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

35 replies to this topic
  • ETP

Posted January 31, 2004 - 05:47 AM


I suggest you buy a used XR250. Its a rock solid bike. Easy to service and get parts for. Not powerfull enough to get a new rider into trouble. If you really like riding, the XR250 will be soon outgrown and you can easily sell it for what you paid for it and get one of the best bikes out there. A WR450, of course. :)

  • Math

Posted January 31, 2004 - 06:20 AM


It seems that everybody suggest an electric start bike. My question is on what bike are you going to learn how to kick? On a stalled WR450?

My opinion is that you need to get some experience on a kickstart.

I say, if you have one of these: KDX, TTR250 or CRF230/XR250/XR200, you will be very happy. Try as hard as you can to learn how to kick start. Do the TTR250 and CRF230 have kickstarters?

Even if e-starter trail bikes are more and more frequent, mx won't never have an e-starter.

  • N7SLC

Posted January 31, 2004 - 06:53 AM


Either WR is going to be way too agressive for a 1st-time rider.

XR400, KLX400, DRZ400...NONE of those are truly for 1st-timers.

Someone recommended a two-stroke? I wouldn't go that route either...

I'd have to say an CR230F. Start there and ride it for a while. Deciding what type of riding you're going to be doing will help in your decision too.


  • Hick

Posted January 31, 2004 - 10:13 AM


Someone recommended a two-stroke? I wouldn't go that route either...

Why not?

  • Yamaha600Racer

Posted January 31, 2004 - 11:56 AM


I've been riding since i was 5yrs old and started out on a Honda 100cc 4-stroke...since your bigger and heavier than i was, i would recomend any of the following =
-Honda XR 200R
-Honda XR 250R
-Honda CRF 230
The TT-R will be heavier than any of these bike (i think) and the power will not take you by surprise....the 230F sounds like the perfect ride for ya! :) I would also suggest a used XR 200...desent suspension for trails and one of the easier bikes to started (compared to race 4-strokes) any bike you choose i think you will be happy with... :D

  • N7SLC

Posted January 31, 2004 - 01:13 PM


Someone recommended a two-stroke? I wouldn't go that route either...

Why not?

The guy stated that he wants to do a lot of trail riding.

2-strokes aren't the best option for that mainly because a 2-stroke power band tends
to come on strong in the mid to upper range. Alot of trail riding requires a lot of low end and that tends to favor 4-strokes.

Now, I'm not saying a 2-stroke can't go trail riding. We have friends that do it all the time,
but trail riding is so much easier on a 4-stroke, especially on those steep rocky uphills where a lot of tire slippage is a bad thing.

I have been riding and racing motorcycles since 1975 and I can tell you that for trail riding, I'd prefer a thumper over a two-stroke anyday...

The above statement is MY opinion. Your opinions may very and that's OK. Just remember, opinions are like our backsides... We all have 'em and they all stink! :)

  • Hick

Posted January 31, 2004 - 03:06 PM


The above statement is MY opinion. Your opinions may very and that's OK. Just remember, opinions are like our backsides...

Yes, but some opinions are better than others. I just wanted to know how good I liked yours, but you didn't explain it initially.

My opinion is that 2 strokes are a good idea because they are cheap, plentiful, easy to maintain, very light, and easy to start.

I agree that an XR 250 is about twenty times easier to ride than a 250 EXC, for example, but if the guy is pushing 200 lbs. and is the athletic sort I would hesitate to recommend such a, well, small bike as an XR 250 (or TTR, whatever).

I guess it depends on what I think this guy's skill level is going to be. I have friends who hopped on 250 MX bikes w/ aplomb, and I also have friends who should probably avoid two-wheeled vehicles altogether. And of course I agree that in tight and/or snotty going two strokes are harder to manage with, but the light weight helps mitigate this trait.

A KDX 220/200 is going to be lighter than an XR 250 (isn't it?), easier to start in all conditions, faster, and, if the guy can ride, a lot more fun.

Just my opinion.


  • N7SLC

Posted January 31, 2004 - 03:20 PM


A KDX 220/200 is going to be lighter than an XR 250 (isn't it?), easier to start in all conditions, faster, and, if the guy can ride, a lot more fun.

I really can't argue much with that. I'll buy the next round... :)

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  • ETP

Posted January 31, 2004 - 05:08 PM


Having seen guys buy too much bike at first (and eat it bad), something with less power and "bite" is better to learn with. What new riders usually do is try to keep up with the experienced guys, or show off. If the guy is athletic, he is more likely to do something over his skill level while learning the ropes. However, this does not hold true for everyone. Something like an XR250, or other low top end power bikes in its class, will also take a few spills while in training, and still hold their resale value.

