Mountain Goat Bike Recommendations

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Johnny Bouncewell, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. Johnny Bouncewell

    Johnny Bouncewell Surly

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Tijeras, NM
    Hey fellow inmates. I've been on a quest to buy a lightweight, durable, cheap, and most importantly tractable on goat trails type bike. I'm an exploration geologist and will be using this for work which means I'm getting paid to explore on a bike (life goal achieved)...think literal game trails, side hills, and slow going. Basically using this to ride to challenging places, get off, and look at rocks. Not the other way around, I swear.

    Generally speaking, I've gotta a fair amount of off-road and adv experience doing this crap for nearly 20 years. The suspension snob in me typically leans euro but I'm totally fine with a Japanese machine for this kind of work. This isn't blitzing thru the desert on an open classer, its plodding through a high desert forest at 1-10 mph.

    A few basic requirements:
    100 mile round trip range
    Damn good hill climbing and knarly terrain ability
    Cheap (under 3k or so)
    Spark arrestor
    Light--under 200 wet would be AWESOME but probably not realistic short of a modern trials machine
    Low seat height to reduce chances of injury when I inevitably bail from a bad decision
    Nothing that scares my safety officer (no CRRRRRF450XXX type rigs)


    So far I've narrowed it down to a handful of machines but am looking for suggestions from the unwashed masses. Here goes with my perceived pros/cons in no particular order:

    Modern-ish Trials bikes: Great slow speed tractability, stupid light...BUT....comically small fuel tanks, reliability can't come close to more common machines, where does my ass go/exhausting for 100 miles?

    Vintage-ish Trials bikes (TL125/250 type rig): Great slow speed tractability, on the lighter side, low seat height and place for my ass...BUT....fricking old with parts issues, seriously thin on the ground these days

    TW200: Simple and Dumb, good traction, common, stupid low seat height tractor like first gear...BUT....nearly 300 damn pounds

    XR250: Cheaper than a good night at a brothel, everywhere, simple and durable...BUT...high seat height, a little heavy, possibly a bit more high strung than I need (I know, I sound like a weenie)

    TTR125/CRF150/Whatever 13 year olds ride these days: Everywhere and cheap, lightweight enough...BUT...concerned first gear won't be low enough for the kind of climbs I'll be going up and the lack of power won't help matters

    KTM 200: 2T goodness, light enough, great suspenders...BUT...again concerned first gear won't be low enough, hard to come by

    KDX200/220: 2T goodness, light enough, cheapcheapcheap...BUT...first gear issue, and these things are typically thrashed to death

    Super Sherpa/Serrow: Cheap, durable, disposable...BUT...heavier than ideal, just not really inspiring mounts to explore on


    Any thoughts or suggestions are totally welcome. I'm hoping to pick something up in Idaho or New Mexico before spring hits so I can work out the kinks of the machine. Thanks!
    #1
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  2. Bucho

    Bucho DAMNrider

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    I was all ready to mention the Beta Xtrainer, KTM FreeRide, Sherco Xride, Ossa Xplorer... But finding one in the $3K range isnt going to happen.

    My second thought is one of the new crop of “good” Chinese bikes. PitsterPro XTR250 for example. Is basically a copy of an old air cooled 250cc thumper in a copy of a much more modern chassis/suspension.
    Brand spanking new for under $3K.

    https://gokartsusa.com/XTR-250-Dirt-Bike-1.aspx
    #2
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  3. Treebone

    Treebone Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
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    Location:
    Wellington, Nevada
    Sounds like a used Rokon might fit the requirements. They don't get much more mountain goat than that.
    #3
  4. enduro16

    enduro16 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    The woods of northern IL.
    Why do you ask the question which bike do you want for yourself, you answered it yourself with all the bikes you're looking at, but be more realistic, you're looking for a unicorn for under $3,000 it don't exist, make do with the best you can...a 200 KTM or 200 KDX not a low enough first gear? Why do you say that seriously
    #4
  5. scrubb

    scrubb Master of Mayhem

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
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    Location:
    San Diego
    Just regear the bikes that you feel have too tall of a first gear. Throw a big azz dinner plate on the rear sprocket. Problem solved.
    #5
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  6. Bungholio

    Bungholio Long timer

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    A Christini possibly?
    #6
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  7. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    XR100, or some version of a 'pitbike'.
    #7
  8. TheJRM

    TheJRM HEY YOU GUYS!!!

