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Old 08-20-2010, 07:56 PM   #1
quixand OP
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Best Trail Bike for me?

I need some advice, guys, and I hope you can steer me in the right direction...

Here are the factors at play:
1. I have been riding for over 25 years sporadically, but mostly for the past 4 years in Ohio. Mostly on-road, some fire trails. Currently riding an '09 BMW Adventure which I love to tour on. I'm 6'6" tall and was attracted to the Adventure's size and reputation. What I do not feel comfortable doing is taking that pig into the woods.

2. I have always been attracted to trail riding, but never had a beater bike to learn on. I'm 48 and just put my 13 yr old on his first bike, a KLX 125. I see his enjoyment buzzing around the farm, and imagine the fun we could have at Wayne National or Kaeppner's Woods riding the trails together.

3. I'm no wrench, although I do enjoy doing the regular maintenance and banging around on my old farm machinery. I don't want something I have to tune and adjust constantly. I WANT A BIKE THAT HAS AN ENGINE LIKE A TRACTOR, THAT JUST TAKES THE BEATING AND DOESN'T NEED CODDLED.

4. I want a 4 stroke that is reliable, and not necessarily cutting edge. No racing or motocross plans for me. I'm too old for that game now.

5. I want it to stand tall, and I don't need lighting that will snap off on a fall. I don't need it to be street legal.

6. Electric start would be nice, but not a necessity.

7. Age on the bike can be forgiven, if reliability is not. I usually buy new just so I know how it has been treated, but I would much rather by used if I know it has not been mistreated. Any 80 yr old grannies out there with new trail bikes stored in their garage?

8. I have been told to stay away from anything that starts with Yamaha and ends in "f." Also told to stay away from KTM which they say is top of the line, but finicky and always needing adjusting.

Sorry for the length of the post, but I am clueless here. What is the best bang for the buck? Should I spend $1400 on a 2003 CRF 230? Or is that too small to haul my 230 pound frame? Should I have a bigger bike, like a 450?

Suggestions?
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:17 PM   #2
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Honda XR 400
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:26 PM   #3
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My moderately experienced .02.

You sound like the perfect candidate for a good, clean XR600.
About 4 years ago I sold mine, and still wish I'd kept it.
Very reliable, easy to work on (but little maintenance), and very basic. It's a big bike with big, manageable power, and sounds like it would fit a big guy with your experience and intentions. . . and price range.

I'm 6' 2" and 175, and that bike fit me very well. You're quite-a-bit bigger, but I'd bet it'd fit you well. I rode that 600 really hard, and it never failed me (and it was always easy to kick over too).

I just bought a DRZ 400e - it's also a reliable bike that needs little maintenance (so I've heard!). It weighs less, has better suspension, and a fun tractor-like engine.

Happy shopping!
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Old 08-20-2010, 09:20 PM   #4
AST236
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XR650L, specifically, the one i have for sale in the fleamarket.

Only partly kidding. For a big guy like yourself, the XRL or XR 600 sounds like a good fit. Decent power, very reliable, tons of aftermarket support and lots of knowledge available here on ADV. The L model is street legal which makes it heavier but more versatile.

Good luck on your search. Spending time chasing the 13 year old around sounds like fun no matter what bike you are on.
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Old 08-21-2010, 12:51 AM   #5
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ya, if a drz 400 falls in your lap take a good look
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Old 08-21-2010, 01:45 AM   #6
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Drz400 is the bike for you. Might as well get an S so its street legal.

A drz400 is just as reliable as any xr400/xr600. Plus it has electric start, better suspension, better power. I know you don't care but it really makes life allot easier. Ive seen drz400 for less than $2000 lately. My drz was rock rolid and most people get 40k miles on them with regular maintenance. Its the best bulletproof bike with electric start and good power ratio.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:03 PM   #7
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DRZ or XR 400. You stated 4 stroke only but a KDX200 is a fantastic trail bike and very reliable. Cheaper than the other 2 as well.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:02 PM   #8
Noprogram
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Swing vote: XR650L

a XR650L would be my suggestion. The XR400 and the DRZ are also excellent bikes but given your size and your previous bike I think the XRL would be a better bike. They're well developed, robust bikes with an electric leg, tractor like power and more comfortable to ride all day as long as you aren't considering tight trails and or a lot of hauling out of mud holes etc. Parts are easy to get and plenty of guys here to sort things out with fit etc....handle bar risers and wider foot pegs are a good mod. Good luck!
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noprogram
a XR650L would be my suggestion. The XR400 and the DRZ are also excellent bikes but given your size and your previous bike I think the XRL would be a better bike. They're well developed, robust bikes with an electric leg, tractor like power and more comfortable to ride all day as long as you aren't considering tight trails and or a lot of hauling out of mud holes etc. Parts are easy to get and plenty of guys here to sort things out with fit etc....handle bar risers and wider foot pegs are a good mod. Good luck!
Robust=very heavy and handle even heavier. He doesn't seem to need a tag or good highway manners so it has no advantage over the other bikes mentioned.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:22 AM   #10
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the DRZ400 is a fine pony but 6'6" and 230 pounds might make a difference to the selection I reckon. The XR650L and 600R do have relatively long legs but also are strong bikes with good low down torque and have a good comfort factor which is a big plus for usability.

You only notice the weight when you fall off and that's relative to your strength and leverage. There's no real difference picking up my 600 or 250 off the ground in reality. I'd be screwed in both instances if I had to haul them out of mud as both are f%kn heavy. If you want a great new technical bike get a WR250.
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noprogram
If you want a great new technical bike get a WR250.
I like this suggestion. Now all I have to do is find a good used one!
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:15 AM   #12
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a drz250 all the way
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:05 AM   #13
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I'll toss in my .02 and vote for a Suzuki DR350, DR650, or Yamaha XT350 or XT600.

Air-cooled, simple, reliable, and lots of good ones are still out there for cheap.

Oh yeah... KLX300 could be a contender if ya got an '03 or later.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:21 AM   #14
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Some good suggestions, but come on, the only bike that really fits the description is a KTM, 05-07 450 or 525

- first there is no other dirt bike that fits a tall guy as well, adjust the bar mounts forward and put on some low pegs, will be great.
- DRZ is not a good tall guy bike, I have owned two.
- 650L is good for tall guys, but why carry all that extra weight if you don't want to be street legal.
- E start, that eliminates XRs
- lots of good used ones out there. Spend an extra $500 and get something that you will not out grow.
- Reliability is actually quite good. Valve adjustment is somewhat frequent, but easy to do with screw type adjusters. Everything is easy to work on.
- Way lighter than many of the models suggested with more HP and much better handling. They can be very mellow, not hard to ride at all.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:53 PM   #15
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Tractor like kinda hints at Honda, those bikes just keep running. I ride a DR650 and they run as well as a tractor too but I am 6' and after riding for a year think I could use a bit larger of a bike. I know you said you are not after a street legal bike but it may be worth your time to get one anyway. Take the turn signals off and don't plate it. In a few years when your son is old enough, put them back on and buy your self a new bike. If you are raising your kid on a bike and he likes it, it will be cheaper on him to gas and insure a bike through high school summer breaks than a car.
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