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Nw bike recommendations

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Hi,

Looking to buy a dirt bike and need some advice. I currently ride street and am an intermediate track (road race) rider on a modded GSXR-R600. I rode dirt 20 years ago on a CR80, and am looking to getting back into trails, and some MX. I'm 5'5" and weigh 158lbs, and pretty fit. I'm leaning towards a 250f and have +/- $2000 to spend.

What do you think of this craigslist deal?

complete, strong running '03 Yamaha YZ250F with a fresh motor. Bike has about 12 hours on fresh motor. 4PR Performance rear shock, KYB Forks built by Enzo Racing, FMF exhaust, Excel wheels, new tires and many, many more aftermarket parts and extras including a complete '04 chassis (frame, subframe, 4PR forks, swingarm, and rear shock).

$1700

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Sounds like a deal for $1,700,but you never know with the used bikes.

Other than the obvious inspection points, what should I look for or test during a test ride? What questions would you ask?

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Why are you set on a 250F? As a group, they are the highest maintenance machines on the market.

If you have been riding 20 years, Im sure you understand that you can never trust anything a seller says about a bike. You have to know what to look for and make your own educated conclusion.

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I'm not set on the 250f, but it seemed to make sense for my ability and type of riding I plan to do. Lower maintenance is definitely better. Based on my description above, what other type of ride would you recommend?

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Id be looking into a 02+ YZ250 2 stroke, great for trails and good for mx, and can be found in great shape for around or under $2k. Plus if it needs rebuilt it will only set you back $150. older 250f's could sound great then on the first ride grenade...could easily set you back $1000+....had too many friends make that mistake. Now a 250 2 stroke is bike of choice in my area...just so much cheaper to maintain if you just wanna have fun and dont have the money to put into bikes a die hard racer does.

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A 250 2t is also going to have tons more torque than a 250f as well. Once you get it jetted properly, you can chug the thing all over the place with no issues and still get out and rip it up in the open stuff.

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I agree with the YZ250 suggestion...also a CR/RM/KX might work as well..if that is the bike you happen to find a deal on. If you raised your budget to about $2500-$3000, I would suggest a KTM 250/300 XC. The XC is one of the most versitile bikes on the market. I bought a 2007 300 XC from a guy who only rode MX and I only ride trails...thats versitile. Some handguards and some tweaking on the suspension and it transitioned smoothly from track to trail. Very few people that own a XC are disappointed.

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I agree with the YZ250 suggestion...also a CR/RM/KX might work as well..if that is the bike you happen to find a deal on. If you raised your budget to about $2500-$3000, I would suggest a KTM 250/300 XC. The XC is one of the most versitile bikes on the market. I bought a 2007 300 XC from a guy who only rode MX and I only ride trails...thats versitile. Some handguards and some tweaking on the suspension and it transitioned smoothly from track to trail. Very few people that own a XC are disappointed.

Thanks for all the recommendations!

I was under the impression that the 2 strokes (like a YZ250) were less desirable for trails, and since I haven't ridden dirt in a while, and am pretty light, a 125cc 2 stroke would be sufficient.

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Just found a KTM 125 ex 2 stroke in my area. Very clean 2008, asking $2,800 OBO. Might consider going that route. So many choices!

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I ride tight trails in western Pa, seriously 50% of the fast guys around here are on YZ250's. I am on a GasGas 300 but was on a YZ250 before that. For trails, i recommend KTM or GasGas over anything, but on a budget a YZ250 is great. The 250 four strokes are expensive to maintain, and the 450's are just too heavy and too much for tight trails. Id say 90% of the people I ride with are on 2 strokes (ranging from 60 year old guys to a buddy who occasionally wins the GNCC A class). We are far removed from the 4 stroke popularity in california, even the local motocross tracks here are 50% 2 stroke. 10 years ago 4 strokes were for poking around on trails and 2 strokes dominated motocross...now 4 strokes dominate motocross and 2 strokes are the bike of choice offroad.