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    TW200 all day long. Center of gravity is so low that the weight (270s, I believe) is a non-issue. It feels like a kids bike and you can man handle it. Will climb anything and absolutely excels at low speed gnarly hill climbs. I'm 175 lbs (nearly 200 all geared up) and I'd get well over 120 miles per tank. Suspension is pretty weak, but who cares - this isn't an MX bike and you can't ride it like one (forces you to go slower and stay safe). Can be found like new (i.e. 200 miles on the odometer) for around $3k. If exploration is what you're after in off trail/bush whacking style, I don't think you can find a bike that's easier to ride than this. We've owned 3 - I plan on buying another in the future as I miss it; slow, antiquated but SO MUCH FUN to ride.

    #8
  9. Sidecar Jockey

    Sidecar Jockey Bike Doctor

    Joined:
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    +1 for the TW200. Their center of gravity and seat are so low that they feel a lot lighter than they really are.

    I used to have a TW200, TTR250, and Husqvarna TC449. I could easily ride the TW200 to places I couldn't go with the other two bikes, even though the TTR and Husky are better bikes on paper.

    The Tee Dub will take you anywhere.

    I sold my TW a few years ago to a friend, and I regret selling it. They're just such fun bikes. I'm in the market for another one.
    #9
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  10. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    Where do you plan on riding this bike that way ? ?

    If in the USA and on public lands ...UNLESS... you have special Federal permit...what your proposing is NOT LEGAL ! !

    Riding off trail in the USA is a violation of both the law and the ethics of our sport ! !

    So until I hear more on exactly where you will be riding....no help from me.

    I urge my fellow inmates to also withhold help and advice till we know where this geologist is riding.


    Scott
    #10
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  11. PplHaze

    PplHaze Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Colorado
    TW200. It's the ultimate easy going bike. You can find a great used one for 3K. Very low maintenance and surprisingly fun to ride. I have a blast on mine.
    #11
  12. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I would assume he/she has permission otherwise its hiking.
    TW200.
    If speed is not an issue, the tw will go where other bikes will not.
    I have churned through swamps, through frozen microlakes for miles:
    [​IMG]

    And up steep hills at walking pace.
    Add a tail bag with some water and a fuel bottle (just in case) and you are all set.
    [​IMG]

    Being low and not real heavy really helps off road, its the one bike I have NEVER fallen on while dirt riding.
    Top speed is limited to about 60 or 65 depending on gearing.

    Also, it seems to leave little trace of its passing, unlike normal bikes that tear up the trail, the TW does little to show it was there.
    Don't count on being able to follow your tracks back to where you started from...
    #12
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  13. MattR302

    MattR302 Awesomeness, Inc.

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New Haven-ish, CT
    CRF230F?
    Low seat height, easy on maintenance, ~250 wet, unchanged for like 16 years so parts should be easy to find for a while, tons of info out there about mods and suspension upgrades
    #13
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  14. mbogage

    mbogage Adventurer

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    May 31, 2004
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    Arlee, mt
    I bought a 2005 Ktm 250 2t exc in Idaho with high hours but it had been maintained for 2500. It has been a great bike with great low end power. With the large tank I can get 100miles. I usually skip 1st gear as it’s too low.
    #14
  15. JensEskildsen

    JensEskildsen Long timer

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    I know the lower weight would be nice, but it seems like you'll just put along.
    I really think that youre overthinking this, and most bikes will do this perfectly fine.
    A small 2stroke would handle awesome, but might go a bit against the geology-thing. Do you need to carry stuff on the bike?
    Something like a xt250 would do great, and be very reliable for you.
    #15
  16. Johnny Bouncewell

    Johnny Bouncewell Surly

    Joined:
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    Tijeras, NM
    Yea, I would love an XTrainer but, its a bit out of what I want to spend. I've seen the PitsterPro's, they look interesting and everything I've seen, pretty tough.

    I'll have sections of 45 mph or so gravel roads to link to where I'm going.

    I'm asking because I haven't owned any of these bikes and I know that the hive mind have owned/ridden all of these.
    #16
  17. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto aka: trailer Rails Supporter

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    What you describe fits the TW perfectly.
    #17
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  18. pjensen641

    pjensen641 Long timer

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    Echoing th TW200 or an XT225 if any road Miles are planned. M
    #18
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  19. Johnny Bouncewell

    Johnny Bouncewell Surly

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    Tijeras, NM
    I hear you loud and clear! I'll be riding on private land that we hold claims on in nowheresville Idaho. I have zero interest in pissing off fellow riders and the feds.
    #19
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  20. Sidecar Jockey

    Sidecar Jockey Bike Doctor

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    The TW is nearly unstoppable. They're awesome in the snow and can handle mud and rocks that other bikes just can't. I really miss mine...

    IMG_7331.JPG IMG_8053.JPG
    #20