I need help choosing a new "off-road" bike...



35 replies to this topic
  • oscal

Posted January 30, 2004 - 08:24 AM

#1

About me: 30 years old, 5'11" 190lbs. NEVER RIDDEN A MOTORCYCLE BEFORE. :)

I want to get into trail riding in Oregon. I have been looking at the WR250F as my first bike. However, I am concerned that it might not be a good bike for a novice because of the lack of low-end...

Here is what Dirt Bike Magazine says about the 2003 WR250F...

"Stay in the meat of the powerband, remain aggressive and the WR rewards you. Get slack, try to ride like it’s a 400 (or even an XR250) and you’ll choke and stall.

The big question is, who’s this bike designed for? It truly lacks the bottom zest to make it a good tool for newcomers to the trail world...

It’s truly inspiring for the aggressive rider whose background is small bore machines; they honestly fit the WR’s personality in a snug fashion.


They kept using the word aggressive. I doubt I'll be very aggressive as a novice.

Comments like this make me think I should be getting the WR450F since it doesn't require so much high-RPM riding. But, as a beginner, I am afraid to go out and buy the biggest bike. On the other hand, it's only $600 more, so why not get the big one?

As you can see, I am confused. Is the WR250F for me? Or, maybe the WR450F? :D Or should I be looking at another bike?

Please help!!

  • sjw

Posted January 30, 2004 - 08:40 AM

#2

XR 400 Honda

  • John_Lorenz

Posted January 30, 2004 - 08:48 AM

#3

About me: 30 years old, 5'11" 190lbs. NEVER RIDDEN A MOTORCYCLE BEFORE. :D

I want to get into trail riding in Oregon. I have been looking at the WR250F as my first bike. However, I am concerned that it might not be a good bike for a novice because of the lack of low-end...

Here is what Dirt Bike Magazine says about the 2003 WR250F...

"Stay in the meat of the powerband, remain aggressive and the WR rewards you. Get slack, try to ride like it’s a 400 (or even an XR250) and you’ll choke and stall.

The big question is, who’s this bike designed for? It truly lacks the bottom zest to make it a good tool for newcomers to the trail world...

It’s truly inspiring for the aggressive rider whose background is small bore machines; they honestly fit the WR’s personality in a snug fashion.


They kept using the word aggressive. I doubt I'll be very aggressive as a novice.

Comments like this make me think I should be getting the WR450F since it doesn't require so much high-RPM riding. But, as a beginner, I am afraid to go out and buy the biggest bike. On the other hand, it's only $600 more, so why not get the big one?

As you can see, I am confused. Is the WR250F for me? Or, maybe the WR450F? :) Or should I be looking at another bike?

Please help!!


If you have never rode a bike before, I would first take some classes. There should be some info at a DMV for local colages that have riding lessons. This is a big step, riding a bike is nothing to diddle with. Do you have anyone that would help you learn?

For a first Bike I would say an crf230,xr250 xr 400 as suggested, Suzuki DRz400 or a Kawasaki kdx300

Allof these bikes will be very easy and will not take as steap a learning curve to ride as a wr

  • The_Blue_One

Posted January 30, 2004 - 09:31 AM

#4

I don't know leave the wr all choked up and it is a fairly mild bike.As the skills improve you could start with opening the bike up and be happy with the performance.

Do you have any buddies that ride?If so hop on their bike and see what kind of power you'll want.If not look in your local area and see if there is a bike rental place and see if they have the wr250/450,xr,drz you could try out.

  • RaphFoFiddy

Posted January 30, 2004 - 09:49 AM

#5

I don't know leave the wr all choked up and it is a fairly mild bike.As the skills improve you could start with opening the bike up and be happy with the performance.


Flarkin-A man I totally agree I got on a bike for the first time in my life this July and I picked up my 03WR450 in spetember. As long as you leave it stock, it's an incredibly easy bike to learn on. I say that cause we have similar stats (28yo,6'2", and a riding weight of 220-230, I was 265 before I started riding). I was riding the thing WTO
in no time, well untill I did the throttle mod :).

  • Dan_Lorenze

Posted January 30, 2004 - 09:58 AM

#6

If you're a tall rookie the WR250f would be a good one.. You'de love the e-start and how the bike handles.. I would say the XR400 too but I really think the electric start would make for a more pleasurable ride. The XR is a great trail bike too, it's just that if you're going to be shelling out for a new bike you might aswell get a bike with the latest technology (5 valve head,water cooled and great suspension)...

  • wrkaholic

Posted January 30, 2004 - 10:38 AM

#7

My opinion is to look around and go with a used WR250F or a YZ250F. You can get a good deal on a 2002. You will not regret it. The WR450s or WR426s will be too much for you as a beginner.
My son rides a YZ250F for only trail riding and we love it. I wanted him to get the WR, but, he wanted the YZ. I lowered the gearing with a new sprocket to get him the low first gear. I also softened the suspension by turning the clickers out. He is 14 years old, 155 lbs, and the nice thing about the YZ is that it is lighter than the WR. He rides that bike great in the trails. He never stalls it. The bottom end is fine, plenty of power. The tank only gets about 40 miles, but, we never ride more than that in one day anyway.

