First Bike, CRF250L VS. KLX250S

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by thumperbuddy, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. thumperbuddy

    thumperbuddy Outdoorsman?

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    Hello all,
    noob here needing some adivce from all y'all's wisdom. heres the situation: Im turning 16 in about 11 months, and my first purchase as a 16 year old will be my bike. My experience is around 8 years of multi-state 2-up'ing with Dad on His '82 Suzuki GS850L and his '02 BMW R1200C, and occasional dirt riding with friends.

    Basically, Ive narrowed my bike choice down to the Kawi KLX250S and Honda's CRF250L. I know I want a Dual Sport, and I can afford up to the price of the Kawi. If im able to come across a used, older DS, be it a Big Four or otherwise when the time comes to buy, Ill snatch it up. The choice between the Honda and the Kawi is assuming I dont find something used, for cheaper that I like more.

    Basically, I need opinions on which I should lean toward more for my first bike, as well as any other suggestions that can be thrown in. I need thoughts on size, power to weight, capabilities, reliability, and anything else. Please and thank you.
    I appreciate any input, Thanks!
    #1
  2. EastBoundAndDown

    EastBoundAndDown I ain't nobody, dork. Right?

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    In 11 months buy a WR250R.
    #2
  3. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    And a year later a KTM.

    :lol3
    #3
  4. thumperbuddy

    thumperbuddy Outdoorsman?

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    Considering I have to come up with all of the money for the bike myself, without a job or any assistance from my parents, the brand-new Yamaha may be out of my price range. I dont mind the responsibility of paying for it myself, but I would like to keep the price feasible for a 15 y/o to reasonably save up in a year. If I found one used, thatd be a different story...
    #4
  5. love_to_ride

    love_to_ride n00b

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    gettin my new ktm 350 tomarrow so yeah get a ktm next
    #5
  6. Leap of Faith

    Leap of Faith My hand to the devil

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    The beginning of the end! :ilmostro
    #6
  7. bongodave

    bongodave Intellectual

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    Dealers won't let you ride them, so go sit on a few, read reviews, and decide what you like best. Either one would be good, so just check them both out and decide from there.

    I'm really interested in the new Honda. 23 hp, so it's not a thrill ride, but it looks indestructible, and has lots of neat features. I'm sure they'll sell well, so there will be a lot of aftermarket stuff for them pretty soon.

    There was no DS bike on the planet this cool when I was 16. I'm a little jealous! Whatever you do, be careful and have fun! :D

    And keep looking at used bikes. You can actually ride them. There are a lot of garage queens out there in very good shape.
    #7
  8. TNC

    TNC Candyass Camper

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    Thumperbuddy, have you looked at the other threads on the 250L that are out there? This is the problem with having multiple threads about a given bike. It starts getting hard to find info that has already been responded to. Here's the quote from one of those threads where I posted a response to a similar question. For you personally you need to assess if you're going to be doing more serious dirt rides with your DS bike, or if you're going to use it more like most people use their DS bikes.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NJ-Brett
    Anyone know how the CRF compares to the klx250?
    Are they really close?
    Carb/FI is no big deal to me, I like both.

    My response:
    My old shop I used to work at got one of the Hondas a couple of weeks ago, and I got to check it out. They're a Yamaha, Honda, and Kawasaki shop. I also own a highly modded '06 KLX250. Stock for stock, the Honda has a stronger engine IMO...so does the WR250R. Just having FI seems to allow those two bikes to run better right off the floor. The KLX is so corked up and "emissioned" in its jetting setup. It's practically a dog. However, just a few mods later, and the character of the KLX changes dramatically, and the playing field becomes much more level. It's in the suspension department that the KLX and WRR really shine over the Honda. This is where Honda seems to have saved the money reflected in the price. It's just a little bit heavier too.

