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Old 06-27-2013, 11:14 AM   #1
ilyaon OP
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New to trail riding and 250cc

Hello,
Iíve seen several posts where people were looking to first dirt bike. Not sure if some of them had bought the bike already. But I would like to share my experience with purchase of the first bike dirt bike.

I've done some riding before, not much and it was street only. However at first I was sceptical going from 600cc to 250. At some point I was even looking towards 800cc DS bikes. However after trying riding trail (on borrowed 250 cc bike) for the first time I was questioning myself, should I even go with 250cc or find something less.

My approach to dirt bike purchase was similar to some of yours. I want to spend money on a bike that Iíll keep for long period of time. Bike I be able to learn ride trails and improve my abilities. I want the bike I can ride mostly trails, but if I have to travel I would not be restricted.

Amount of maintenance is very important aspect to consider: I want to ride the bike, not to spend time in the garage doing maintenance all the time. I suspect that some people will consider this statement not cool, but the bottom line the bike belongs on the road, not in garage.

Power (perhaps going together with maintenance): I was not looking for something which I would race on. If I donít know the basics of trail riding, street riding experience does not apply here, therefore, whatís the point to buy race bike and go fast without control? So KTM was not even on the list.

New or Used: I view anything what spends time off-road is a subject to abuse. Yes, itís less money for used bike, but what ďhistoryĒ will you inherit with it? Since it was my first bike and I have no idea what to look at when purchasing used dirt bike, I decided to buy new bike. Another reason to consider new bike was: the promotions from manufacturers are great now, and some dealers still have 2012 models in stock with full warranty.

I've done some research and focus on WR250R, klx250, CRF250L. I went to the dealerships to check these bikes.

CRF250L was least comfortable for me. A lot of people mentioned the height of these bikes and how the rider has to stay on the toes to reach the ground. That was my concern too until Iíve seen the pro races and observed some of the riders do not even reach the ground with both feet and have to use only one foot to keep the bike up. Reading more on this subject Iíve found out that ground clearance is the key here. Itís also more important how comfortable the bike feels while riding. Therefore, the distance between the seat and the pegs is more important to me, not from the seat to the ground. CRF250L has very short distance. Itís very uncomfortable for me to stand on pegs too.

With CRF250R out of the list, that left KLX250 and WR250R.

At first I was leaning towards purchase of KLX250 Ė cheaper, more lower power (according to some). But then it was: the carburetor on KLX vs FI on WR250R. I didnít think that would be a concern until Iíve witness how the bike with FI gets offloaded from the truck, started, and rides right away compare to bike with carburetor.

There were some other drawbacks on KLX 250 compare to WR250R, but I consider them personal preferences.

So I found that WR250R is best suited for me. I went to the dealer and purchased the bike.

Time, between making decision and actually travel to the dealership and purchase the bike, is very important. Longer wait can lead to doubts and you may not purchase the bike at all. So consider this: the dirt bike is a toy. Practical application of this bike is very minimal, and if you trying to justify spending money on dirt bike as something practical it will not work. It you will be honest to yourself and others and admit that itís a toy, the purchase process would be much easier.

After first couple rides Iíve confirmed to myself that with this bike I can learn ride trail and grow with. Itís not a power rocket, but not as mellow as CRF250L. With this reasonable power I can learn and experiment. If I would like to go between the trails I donít have to come back to the car to load and transport the bike. After dropping the bike couple time I was very glad that I donít go with heavier 400 models. FI allows me to start riding the bike and not wait for warm up. Iím very pleased with my purchase.

Please note that this review is strictly based on my preferences. I donít want to encourage anyone to buy the same bike Iíve got. But I hope you can apply my knowledge when you purchase yours.

Iíll continue post here my impressions and experiences here. If any of you Ė newbies (or not) would like to contribute something or have a questions please feel free post here.

ilyaon screwed with this post 07-01-2013 at 11:37 AM
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:43 PM   #2
Antiquar
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I'm a street rider also looking to take his first steps into dirt. I'll follow this thread with great interest!
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:56 PM   #3
Lomax
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This is all personal preference, but on the WR250R, if you are doing mostly off road, you might want to gear it down a little.

I only rode one but it seemed to be geared very high in first for a new dirt rider.

So that advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.