IMO, do not buy an XR, most likely as you get into it, you will end up selling it to get something with newer technology.

In general, the magazines are "splitting hairs" when they say things. You will love the 250F and the "cool bike factor" is much better than an XR. :)

  • wrkaholic

Posted January 30, 2004 - 10:44 AM

#8

Also, Remember, as a beginner, the most important thing is not which bike you buy, but instead, that you first buy all the protective equipment. You will fall, so, even on your first ride you must have: riding boots, knee pads, riding pants with hip pads, chest protector with shoulder pads, elbow pads (very important), gloves, and of course good helmet with googles. Be prepared and you will really enjoy the sport. Good luck :)

  • ZEKEDAWG

Posted January 30, 2004 - 10:57 AM

#9

The wr would be great but honestly buy a used air cooled bike to learn on. Figure out your style then buy the bike you really want. Radiators tend to get in the way of things and being new, you don't know how to crash properly and an Air cooled bike will be a saving grace. Check out a ttr 250, awesome low end and VERY easy to ride. E start air cooled, decent suspension. Little maintenence requirements and can be ridden hard when you advance. It will go anywhere as long as yoy stay on the throttle, meaning it will tractor up anything and rarely stalls. My buddy bought one as his first bike and it is perfect. So perfect I bought one for my wife. They could be lighter but they aren't bad.

PS there is a guy named Pozer that is putting his ttr 250 up for sale on this forum. Check out the ttr forum and the for sale forum. http://www.thumperta...5/o/all/fpart/1
check the last post.

  • Indy_WR450

Posted January 30, 2004 - 11:06 AM

#10

The DRZ 400 or XR 400 would be a better choice for a heavyweight beginner. Both of these bikes have great bottom end power curves and easy 1st gears. I think they make it easy for a beginner to have fun. The WR's are more performance oriented and not as fun for beginners. :)

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  • RichBaker

Posted January 30, 2004 - 12:45 PM

#11

Radiators tend to get in the way of things


Yep, air-cooled will be lot$ cheaper to learn/crash on...

and being new, you don't know how to crash properly



:D :D I love it, I've been riding dirt bikes since I was 11, I'm 45 now and I still don't know how to crash "properly"..... :)

The TTR is a good choice, as are XRs. Both are pretty bullet-proof and are on the short side, a tall person can get both feet on the ground easily, which is a big plus...

  • banffboy

Posted January 30, 2004 - 01:34 PM

#12

Ok,here's a thought. What's your athletic ability? Do you ride MTB bikes, ski or snowboard. I ask this because I have ridden with some "newbies" but they are solid athletes and were able to pick up the sport fairly quickly. After one season they were pretty dang fast on WR426. Just make sure you get all the protective gear. It's more than worth it, as you will be tasting dirt learning this awesome sport.

Just my 2 cents

  • Hick

Posted January 30, 2004 - 02:33 PM

#13

I want to get into trail riding in Oregon. I have been looking at the WR250F as my first bike. However, I am concerned that it might not be a good bike for a novice because of the lack of low-end...




My two cents:

Get a used two stroke, preferrably an enduro model if possible. My reasoning is as follows, so you can decide if this applies to you or not:

You don't want to lose a lot of money investing in a new sport you may not even like (I sure can't relate but it does happen). And buying a new bike and reselling it within a year or so is a good way to lose a lot of money (when the rest of us do this we call it "spending" a lot of money, because we are addicted to the damn things). On the other hand used two strokes are plentiful and cheap. It would not be unusual at all to buy a used bike for $3,000, ride it for one year, and sell it for $2,500.

Secondly, as much as I love the modern four strokes we have today, the learning curve is a bit higher for some people. As was mentioned, this varies depending on the person. If you, for example, have ridden snowmobiles or something and are relatively mechanically aware you may be able to master starting any four stroke. Or you may be the type that just can't start a hot XR 400 no matter what happens. If you are that type, you most certainly don't want to start out on a kick-start thumper. And riding an e-start bike that you have no hope of kick-starting is just asking for trouble IMO.

During the course of your introduction to this great sport with your used two stroke you will develop a much more accurate idea of "the bike" for you, at which point you will know for sure exactly which new bike you want.
That pretty much covers it.

Two strokes I would recommend:

KTM 250/300, '99 and newer. KTM 200s are also nice, very nimble and light but a bit underpowered and kinda pipey I think.
KDX 200/220. Probably also a bit underpowered for a guy your size, but great in the woods, and it could probably run w/ a WR250 in many areas. Should be easy to find and also resell.
KX 250 - 95 - 98 are all good years, easy to ride for an MX bike due to tons of low end and mid range.
YZ 250 '99 to present. Smooth power band, would be a good woods/trail bike I think.
Suzuki RMX 250s are also good used bikes but you don't see very many around.

