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Old 12-22-2012, 07:34 PM   #1
dirtysouthjacket OP
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What small 250-400cc Bike to Get?

I struggled with where to place this post, so if it needs to be moved somewhere else. Someone do the magic incantation to put it in the right place.

So I'm looking at getting something a little smaller to play on. Specifically with the mindset to get into some Dual Sport races in the Southeast and see if its something I like. (I'm sure I will, but just nervous about injuries.) I've previously owned a KLR650 and am now on a F800GS. I had a 82 DR250 for a brief stint, but got rid of it before I got too crazy on it. Didn't think that there were enough parts around for it. Also been on my friends 93 DR350, but only on the street.

Right now, I'm mostly limited due to funds (aren't we all). I dropped a pretty penny on the F800GS and haven't had a lot of extra cash because of it. So I'm slowly saving up some money and promised myself I won't buy anything until I am able to pay cash without dipping into my monthly budget. I've got about a grand saved in my little piggie bank so far. I'm also 6' and 170lbs.

Ok, way too much backstory there, but just wanted to give my angle.

So my dilemma is... What bike to buy for the money. My constraints are between 250-450cc. Easy to work on (as in not something super rare to find parts for). I'm not too worried about the titling since I'm in SC. Lastly, don't think I can go over a 2k budget if I want to do any racing this year.

1. 90s DR250/350 - <$1000 for a good one with basic farkles, Can purchase now . This would give me ample time this winter and spring to do some trail riding in anticipation of doing the Long Cane DS in June. I would also be able to sort my safety gear situation out nicely,

2. 90s XR250R - - $1200-$1500, have to wait a few 2-3 more months of saving, I feel like this would be a better bike than the DR?? Not sure

3. Early 2000s KLX300 - $1200-$1500, again know very little about these bikes, would have to wait 2-3 more months of saving.

4. Early 2000s WR450R - I've seen some of these on craigslist for around 2k, I'd have to save up til late April, May and it would be a stretch. But this things seem awesome.

Of course there are also many other bikes in this range. There are also I'm sure bikes that are better than these (most are probably out of my price range). This just happens to be what I see for sale mostly. I guess maybe I am looking for some comparison from people that have ridden these... as well as experience with them in races. I'm not trying to ultra competitive first try, but want to make an informed decision. I know that perfect scenario would be me to jump on one of each, but doubt that is going to happen. Comments, suggestions, teasing... bring it on! And thanks in advance!
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:53 PM   #2
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I've also seen early 2000s XR400 in the $1500-2000 ranges.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:03 PM   #3
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Im in the same boat as you but since im in canada, I have to pay double for the same thing... im looking at 2000 and newer CR250s,KX250s-CR500, KX500- WR250f ,anything that does not have black plastic on it [bad sign] never cleaned air filters, trashed suspension bearings, etc..no luck so far and ive been looking for 2 solid months..I looked at a kx250 recently that was left outside for years and needed a total overhaul and they wanted 2k fer it!!oh,and try reading thumpertalk about different bikes [it gives me a headache]...I dont like two strokes much anymore but thats all thats in my price range...anyway,good luck- at least you'll get a better deal than me and will you post up pics so I can compare what I end up with as my winter project bike....

zokalr13 screwed with this post 12-22-2012 at 08:13 PM
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:56 PM   #4
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What do you mean by dual sport racing?
Enduro or hare scramble or something like the sand blast rally type racing?
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:32 AM   #5
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Enduro... I think. You can see I know a lot about this already. But its good cause you are forcing me to do more and more research.

Originally, I'm was thinking of the Long Cane Dual Sport Ride, which I thought was a race. It looks more and more like it is a ride instead of a race. Not that I won't do it, but it may not be what I was originally thinking.

http://www.longcanema.com/Flyers/LCM...-3rdAnnual.pdf

I've read a few forum posts on the difference between HS and Enduros. Sounds like Enduro might be the way to go for a beginner like me. HS seem a little more like "racing" and a lot of competition. I think as my superpowers get better I could try a HS and compare. Right now, just trying to have a blast and not have to lay out of work on disability my first race.

