Are We Screwed?
Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:20 PM
Let me add that even though I'm turning 60 in March... I'm in much better than average physical condition for my age. I'm 6'1" at 215lbs.
As for my riding abilities: In my most recent years, I have ridden AHRMA events as an Intermediate and have won my classes as well as placed among the top three often enough. My recreational trail riding miles would be well into the 6 figure range. I have owned something like 40 bikes over the decades, wearing many of them out riding in the mountains. Up until last year or so, my "Bike Barn" had something like 7 bikes in it. It's down to 3 currently.
I do NOT ride balls to the wall all the time anymore. Instead, I enjoy just plonking along and enjoying the mountain scenery in the region I ride. However, occasionally, I will wick it up and run pretty hard for a while, especially when riding with friends. During those times, I can reach the limits of my XR250R when I'm aboard it. This is one reason I'm a bit hesitant to step DOWN in regards to a bike's abilities. (i.e. Suspension travel/etc.)
I too, am intrigued by the KLX 250S into a 350 conversion. I wonder if the suspension can be improved on the KLX250s? My XR250R has 11.0" of travel front/rear. Noted the KLX has 10.0/9.1 respectively. Also, my XR has 12.8" of ground clearance, the KLX has 11.2". It might be a "fun" project to start with a KLX 250s and upgrade it/build it to the point that it has more travel, 350cc, etc? Perhaps the end result would be something along the lines that I would like? Plus, it wouldn't be something that is in a bunch of other garages, either. Hmmm.
Anyway... please keep the input/observations coming in. It's very helpful to read other's ideas and input, even those that question my sanity! We all have different experiences on different bike brands/etc... it's great to be able to tap into that.
Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:38 PM
if you want reliable you need to be looking at ktm/beta, specifically try to find previous generation 450RS with the old ktm rfs engine, rock solid reliability and lower maint than the dual sump ktm's, you dont wnat those, the dual sump require frequent oil changes. The 2007 ktm 450 dualsport uses that same motor, it was only offered with tags by ktm for 1 year
the dual sump require frequent oil changes, which is a pain, my ktm 450 exc-r is as reliable as my xr400 so far, in fact I had to adjust the valves more often on the honda, go figure, at least it was easy, I have 130 hours on the ktm and the valves have not moved yet.
if your even considering a pos klx250 you really need to look at a yamaha wr250 with the powerup kit, it's a far better machine, 25,000 mile valve check interval sounds like it's more your style
Edited by MrBlahh, 21 February 2012 - 05:40 PM.
Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:05 PM
As mentioned in the thread I linked, it should be obvious why I'm not seriously looking at a Euro bike.
In fact, just read this thread and you'll get the short version.
I do NOT want a high-maintenance, short life, hyper-sensitive performance bike. I want a solid, dependable scoot (electric start preferred) that has a long life expectancy. It doesn't matter that it won't have the "latest and greatest", or isn't the "fastest and bestest". My "givens n' d'ruthers" are pretty easy to understand.
From the sounds of it, I may just need to do a ground-up rebuild (and perhaps hang new plastic/etc) on my tagged and dependable XR250R and ride it another 20,000+ miles. I would retain nearly all the things I like... but would not gain electric start along with upgrading to a something a bit more "hi-tech". I'll turn 60 years old next month, gotta' feeling I would like electric start.
The XR250R is an excellent bike. If you can get a plate on it ... even better. Sure, the kick start can be a pain after it's been on it's side, but unless you're in a race, no real importance. I hope you have the "last" generation of XR250 (after 1997). Mine was a 2002, I think Honda stopped production in '03 ?
You didn't really talk much about your skill level or how and where you ride. How much pavement, how much dirt? Weekends? Longer? The only modern 400cc range bike I would consider would be the Yamaha WR450 ... and even that is not a great highway ride. But it's, reliable, fairly economical and maintenance is straight forward.
A couple years ago I did a MAJOR Baja ride (13 days, 2000 miles down to La Paz ... and back, about 50% dirt) with 5 or 6 other riders. I was on my XR250. The group: Two WR450's, CRF450X, two DRZ400S, XR600R, XR650L, DR650.
A few of our novice guys took alternate routes to skip the more torturous sections. I did most no prob on my XR250 ... one rock section was very tough, but I had help from the young guys.
I was 59 at the time and out of shape. One of the WR450's had top end problems but limped home making a nasty clatter (to the border). The CRF450X lost a cam follower bearing before the half way point. Metal bits screwed up some other stuff too. OUT. Found a tourist heading North. Lucky.
Every other bike made it. I swapped with my buddy riding the "good" WR450. Loved it off road (really better than the XR250R, especially deep sand) but hated it on the highway sections were it seemed over revved if you went over 50 mph. The XR250 has a better seat as well. We sometimes rode 10 hours a day ... so a good seat matters!! The six speed Wide ration XR250 gear box is a delight allowing 65 mph cruising.
