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Quarter-litre opinions please

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Precis, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Looking for some input from long-term owners/riders of 250cc trail bikes:
    we just moved house and live in the Kinglake ranges; Mrs P and Junior P both have TTR230s for forest-riding and are happy with them. I had a CRF230 and found it a bit... tame.
    Now I'm in the market for something small, nimble, suitable for staying with the fam but also capable of a bit of a rip if I'm on my own: much as I'd like a Beta CrossTrainer, the $12k outlay for an occasional toy is beyond my justification – and thanlks to Covid, used ones are non-existent. Same goes for the less-attractive FreeRide or Sherco - though I'm wary of going too exotic.
    So, back to the stalwarts: Yamaha and Honda and the WR250F, WR250R and CRF 250; I've ridden them all on brief occasions - but that was Press-test bikes and usually only for a day or less, and many whiles ago – I'm hoping for unbiased considered opinions from those who live with them for months/years and use them for trail-riding.
    Yamaha's twins are very different bikes - why the big Y gave them confusingly near-identical names escapes me; the F is lighter, quicker, faster - but is it also a grenade sans pin? Is the R really just a wet TTR250? A heavy roadbike and a slug?
    And the Honda - maintenance sounds like a bear, what with replacing the valves every ten hours or whatever it is; a kid at the local shop says he has one and stuck in stainless valves to solve that problem but clumsily dodged answering my questions about what that cost until I gave up asking. Then he capped it by saying, "and I race it too". I don't want a race-bike: I've owned enough Ducatis and still know the part-numbers of the shim kits.... My memory of the Honda is of a razor-sharp, peaky bike that doesn't do well at tootling along sedately.
    Or do I get another TTR230 and hack along at the back? (I might need something a bit quicker to stay ahead of Junior P nowadays....)
    #1
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  2. ECKS-Man

    ECKS-Man Long timer

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    I've had a WR250F. I'm a fat bugger, but it hauled me along quite nicely, as long as I wasn't trying to outrun the 450 crowd. Mates told me my riding improved (coming from a DRZ400), and I'd have to agree. Not too heavy, but stable. Reliability was no issue. Can't comment knowledgeably on the others you have mentioned. That said, as I understand things, the WR250R is a handy little jigger. Possibly less capable off road, but very reliable. Smooth, quiet, and revvy engine.

    Have you considered the AJP PR5? They seem like good value, and the PR7 is well regarded in general.

    I would say that you'll find the TTR230/TTR250/DRZ250 too sedate. Realistically, no less maintenance required to keep these rolling than a WR250F or WR250R. Get something that gives you something to grin about occasionally!
    #2
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  3. MrGadalot

    MrGadalot Chop Chop

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    My son and I started with the TTR230 and a WR250R. They were fine but the lack of suspension was very limiting with both bikes, especially the TTR for trail riding. After two years we moved up to the KTM 250 EXC-F and a Beta 500 RRS. A huge upgrade in the ride and made trail riding much easier, especially on more technical sections. No regret and wish I had just bought the better bike to start with. I will admit, the Beta was pricey but the KTM was not too bad, especially if you are the correct weight for stock springs. We really like the KTM for a light trail bike. Added Rekluse, steg pegs, seat, bigger tank...does adds up. Probably a $4k price difference between the two type of bikes, new or used but highly recommend a better bike if you can swing it. The Beta 390 RRS is also a great option.
    #3
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  4. empiredownhc

    empiredownhc Adventurer

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    I am onto another WR250F and I'm really liking it after time on an XR600 and a 300 two stroke. It's an 04 model so getting quite long in the tooth, it has thousands of kms on it but with just frequent oil changes, it hasn't ever needed anything, no valve adjustments, anything. Surprisingly durable, it's a rock solid little bike with electric start, it's not tiring to ride so can be mildly cruised around "trail ridden" or give it a hard time it has the potential to embarrass many a late model EXC owner in the bush ;) I probably wouldn't suggest doing many road miles on it though, get the 250R for that. Can be had cheaply, if you can find one that hasn't been abused I think they're a great option and under-rated.
    #4
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  5. 0405canvet

    0405canvet Long timer Supporter

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    Another vote for the WR 250F. Older ones are fine. We have had about 15 of them. Only had to do valves on two. Check the weight difference between the R and F! If your 90% off road then the F would work better. If you want a light Adv bike then go with an R??
    #5
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  6. GodSilla

    GodSilla I did that.

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    The TTR250 is 119kg with a full tank, good suspension, a fun ride, but increasingly difficult to find a good used one. Recommended if you can find a good one (low k's), and should be within yer budget ( less than $4k for most of them). Good luck with finding one though.

    WR250R is quite porky for what it is, tall in the seat, suspension is road/trail oriented too. Give it a miss I'd say, you'll be disappointed.

    WR250F is a little gem of a bike, as stated above they are pretty solid for reliability, if you race one it's a different maintenance regime obviously, but for trail riding it's just like an XR, clean oil, clean airfilter, clean fuel and you can't go wrong. Plenty around usually as they sold heaps, so keeps purchase costs down too. Probably your best bet out of this lot.

    KTM 250 4-stroker, probably the pick of them to ride but new price isn't cheap and used could be a lottery too. If you can't go new, I'd say don't. (If you can afford new, get the 500 for a measly few dollars more. You definitely won't be disappointed. Your family might hate you though.....:lol2)

    My 2c. Good luck whichever way you go.
    #6
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  7. Cuttlefish

    Cuttlefish Riding to disappear.