I love riding in the dirt, but these things can be dangerous. Especially at first. Got a few stories to back this up.
Just my experience and opinion.
Roost in Peace :) :D :D

  • SBG

Posted January 31, 2004 - 07:26 PM


Everyone seems to be skipping over the best choice for a larger beginner: KLX300. It offers what the 250 bikes have, only more. Perimeter frame, 50 extra cc's, upside down forks, and it's only as much as the Honda XR250 and DRZ250. The Yamaha TTR250 is $400 cheaper, but then again, look at what you get for $400 more. The KLX also has much better low end, even more than the WR250. It also has lots of hop up potential, and costs over $1000 less than a WR. It is also lighter than just about any full size enduro bike on the market. It doesn't have an e start, but you aren't a girl or little kid either. Most smaller bikes can actually be started by hand anyways. I've done it on my WR250. The KLX is also close to the same HP as the WR, but the power comes on more like on the other trail bikes. I think the DRZ 400 and XR400 also might be a bit much too. For a beginner, Kawasaki has a winner with the KLX.

  • 5spoke

Posted January 31, 2004 - 07:37 PM


I've ridden the KDX's and they are great bikes, but don't be fooled they are not slow either.

You've got some bucks so go out and rent bikes from a small cc to start and then keep going till you are comfortable on a larger bike.

Then buy the bike you want and take it slow, get the feel of it and have fun. :)

  • oscal

Posted February 01, 2004 - 12:02 AM


I just want to thank everybody for their responses. I have ALOT to think about...

In case anybody in wondering, I have compiled all the votes from this thread. Here are the results:

HONDA XR400 - 6
HONDA CRF230 - 5
HONDA XR250 - 4
KAWASAKI KDX200/220 - 3
HONDA XR200 - 3
KTM 250/300 - 2
KAWASAKI KX250 (95-98) - 1

I also posted my orignal question on the WR250F board and the WR450F board. If I combine the responses from all three boards, here are the results:

YAMAHA WRF250 - 15
YAMAHA TTR250 - 12
HONDA XR400 - 10
HONDA XR250 - 10
HONDA CRF230 - 5
KAWASAKI KDX200/220 - 3
HONDA XR200 - 3
KTM 250/300 - 2
KTM 200 EXC - 2
KAWASAKI KX250 (95-98) - 1

FYI... I am leaning towards WR250F, KLX300, or CRF230.

  • AfricaOffroad

Posted February 01, 2004 - 02:38 AM


oscal, I dont know where you are from or the type of terrain in which you will learn to ride however if it is of a technical nature you will battle on a WR.

What do I mean by technical:
rocky, muddy, slippery, narrow trails that are slow with lots of corners.

If you are going to be riding wide open spaces, dirt roads etc, the WR might be alright.

Once more I would warn against an XR400. While the power is very mellow for an intermediate rider, being a rank beginner its power will be too much for you, it is heavy and sometimes difficult to start.

  • SBG

Posted February 01, 2004 - 06:38 AM


Well it's obvious that getting info oin the WR250 BB will triple the scores for that bike, but those guys aren't being realistic either. I started on an XT125, although a 200 would have been a better choice, it was fine.
Now go to the KLX BB and see what they say, and then the DRZ, and Honda.
The CRF230 is a good choice, but for your weight and height, it seems too small to begin with, has little hop up potential, and weighs more than the KLX300. If you do get info from the other BB's, I'd like to see the results when all tallied up. :)

  • oldbones

Posted February 02, 2004 - 05:57 AM


Oscal, I will reiterate(sp?) my earlier advice. Go check out the Northwest Forum. Find a TT ride near you, one with a lot of people showing up (like the 321MOTOX thread), and pipe in. Tell the people involved your situation, and you will have a good chance of getting to test ride some bikes. I'm telling you, if you show up at a ride where I am, you will get to ride a TTR 125L and a WR426 for starters. If you don't wreck either of those, then others may decide to let you try their toys too. Who knows, by the end of the day, you may have tried everything on your list!

You WILL need a helmet, and whatever protective gear you can scrape up. (You can borrow my bike, but your not sweatin and bleedin in my gear!)

  • OHVrider

Posted February 02, 2004 - 01:18 PM


I'd recommend getting a *NEW* CRF230F for 6 months to a year and then selling it and getting what you want. Here's the reasons for a *NEW* CRF230:

o Used bikes tend to have problems which can somethings make it harder to learn if you are not good at fixing bikes (ie. throttle sticks, bike surges, won't idle etc.) These are all easily fixible, but learn on a new bike is easier.
o The CRF is lower to the ground and thus easier to save.
o CRF is full sized except less suspension (DON"T go fast on it)
o E=start
o CHeap
o Great resale value (A honda thing)

I've heard of guys buying XR200's riding them for 6 months and selling them for only a $500 loss. Basically renting the bike for $500 for 6 months. Even if you lost $1,000 I think you experience much less pain on the CRF.

Then after you learned, buy a real bike (ie. KTM) :)



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