I now also own a WR250F ... not street legal here in CA and no plans to do so. It too SUCKS on the highway, geared very low. But like most WR's, has been stone reliable. I do trail riding with it and it's been to Baja also (another trip).
I owned a DRZ400E from 2001 to 2003. Good reliable bike, OK on highway up to about 65 mph. So So fuel economy, easy to work on and reliable. But heavy in technical going. Your XR250 is really the better bike off road, IMHO. I was twice as fast ... and crashed less on my XR250 compared to the DRZ400E.
So ... you solved your own problem. Up grade your XR250R. I weigh 200 lbs. and the stock XR shock sucks ... needs heavier spring and re-valve to work right. Front need heavier springs too. Good luck!
My XR and buddies DRZ400E in Baja. (another trip)
The Go Anywhere XR250R.
Spring time in Baja
Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:07 PM
Good luck in your quest.
Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:12 PM
Just took a quick look at Beta. Nice bike in many ways... likely a great bike. The RS350 is street legal off the showroom floor. A plus. Dry weight: 247lbs. Curb weight 263lbs. Not bad at all. Price tag? $9,299.00. That's some serious change. Price point is one of the main reasons I have shied away from the European offerings.
A KLX project? No... not "serious" at this point. Not "serious" about anything just yet. (Won't be until I decide what direction I would like to go, pony up some cash and start the final shopping process.) BUT... does sound like an interesting project.
The WR250R? Until I started enquiring here at the the TT forums, the WR250R was at the top of my list... just concerned reading the comments about weight and some riders/owners being underwhelmed.
I'll get it sorted one way or the other... or... may just shuck the whole thing and do what I was talking about doing with my XR?
Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:16 PM
fwiw the klx250 is half the bike the wr250 is, seriously they are not an upgrade, they are a downgrade if your xr is plated
Edited by MrBlahh, 21 February 2012 - 06:17 PM.
Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:21 PM
Edited by hyper7driver, 21 February 2012 - 06:26 PM.
Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:39 PM
Thanks. I have ridden some KTM's (owned some "back when".) and they are fine machines. I need to spend more time at their website trying to figure out their models/etc.
Alas, I have the older wet sump engine. Still a pretty good scoot, overall.
I listed some of my riding experience/competition classification up above.
When it comes to recreational riding, most of my dirt riding is on dirt, using forest roads to get to the next trail. Very little pavement is used. My most frequented areas are the Ozark mountains of western Arkansas and the Ouachita mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas. Typically I do 1 day rides or weekend rides.
In my past I have competed in motocross, hare/hound, cross-country, enduro/ISDT/E type events. In most of those events I'm classified as an Intermediate. Over the past 13 or 14 years, my competition riding has been focused on vintage, namely ISDT-type 2 day events. (On vintage bikes, no less.) I have competed in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Massachusetts, Missouri and Ohio. All types of terrain, all types of weather conditions (from 18 degrees to near 3 digit heat, torrential rains, you know the drill.) Some of the events I either won my class or placed in the top three. Some I did lousy in (mechanical issues, or ran out of talent!) However, in all of my 43 years of off road riding, my biggest kicks in off-roading come from the simple joy of trail riding in mountains. Love it. Frankly, I doubt I'll be competing any more. (For the first time last October I rode sweep at an event and enjoyed the experience tremendously.)
For a few years, I had a commercial endeavor: Guided trail rides. Typically, those weekends were "interesting". Met lots of great guys from that, including some that have remained friends over the years. Amazing the cross section of riding levels you have in a group of 16 or so riders that you're personally responsible for getting through the mountain trails in one piece! In addition to the commercial endeavors, I've also organized/hosted weekend events with up to 18 or so riders.
I also ride some Dual Sport with the wife. (I used to attend Dual Sport events, having ridden them in Arkansas and Tennessee.) She's currently riding a DRZ 125L that's been modified with lights/etc. However, getting ready to get her a Kawasaki 140L and kit it/tag it, likely start on that within the next few weeks or so. When we Dual Sport, some pavement is typically ridden in order to hit a good eatin' place. The trail riding and dual sporting w/the wife is where the "next one" will be used.
Hope that helps?
Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:18 PM
Is the KTM 350 EXC-F street legal as is? The KTM website doesn't say... but it appears to have reflectors, etc? Specs show it to be a FABULOUS bike. Need to learn more.
Yes, the KTM 350 EXC-F is street legal off the floor. It's sounding like a really, really nice option. But whew... those prices. Very likely this is WAY more bike than I "need"... but well... I sort'a "want" it... know what'a mean???
