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Old 07-16-2012, 06:21 AM   #1
Bud Tugly OP
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The ideal deep woods play bike

I live in the deep Michigan woods and would like to discuss the ideal play bike for these conditions, which are similar for many others in the northern Midwest, the north-east, much of eastern Canada, and the Appalachian area. The off-road riding offers a wealth of logging roads, power lines, twisty gravel back roads, and pure single track trails. There are lots of hills, mud,, sand, and fallen logs to contend with but relatively few wide open areas where you can wind a big powerful bike out to its potential.

First of all, light weight and great handling are going to trump raw power. A heavy and powerful bike is just too much of a handful under these conditions and you'll miss out on some of the most interesting trails, where you may have to lift over fallen logs or traverse deep muddy bogs to be able to get through. Even on the gravel sections speeds much more than 45 mph aren't going to be sustained for very long. While there are definitely hills, most of them are puny compared to the big mountains out west. So what's the ideal play bike for these conditions?

In my experience I'd put an absolute upper limit of 300 lbs. (including gear) for the bike and even less would be better. Secondly, any bike putting out 15-30 hp with good ground clearance will be adequate for the terrain and more than that just cause you to dig big ruts in the softer going.

IMO a 2 stroke in the 125-250 cc fits the criteria just about perfectly. A few 4 strokes come close as well but their extra weight makes most of them marginal at best. Once upon a time the big 4 Japanese brands plus other companies like Bultaco, Ossa, Montesa, Penton, Hodaka, and others marketed many street legal 2 stroke models in this category but most have disappeared. If you can get your hands on one of these old gems you might just have the perfect deep woods play bike.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:57 AM   #2
Biebs
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Wicked Kdx200

KDX200 or 220 that's all you need to know!!!!!
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:33 AM   #3
Bud Tugly OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biebs View Post
KDX200 or 220 that's all you need to know!!!!!
Perfect fit except street legal would be nice for connecting trails.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:03 AM   #4
Unstable Rider
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The WR250 R yammie if you have lots of money, or the 250 Kawi if you want cheaper, or the little Yammie TW200 looks like fun. Or something in the 250 family from Suzuki as well.

I think 250 the recipe. The 400cc and 650cc family starts to get heavy, bulky, and spendy. Sure, there are exceptions, I just dont think the kind of boonie riding you are talking about requires lots of CC's. I have the same quest as a second bike. My KLR too piggish for some terrain.

Just the three that pop into my distorted mind. A KTM or Husky certainly great choices too, but... $$$

it's largely "ride what ya got".... but constantly picking up a bigger bike gets old..
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:04 AM   #5
Bud Tugly OP
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Back in my early days of riding I had a 175cc Bultaco Campera and a 125cc Kawasaki KS 125. Both were terrific bikes for the deep woods. They barely weighed 200 ;bs so were easy to pick up and manuever plus had enough power to do the job, although their suspension was primitive by today's standard.

. There are some small 4 strokes on the market these days in the 250cc and under range will work but most of them are pushing 300 lbs without any gear on them. I miss the small street legal 2 strokes.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:12 PM   #6
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I think you're talking about my 1974 OSSA Explorer 250. It's the trials bike (I also have an MAR 250, made 2 months before the Explorer), but with a bigger fuel tank and a more substantial seat. Headlight, tail/brakelight, and speedometer down on the front fork leg.

For really gnarly deep woods, you'd probably want one of the 90/100 Jappers such as the little Kawasaki 100 - you can carry these out of trouble, but they take you forever to get to the woods. My Explorer will do +/-130kph flat out - uncomfortably and scarily, but it'll do it.
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:04 PM   #7
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I'm a huge fan of DR350s. For anything. Maybe a little heavier than you're looking for, but definitely unkillable.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:28 PM   #8
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KTM 300 EXC , they can be plated here
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:19 PM   #9
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:12 AM   #10
Ever Onward
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Go ride a 200 EXC, you will see the light !

The 300 and 380 are overkill for deep woods. The 200 has enough grunt for sand yet is very light and nimble for the tight stuff. You see them titled and plated on a regular basis.


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Old 07-17-2012, 12:39 PM   #11
PJay
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I guess, since we're in "Old's Cool", how old has it gotta be before it's cool enough for the OP?
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:38 AM   #12
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:38 AM   #13
stainlesscycle
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lots of choices with your restrictions. just about any trials bike, it200, it175 (81-83), kdx, pe175, etc. i'm assuming a reed motor would be much more efficient for your use than a piston port..you didn't really specify an era, but if it's in old's cool, i would assume pre-1985...
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:33 AM   #14
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I know off topic...but....

BBR CR80 aluminum frame with worked over XR200 in it..owner says 183lbs full of fluids


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Old 07-19-2012, 06:28 AM   #15
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Cool2

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