Marc
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:45 PM   #4
ilyaon OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lomax View Post
This is all personal preference, but on the WR250R, if you are doing mostly off road, you might want to gear it down a little.

I only rode one but it seemed to be geared very high in first for a new dirt rider.

So that advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.

Marc
Thanks for the post.
I've heard it several times that WR250R geared very high in first. And I partially agree with this statement. However, as you said " it's all about personal preference" and perhaps comfort zone.

I wanted the bike I can learn and grow with, therefore it would have something out of comfort zone. Others would find they need "training wheels" to feel comfortable

The trick is to find the balance.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lomax View Post
This is all personal preference, but on the WR250R, if you are doing mostly off road, you might want to gear it down a little.

I only rode one but it seemed to be geared very high in first for a new dirt rider.

Marc
Good advice here.

I would not want to ride the stock gearing off-road. I am currently running -1 front (12T) with the stock 43 rear. I will be changing to 13 front (stock) and +4 tooth rear (47) once the chain wears out.

This is a good compromise, fine on the road, and OK for trail. If I did mostly single track, I would gear down some more, maybe 13-49.

I hope protection for you and the bike is the next purchase. Barkbusters & a skidplate are a must, to start trail-riding.

You can lower the bike an inch or so for free. Would probably increase your comfort level, and can be reversed again in an hour or less. See High Five's site for lots of good info, including lowering: http://www.wrrdualsport.com/tech-guide/suspension
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:28 AM   #6
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Just two things.

Firstly, I would never refer to a dirt bike as just "a toy".

A toy is something you play with, but myself and many others on here exist purely to ride bikes so they mean a hell of a lot more to us than just being toys.

And more importantly, I don't see how a bike being fuel injected or carbed can have a bearing on how much it needs its oil and metal parts warmed up before they are at there optimal tolerances.

Warming up an engine is not just about having it idle at the proper speed.

I hope you are at least taking it easy until it reaches its normal operating temperature.

But I have a feeling the warming a bike up thing may be as topical as tyres oil and the need for loctite discussions.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:11 AM   #7
ilyaon OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tHEtREV View Post
Just two things.

Firstly, I would never refer to a dirt bike as just "a toy".

A toy is something you play with, but myself and many others on here exist purely to ride bikes so they mean a hell of a lot more to us than just being toys.
I understand your view and respect your passion. The point here is practical application vs entertainment.

I assume you don't take (always) the bike to the grocery shopping ?
Yes, I know someone uses the bike as a transportation, but majority ride the bikes because they like it.

Above, I was talking about timing between making a decision and actually go to the dealer with check book. And how important was to minimize this time because the idea of practical application for the bike may derail the purchase process or stop it completely.
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:40 AM   #8
ilyaon OP
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My next step, after bike purchase, was selection of off-road riding gear. Reviewing the post of PROs on advrider and also checking other forums, Iíve learned that two items I should not be stingy were helmet and boots. Later, Iíve discovered the difference between items with positive reviews posted online and items which actually fit comfortably.

Iím big on Internet shopping, however Iíve decided to give local store a chance. As strange as it sounds, Iíve actually saved money buying at the store vs. online. Not only by saving money on return shipments and exchange charges, but also on prices. I came to the store with the list of helmets/boots I should try and possibly buy. However after trying these items I find out that they were seriously uncomfortable. To avoid second trip to the store, I started trying randomly, until I found the helmet and boots which fit me. Big thanks to storeís clerk and the great patience he had and his advices. If it would be reverse situation and I had to deal with such annoying person, the outcome would be way different.

Speaking of protection gear, there is a way to trim the budget on some safety gear at the beginner/learning to ride stage, if you have some items from ski/snowboarding/mountain biking protection gear. No, ski helmet will not work!!! But such items like knee/elbow pads, and impact shorts will work great at the early learning stage. By early learning stage I mean practice riding in 1st gear on flat area. Some people may disagree with me, and thatís they choice.

Goggles are also important to try before you buy. Iíve noted some of them are really pitching the top of the nose and does not allow breathing freely. So itís important to get the proper fit before you start practicing.

Other items like jerseys and pants are available from many online retailers and if you not picky about style or color, you can dress yourself for $60 or less.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:02 AM   #9
ilyaon OP
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The first ride



The First ride is the event which almost everyone looking forward to, after bike purchase. One the other hand, first ride also has such unpleasant thing called ďthe reality checkĒ. Below Iíll describe my experiences when going to ride the trail for the first time. I hope, the new riders will find something useful from this story and be able to apply it for the first ride.