Here's some vids that are interesting:
First up is a review of the bike:
In this vid, two key things struck me:
1. Listen to the rev range he's using to surmount the rocks. LOW and grunting. Not revving and hyper.
2. He said the low fuel light came on at 110 miles with the small stock tank, and that with some aggressive pavement/dirt riding. That, too, is encouraging.
This next video is simply a helmet cam ride-along, but again, listen to the rev range he's riding in: Low to mid mostly... with upper range once in the open. THOSE are my preferred rev ranges for the same situations!
I'm tellin' 'ya... the 350 EXC-F is looking GOOD.
Reality: Wife's first. Mine second. May be late in the year before I'm ready to make a move on any purchase, regardless of marque/model. (Plus, my purchase will likely depend on a pending real estate sale, too.)
Edited by Vinduroman, 21 February 2012 - 08:19 PM.
Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:42 AM
Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:14 AM
Not likely in some states, like CA for instance.
Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:10 AM
I would not go KTM. The guy is riding a 12 or 14 year old Honda XR250R that probably is worth less than $1000. He could replace it with a "newer" "Younger" one for just a bit more. How many 14 year old KTM four strokes do you find running round? Uh Huh. I've owned several KTM's ... ran an EXC300 in AMA enduros for a season back in the early 90's. Also owned a 2000 640 dual sport and KTM Duke ll. The 640 was a nightmare, the Duke ll was fine but I never ... ever trusted it more than 200 miles from home.
I've ridden friends new 450's (loved it) older 520 and 530's. All good ... great in fact. but all those guys change out bikes every year or three ... and many have had serious reliability issues.
As road bikes they all suck, IMHO. High speed pavemment uses them up quick. Most of my riding buddies are good mechanics and do good maintenance. I always liked KTM's two strokes but as much as I love riding their 4 strokes ... I would not own one due to nagging issues and short service intervals.
Why in the world would a guy riding a $1000 bike go spend $10,000 on a new KTM? I could see buying a well maintained 5 year old 450 or 520, but even then you could be unlucky and end up with a shitter ... and for the same price you could buy a "near new" Japanese bike. As boring and slow as some of you guys seem to think Jap bikes are ... they are "IN GENERAL" more reliable today over the very long term. KTM get better and more reliable every year. But producing consistently trouble free bikes still seems to allude them ... and you just don't see many road going, high mileage KTM dual sports out there. (Not counting the 950's or 990's)
I'm on my 3rd DR650. One was sold off for a profit, the other broke it's trans at 34K miles ... and my current '06 is pushing up on 45,000 miles, 3 Baja trips and several rides out to Colorado, Canada and the Northwest. If I thought any KTM four stroke single could handle it as a true 50/50 bike ... I'd own one. So far ... no Cigar.
Following the Baja 1000 course in '07
Edited by 54321, 23 February 2012 - 09:13 AM.
Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:44 AM
If you are now considering the KTM 350EXC-F, you might look at some USED Euro bikes...such as the Husaberg FE390, FE 450 or the Beta 450 RR. I was able to pick up a 2010 Husaberg FE 450 for $5,100 with 18 hours/324 miles and it was easy to plate here in Colorado. I only added a mirror, a plug and play brakelight, and DOT tires and I was done.
I have seen some pretty good prices on even brand new 2010 and 2011 FE390's since the dealers are having to discount more than the FE450 and FE570. I would think that the FE390 would feel pretty close (in power) to the KTM 350EXC-F. It also seems that some of the people that buy some of the lesser known Euro bikes treat them pretty well and seem to have to discount used bikes quite of bit more than the better known KTM to sell them.
Take a look at cycletrader dot com to search for discounted new Husaberg or Husqvarna units. Not trying to push Husaberg because I bought one. I had the same dilemma as you for dual sport since I wanted to connect from trail to trail (90+% offroad riding) and kind of stumbled across the Husaberg line (Blue KTM with 70 degree motor - at least for now). Seems to have good offroad capabilities and will be workable riding on asphalt during limited periods. I also looked at used WR450F, CRF450X, KLX450R, KTM four strokes and KTM & GasGas two strokes as possibilities for my definition of a 'dual-sport' bike (any of these are possibilites due to the ability to convert from off-road to on-road bike here in Colorado - you may not have the same universe of possibilities due to the rules there in OK).
Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:34 PM
Even before reading the new posts above, I was having a few concerns, mainly engine longevity, etc. Of course, spending $9k was also pondered! (That's a lot of dough for a bike that's going to be dropped n' scratched/etc as sure as the sun is coming up tomorrow.) Sure, that KTM is one sexy piece of machinery, and it's a KTM, so you KNOW they know how to make'em light n' fast. BUT...
I keep coming back to that "engine longevity" thing. From what I have found in my reading/research, the engine in the 2012 350 EXC-F is a new platform. Read: No long-term experience with it yet. Ouch.
