Best beginner bike for the PNW?

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by nw-outlaw, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. nw-outlaw

    nw-outlaw n00b

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    I have been a long time lurker on this site drooling over your guys ride reports and pictures, and now im itching to get a bike! I have rode a dirt bike a few times but am a complete noob, need to get my endorsement too....So my question is, what are some used bikes i should look at? Im not really looking for a long distance bike (yet), something that i can ride the forest roads around here with and explore areas like Greenwater, ashford-skate creek road, packwood etc. I am 5' 11" and 240 pounds, but dropping! Thanks for the info.
    #1
  2. Scott_PDX

    Scott_PDX Leisure Engineer

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    WR250R, DRZ400, DR650, XR650 or KLR650 would be where I'd be looking personally. If not doing longer distance, or having to ride far to the trails, then I'd skip the 650's. Or if you really want to play it safe at first, look at the smaller bikes still like an XT225 or KLX250.
    #2
  3. redbastard

    redbastard Long timer

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    Light and simple will make your life easier, and don't plan to keep it forever. Plan on somthing you won't mind tipping over a few times. You can buy your dream bike after you've honed your skills a bit. Any of the 650's make good first bikes, and lots of experianced riders come back to them for there ballance of torque, weight and comfort. The BMW F650's have an ABS brake option that;s not bad for a novice on the pavment. Make sure to turn it off when the pavment ends though :)

    Other choises, Honda NX650, MZ 650, Honda Transalp, Aprilia Pegasso, The KLR 650 might be the cheapest and most common bike to find thuogh.
    #3
  4. Dragon Rider

    Dragon Rider Thought is free--WS

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    I've been pleasantly surprised by the supersherpa. (kl250). It is not fast, but it will get you there. Tank is smallish, (about 130-140 miles)

    I like the comfy seat, and low seat hight.

    what is your budget?

    I know someone who will be getting rid of their klr250 for maybe $1,500.

    It needs the carb jetting sorted out, hard to start 1st thing, but runs well after that, and the shops hes taken it to haven't sorted it. If I was getting it, I'd just throw a new carb, new intake boot, new vacuum lines on it and be done.
    #4
  5. Rick

    Rick Been here awhile

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    I agree with others, get a 250. I had a KLR 650 for a few months and while it was great on the road, the weight of it made me really uncomfortable off road. I sold it and got an XT250 and couldn't be happier. I'd buy one used because after a few months you may find you want something with a bit more power. If I was to do it all over again, I think I would have went for a WR250R and just lowered it a bit a first.
    #5
  6. pHelix

    pHelix Eternal n00b

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    My first bike was a KLR650. In hindsight, I would have been better off with something a bit smaller and lighter. I really like my DRZ400. It's light, nimble, very forgiving, and yet has plenty of power. I'm 5-11 and 225, and it's a great fit for me.

    Take the class, get the endorsement, and THEN start shopping. :D
    #6
  7. Sedro Tom

    Sedro Tom No hurry, no worry

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    The KLX 250S. You can learn on it, and ride it forever. I down sized from a KLR 650 to the
    KLX. It is easier to maneuver and to pick up which you will be doing :lol3. Seriously I plan
    on riding mine for a long time, possible up grading with a 351 kit. I can ride the 250 down
    the highway at 60, with a 13 T counter sprocket, with no problems. The small bike works well
    for my needs, I'm not entering any races and ride with the larger bikes now. The KLX 250S
    :clap.
    #7
  8. mvzeke

    mvzeke Adventurer

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    I bought a xr650l this winter after not being on a bike for more than 20 years. It has been great, its good on the road great on 2tack and ok on trails. After riding for 4 or 5 months I find I am not riding like I expected. I am liking the tight trails of walker valley better than FS roads. The xr is really too big and heavy for tight trails but it is at its best on the FS roads. The advice above is good. Get something you can sell in 6 months after you find out what you really like. If you thnk at all you are going to like tight trails get a 250 with a 6 speed, you will be able to go anywhere you want. If you really want to explore mostly 2track and gravel get a 650 of some kind, they are bulletproof and easy to resell. or you could keep it if it is inexpensive enough and get a second bike.
    #8
  9. iJabberwocky

    iJabberwocky Been here awhile

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    +1
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  10. MillCreek

    MillCreek ADV Risk Manager

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    A Yamaha XT225/250 would be an excellent first choice. I recently traded in my DR650 and although it was fine for the FS roads and jeep roads, it was a handful and a half in tight terrain due to the size and weight. The fact that I am now in my early 50's, heal slower, usually ride alone in the back country and have to be able to treat and evacuate myself also played a role. I use my mountain bikes to ride the technical stuff now. But I have had a number of small-displacement enduros, and I think for trail riding, the 250 cc or so dual sport is the sweet spot: small and light enough for the trails, and you can ride it to the trailhead if you stay off the freeway.
    #10
  11. T.Low

    T.Low Been here awhile

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    +3. Add CRF 230 to the list.