I donít want to discourage anybody. Just would like to warn new riders, to be prepared and set up some realistic goals for the first ride. By the way, even if youíve sat on the bike inside the garage, or made a circle or two in your neighborhood, it will not turn you into Ricky Carmichael overnight.

Perhaps Iím talking about something obvious, but how many of us, deep inside, believe that we are a part-time superhero? You donítí have to raise your hand, just ask yourself. Once youíve get to the trail, the things are much different compare to how it looks from sitting on the bike inside the garage or reading articles in Dirt Bike magazine.

Thatís brings me to the next point Ė the transportation to the riding place.

From mountain bike riding Iíve learned that the most enjoyment I get is to ride mountain bike on the hills. Pedaling to and from place of riding is not fun, particularly if you have to pedal home up hill. Thatís where the car bike rack becomes your buddy. This statement may cause an angry comment from dedicated MTB riders, but for the rest of us, part Ėtime Superheroes, bike racks make it more enjoyable experience of mountain biking.

Well, the same thing goes for a dirt bike. Yes, the WR250R is a street legal machine, but unless you live near riding place (and Iím talking less than 2 -3 miles), do yourself a favor and invest in the motorcycle carrier.
Driving to and from riding place has many benefits. For example: extra fuel supply, dry and clean clothes, extra food and water.

And of course, donít forget the most crucial one: free towing service.

If your bike have decided to ďtake a vocationĒ while you riding, you have a way to bring it back home or straight to the repair place, without humiliating phone call ďHoney, could you pick me up please?Ē.

The moment youíve involved you better half into motorcycle affairs, especially on ďrescue meĒ bases, could lead to more painful feeling than the ones form all bruisers and scratches the part-time superhero would get from riding. So think about it, when youíll look at the price tag of the motorcycle carrier.
Anyway, after purchasing motorcycle carrier plus the hitch, and spending the evening assembling and installing both, I was ready for my first ride.

Next morning after several attempts I managed to roll the bike onto carrier and secured it. Iím not a procrastinator, just could not do it the night before; the garage door would not close otherwise.

After all, I was on my way to the riding place. I picked the week day Ė less people in the area, fewer chances to get on the YouTube for public entertainment. Driving to the riding place was uneventful, except for looking at the rear view mirror 10 000 times, to make sure the bike is still there.

Do you self a favor and try the riding gear, you've purchased, before first ride. Try to ware it for a period of time, not just put it on and take off right away, especially boots and helmet. You donít want to waste riding time fighting with your riding gear on the parking lot

In my case the, I forgot the long socks, and had to ride with my short sport socks. That was not critical but was uncomfortable.

After offloading the bike and getting ready I took it straight to the trail.

"Hello" said first reality check.

Everything was looking much steeper and narrower than on the pictures and video; Iíve looked the night before. In addition to that, the riding surfaces are quite slippery compare to the paved road in the neighborhood, thanks to the sand and small rocks. Iíve managed to complete the Ēextremely difficultĒ beginner (green) trail using first gear and comeback to the parking lot.

Here, after coming myself down and replacing the fluids I've lost by stress Ėsweating, I've tried, what I should have done in the beginning: practice some exercise Iíve picked up from training video. I was riding standing up and practice throttle control.

Man! Why did I go to the trail first? Even after 30 minutes of exercising these relatively simple tasks, I had boosted my confidence and gave myself a brief feeling that I could somewhat control the bike. Later, I made it a habit; every time to spend 15 -20 minutes for warm up myself and my riding skills before going to the trail.

Iíve completed the first day of riding by going back to the same green trail feeling more confident. The reality still showed the signs that it exists and Iíve lay the bike several times a get some scratches on the new plastic faring. Oh well, itís a dirt bike, not a show room treasure - trophy.

I think the lack of fear of dropping /scratching the bike is important as the riding skills.

Iíve got back to the parking lot with the feeling that Iíve achieved something that day. With all the events occur that day, I was not discouraged from riding. On the contrary, I feel glad that Iíve found something Iíll be able to learn, improve, and enjoy.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:52 PM   #10
Jacl-Kampuchea
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Something to remember is that trails that are really uncomfortable and seem dodgy at 30mph can be flown over in comfort at 60/70mph.