Side note: 125's are fun as hell and great for flicking around in the trails, but you may find yourself frustrated in nasty sections when you have no low end, my buddy went from his yz250 for a yz125 just for fun, loved it but got too pissed off when he couldnt do certain hills or keep up places that he easily could on a 250...just something to consider. Maybe try the 125 then move up to a 250. realize not all 2 strokes need to be in the powerband constantly like a 125...

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Considering that your last bike was a CR80 20 years ago, I am assuming that you are a bit rusty on dirt. A 250 MX bike can be a handful for a dirt beginner, even with road race experience. If you go that route, be mindful of that snappy power...a 250 MX is no slouch.

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I was under the impression that the 2 strokes (like a YZ250) were less desirable for trails, and since I haven't ridden dirt in a while, and am pretty light, a 125cc 2 stroke would be sufficient.

It is important here to make a distinction here between MX bikes and trail specific machines. Only a few companies still manufacture 2 stroke trail bikes, such as KTM and Gas Gas. Gas Gas is somewhat exotic here, but KTM is very common and popular with the trail riders for a reason. A 2 stroke MX bike has different characteristics than a 2 stroke trail bike. The MX bikes are snappier (the power comes on more suddenly) and generally have less low end power, no kickstand, no light, and smaller fuel tanks (limits range) to save weight. They are also geared with a more closely spaced transmission than [most] trail bikes because they are made to run around a track. The YZ250 is a decent trail bike for someone on a budget because they are cheap and parts are all over Ebay. However, in my opinion, nothing beats a trail specific machine for trails. A 125 MX bike is not the answer...for the reasons listed above and they have almost no low end grunt, which is needed for most trail riding. There are a few manufacturers, such as Husqvarana that makes a 125 2 stroke trail bike, but they are not very common.

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What about a KTM 200XC. Great on trails of course, light as a 125 but torquey like a 250 without the giant hit. Works on the track as well as long as you have the right supension setup. 05/06 should be in or just above you're price range.

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This is really good feedback, thanks.

I'm a bit concerned about seat height, but plan to buy a koubalink and shorten the fork travel if necessary.

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You may want to look into a GasGas 200/250...they are on the smaller side, Im 5' 8" and it fits me better than a KTM. Its probably 1.5" lower than KTM's. They have very smooth power with lots of low end. My local dealer stocks almost every part on the bike and most of the time its cheaper than the parts were for my YZ. They can be found used cheaper than a comparable year/condition KTM but are equal as far as performance. Also a KTM 200 would be a great bike for you, easier to find but a bit more pricey. Check out www.gasgasrider.org if you have any interest. theirs lots of used ones on there with good info...you may have a dealer close by, and if not any part can be had from www.gofasters.com in a couple days.

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The Gas Gas looks real nice, but the closest dealer is 4 hours away each way. And i don't see any used bikes in this area.

So, a 250 four stroke would be desirable for trails primarily, but less so for MX, but a YZ250 (which is a 2 stroke MX) makes for a cheap and easy-to-outfit bike for MX, and will suffice on some trails (as long its not at night or long distance)? If funds were available, the KTM would be the best all-arounder?

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Well, the manufacturers all make trail specific 250Fs, such as the Yamaha WR250, Honda CRF250X, and DRZ250. The trail bikes do tend to be lower maintenance than the higher revving MX 250Fs, but Im still not a fan of either. They are all too expensive to maintain, IMO. Your statement is mostly correct. The YZ will thrive on the track and work on the trails...if you dont mind the snappy power, no kickstand, no light, MX gearing, and small gas tank. Alot of guys work around these shortcomings...they buy a kickstand, bigger tank, and a fly wheel weight to tame the snap...I prefer a purpose built trail bike.

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A 2t 250 isn't for everyone. I have a 2011 KTM 250 XC-F that is awesome for the woods. The 250F may be perfect for you. Here is a great article about 4 strokes from Eric Gorr:

http://www.eric-gorr.com/fixing4strokes.html

Great article. Explains a lot and also highlights the stupidity of many riders. Buying a dirt bike has some challenges that are different from a street or track bike; namely, that many people neglect their bike, and with no hour meter or odometer, you don't know what youre getting.

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