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First Off Road/Trail Bike Advice
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First Off Road/Trail Bike Advice - November 2, 2015, 07:53 PM

Have some questions for all you hare scramble, woods, trail riding guys:

I have recently caught the trail riding bug thanks to some awesome hare scramble vids, but I have ZERO knowledge about off road bikes. I want to pickup something I can rip around on in the mountains/woods and maybe do a hare scramble race here or there next year with possibly some light MX tossed in. So closer to 80% trails / 20% MX. What would you all consider a good starter bike?

Im mainly going for something that is sub $3000 ($2000ish if I can make it happen!), on the lower end of the intensive maintenance spectrum, has good overall power (but doesn't need to blow me away as Im new to dirt), and would suit a 6' / 185b rider.

From what I have read, a 250 4stroke would suit me well, so I am eyeing a 2008 KTM 250 XCF-W for under $3000, but I don't have a lick of knowledge about them and heard they can be expensive if they break. I have also looked at the CRF 250x and WR250f which both seem to receive good reviews. Then of course there are the two strokes which I don't know jack shit about and keep reading conflicting ideas on their cost of maintenance and suitability for trails. Some say adding a flywheel weight will make them the perfect trail bike, some say they'll still suck and adding the weight is a bad idea.

So yeah, Im lost. Any thoughts and experience is appreciated!

Last edited by !ThatGuy!; November 2, 2015 at 07:55 PM..
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ELBOWZ
 
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November 2, 2015, 07:55 PM

Can't really go wrong with any of the 4 stroke 250's. The KTM is a sure fire bet to plate if need be. The Yamaha can be done as well in most cases. I'd stay away from 2 strokes unless its a new KTM 300 or something to the like.


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November 2, 2015, 08:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jshep View Post
Can't really go wrong with any of the 4 stroke 250's. The KTM is a sure fire bet to plate if need be. The Yamaha can be done as well in most cases. I'd stay away from 2 strokes unless its a new KTM 300 or something to the like.
"Plate" as in put it on the street? That would be optimal, but not highest on the priority list. Any particular reason to avoid the 2 strokes? Ive heard they have frequent maintenance and can blow up in a hurry so maybe that rings true.
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November 2, 2015, 08:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by !ThatGuy! View Post
"Plate" as in put it on the street? That would be optimal, but not highest on the priority list. Any particular reason to avoid the 2 strokes? Ive heard they have frequent maintenance and can blow up in a hurry so maybe that rings true.
Any bike, 2 or 4 stroke, can blow up in a hurry. In general, for woods riding, 2 strokes are pretty low maintenance and what needs to be done is easy. Like 4 strokes 2 strokes can vary from docile to crazy. I've got both types of 2 stroke (kdx220 and kx250). You may be surprised to find that 2 strokes out number 4 strokes on a lot of dirt rides.

That said I think it's probably more important to find a good bike in decent condition than to worry about 2 vs 4 stroke.
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November 2, 2015, 09:05 PM

I kinda disagree with Kirk. I'd suggest the 250 four stroke is a good learner platform. You can have predictable performance, won't get caught out with the bike coming on the pipe unexpectedly, and have enough power to grow into that you can enjoy the bike for several years as you learn.

The WR250 is a nice non-threatening bike.

That being said, I have a couple of two stroke 300's that I ride offroad. But I'm old, slow, and non too bright.



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November 2, 2015, 09:10 PM

I heart two smokers... but another perk of 4 stroke dirt bikes is that they're much quieter.. stock to stock that is.

If you want to keep your riding a little low-key, a 4 stroke is the way to go.
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November 2, 2015, 09:16 PM

I had the same question years ago and the master of dirt and suspension, Redlevel, told me I wanted a YZ250f (4T). Bought it and loved it. If there places to ride closer to me, I would have kept it.


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November 2, 2015, 09:48 PM

Funny, I had the same thoughts as OP today.

Right now I'm wondering, if I buy an enduro bike, like the KTM EXC-F, can I take it to the local MX track and dick around? I would use it for 80% exploring and 20% track nonsense (some small jumps and stuff). Maybe a supermoto swap for the kart track as well.


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November 2, 2015, 09:55 PM

um, I probably asked a stupid question



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November 2, 2015, 10:09 PM

Make sure it has an electric start. Honda CRF250 has been the best bike I have ridden. I have a KTM 450 EXCG, and I like it allot but it is heavy.


Yeah I am old enough to know better. Thing is, I just don't care.
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November 2, 2015, 10:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tecknojoe View Post
Funny, I had the same thoughts as OP today.

Right now I'm wondering, if I buy an enduro bike, like the KTM EXC-F, can I take it to the local MX track and dick around? I would use it for 80% exploring and 20% track nonsense (some small jumps and stuff). Maybe a supermoto swap for the kart track as well.
Sure you can do jumps, doubles would be rough from my understanding. You would want to turn the compression up till you could not stand it to really jump it on a MX track. But yeah you can do jumps.


Yeah I am old enough to know better. Thing is, I just don't care.
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November 2, 2015, 10:36 PM

I started on an 01 yz250 and am still riding it. I like it s lot and maintenance is super easy.

I rode in VA and did the hangover hare scramble a few years ago. Now I'm in CO and still love the bike. I was off of it for just over a year after tearing an ACL so I'm still getting back into the swing of things but it's an awesome bike and a lot of fun to ride. I do right technical single track to wide super Rocky jeep roads. Red cone to rampart range and woodland park.

That being said my GF rented a wr250f and I rode it a couple hours in crested butte and Taylor park and that is a fun bike. Very easy to ride fast and gives you a lot of confidence. The yz you have to be a bit more careful until you get the hang of it. I felt like I could get on the WR and go wot right away.
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November 2, 2015, 10:37 PM

KLX 250 is a solid machine.

I got my 09 klx250s a couple years ago for $2800. I've put some hard miles on it and it's been a solid bike. I jump it, ride up stairs in the city, take it to GW natl forest, wreck it. Whatever I do it still runs and get's me around town.
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November 3, 2015, 08:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MudDawg View Post
I kinda disagree with Kirk. I'd suggest the 250 four stroke is a good learner platform. You can have predictable performance, won't get caught out with the bike coming on the pipe unexpectedly, and have enough power to grow into that you can enjoy the bike for several years as you learn.

The WR250 is a nice non-threatening bike.

That being said, I have a couple of two stroke 300's that I ride offroad. But I'm old, slow, and non too bright.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RileysDad View Post
I had the same question years ago and the master of dirt and suspension, Redlevel, told me I wanted a YZ250f (4T). Bought it and loved it. If there places to ride closer to me, I would have kept it.
I think Im going to stick with a 4t as that seems to be everyone's "go-to" type of bike for a beginner in the dirt.

Basically have narrowed down my search to:
KTM 250 E/XC-F-W
YZ250F or WR250F
WR250F or CRF250X

Im heavily leaning towards the KTM or Yami.

Last edited by !ThatGuy!; November 3, 2015 at 10:32 AM..
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November 3, 2015, 08:55 AM

As a noob to trail riding, i have nothing to offer, other than its hella fun! The biggest thing for me, moreso than the brand of bike itself, was the suspension. If your gonna be hitting up a lot of the places here like Cove or taskers, get the suspension done first!
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