    The smaller and lighter, the better for starting out. Shop around and buy used so it has already depreciated and if/when you won't lose as much $.

    And get on "Ideal Protein": At 5'11", I went from 240 lbs to 195 lbs in 9 weeks and life is sooo much better.
    #11
  12. JoshBMW

    JoshBMW Been here awhile

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    Tw200.
    #12
  13. nw-outlaw

    nw-outlaw n00b

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    I am intrigued by the drz400 and the dr650....The price and weight seem to be about the same though, which would serve a large beginner like myself better? Also, would the klx 250 be too small for my 240 pounds?:ear
    #13
  14. taranaki

    taranaki statale

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    I went from a KLR to a KLX250S. Much more fun for me (175 lbs) cuz I like to ride in the woods. The DRZ has more grunt but one less gear and the DR is on the heavy side. The KLX has good legs but is sprung and dampened for the sub-200 lb crowd.
    #14
  15. nw scout

    nw scout Been here awhile

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    DRZ 400 :clap
    Or a plated XR400 if you can find one.

    I would think at your size any dual sport 250 would be pretty boring (for anything other than just trails) after a few rides and you would want to move up soon.
    #15
  16. iJabberwocky

    iJabberwocky Been here awhile

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    Everyone is right on with these suggestions. I also have a KLX250s and love it for the trails and dirt roads I ride on. Being 240 lbs and "dropping" I don't think it would have enough go juice for you. I am 5'11" and weigh 170 lbs and it does fine for me but would not much more weight on it.
    #16
  17. turnsleft

    turnsleft Long timer

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    A stock KLX 250s is pert tame, WR 250R isn't any lighter than a 400 DRZ. I would think that you would be better off on the DRZ. Drop the counter shaft sprocket down a tooth on the KLX and two on the DRZ. There are some nice Suz 350 DRs on CL every so often, air cooled and a button.

    imho
    #17
  18. Idarider

    Idarider R1200GS

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    I have an R1200GS that I love ( 50 mpg and 100hp) and a DR350 that is a great bike and I would say to get a 250 and set it up as Fisherman has set up his ( search for Fisherman or FP250 ( FishyPants250:D) ).
    The six speed and fuel injection with the shorter, wider tires he put on makes it extremely versatile.
    I never thought I would be just barely keeping up with a 250 cc single cylinder bike at 95 mph on pavement, while riding my 1200.

    For used bikes the DR350 with the six speed is a good choice and anything with a five speed means you have to settle for high end or low end. THat would be the heaviest bike I would buy to start out.
    If it won't do 60 mph for extended times and still do trails, don't buy it, it is a pig, and here are lots of pigs out there.
    #18
  19. nw-outlaw

    nw-outlaw n00b

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    In the research I have done it seems the general opinion is the drz 400 is good offroad but not great on the highway, and the dr650 is good on the highway but not great offroad. I dont see myself doing any crazy singletrack/technical stuff for a while, will the 650 be fine for just exploring logging roads and getting me where my truck cant? Also, i see the 650 weighs about 360 pounds...if i tip it over can i get that right side up by myself? Im not a weakling, but I dont look like shwarzenegger either.:rofl
    #19
  20. Crash.Gordon

    Crash.Gordon Been here awhile

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    Go with the DRZ400e hopefully you could find a plated dirt model (the 400s is the street model) I could not be happier. The E model has a better carb, is lighter and generally better on single track. I only started riding DS last August and this bike is great. it is well mannered on the trails, light enough to toss around but will have all the power you want. maybe some springs and revalving of the forks for your size weight and you'd be stoked. you will not out grow it and have to just buy a new one in a few months (happened to me I bought a DR200 and out grew it in less than a month)
    Don't worry about it being a 5 speed, I put on a smaller rear sprocket (from 47 to 44) and I was able to go 80mph if I wanted. I geared it back up for the trails again but I can still go 60 all day long (faster if you need but I don't like revving that high).

    Perfect 1st bike, won't have to replace it. Later you may just score a road/touring bike for long pavement FS road en-devours.

    Cheers-
    #20