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Old 11-13-2012, 11:38 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bridude View Post
Hi guys, and gals,

I am brand new here. I am 49 yrs old and a buddy of mine just got a Suzuki dual sport to ride back and forth to work and play on the trails on the weekend. Now, he wants me to get one to trail ride together.

Since it's been so long since I've ridden and now I am also a little gun shy about having a really powerful bike, I am looking at smaller used bikes to get started with. I have found a 2008 CRF230L with less than 1000 miles for $2500, a 2001 Yamaha T225 with 5200 miles for $1600 and a 2003 Suzuki DRZ400s with 13000 miles for $1750

I haven't seen the XT225 or the DRZ in person yet, but the owners say they are in good shape and run great.

Also, I am 6'3" and 230 lbs.

What bike do you guys recommend for an OLD gun shy dude ???

If you're in decent shape (decent strength, coordination, and reflexes), a DR-Z400S probably isn't going to be much trouble on easy-to-moderate trails for somebody your size if you're used to 500cc+ multi-cylinder streetbikes in your past. Thumpers don't usually make the same kind of power or weigh nearly as much. Just dial in the suspension for you, and put on appropriate tires. I'm 5'8"/200lb/30"inseam/40yo, and my first dirtybike was a DR650SE that's almost 400lb. I ride it in bottomless sugarsand and even mud. A lighter bike is easier to pick up, but I can heft the big DR by myself repeatedly, without issue. Altitude might make that a bit different though.

As far as the power, just be careful with giving it the gas until you get the hang of the powerband and the traction. The front ends come up a LOT easier on many dirtybikes than they do on most streetbikes, even if the thumpers typically have less power. The weight is typically biased further rearward on the dirtybikes.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:42 PM   #17
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You'd like riding mine

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Old 11-14-2012, 05:12 AM   #18
Baby steps...
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Another vote for the DRZ
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:28 AM   #19
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Another vote for the drz, even though I do not like tall water cooled bikes.
For someone your size and weight, it fits.
The KLX is also in the running, but down on power, the dr650 is a good bike, but too heavy for older guys in the dirt.
When you get past 50, bones tend to snap, not bend.

Owning a dual sport, you should learn how to work on it, not pay someone to check it over, which just involves looking at it, not doing anything to it.
The drz is a reliable well built bike, but dirt riding anything means you have to look after it.

The drz's biggest problem is the close ratio transmission, if its geared for the dirt, it tends to scream on the street, and if geared for the street, its too tall for the dirt.
But there is nothing else in the 350 to 500 cc range except an old dr350.
There are euro bikes, but they tend to need work more often and cost more.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:30 AM   #20
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Honda XR650L

2008 with 800 miles, $2900. on it for sale in the Flea Market, like new. At 6'3 you can handle it. Too good to pass up.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:09 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by RED CAT View Post
2008 with 800 miles, $2900. on it for sale in the Flea Market, like new. At 6'3 you can handle it. Too good to pass up.
Bingo! This may be your best best. Don't be intimidated by the '650'. Your size and weight are the key.

I sold my KLR 650 cause i'm 53 and I got tired of trying to move that bike on the trails. I picked up a KLX, which has made trail riding fun again. But, my son is 6'4" 210lb and he has a new xr650l which is size appropriate for him. Prior to him buying the 650 he rode my KLX a few times, and after a short while his knees were killing him. Way too cramped.

My klx in Capitol Reef NP, UT.

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Old 11-14-2012, 06:22 AM   #22
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You don't say where you are from or the type of trail riding you are talking about. If you are talking trails that are big enough to put a quad on, and they are not rocky or foll of roots, a 650 size bike shouldn't be an issue if you have some experience riding to begin with. The 650 size dual sports like the DR/XR/KLR don't have the snap or short twist throttles like the 450 size off road and mx bikes. They are a bit more sedate, and that's not a bad thing. If you do much "road" work, dirt roads, back road blacktop, you'll appreciate the bigger bike. On the flip side of that, if you are talking trails that aren't much wider than your handle bars, or they are full of baby head sized rocks, and it only takes a few miles to get to them, then I'd speculate that the DRZ would be a better option. If mostly what you are doing is trail crawling then maybe something in a 250 or 230 range would be ok, but those are going to feel really small under you.

I'm over 50 and ride an XR650L on anything from cow paths and rocky trails in the Colorado mountains to twisty back roads both dirt and paved. I'm 6'1" and about 195 and about a 36" inseam. The XR650L is tall which can be a unnerving in the tough trail sections. I think the DR650 is shorter. If your buddy has a DR650, take it for a ride and see what you think.

Don't bother with those young punks that think you are too feeble when you hit 50 to ride the dirt anymore
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:25 AM   #23
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I won't offer advice on specific bikes, but, as a 60-something fella that, a year ago, was in exactly the same boat you are now (I learned to ride in the dirt, like most folks did), don't over think it.

A buddy and I went out and found some ugly but perfectly operational KLR650s, rode the snot out of them all this spring and early summer, and then enjoyed the Trans-Wisconsin-Adventure-Trail in August . . . .

