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Old 07-23-2014, 05:52 AM   #1
zimm OP
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Location: Annandale, VA
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What bike to follow kids learning on 50's and for dad's play time?

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): What would be the best bike for escorting my kid or kids learning to ride on a little Z50 and the other on his electric quad? Something comfy, can idle along the trails, and also be fun to ride solo on National Forest ORV trails.

Background story:

3 years ago I was relocated from Hawaii back to DC (uggg) because I'm in the Navy. When I left I had elevated my Hawaiian enduro skills (a.k.a. hiking with dirtbikes) to my highest level of riding ever. I had a KTM XC-W(e) 300 2 stroke fully pimped out with rekluse auto clutch, left hand rear brake setup, etc. It was AWESOME for the rough stuff.

Fast foward to now. I have 2 boys ages 2 and 4. My brother just scored an '83 Honda Z50R to restore and give to the kids this Christmas. So now I'm planning for next spring (takes a while to save up the money for new hobbies). It looks like I can trek out to western Virginia where the GW and Jefferson National Forest areas have ORV parks and camping. I'd love to teach them how to ride and follow them around on easy trails.

What would be the best bike for the job? I always thought the KTM 350EXC would be my next bike, but now I"m thinking about a CRF230 or TTR250, something that can just putt around. I don't catch air and don't race or harescramble, but I'd like something that can soak up the bumps and enjoy challenging trails on.

Ideas?
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zimm screwed with this post 07-23-2014 at 06:08 AM
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:58 AM   #2
jdrice
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My son has a ttr 50. When I had a 450 xcw I rode with him and didn't like it at all. But now I'm riding a 300 xcw and its much more fun to ride with its way lighter and doesn't get hot at slow speeds. I would say a 200 ktm would be really good as well.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:10 AM   #3
zimm OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrice View Post
My son has a ttr 50. When I had a 450 xcw I rode with him and didn't like it at all. But now I'm riding a 300 xcw and its much more fun to ride with its way lighter and doesn't get hot at slow speeds. I would say a 200 ktm would be really good as well.
I hear you on the 450. My brother had a 200XC-W (2 stroke) and it was harder to ride than my 300, it was a revver. I guess I need more tractor like that won't overheat and have a nice low 1st gear. That's why I'm thinking about air cooled thumpers like the CRF230 or TTR something. I am worried I'll hate the cheapo suspension, but again, I'm not racing or jumping.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:39 AM   #4
shakeybone
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When my daughter was on a xr50 I bought a Suzuki DRZ 125 L that I thought was great. Cheap to buy, Light, simple air cooled, sipped fuel, 1 kick starting after rejetting the carb. Would hall my 170lb 5'10" butt around with out a problem.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:42 AM   #5
Country Doc
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I'm following my son on a Z50 right now, using an old DR350. I would never want to follow him on my 450EXC.

Even the DR is too big, heavy, and awkward for the speeds you can ride on a Z50.

I'm thinking of buying a trials bike to ride with him for the next few years - that way I could work on slow speed/balance/etc and not worry about wrestling a bike around that is awkward, geared wrong, and wants to overheat.

Otherwise a CRF150/CRF230 or something similar would probably be the ticket as well - I'm just thinking a trials bike would allow me to develop skills at the same time rather than just putting around.

dc
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:09 AM   #6
zimm OP
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I'm thinking TTR/DRZ/CRF... I shiver imagining a hot rod 350/450 thumper puking coolant while I'm slipping the clutch to just follow the kids.

Trials bike would be cool, but you can't really sit down on it. Something to think about though- you can always try and bunny hop the picnic table at camp.
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:11 AM   #7
THB
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I bought an old (1988) XR600R when my kids were first learning to ride. It worked great, especially when I stalled it and it took me 20 minutes to get it started again. Gave me a little bit of a "sprint" ride to catch up to them!

