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Old 09-29-2014, 04:56 PM   #1
dbur971 OP
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used bike recommendations?

Hi,

I ride a 1996 XR600 and my son rides my old Suzuki TS185. While it runs good and strong the suspension in particular is not up to modern standards.

I'd like to upgrade his bike to something with a decent suspension for aggressive trail riding, dependable, parts available, and forgiving handling.

I haven't ridden a lot of other bikes to know myself, but I'd like comments on what used bikes around 250cc are good handling and reliable. I was thinking an XR250 might be a good candidate based on my XR600 experience, but I'm open to others so that I might be able to find a reasonable deal on something. The XR600 is a bit too much power, and somewhat lighter would be better for him at this point.

I was looking at a 2003 KTM 250SX that I can get for $1000, but the reviews I read don't consider it to have forgiving handling characteristics. Also it may still be a bit too much power (50HP!?) for the riders experience level. I'd like a reasonable amount of power with a broad power range. (like my XR600, only somewhat less)

What bikes do you recommend I start looking for? Is my assumption an XR250 is a good candidate correct? What years to watch for?

Got any good candidates in the PNW area?

Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:51 PM   #2
sonic reducer
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xr250 would be perfect. there are 2 main versions, pre 1995 and post 1995(IIRC). the post version has better suspension and is a dry sump motor, earlier is wet sump. with proper maintenance they are one of the most, if not the, most reliable bike of its kind. pretty easy to start, no radiators to smash, easy power, but plenty of power for a lighter rider.
honorable mentions would be kaw KDX200, KTM 200 exc, possibly a 250F of some kind(more expensive to run)
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:05 PM   #3
Navin
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The 03 250SX was a wicked fast bike, but they can be toned down a lot. I'd be looking at KTM 200EXC/SX/XC or even 125s.

The older 250 2t MX bikes are more common/less expensive and with a big flywheel weight are right there in trail-ability for a fast paced rider/racer. Very cheap and parts/mods are easy to find. They are the big choice of budget scrambles racers. Look at 1996ish and up.

KDX200/220, a bit heavier, very manageable and tractable/gentle power.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:11 PM   #4
Jimmy the Heater
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Yup, XR250 and 400 are very good bikes, also the previously mentioned KDX200, Suzuki DRZ250 (somewhat rare), DRZ400, Yamaha TTR250, Honda CRF 230, Yamaha TTR230.

Honestly its pretty hard to find a bad 250-ish play bike that was made after 95 or so.

What area of the PNW are you in? That covers a lot of ground between WA OR and ID.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:18 PM   #5
Navin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbur971 View Post
Hi,

I'd like to upgrade his bike to something with a decent suspension for aggressive trail riding, dependable, parts available, and forgiving handling.

Thanks!
I think the OP might need to define "aggressive" trail riding. To me that is hare scrambles riding, going as fast as you can and pushing the limits. If it means plonking thru difficult terrain at a walking pace it is something totally different.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:52 PM   #6
wlackey1
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If he's wanting to compete I'd go with 125-2stroke or the 250-4stroke impartial to Honda/Yamaha but 2stroke would be a lot cheaper to operate
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:51 PM   #7
dbur971 OP
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Originally Posted by Jimmy the Heater View Post

What area of the PNW are you in? That covers a lot of ground between WA OR and ID.
40mi S of Portland, McMinnville.
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:52 PM   #8
dbur971 OP
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Originally Posted by wlackey1 View Post
If he's wanting to compete I'd go with 125-2stroke or the 250-4stroke impartial to Honda/Yamaha but 2stroke would be a lot cheaper to operate
Do you just mean this from a top end rebuild point of view or something else?
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:59 PM   #9
dbur971 OP
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Originally Posted by Navin View Post
I think the OP might need to define "aggressive" trail riding. To me that is hare scrambles riding, going as fast as you can and pushing the limits. If it means plonking thru difficult terrain at a walking pace it is something totally different.
He's ~210 lbs, plenty strong, but not a lot of riding experience yet. He's beyond the 185 after only a hand full of rides this summer, and needs something he can continue to grow into without being overwhelmed. Around here we mostly ride fairly fast logging roads with gravel and rocks, as well as tight trails with ruts, roots, rocks requiring some relatively low speed maneuverability. Our closest decent riding place is Upper Nestucca OHV Area/Grassy Flats, etc.

No plans for competitive riding at this point.
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Old 09-30-2014, 07:47 AM   #10
Navin
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I'd advise a start on a KDX200 and then a MX or racey 125/150 for a season and then the 250 2t MX bikes or whatever he tries and likes would be my plan written in pencil.

After he gets his sea legs, look for him to try friends bikes and get a feel for what they do. Some big guys like the 125, rev the knockers off it and shift 5 times between corners, others like mellow 250 thumpers like the XR, and then there is the 250f and 450f and 250 2t MX bikes.

Not much better to start on than the KdX. If he starts leaning towards jumping and hauling ass, mod the suspension or sell it and move on/up.
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Old Yesterday, 11:20 AM   #11
wlackey1
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Originally Posted by dbur971 View Post
Do you just mean this from a top end rebuild point of view or something else?
Yea top end rebuild on 2stroke a few hundred $ with buying new jug a 4stroke is $1k all day but as you know the "toned down" 4strokes like xr, ttr, dr, wr, etc. run forever no issues but your race versions crf, yzf do not hold up so well
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Old Yesterday, 11:25 AM   #12
wlackey1
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Also your race style 4strokes are horrible for tight trails if you need or try to lug them around. Had a yz450f an geared it lower with flywheel weight would stall out continuously trying to squeeze through tight trails. Their made to run wide open need room for them to be happy
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