    The Honda gives up a little too much in the suspension travel to really be competitive to the WRR and KLX for really rough off roading as delivered. It won't be that it's not capable of off roading, but it's suspension components have less travel and not quite as high a quality. That said, not everyone wants or needs to ride their dual sport like I ride my KLX. This Honda fits a nice niche of price, value, and performance. Not everyone needs or wants the same bike for the same use. The KLX will have a good deal more potential for off road use. The Honda will probably be superior on pavement...especially as delivered in stock condition. For guys who never leave their bikes stock, the KLX and WRR have more potential. Many parts and mods are available for those two bikes at the moment. You know that the Honda will eventually get more options as time goes by. One advantage of the KLX is that it is realistically based on the off road-only KLX300...especially the '06/'07 KLX250S. They are 11" travel bikes, and they have KYB suspension components that respond well to Race Tech and other revalving kits to achieve some real off road performance. Again, this isn't everyone's cup-o-tea. The '09 and later KLX went to 10" of travel, but is otherwise basically the same bike as the previous models. The Honda at 8.5" travel starts a bit in the hole if some relatively tough off roading is desired.

    Those are the main differences that come to my mind at the moment. The Honda is a good bike. I was impressed by the engine. It's slightly increased weight and decreased travel don't fit my needs, but the Honda is going to fit the needs and desires of many riders out there. I almost wish Honda had made two versions of this bike. I'd be willing to fork over another $1000 to get 10" of Showa quality suspension as delivered on a more dirt oriented model, even at the current weight.
    #8
  9. thumperbuddy

    thumperbuddy Outdoorsman?

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    Well, Damn...:eek1

    Thanks for all that well-educated info. My primary purpose for the bike is gonna be around a 70/30 mix of local roads/ light trail and general tomfoolery. I dont need something that feels like an MX bike, but wouldnt mind it of course. :evil What Ive reached is that of the 3, the WR is the superior, based on power to weight, suspension, and general handling. Is that more or less the truth? Basically, I want something that feels sporty when Im running trails and singletrack, or if Im riding around town. I dont want it to feel underpowered. TNC, whats your opinion on that? If it matters, Im 5' 4", and right around 110 lbs, slim, but muscular build (hopefully Ill grow a bit by the time Im 16!). Also, money is a deciding factor here, I was leaning toward the Honda for the lower price, but I dont want to get an inferior bike, if perhaps a used, older WR would be even better than the new honda for the same price? Im a lost, confused kid...:huh
    #9
  10. JN3n

    JN3n Been here awhile

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    Buy the Honda . Resale # 1 , Parts # 1 and Reliability # 1 . I have owned alot of bikes but you can't beat a Honda for a great long term bike for the money .
    I could buy any bike on the market and I am buying a Honda CRF250L as my every day bike . This bike will be left stock and will only have the suspension set for my weight.
    If you want to modify the bike down the road aftermarket parts will be available from everybody !
    #10
  11. TNC

    TNC Candyass Camper

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    Honestly this can get confusing because there are multiple "what ifs". IMO the WRR is not superior to the KLX in the area of suspension and handling. They're both fairly equal in this regard. In bone stock trim, the WRR is superior in engine performance and so is the Honda. As I mentioned, because of the carb, the KLX has an emission hurdle that FI doesn't have so much. If you're going to leave the bike bone stock and just do moderate off road, the Honda is hard to beat because of its engine and price. It's the gnarlier off road stuff that will give the Honda a bigger challenge compared to the WRR or KLX.

    There's also the issue of "potential". Even many people who buy $8000+ off road competition bikes will put more money in the engine and suspension to get the most out of their bikes. DS bikes are more often than not a little bit lacking in some of the performance elements of the bike. Many riders who really use their DS bikes for some semi-serious off road will want improved suspension and engine mods. You can see that some even on the new 250L threads here are already asking about modded exhausts, tuners, etc. It's a natural progression for many. The KLX has been out longer than the Yamaha or Honda, and as such has a wider array of aftermarket parts ranging from fully revalved suspension kits, pumper carbs, to 351cc in a big bore kit. The potential of the WRR and KLX are a bit closer in performance when bore kits and/or FI tuners are considered, and both of them have available suspension mods to really help the suspension achieve a decently high level of performance. It's the suspension that is the biggest negative on the Honda, as those components don't start out at the level of the KYB units on the Yamaha and KLX. However, this is the part of the discussion that may have no value whatsoever for the majority of people who buy these DS bikes. The Honda will be more than adequate for most folks who don't push the off road side of the envelope. The Honda is more than capable of going off road. It just won't have the ultimate potential of the better suspension units on the two other bikes.
    #11
  12. TIKI-da-MAN