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    I just dropped in to say how much I like a good "which bike to buy?" thread. Always interesting and often entertaining. The insights, knowledge, biases and proclivities. Carry on.
    #7
  8. GodSilla

    GodSilla I did that.

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    These threads are usually good reads until some fuckhead ignites the brand-wars. :turkish
    #8
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  9. BergDonk

    BergDonk Old Enough to Know Better

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    Back a few years it was time for a new bike for the missus. A 250 with a button was desired and therefore required, which gave us the option on the day of a Suzuki DR250, Yam TTR250 or Kwak 250. Based on price on the at the time the Kwak got the $s, with the bonus on the day that the factory 300 kit was just another $250 and still cheaper all up than the others. I did have to fit the 300 kit though, which suited me fine.

    All the 250s are buzzboxes, with the Kwak 300 having more torque and being more forgiving to ride, and easier to cruise on IMHO. The more performance you get, the more revs are needed, so if you like to wring their neck, the WRR and WRF Yams are happy.

    Out of the box it may be that the DR250 has the best suspension FWIW, we had a friend's one live here for a couple years. The Kwak and Yams have big tank options too if you want to go more than 150 kms on a tank. 14 years later we still like our HE300RS. IIRC a Honda XR big tank adapts to the DR without too much trouble too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #9
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  10. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    I think you're not doing the kind of riding we enjoy.... nor spending the kind of dollars I enjoy....
    #10
  11. BergDonk

    BergDonk Old Enough to Know Better

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    I should add that HE300RS has been used by me for setting enduros and rides like the Kowen Ride. Not the fastest out there, but with its current gearing and wideish ratio stock 6 spd it can cruise at 100 kph and chug/lug me up the steepest snotty hills.
    #11
  12. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Hmmm - years ago I had a KDX 200: it tried – unsuccessfully – to kill me on several occasions; the KLR 250 always struck me as "portly" and very much a "street-scrambler" rather than a trail bike. But it adds a new dimension; there's just so little available right now; I should have jumped on the $6k Crosstrainer....
    #12
  13. BergDonk

    BergDonk Old Enough to Know Better

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    The KLX, not KLR, is definitely not the lightest 250 out there, 132 kgs on the scales loaded and ready ride here when my now gone FE650 was 122 kgs in the same config, although spec said 107 kgs.
    #13
  14. MrGadalot

    MrGadalot Chop Chop

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    Could be. Here in California you need a plated bike to have good access and the plated dirt bikes are a lot more expensive than the non-plated due to strict emissions. I paid $7,600 OTD for a new WR250R vs $9k OTD for the KTM. I guess my point was that for only $1,400 more, I should have just picked up the KTM to begin with but had no clue how much better it could be. I was initially scared of the maintenance comments but it is not that bad, especially if only trail riding.

    The WR250F looks like a nice option but we can’t make them street legal here. Maybe not an issue in your local.

    Just recommending a bike with better suspenders than a TTR or even a WR250R.
    #14
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  15. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Hadn't picked up that you were foreign. KTM's here have a certain cachet... it starts with cash. And continues with more of the same.
    Plus we have recreational registration - minimal cost, can only be ridden off-road, but if you crash you're still covered for a helicopter ride and all medical bills.
    #15
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  16. GodSilla

    GodSilla I did that.

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    I'll chime in and say that KTM parts aren't that expensive in general. The service kits have turned into a right gouge in one hit for sure (and I'm shitty about that too), but generally parts are quite reasonable. I just priced a replacement std. mild steel muffler for an XR600, try around $2,700. Yup, you read that right. The equivalent std. stainless KTM part is $1200. Some stuff is expensive, but it tends to be the stuff you wouldn't generally have to buy.

    Also, my KTM500EXC-F cost $400 LESS to buy than a Yamaha WR450 on the day. Since then I believe a price rise may have come through, you'd have to check, but the mantra of KTM's being uber-expensive and unreliable is well outdated. I think a full set of std. KTM bodywork for mine is around $500. Aftermarket around $250. Not bad at all.
    #16
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  17. Paul124ac

    Paul124ac Long timer

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    ADF883D9-8BE9-4D13-9FB0-F8E443D996A8.jpeg

    These can be found cheap, this one was under $4k and weighs under 90kg. I bought it for my 14 yr old daughter but I’m thinking seriously she can have the 450 and I’ll “put up with” this. The electric leg TXC version is a bit weightier but still under 100kg, the TE a bit heavier at a dollar ten. We’ve put lights etc. on it and rec reg’d it, a great little thing.
    #17
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  18. schmik

    schmik Been here awhile

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    I have only good things to say about my SWM rs300r.

    Goes like a scalded cat!
    Oil changes are stated at 2000.
    Parts are easily available and cheap.
    Brand new, the price is a bargain for what it is.

    I have put approx 4000km on mine in 18 months. Pretty much no tarmac in that. Trail riding upto 150km per ride or 70-80 of tough singles.

    Only fault has been that the speedo died. Being out of warranty, they still did me a fair deal on a new one.
    #18
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  19. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Ummm - what is it? 125?
    #19
  20. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Love Woggie bikes as a rule - had scads of 'em over the years. But getting a trio of DR650s has made me extremely lazy: I change the oil when we change the clocks and that's about it... Parts prices? Dunno - never bought any – oil filters are $11.00, I know that much. So I was planning on avoiding the "exotics" - but I will look into a She Who Moans....
    #20