Hope this helps.

  • Math

Posted January 30, 2004 - 03:01 PM

#14

I second what was said by Hick...

You need a bike that is light, starts easy, is bullet proof and easy to toss around. You need a bike that has a minimum of flywheel effect for these situations you will want to ride in first gear no throttle...

The KDX 200/220 is the best choice for you. The enduro KTMs 2 stroke are really nice too...

Plus, has Hick said , it is cheap.

What wrkaholic said is also really important. You can't go into this sport without the adequate protection. You should buy an helmet first with goggles. Then the boots, chest protector, knee/shin guards and elbow savers are really important. Wear them each single time you go ridin without exception no matter you're going for a long ride or a small one...

Then, find your beat. It is easy to say you are going to be careful... but if you never rode, you mostly don't even have an idea about what to be careful about.... Take your time during your first year. Be aware of the things that might be dangerous. Even if 20 riders in row do something you still have the right to think it might be too dangerous, just let them go because you'll be the only one responsible of what happen to you if you try and hurt yourself bad...

I ride motocross bikes since I'm 13 and I'm 27 now and each year I ride I learn new things to be careful about so don't rush things up. Some riders on this forum are over 60 and still ride quite powerful bikes :). My goal is to succeed to reach 60 and still be a rider. Now that is an enduro!! :D

Of course you can't avoid scars... but scars are not that bad. In fact they do great pictures :D

Have fun :D

  • RichBaker

Posted January 30, 2004 - 03:13 PM

#15

You need a bike that has a minimum of flywheel effect for these situations you will want to ride in first gear no throttle...


Actually, you want a bike with lots of flywheel for that type of putting....

  • DirtDobber

Posted January 30, 2004 - 05:08 PM

#16

The perfect bike for you!
Yamaha TTR 250 It's bullet proof,
has electric start, air cooled.
You'll love it!
DD :)

  • HollandWR426

Posted January 30, 2004 - 07:55 PM

#17

OK, thought I would throw my two pennies in on this one. The WR450 is going to be too much bike for a beginner. You may be able to control the "twist of the wrist" but, you will crash and you will break something (hopefully just the bike :D). These bikes cost a lot, and are pricey to fix. It also helps to know a lot of basics before jumping on a severly tall bike. In most off road situations where you need to bail, the ground is off camber, further away than on flat land, and you will not be able to touch the ground based on your height. If you learn one thing from this post, you will go out and buy a nice used Honda XR400. I guarantee, with your weight and beginner status, you will not be dissapointed. Also that bike is by far the best air cooled trail bike with the most potential. Aftermarket items have been around for that bike for nearly 10 years. It is tried and true, and may be the only bike you'll ever need. If you buy one, and do not like it. I'll buy it off ya. :D The WR250 will probably be too much as well. That thing needs to be wrung out in certain situations to keep momentum. The XR400 will pull logs out of Weyerhaeuser's tree farms in third gear. (inside reference to someone in the Pac, NW) Tons of low end torque. Keep in mind, if you buy a newer, "racing four-stroke", (any size) it will be more maintenance and tuning. Don't get me wrong, I loved my WR426 (just sold) but would probably be just as happy with an XR400 for just trail riding and general cruising off-road.

Cheers,
:)

  • Alabama_Rider

Posted January 30, 2004 - 08:57 PM

#18

The XR200R from Honda is the best adult beginner bike made. You can find in good shape a 99/2000 model for under $2,000. I have one and everyone wants to ride it, even experienced riders.

If you want to step up, then the CRF250X is the way to go.

  • DirtDobber

Posted January 31, 2004 - 05:35 AM

#19

Oh yea, I forgot to mention the Yamaha TTR250 is 8 lbs. lighter (with electric start, almost a must for beginners) and almost a 1000 dollars cheaper than the Honda XR400! It has plenty of power for a beginner and when it's time for you to step up to a faster bike, you can pick a model that will make the XR400 seem S L O W and H E A V Y!
You won't be stuck with a bike that does everything good and nothing great!
You decide...
DD :)

  • AfricaOffroad

Posted January 31, 2004 - 05:44 AM

#20

You have been given some good and bad advice so far.

Here is my opinion:
WR250, KTM200/250/300, XR400 and DR400 are all to advanced for you if you have never ridden a motorcycle before.
They all have throttle responses that will get you into a lot of trouble when you dont know what you are doing.

Buy an electric start bike, kick start required some experience and it will tire you out when you cannot start your bike in the bush.

My recommendation would be a CRF230F or a TTR250, nothing else. I personally think the Honda is the better bike.

After a year or 2 of riding you could probably move to a WR250.

I run offroad tours and riding schools here in Africa (sideline business) and have seen first hand beginners on bikes that are too powerful. Bikes get broken, riders hurt - some even get scared off for life, giving up the sport because they tried to run before they could even walk.

:)




 
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