So, the above second thoughts I have been having on my own.
Now to look at some of your thoughts and inputs:
Riding a $1000 dollar bike:
Yup, still ridin't it! I have ridden it for so long because I LIKE it that much. Never really found anything for its intended purpose that was better enough to warrant a purchase. (Over the years, I could get some minor gains here/there... but why spend the $$ for minor gains? Time flew by and next thing I knew: Wow... have I had this bike THAT long?????)
Sure, I could almost talk myself into wanting more performance and owning a "latest and greatest". BUT... that longevity and "low worry factor" thing plays heavy into my style of riding. Historically, 90% of my riding is solo, oft times I'm a LOOONG way from the truck and any civilization. (I like that in my riding.) I absolutely must have dependability. (And good fuel MPG is a big plus, too.) Seeing as I'm done with competition riding, my off-road riding will be dual sporting, trail riding, and just goofin' off on it. That's the criteria the "next one" needs to be able to fill, in spades hopefully. Still would like lightweight if possible, and electric start... but other than that... well...
So, it's not because I can't afford better that I ride a $1000 bike. (Probably more like a $500 bike!) Actually, over the past few years, I've bought/rode/sold several enduro/off road bikes. Some high-dollar vintage bikes, etc. Also purchased two Harley Davidson bikes. (A cruiser, and just last year, an Ultra Classic touring bike. We like to tour the Rockies aboard it!)
In fact, we have recently paid off our home ahead of time, and soon after a pending real estate sale is finalized, we will be debt free. My wife and I make a very good combined income figure. I can afford it if I WANT to. It's just that I'm painfully logical and frugal in many ways, and I intend to buy the bike I NEED and not necessarily the one I could WANT. I used the same logic when I purchased my first four stroke, my current XR250R, and have never regretted a day of it. I purchased it for its intended purpose, and it has served admirably. For other purposes, I purchased other bikes alongside my XR. Bikes for those other purposes have been thinned, because my purposes have/are changing. Only my touring and dual sporting/trailing "needs" remain.
So, frankly, I come back to the realization that I do NOT need a high-performance thoroughbred, such as a KTM, etc. I need a work horse. Something more like a quarter horse: Can go fast enough when necessary, but its strength lies in the fact that it is truly tough and able to get the job done, an "easy keeper" (to continue using horse nomenclature)... and one with a good disposition. I intend to keep this "next" one until it's not practical to ride any more.
So, still weighing my options and LEARNING what's available nowadays. Being wrapped up in vintage racing/riding, my XR for dual sporting/etc, and touring for several years... I've lost touch with what the mfg'ers have been doing.
However, no hurry. I want to purchase/build my wife's bike first. Mine in good time. Likely by next autumn.
Lastly (for now!): I really appreciate your input. I also very much appreciate the candor by those of you with other brands in being forthright about any shortcomings/etc. It really helps.
Missed your question, sorry!
For converting an OHV motorcycle to street legal in Oklahoma, the state requires:
1. Bring in the MSO and register the bike as an OHV.
2. Accomplish the required street legal conversion, saving documentation/etc.
3. Bring the completed bike to a DMV station for inspection and VIN verification.
4. IF it passes muster, then pay 'da money (Excise tax, registration fee, title fee, etc.) and it will be converted from an OHV registration to On Road and a title issued. Insurance verification will be required before a tag will be issued.
Edited by Vinduroman, 23 February 2012 - 06:41 PM.
Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:39 PM
Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:13 PM
By "WR250" do you mean the WR250R or the WR250F?
If the R version... I didn't know they offered a big bore kit? Hmmmm!!
Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:54 PM
You'll have to bear with me... I'm not knowledgable at all about Husaberg. I don't know a thing about their reputation or engine life, etc.
I have looked at the new Husky TE250/350's, but some very candid TE owners verified what I suspected: Not really what I'm hoping to find. (Mainly my concerns about engine life.)
I am also considering investigating the WR250F for a possible conversion (MrBlahh's comment got me to thinking about that), but I need to learn more in regards to reasonable cruising speed for short blacktop stretches, engine life, maintenance schedules, etc. Weight is GREAT at 256lbs wet. I saw one for sale at an AHRMA event I was competing in at McArthur Ohio in 2009... looked trick and felt SO LIGHT. Was sort of tempted at the time to inquire and test ride it.
So much to investigate and learn about!
This is fun!
Posted 24 February 2012 - 06:49 AM
Both should be plate-able in OK.
Both are capable recreational bikes, reliable, low-tech, durable, and cheap to purchase.
Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:27 AM
weighs a hair less than my XR250R, more power than my 650... e start, rekluse auto clutch, perfect bike. I know a guy that has 20k+ on his.