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About bob_slinger

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  1. I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone for the great advice. I wanted to provide an update on my decision. I test rode a bunch of bikes over the last few weeks. I tried a 2009 Husqvarna WR165, 2010 Honda CRF230F, 2002 Honda XR250R, and 2006 Yamaha TTR250. The Husqvarna was an incredible machine - insanely fast, lightweight, great brakes and smooth clutch. After a 30 minute ride I found my feet and hands were pretty numb from the vibrations. It had good low-end pickup followed by no power and then the sudden top-end hit wanted to rip my arms out. I was able to chug along in 3rd no problem but found it required a ton of shifting in tighter stuff. The power was addictive but I could see it getting me in trouble for the kind of riding I want to do. The CRF230F did everything well, but I felt very cramped at 6'1" even with riser bars. It was kind of boring and didn't instill any excitement to adventure or ride. On the positive side it was very easy to flick around and would be very low maintenance The XR250R fit me very well and had a nice smooth power delivery. Kick starting it wasn't fun...took numerous tries and wasn't particularly enjoyable kick starting on an incline. I also found it lacked the low-end grunt that I expected from a 4T 250. Lastly I spent some time on a TTR250. I discounted this bike when I first came across it, but as soon as I got in the seat it felt just right. The size fit me like the XR250R but it had the magic button. Power delivery was nothing close to the Husky, but it comes on smooth and has good low-end grunt. I managed to pull it up hills in 3rd no problem. The suspension is soft and the seat is wide, but I found it surprisingly comfortable and easy to move on even when standing up. My only hesitation was the lack of kick start for emergencies out in the woods, but I guess I'll get a chance to practice my bump starts After a bit of deliberation I went with the TTR250 and couldn't be happier. It is comfortable for my 6'1" size, has great low-end grunt, has e-start, and should be low maintenance. I'm excited for the riding season. I also wanted to mention that during the test rides I tried a 5kW mountain bike. In terms of pure fun nothing beat the ebike - twist the throttle and the instant torque puts a smile on your face and you zip past everything in total silence. Up until 30 mph it is pure joy...anything above that starts to feel unstable on the mountain bike tires and frame. Above 30 mph the TTR250 feels WAY more stable and capable. If I had the money I would get the ebike for short rides around the local trail and the TTR250 for the long weekend adventures
  2. I put together the following summary following everyone's great comments and feedback. Seems XR250R is the best rookie bike for riding single track woods, the KDX220 is the best bike for improving woods riding skills, and the WR250F is the best advanced bike for single track woods riding. The XR250R and KDX220 are cheapest used bikes and fairly reliable and easy to maintain while the WR250F is expensive to buy new. I like the XR250R and KDX220 36" seat height to make things a bit less intimidating as I improve my riding skills, and they are both a bit lighter than the WR250F. For the 2018 riding season I'm thinking of buying either a used XR250R or KDX220 and improve my riding skills. Once I've become a better rider I'll be confident investing in a new WR250F. Is that a good approach?
  3. Thank you for all of the recommendations! Sounds like a 4-stroke with electric start is my best choice and should be brand new. Unfortunately the WR250F brand new is outside my price range; however, the CRF250L and KLX250S are both within my price range brand new. Ultimately what I'm looking for is a bike that lets me ride the trails, improve my skills, and have some fun. Would a modified KLX250S or CRF250L fit the bill? Or am I better off getting a used XR250R or KTM200XCW with no electric start? I've seen a few YouTube videos with CRF250L in gnarly single track and a few people have modified the CRF250L/KLX250S with off-road tires and bar risers (https://rideexpeditions.com/honda-crf-250l-vs-kawasaki-klx-250s/). Or should I just wait another year and save for a brand new WR250F?