The Sandhills Rally looks interesting. My Grandmother also lives in Chesterfield and I just drove through the Sandhills visiting her last night. I checked their website but didn't get much information. I'm assuming this is a rally that has limited classes and its a bring whatever you want, first to finish thing?
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zokalr13 View Post
Im in the same boat as you but since im in canada, I have to pay double for the same thing... im looking at 2000 and newer CR250s,KX250s-CR500, KX500- WR250f ,anything that does not have black plastic on it [bad sign] never cleaned air filters, trashed suspension bearings, etc..no luck so far and ive been looking for 2 solid months..I looked at a kx250 recently that was left outside for years and needed a total overhaul and they wanted 2k fer it!!oh,and try reading thumpertalk about different bikes [it gives me a headache]...I dont like two strokes much anymore but thats all thats in my price range...anyway,good luck- at least you'll get a better deal than me and will you post up pics so I can compare what I end up with as my winter project bike....
Good luck to you too Zokalr12! Sorry to hear about the price up there. At least if you are going the project route, you will have a good knowledge of the bike inside and out come riding time!
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:22 AM   #7
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Street title, plate, almost 40 hp, barely breaks 200 pounds with turn signals and mirrors, about a million sold, maybe $500 for a total rebuild, one of the best trail bikes ever and mine was about $2000.


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Old 12-24-2012, 07:01 AM   #8
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I found this thread.

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=777357

It basically says the same thing. KTM 2 stroke or a Husky. The cheapest I've seen is around $1600 and none are around me. I need to find some local forums or race forums to start looking on. If I go this route, I'll have to wait til early spring or summer to buy.

The KDX200 is recommended for low cost. I've read it requires a little more suspension work. I've found one in great shape listed for $1300 that needs nothing.

So my dilemma is wait for a early 2000s KTM 200 in May or June, or get a KDX200 from an inmate now and start riding in a couple weeks. I could always trade up in the summer sometime.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grreatdog View Post
Street title, plate, almost 40 hp, barely breaks 200 pounds with turn signals and mirrors, about a million sold, maybe $500 for a total rebuild, one of the best trail bikes ever and mine was about $2000.

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Old 12-24-2012, 07:17 AM   #9
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Buy the KDX. It isn't as smoking fast as the KTM and the stock suspension is softer. But it is still a grin machine in the woods and probably a smarter choice for a plate.. My MXC is kind of hairy on the street when it opens the power valve.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:37 AM   #10
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I'm on the east coast of Canada, last spring I picked up a mint 2003 XR250R for $2500, still had the original tires on it, valves were in spec, air filter was clean and it started cold after 3-5 kicks. I wanted a cheap, reliable woods bike and the XR fit the bill, it's easy to ride and work on. I know the same bike in the US would have been under $2K. That being said there is a really nice overhauled 2002 CR250R that just popped up on Kijiji for $2800 that has my interest. Wouldn't take much to turn it into a woods bike.

Enduros are fun, I did one last June, the old guy beginner class was the last to go, so I wasn't worried about being passed, and it was the best 2hrs of fun I've had in a long time. The hare scrambles seem a little more intense. I've ridden the local HS course and its fun, but I don't have the skills to go at a race pace in the woods just yet.

Good luck in the search, a smaller dirt bike was the best purchase I've made since I was a kid.



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Old 12-24-2012, 07:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grreatdog View Post
Buy the KDX. It isn't as smoking fast as the KTM and the stock suspension is softer. But it is still a grin machine in the woods and probably a smarter choice for a plate.. My MXC is kind of hairy on the street when it opens the power valve.
I have to concur on the KDX. It may not have the "hit" that the KTM does, and is about 18 lbs heavier, but compared to a four-stroke, it's still outrageously snappy. It allows a lot of grin time and is plenty powerful for hare scrambles and enduros without the associated trouser-wetting. Compared to a KLR, it feels like a feather on the trails. Firming up the suspension can be done reasonably. I found heavier springs for both ends of mine for under $100 on Ebay. From the factory, the KDX is set up for about a 150 lb rider, which is not sufficient for many of us.

Good examples can be had for $1500 or less. There is still very strong aftermarket support.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:56 AM   #12
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Get the KDX and start having fun.

If after a year you think you need to move up, sell the KDX for what you paid.
If you plate it, call me 1st.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:45 AM   #13
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We had a 1993 KDX and a 2001 KDX. The later model was a most excellent motorcycle with much more advanced suspension and lots of off the bottom power. It was excellent in woods or rock gardens. Very friendly and forgiving. Same son rides a new KTM 200 now, which is lighter, more powerful and better suspended. But the KDX was comparable for learning.

Like others have posted, the KTM 200 is probably the best trail bike ever invented. But they are more expensive and can be hard to find in good condition.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:14 PM   #14
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This guy will help you get all you need out of your KDX: http://www.frpoffroad.com/
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:20 PM   #15
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Awesome, thanks so much everyone for the input. Hopefully the KDX owner gets back to me. He has a local person looking at it, so we'll see. But the KDX is definitely on my radar screen as a bike to get to start.

Novaboy, I found the two threads you started VERY informative in helping out with learning about enduro's and hare scrambles as well as good beginner bikes. I feel the same way you did when you started the thread of... "Ok, I want to do some races... what do I do first?"
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