    TIKI-da-MAN Adventurer

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    As a sales manager at a BMW dealer many will probably think I was insane to buy a CRF250L; as I have 7 new 2012 BMW demos and over twenty used bike at my disposale.But after two weeks of ownership I know I made the right choice for my personal bike. This bike is awesome ! I have let many of my customers ride it and most came back blown away saying it was the smoothest and best shifting bike they had ever ridden ! Now remember it's no interstate tourer, but as an around town commmuter it rules ! So far on my first three tanks; 74 MPH AVG ! And I must say that i have been a little heavy wristed. Also many comments as to how sweet this bike looks. As a new, young rider I don't think you can go wrong with this bike; especially considering the price. And don't forget it's a HONDA !!! Have done a few mods. PM me for details ok. Just saw today that FMF has a full POWER BOMB system out for this bike as well. BIZAZZ will have soon have a modified ECU out very soon too. With these MODS the stock 24 HP should be near 30 ! Overall this is a bike that can serve the needs for many looking for a great allround motorcycle. And don't forget the awesome MSRP !!! Get your deposit down quick as I have heard many dealers are sold out until NOVEMBER !!!! You can give me a call if you want. My name is Greg @919.931.8518
    #12
  13. sect8dr

    sect8dr ride them all

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    Buy the Honda and ride through college. Then keep it or sell it for a little less than you bought it for. My girlfriend rides a CBR 250R with the same engine, it is bulletproof, I have ridden that bike full throttle for days on end and have not had a problem yet. Her lifetime average for fuel mileage is around 75 with a 50/50 highway/ city mix of riding. They cannot be beat for the price.
    #13
  14. thumperbuddy

    thumperbuddy Outdoorsman?

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    From what I can tell, I think I should be leaning toward the Honda (which will be kept stock until the military starts giving me pay checks, which wont be for another 2 years):
    1. Price
    2. power- less than the WR, more than the KLX?
    3. off road performance- good enough to mess around, ride trails and some semi-moderate(?) singletrack?

    On the order of suspension, what makes the WR superior? is it just the amount of travel it has?
    #14
  15. byron555

    byron555 Lame Duck Adventurer

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    I'd go honda... resale, blah, blah, blah

    From the reviews I've seen.. great transmission, super smooth engine, good mid-range, and for me personally, I love FI. I own a used WRr though, and it has all of those things. I would not be able to afford a new WRr, and would go with the new CRF250L... It's the FI, press the button and go. If you come across a nice used WRr for a good price (almost at unicorn status here) go with that, otherwise, CRF all the way.
    #15
  16. NitroRoo

    NitroRoo Been here awhile

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    Buy whatever you can afford. Save up your money, then get the best deal you can. If you can swing buying a brand new bike, more power to ya - but you can get way more bike for your money buying used. You will have to be patient, but for about $2k you should be able to find a used 250-400cc dual sport in decent shape. Don't go into debt at 16, you'll want the gas money later, trust me :deal
    #16
  17. joec63

    joec63 Been here awhile

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    I'm biased as I have the CRFL. You can always move up to a more potent bike later after you build your skills. You have plenty of time. Go check them out in person and throw a leg over each one. The WRR is a tall bike. Go with which one gives you a smile because at the end of the day that's why we ride!
    #17
  18. Hannda

    Hannda Short, fat, bearded, slow

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    Another thing to consider is that this is your FIRST bike, but it likely won't be your last. :deal

    Any of the three bikes you mentioned will be more than capable for you to learn and grow on. Whichever bike you purchase will allow you to learn what works best for you. As your weight and size (limb length, etc,) change so too will the ergonomics you require for a bike to work well for you. Also, as you gain experience in your riding you may find that you lean more towards the road or more toward the trail. With experience allowing you to know what is important to you, you may decide power is more important to you than suspension, or vice versa. Or comfort over performance, or performance over comfort. The combinations and permutations are nearly endless, and you'll have to find where along the spectrum your enjoyment of riding is best served.

