to do. I have always known I'm a little crazy, now she thinks I' crazier than ever.

Later

Espo

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