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Old 03-20-2014, 10:48 AM   #1
Robin Masters OP
Joined: Sep 2011
Oddometer: 17
A Bike to Ride with a Young Rider

Hello all, long-time occasional lurker here that never posts. (I like to live vicariously through metaljockey's African ride reports.)

After a 20 year hiatus from riding dirt bikes, I now have a 5 year old son who I want to introduce to riding. He is a stud on his bicycle and is very interested in dirt bikes, and I plan to get him a CRF50 within the next year.

I spent a lot of time on a Suzuki 125 during my younger days, but I haven't ridden in many years. I'm looking for a bike that I can use to ride with him, probably mostly on local two-track trails that are common in SE Tennessee where we live.

I'm a big guy, 6'0" & 245 lbs. Am I way too big for a CRF230F? I love the idea of a TW200, am I too big for that bike? For some reason I think me on a TW200 would be well-matched to a brand new rider on a CRF50. Is this sound or crazy?

I've read a lot about XR400 and DR350, and I've been searching craigslist for those but I haven't had any luck thus far. Are these bikes too big to easily ride with my son?

Any ideas about bikes that I should consider or bikes that I should steer clear of is really appreciated. At this point, going fast and big jumps are not my priority as much as just riding trails with my son. Since the CRF50 will be 4 stroke I've been generally thinking that I'd get a 4 stroke also to keep things simple. Thanks for any advice offered.

Robin Masters screwed with this post 03-20-2014 at 10:51 AM Reason: To say thanks.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:37 AM   #2
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Sounds like you fit right into what the tw was made for.
'13 KTM 690 Enduro R w/ full akrapovic exhaust, Evo1 lid, uni filter, Renazco seat, hard parts windshield and footpad, scotts damper with BRP submount, hammerhead shifter, flatlands skidplate, lost dog centerstand, Touratech engine guards, r&g front and rear axle and exhaust sliders, piaa 1100's, Doubletake mirrors, G2cam system,
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:03 PM   #3
aaat doc
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i enjoy riding my wife's crf230f. great trail bike with electric start. it would be the first thing i looked for if i wanted a general purpose easy maintenance reliable casual riding trail bike.
the other bikes mentioned would also work well....
perhaps even the xt250 or even better a klx250 if priced right.

aaat doc screwed with this post 03-20-2014 at 12:10 PM
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Old 03-20-2014, 02:27 PM   #4
Joined: May 2011
Location: Rancho Cucamonger, CA
Oddometer: 1,855
riding with the little ones is a different set of "needs", but it's alot of fun to watch them grow & helping them improve. get ready to buy a new bike, gear & boots every 2 seasons! (every 2 seasons if you're lucky..) buy used gear because as quickly as they grow out of it, it never really gets "used" and you'll just be passing it on to the next kid who needs it.

2Ts, as much fun as they are just dont like riding slow and what you need is a slow ride that doesn't run hot. at least until your boy is 9-10yrs old & riding an 85/100 size bike. you also want a bike with a kickstand so you can quickly get off it and pick up the boy when he crashes and deal with all the frequent re-starting when he stalls/crashes/floods the bike and you've gotta kick it.

that being said, both my sons grew up riding 2 strokes and they love it. PW50/PW80/KX65/YZ80/KX100/KX250 << those have been the bikes so far. need a 125 for my youngest (15yrs) soon...

i dunno how comfortable you'd be on a TW200, they're small and you're big. and it's really hard to ride a bike well that is too small for you. consider a TTR225/250 or maybe a KTM 350/500 if you want something that you'll never out grow.

plan to carry some first aid supplies and a camelback for water supply, you have to keep yourself upright so you can deal with all the little one's crashing. it happens alot. and get a GoPro so you can record his progress over the years, take pics too. sometimes it's easy to forget the moment when you're so worried about him surviving the day.

enjoy it man, soon he'll be grown and you wont be able to keep up!
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:34 PM   #5
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A friend of mine bought a KLX250S. He's about your size at 6'1" and 230 lbs. He geared it down and just plonks around up in Michigan on the state's trail system - he loves it.

You could do the same thing, buy a squirt bike for the kid and at some point pump your bike up with a 350 kit as the kid gets bigger and faster. Just understand that at some point he'll be whipping your butt on a regular basis regardless of what you ride or how much ibuprofen you swallow.

You're doing the right thing. I had the same experience teaching my kids to downhill ski - unforgettable.
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:05 PM   #6
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Southern New Jersey
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I am 6 foot and 200 pounds, and the tw 200 was fine, a better bike for going slow you could not ask for.
The wide tires make it easy to go slow in sand and mud, yet if its not too rough, you can get it up to 50 or 60 mph.

There are better bikes for going fast, or faster, but nothing with 2 wheels is as good at going slow in rough nasty stuff as a TW.

Any of the usual suspects that turn up used are great, xt225, xt250, crf230 or 250, Super Sherpa, dr350.

I picked up a tw200 with under 500 miles on it for $900.00 last year and put about 800 miles on it, it was fun and would go through anything.
Tough bike, strong rims, spokes, etc.

I sold it for a profit and got a wreck of an xt200 (same motor as the tw) for $500.00 that is a hoot.
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:55 PM   #7
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: So. Oregon
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I have a daughter with a CRF110 (similar in size to the old CRF70) and my son rides a KLX110L. I have a DR650. When kids are learning, you might be better served with a bicycle. No joke. There are so many times you'll be getting on and off your bike to help your son that you'll want something slow and easy to manuever and easy to get on and off. However, once they get the hang of it you'll be pretty excited to ride with.

In that case, I'm not sure the bike matters so much. You'll be in first gear no matter what bike you're riding compared to his second or third gear. If you want to ride long term, think about what he'll be riding after the 50 and pick a bike that still likes to lug along in the first two or three gears because even a 110L or something similar will be relatively slow.

For me, I'm glad I have the DR650. It gives me the opportunity to ride to and from work, ride with a buddy any time and then when the kids want to ride I can ride with them. A bike more specific to riding solely with my kids would limit me the other 80% of the time I'm riding. The DR650 likes to play in the low end of the RPM range and is torquey, so riding slow is easy. Then, when I want to ride without the kids it's a blast to ride faster.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:13 AM   #8
Robin Masters OP
Joined: Sep 2011
Oddometer: 17

Thanks to you all for the insight. I'll spend some time checking out the bikes mentioned. I'm not familiar with the TTR225/TTR250 but I'm hoping to get around to some shops and sit on some of these bikes.

I keep coming back to the TW200 as a bike that could be kept around the stable for a long time as a camp bike and for teaching my 2nd son how to ride (I'm hoping he can inherit the CRF50 that I'm about to buy for 1st son), etc. Plus the low seat height should make it friendly for frequent stops helping my son get his bike picked up, re-started, etc.

I like what I've read about the CRF230F, but I read that the maximum rider weight for that bike is 220 lbs - so I'm about 25 lbs too heavy for that bike.

Thanks again for the help.
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