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Need Help deciding on a 250 four stroke for trail riding.

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Hi, new to the forum and saw ThumperTalk had very informative users so decided to ask Here. Im looking for a good reliable 250 four stroke that is preferably air cooled. Other than that im game for any of the big four japanese brands.

The bike will for the most part be ridden on desert trails, flat portions and hills. Im about 6 foot and weigh 155-160. I have been riding for about 5 years, but have a lot to learn. I think of myself as a competent rider. Bike will not be ridden hard, however I would like the option of doing so without it fighting too much. I've been riding at Ocotilla Wells lately and love the terrain but my 2000 Yamaha TTR 125 doesnt have as much power as I'd like. My budget for the bike will be Maxed out at $2,000 to leave room for upgrades such as a Desert Tank and other off-road worthy mods. Any advice or information on a good 250 would be very welcomed. Also I have a distrust for electric starts but would tangle with them again if it came on a beauty of a bike. Thanks for the time responding and ask any questions on this topic.

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I bought an older yamaha yz250f and put a hot stage 1 cam in it and it ran forever without fouling plugs or needing valve adjustment as it was a trail and fire road machine and didn't spend much time in the high rpms however whenever I borrowed back from my son it had more than enough power and I rode a crf450r.. With the hot cam stage 1 i was able to bog it down and never lacked power.. the best part is I picked it up for 1600.00 and spent 300.00 for hotcam and installation as I also had them check the piston, ring and valves when they installed the hot cam. 1900.00 you have a bike for the woods and/or track.

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Thanks! Good to hear first hand experience. Anyone know the equivalent model from Honda/Kawasaki/Suzuki? Which would have good low to mid power and lightweight. Heard that Suzukis have suspension that is too soft and green machines arent good long trail bikes, of course fanboys are everywhere so I tend not to take these too seriously. Honda and Yamaha have me pulled in based upon good experience and positive stories from buddies. However I'm sure there are a ton of people here that could change my biased mind. I do want the ability to take the bike on 10+ hours of riding, camping, then continuing back without the bike leaving me stranded. So any recommendations on good candidates will be welcomed. Gush your heart out.

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Is there some reason you would like an air cooled bike? Way back in the stone ages, well, 1989, I went through the air cooled, water cooled debate with myself. Leaks, broken hoses, busted water pump, complicated repairs, weight, the whole nine yards. Ended up purchasing a KLR250 which is water cooled and after 23 years have not had any problem with water cooling on any bike I’ve owned since.

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Thanks! Good to hear first hand experience. Anyone know the equivalent model from Honda/Kawasaki/Suzuki? Which would have good low to mid power and lightweight. Heard that Suzukis have suspension that is too soft and green machines arent good long trail bikes, of course fanboys are everywhere so I tend not to take these too seriously. Honda and Yamaha have me pulled in based upon good experience and positive stories from buddies. However I'm sure there are a ton of people here that could change my biased mind. I do want the ability to take the bike on 10+ hours of riding, camping, then continuing back without the bike leaving me stranded. So any recommendations on good candidates will be welcomed. Gush your heart out.

With your price ranged I'm going to presume your getting an used bike lol

My personal philosophy is you judge an used bike on a bike-to-bike basis. I got my 2007 rmz250 back in December and I was also in contact with 3 other sellers in regards to their 2006 crf250, an 05 yz250f, and an older kx250 think it was an 02

After reading thread after thread of valve problems with the earlier crf250's I steered clear from the honda, the guy wanted too much money anyways. The Yamaha didn't have an aluminum frame, it had the older heavier steel frame, but the price was right. This left the zook which was owned by a guy who knew how to take care of his bikes judging by the condition of his drz and Harley, plus I googled "2007 suzuki rmz250 review" and read some really great things, all about how up until 06 green and yellow were clones, but in 06 kawi came out with a new engine design and left suzuki to reproduce the old 05 model for 06, essentially they're the same bike. This is also what brought me here to thumper talk, all the google results that brought me here were very informative, the community is pretty sharp; even if I have questions or problems now, I can usually google it and find an old thread on here with relevant advice. Hopefully you will decide to stay like I did.

Edited by bhaze

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For sure looking for a used, unless a post on Craiglist has me buying a medieval kickass horse. And the air-cooled vs. liquid-cooled is a mix of me being paranoid, negative reviews, and me wanting a dirt touring bike that won't turn into a sprinkler when an angry treeman throws rocks and homemade spears at me for misunderstanding I am cultivating his dirt. Both have their cons/pros but unless I figure out how to make a bike out of never-melting ice and robot walking legs that can climb the Space needle I will have to make due with the conventional bikes everyone else uses and what I can afford. I do have issues on sticking with a bike I like, for example The Suzuki DRZ400S looked manly awesome. I could ride on the streets and do my best Markie Mark impression while cruising to the next hot spot for off-roading. But then I realize I live nowhere close to these places and would require driving on the freeway for hours to get to twisties to ride for hours until I got there. Logic ruled out the dual-sport as well as hearing how terrible it is to drive a dirtbike at highway speeds of 70+ (as I live near LA and that is quite slow.)

Anyways. There seem to be a lot of choices and that just numbs my mind. Not sure if the whole liquid vs air cooled even would affect me at all. Bike im looking for is going to be the all rounder for me, and Id like to keep the bike for more than two years before running out to buy the next cool thing that everyone is telling me. Simple yet tough yet not a monstrosity that I would resemble a jockey riding. So I think at this point I need to be TOLD what to do, I'm no expert or savant of two wheeled dirt horses. Dont be afraid to explore any cavern of the 250's topic, just dont be too rough.

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XR250, ttr250, or drz250 will probably be the best choice for you. All of them are simple, reliable, and will go anywhere you want. They're not fast, but will last for years with minimal maintenance. I would just go for the best deal regardless of brand, but the xr's are going to be the most common.

Edited by Sierra rider_bm

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XR250, ttr250, or drz250 will probably be the best choice for you.

2nd that ... the DRZ400 is a great bike too!

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drz250 and ttr250 lack too much power for dirt bike riding and on the street unless you are real newbie and if you start riding single track the drz400 will get to heavy after you pick it up 3 or 4 times

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Reliable air cooled 4T 250 under $2k?

Gently used Honda XR250R/L or CRF230F, look no further.

Edited by xsrdx

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A buddy of mine bought an '05 CRF250 for $900. Ran great. Put a set of tires on it, new seat cover. a set of brakes and adjusted the valves and rode it all last summer.

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i would throw my 2 cents toward any KICKSTART machine, vs e start, just imho.

son has the ttr 225 and yes its a heavier bike, but trail rides dont mean screaming down the path at 50mph those trees can hurt.

at the end of the day the size of the bike 250 vs 450 does not really matter for trails both will do 60 down a trail

Now the On road part is a different stor

and

The storage that you can put on either bike

As far as the model, get what your buddies have ONLY for the reason that if something goes wrong they can say Oh i had that problem and its....xyz

but on a trail any of the 250's will be fine

I did notice that honda's seem to have a higher price than the yamaha's in my used bike search

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XR250, ttr250, or drz250 will probably be the best choice for you. All of them are simple, reliable, and will go anywhere you want. They're not fast, but will last for years with minimal maintenance. I would just go for the best deal regardless of brand, but the xr's are going to be the most common.

I agree with the XR250, I've rode my friends XR lots of times great all around bike, easy to start easy to fix it felt like you could just dog it all day and it will still start up for another round.

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