  4. I visited my friend this weekend and got a chance to check out the Toronto motorcycle show and sit on a few bikes. Here were my impressions (and surprises): The WR250F, KLX250, and KTM250EXC-F fit me very well. Surprisingly the CRF250L, KLX140G, and TTR230 didn't feel too small...my legs were a bit more cramped and standing was a bit more awkward, but it wasn't terribly worse than my XL185. I really liked the feel of the WR250F suspension and the seat height. The KLX250 had a good seat height but not the best ergonomics. The KTM250EXC-F had the tallest seat of the bunch and the amazing hydraulic clutch. I compared the CRF250L with the CRF450RX (for ergonomics) and the CRF250L definitely felt more cramped, but nothing too bad that I couldn't handle for a few hours on the trail...the sales guy suggested throwing on 1" bar riser and off-road tires. The KLX140G and TTR230 felt like the bikes I rode as a kid...in a good-fun kind of way. And the brand new price for a KLX140G or TTR230 is hard to beat! Are they any good for slower paced trail riding and single track? The KTM sales guy suggested the 250EXC-F over the 250XC-F saying that the EXC-F is more laid back and forgiving. I've decided to pass on any 2-stroke options. Price-wise the KLX140G, TTR230 and CRF250L win hands down for a brand new bike. The WR250F or KTM250EXC-F would only be affordable as second hand bikes and they are noticeably more performance based. I'm not planning to race GNCC or ride very aggressively (no jumps or massive hill climbs). The sales people recommended staying away from second-hand 4-stroke KTM or CRF unless I was prepared to spend money on expensive rebuilds. Is the performance increase worth the $1,000's more for a new WR250F/KTM250EXC-F vs. KLX140G/TTR230/CRF250L for intermediate level single-track and woods riding?
  5. Would a XR250R have less maintenance and be more reliable than a CRF250X? I know the CRF250X has newer and better components, but would a XR250R be significantly worse? I'm coming to the conclusion that if I want a bike that will let me ride single track at a leisurely pace I should get a XR250R. If I want something a bit more performance oriented I should go with a WR250F (as the CRF250X is more outdated and more maintenance). If I want cheap performance than an old KDX220. If I want race-level performance than a KTM 300XCW or Husky FE250. Would that be an accurate assumption? Also, does anyone have any experience with the Beta Xtrainer? Seems like a well spec'd bike at a low cost.
  6. Thanks Doc for the feedback. I meant the FE250 4-stroke. You're 110% right that I need to decide between 4-stroke and 2-stroke. I loved the light weight of my YZ125 but wasn't a fan of the abrupt power delivery and fumes while negotiating tighter trails. Seems that 4-stroke is more my style. A few people have suggested the WR250F though it's surprisingly difficult to find used. How does it's maintenance compare with a 2009+ CRF250X? I love the buttery-smooth KTM clutch and the styling, but used XCF-W are hard to come by and pricey. How does the Husky FX250 stack up against the WR250F and CRF250X in terms of reliability and handling? Would I notice a big difference between FX250 and FX350?
  7. I enjoy riding flowing single track and double track with some small technical sections, nothing insane. I'm also way too cheap to spend thousands of $$$ every riding season on maintenance and rebuilds. I've owned a dual sport 1987 XL185 that was underpowered but predictable and a 1991 YZ125 that was overpowering and exhausting in technical stuff (though I'm not a fan of 2-stroke exhaust and noise). I'm 6'1" and 200 lbs with riding gear. I've narrowed down my choices to Honda CRF250L (heavy and underpowered but low maintenance), Honda CRF250X (smooth power but expensive maintenance), Husky TE250 (smooth power and easier maintenance than CRF250X), Husky WR125 (super light weight and easy maintenance but 2-stroke) and KDX200 (cheap, lightweight but 2-stroke). I realize that the CRF250L is more road oriented and closer to my vintage XL185 - I'm considering putting on more aggressive tires and raising the bars. I like that the CRF250L engine has a 8,000km service interval though it is greatly underpowered. I don't mind trailering a bike, so road worthiness is not a deal breaker. I'm concerned the CRF250L will be cramped for my 6'1" size and I've read that the rear suspension is too soft and sags significantly for anyone over 180 lbs. The CRF250X seems like the best choice for single track and woods riding but I've read that rebuilds can be expensive and complicated. I've ridden the CRF250X a few times and it feels slightly bogged down at lower rpm. The TE250 frame and design look easier for rebuild/maintenance and people have said it is more agile (I've raced mountain bikes most of my life so I appreciate a maneuverable bike). I'm only considering the 2-stroke WR125 and KDX200 because they are super lightweight and should have a smoother power delivery and better low-end grunt than my old YZ125 on the trails. I'm not a fan of the sound or smell of 2-strokes but if it makes the riding experience that much better I would consider a 2-stroke. Hoping to get some feedback before the spring riding season.