Originally Posted by jcalis
I agree with most who are pushing the 250cc class bikes. Yamaha WR250R or Honda CRF250L would be best to start with. Both are light enough to take off-road (and pick up when you crash). Both have wide ratio transmissions and will do highway speeds. DRZ400S is a top heavy beast with a narrow range 5-speed transmission (fail), and the 650 class bikes will be too heavy for a 140lb rider to handle in wet, slippery Pac NW trails.
I would look for a good used Yam WR250R to save a few bucks. It is the best all around bike for your size and needs.
Even used ... the WR250R is quite expensive. Also ... The new Honda CRF250L is quite a bit HEAVIER than the CRF230. When re-jetted and suspension up graded the old CRF230 is about twice as good as stock.
I know, just did this. I rode the transformed CRF230 back to back with my '07 WR250F (Race bike). In very slow, tough single track the little CRF did very well. At high speeds, taking massive hits, the WR was better. But the nice low seat seat and with bar risers my 70 year old buddy did fantastic on his CRF230. Jetting and suspension cost about $350 in total. (including rebuilt shock, Race Tech emulators, jetting) I did the work except the shock, which was $200.