I don't care (much) if I EVER see pavement again ;-}

Buy a bike (that feels comefortable to you), and just enjoy the thing . . . . . . ..
"Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance. T.R.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:29 AM   #24
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Thanks for all the replies! I think I agree that the 225 and 230 are going to be too small/underpowered. I am going to look seriously at the DRZ400s. Only concern is the 13000 miles on a 2003. And not knowing how the engine was maintained. I will definitely learn to work on it....I was saying that I would be willing to spend $75 to let the local Suzuki dealer go through the bike before I buy it to make sure it checks out.

I am in NC and will be riding more trails than on the road. I will probably trailer the bike TO the trails as a matter of fact.

Do you guys see a concern with the mileage? What do I look for when looking at a bike of this age.mileage to make sure I don't get a clunker??

Thanks again for all the help!!
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:56 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Bridude View Post
Do you guys see a concern with the mileage? What do I look for when looking at a bike of this age.mileage to make sure I don't get a clunker??
When you buy it, make sure it wasn't warmed up first before you got there. Start it cold. It should start easily. Look at the oil to make sure its not a black mess. Not an indicator of anything really, but that might give you a heads up. A smart seller would change the oil before showing off the bike, but lots of guys are too lazy to do that. Listen for any weird knocking or clicking in the top end that's out of the ordinary. Some thumpers are a little noisy to begin with, so take that into consideration. Check to see that the chain hasn't chewed up the subframe and is tensioned properly. There should be no squeaks when you compress the rear suspension. If the bearings haven't been greased or have been neglected you could be looking at replacing all the bearings in the rear linkage/shock which isn't a fun job.

If you do buy a dog, it's not the end of the world. Single-cylinder motorcycles are pretty easy to fix.

Make sure there isn't a thousand dollars worth of back fees though.
1999 Suzuki DR350SE

mrchristian screwed with this post 11-14-2012 at 12:13 PM
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:11 PM   #26
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From your list I would go for the drz. A set of bar risers which also move the bars forward from the stock position will make the bike more comfortable when you ride standing up on the dirt. I wouldn't have an issue with 13k miles.

If you're going to be riding anything tight, gnarly or steep stick to 400, if you are looking at wide, fairly flat 2 track then a 650 can work well. They tend to pick up revs a little slower than a 400 which can make them seem a bit more forgiving. They are usually a bit heavier and slower steering, better on road but not great for serious off road.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:18 AM   #27
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Go with the DRZ. I got back into riding after 20 years and I am over 50. The bike is great and will do everything you need. For your size the DRZ is perfect.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:23 AM   #28
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Just another 2 cents worth of advice here from a recently un-retired rider! After sitting out since '04 I rejoined the riding world this summer. Can't believe I ever quit riding to begin with. BTW I bought a couple 200cc bikes and have not regretted it at all. No power to speak of compared to my old XT 500 but trail friendly and easy on fuel. I am 5'11" and 180lbs. Just depends on what you intend to do. Have fun.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:20 AM   #29
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I'll throw something out that can be a kind of "stair-stepped" process. Find a clean '06/'07 KLX250S. It's fine if it has a slip-on aftermarket muffler and such, but find one that's close to stock. Ride it for awhile and see where your preferences take you. If you find you don't get more interested in any rougher off road, you're probably fine with the bike where it is. Now, if you want more power, you can invest in a 351 kit. This will put you on a level with the DRZ400 but at a lower weight. The 351 kit has been around for awhile and proven very reliable...not a fragile, time bomb by any means. Now, let's say you do get more interested in some decent off road and want to mod the suspension. The 11" travel of the '06/'07 KLX is a great starting point, and when you do a Race Tech or Moto Pro revalve, you get some damping quality that comes close to some real competition bikes.

The KLX has been around long enough to have a huge aftermarket supply, and it's basically based on the off road only KLX300. What I like about the suggestion of the ability of stair-stepping the level of the bike, you can go as far as you want/need or leave it as is. And not that you can't do this with some other bikes, but the KLX might offer more aftermarket options due to time and availability. The DRZ is a great bike, but it's slightly heavier and even has a heavier feel for some reason. That is not an issue if you're not going to do any semi-serious off road. Yes, people ride it in some gnarly stuff, and I rode my KLR650's in places that would curl my hair now, but I'm talking more optimum off road performance. Because of the 351 kit, you can basically get the power of the DRZ while maintaining a better weight. My '06 KLX250S with a 300 cylinder, full Race Tech suspension, and TM36 pumper carb is highly capable in real off road conditions like rough singletrack and such, but it retains its bulletproof character when on the pavement and such.

Truthfully we have some good options out there for a capable DS bike...the DRZ, KLX, WRR, and now the Honda CRF250L. The Honda probably needs the most modding in the suspension department at a fairly high cost, but it's a solid bike and may be fine just as is depending on where your riding will develop. Again, the thing I like about any KLX250, but especially the '06/'07 models, is their ability to morph over time as you develop and if you develop in your riding preferences.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:40 AM   #30
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AT YOUR SIZE,, go with the 400.. the 250 class bikes will be to small for ya.. Go with something with a little more Power, you dont have to use it all, but in a couple of weeks you'll get you sea legs back, and wanting more and more power, which you wont get out of the 250 class bikes with you size..
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