Counterintuitive? Sure - but it's often true.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jacl-Kampuchea View Post
Something to remember is that trails that are really uncomfortable and seem dodgy at 30mph can be flown over in comfort at 60/70mph.

Counterintuitive? Sure - but it's often true.

Perhaps for you Baja riders, but how does that help a new guy who practices off-road techniques in the parking lot before hitting the trails?
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:13 AM   #12
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I'm no Baja racer


I'm barely competent, in fact. Just noting that sometimes lower speed on trails can make them harder work and way more uncomfortable in many cases.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:26 AM   #13
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You forgot to add to your list the most important safety gear and training tool: a riding buddy. I see you're in Colorado. Maybe I'm preaching to the choir, but the weather here is no joke, a bad spill can leave you stranded, hurt and freezing very quickly. An experienced riding buddy can show you the right line, technique, maintenance, gear, trails... The list goes on and on. I consider myself experienced in the dirt and if I venture off road alone i ride at a 6 tenths pace.

Also consider putting your bike on a diet. Picking up those spare pounds sucks.

As for safety gear, I'd use downhill mountain biking protection (not helmet!), but that's about it.

Ride safe. Have fun.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:34 AM   #14
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I think you are thinking too hard about it.
You buy a good used cheap bike, most people enjoy trying out different bikes, all have their good and bad points, and getting used allows you to try it without spending much, and selling it a year later for littleo r no loss to get something else, someting bigger, better, or lighter, or more reliable, or just something different.

Buying a new bike for $7000.00 and taking it to the dirt to run it into a mud hole and bounce it off rocks is something that is hard to do for some people.

Falling down is something you do dirt riding. Its best to find a smooth soft place to fall, and practice power slides, locking the back wheel up, lofting the front wheel over things, etc.

Dirt roads work ok, and you can work up to rough dirt roads and trails, then the harder stuff.

And it is a good idea to hook up with someone, or at least ride someplace where someone is likely to pass by from time to time.

The wr250 is a good bike. It can do the street to get to the dirt just fine, but if you like transporting it someplace to ride, put knobbies on it.
Much better off road with better tires.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:34 AM   #15
ilyaon OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDUBinCO View Post
You forgot to add to your list the most important safety gear and training tool: a riding buddy.
Thank you JDUBinCO.
Riding buddy is a very good tool. The draw back it's not constant solution. It depends on the buddy, but when it comes to consistent training, I think, it's better to pay money and go to riding school. Riding buddy has limited patience and wants to ride his bike too when at the trail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
I think you are thinking too hard about it.
You buy a good used cheap bike, most people enjoy trying out different bikes, all have their good and bad points, and getting used allows you to try it without spending much, and selling it a year later for littleo r no loss to get something else, someting bigger, better, or lighter, or more reliable, or just something different.

Buying a new bike for $7000.00 and taking it to the dirt to run it into a mud hole and bounce it off rocks is something that is hard to do for some people.
NJ-Brett, Good point, and it can apply to some people.

In my situation: I had no idea what to look when picking Good Used Cheap bike. Every GUC bike I've check from the ads, have been "never" ridden hard, and barely seen the trail, according to the owners

I understand these people. We are on the opposite sides: I'm trying to purchase the bike for less money, they are trying to sale same bike for maximum profit. Therefore the truth gets slightly adjusted in advertising.

As I've mentioned earlier, I view anything what spends any time off-road is a subject to abuse. There is on other way. Yes, itís less money spent for used bike, but what ďhistoryĒ will you inherit with it?

$7000 (granted, with the number of 2012 models still sitting at the dealerships, I would be surprised to hear that someone pays such amount) is expensive compare to the cost of the GUC bike, but it guarantees that you'll be riding the bike v.s. truing wrenches.
My goal was to learn how to ride first, not to develop the mechanical skills. I do understand that mechanical skills are important.

Here is another thing to consider: if you paid $7000 for new bike and than decided to sale it, Yes, you've lost money, but you've gained worry free riding time.
When you've sold GUC bike, you still lost money, but you've lost the riding time on working out the issues that came with that bike also. The question is: how much is you time worth?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not gathering people to follow the new slogan:

"Stop recession support, Star supporting the recovery: Buy MORE!!!"

I want to illustrate that buying Good Used Cheap bike may not be always the best solution for new rider.
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