Good times ahead. Take lots of pic's, videos. Mine are 19 and 16 now...time flies.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:22 AM   #8
rj5942
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Easy day shipmate! Ex nuke EM here. I made up a set of training wheels for a crf50 for my 3 year old and Im in the same situation as you. Im riding a DR650 with a 14 tooth front sprocket and I am always slipping the clutch or I ride ahead and wait till my boy catches up Riding ahead is fine in the yard at camp but I wouldnt want to do that on a trail for sure. I had a crf230 last year that would be great for putting around with the kids and even some light trail riding but you'll soon find out its limitations if you push it harder than that....and there isnt much aftermarket options for them either.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:43 AM   #9
dom1104
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WR250 works for me. Slow is what it do.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:11 AM   #10
Foot dragger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dom1104 View Post
WR250 works for me. Slow is what it do.
And really,is there anything a WRR is not perfect for?

At 6' tall I can ride an XR100 just fine,seems like it could be used to follow a kid around and then when the kid grows it could be his next ride.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:12 AM   #11
dom1104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foot dragger View Post
And really,is there anything a WRR is not perfect for?

At 6' tall I can ride an XR100 just fine,seems like it could be used to follow a kid around and then when the kid grows it could be his next ride.
Oh I really like that idea.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:19 AM   #12
LittleRedToyota
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i can crawl around on my 450xc-w all day without puking coolant. fan comes on a lot, but it never boils over. (90* heat, first gear, slipping the clutch single track all day long--and days of just pretending it's a trials bike--13/52 gearing. doesn't boil at all.)

if you guys are having issues with your 450 excs boiling over and you have a working fan, it very possibly might indicate something is wrong. i did have boil over problems twice. once when my radiator cap went bad and once when i had a tiny leak from the T connector in the frame between the two radiators. in both cases, i would only lose enough coolant throughout the day to end up just below the fins. but, the pressure loss was enough to make it boil over and puke a little bit of coolant. (when the system is working properly, the coolant level will stay several millimeters above the fins.)

just something to check on.

i think it would be a fine bike to putt around following a kid on a 50 on (though maybe the issue is you guys still have stock EXC gearing? that might make a difference in how it handles crawling speeds.) but, so would most bikes, i would think. if i were the OP, i'd focus more on getting a bike i want for "dad's playtime" (i.e., the national forest ORV trails--which bike that is depends on the nature of those trails) and then just use whatever bike i decided would be best for that for following the kid around (since just about anything would work for that).
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:23 AM   #13
LittleRedToyota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimm View Post
What would be the best bike for the job? I always thought the KTM 350EXC would be my next bike, but now I"m thinking about a CRF230 or TTR250, something that can just putt around. I don't catch air and don't race or harescramble, but I'd like something that can soak up the bumps and enjoy challenging trails on.

Ideas?
you can putt around on a 350exc. no reason at all that you cannot use that bike to follow your kid around. (if it comes geared ridiculously high like the 450exc, drop a tooth on the front sprocket and go up a couple teeth on the rear sprocket.)

and it will be so much better than the CRF230 or TTR250 on challenging trails that there are not really even words to describe the difference. seriously. different universes.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:42 AM   #14
Leget
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I would highly recommend the CRF230 or even the CRF150F.
Not sure how big you are, I'm somewhere around 5'9" and I had an absolute blast on my sons 150F.
Excellent trail bike, low maintenance, easy and fun to ride.

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Old 07-23-2014, 10:10 AM   #15
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Here is something that helped my son learn to ride....

My sons first bike came with training wheels, we didn't use them though.
My son started riding when he was around 3 years old..... well, I call it riding.
What we actually did was, we would both ride his Z50. he would sit on the front and I would sit behind him.
He would have his hands on the grips and his feet on the pegs, he would "help" me with the throttle and the brakes.
In order to have a place for my feet I got a pair of bicycle pegs that attach to the axle and drilled and tapped them to fit the lower shock mount on the Z50.

We would ride around like that all the time for months, he was almost 5 before he went solo.
I know this really helped him when it was time for his first solo ride, because he already knew what to do.

After spending so much time riding together he became familiar with the controls (throttle and brake).
As time went on I let him operate the throttle and brakes for the most part on his own (while I was still on the bike).
Eventually, one day we were riding "two-up" on the Z50 in the backyard, he swings around a corner and i basically stepped off the motorcycle.
He continued through the yard and made the turn to come back toward where i was and saw me standing there...it caught him by surprise but was very excited that he was finally riding solo.

We still have his little Z50...hopefully someday my grandchildren will ride it too.

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Leget screwed with this post 07-23-2014 at 10:29 AM
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