    Please don't get me wrong, I'm not implying that you're overthinking this decision. It seems to me that you're doing it the exact correct way. I fear, however, that you're forgetting that this is only going to be (hopefully :thumb) the first of many bikes in your life. And, let's be honest ~ dual purpose bikes are, by design, a compromise. What makes them great in the woods detracts from their on-road ability. And, by design, what makes them acceptable on the road detracts from their dirt worthiness. So you need to find the bike that has it's bias in that equation of compromise more in line with your bias for how you intend to use the bike.

    You mention that you expect that you're riding will be +/-70/30 road to trail. With that in mind (I'm assuming, based on your "70/30," that this will be your primary transportation that you would like to be able to play with in the woods when you're not riding to school, to friends homes or to a job) the super dooper off-road suspension may not be as important as good manners and abilities on the pavement. The Honda seems like a good choice for your intended use, still having plenty of what you'll want and need for off roading. The engine in the Honda comes out of a very capable road bike. The others have dirt bike engines. They're all great, but perhaps the Honda will be just a smidgen more in line with your intended use and function.

    Just my $0.02, YMMV. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to save up enough money to have all the proper safety gear - full face helmet, armoured jacket, boots, gloves, etc. Better to buy a gently used bike and have the gear than to blow your entire savings on a bike you can't afford to ride safely. Remember, we all go ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) for a reason. :deal

    Edit: I read lots of posts about people finding very gently used KLX250s for somewhere in the $2,500 neighborhood. And while it may not be the brand new bike of your dreams, they're great bikes. And don't overlook the Kawasaki Super Sherpa, the Yamaha XT225 or the Yamaha XT250. All great bikes. And maybe any of them, if you could get one in the $2,500 range would be a better bike than the Honda for $5,500. You can always sell one of these used bike within a year for nearly what you paid for it and get the new bike when you're 17. They're not going to stop making them and you won't have lost your desire to ride by buying used as long as you research your purchase carefully - you don't want a clunker, just a nice 250cc from someone who thought they needed a bigger bike before they were able to do any damage to the first one they bought. :dunno
    #18
  19. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Flamed out

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    When I was 17 and looking to buy my first bike all the old timers said to buy what I could afford because I would grow into it and then I could move up later. So I bought the much cheaper new Kawasaki rather than the new Yamaha I wanted. Within weeks, if not days, I wanted to kick all those old guys for telling me that.

    So I doubled down on saving my money then went back and bought the newer Yamaha I wanted in the first place. But I now was also out the loss on that Kawasaki when I could barely afford a bike to begin with. Moral of the story: buy the bike you want even if you have to save longer or buy used. The Yamaha costs more for a reason.

    Granted that Honda has a nice price point. But I have seen the WR in action offroad many, many times and it is a heck of good bike. Buying a cheap bike planning to upgrade the parts that make it cheap is a fool's game because it ultimately costs you more in the long run. Though I admit there is a certain pleasure in doing just that.

    Bottom line for me is patience. Which I had little of when I was a teenager. But as an old man I have learned that being patient until I find the right used bike then not being afraid to pull the trigger when I do means better bikes and more than one bike. I haven't bought a new bike since the mid 80's even though I can afford anything I want now.
    #19
  20. drm

    drm Been here awhile

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    1. save money and buy used bike: ride the snot out of it, drop it, work on it, ride the snot out of it, learn from it
    2. use rest of money and buy the best gear you can afford (helmet, gloves, jacket, pants, boots)
    3. if you really need to upgrade, mod the current bike to suit, or re-sell it and upgrade from there after you have some experience.

    i personally have a used $2500 klx250s and love it. i did know i wanted one till i bought it. i could be riding a drz or xl or wr or (insert cheap dualsport here) if the price was right and was for sale locally.
    #20