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so1102

Thinking about a dirt bike -- advice needed

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so1102
I've been kicking around the idea of picking up a second, inexpensive bike for playing in the AZ desert -- but I face a dilemma.  I don't have a trailer, or a place to store a trailer.  Two car garage, taken up with a single SUV, my FZ, and a bunch of other crap used by three kids.
 
Would I be better off just finding a cheap dual sport (I've been looking at the Honda CRF250L) that I can ride on the streets legally until I get to my trailhead, or should I invest in a trailer hitch type rack (the kind that hangs the bike sideways off the back of the truck).  I have a Durango with a Class III hitch, so weight wouldn't be a problem -- especially when you are talking < 300 lbs.
 
What do you guys recommend?  I would only want to spend in the $4K-4500 range total (because I would also have to buy all my off road gear too)  How many of you guys ride dirt as well as street?

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pattonme
drz400. should be well below 4K and bullet proof. but is heavy compared to motorcross/dirt-only bikes. Any of the air-cooled Honda DS bikes are good too.

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so1102
Also gave thought to a Yamaha TW200 -- just because I love those bigass tires

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so1102
Yamaha WR250R for many, many reasons; similar to that Honda CRF250L, but tons better suspension.
 
 
 
 

Nice bike -- just blows one of my primary criteria (it costs as much as an FZ -- I'm looking for something much cheaper)

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Cruizin
I've been kicking around the idea of picking up a second, inexpensive bike for playing in the AZ desert -- but I face a dilemma.  I don't have a trailer, or a place to store a trailer.  Two car garage, taken up with a single SUV, my FZ, and a bunch of other crap used by three kids. 
Would I be better off just finding a cheap dual sport (I've been looking at the Honda CRF250L) that I can ride on the streets legally until I get to my trailhead, or should I invest in a trailer hitch type rack (the kind that hangs the bike sideways off the back of the truck).  I have a Durango with a Class III hitch, so weight wouldn't be a problem -- especially when you are talking < 300 lbs.
 
What do you guys recommend?  I would only want to spend in the $4K-4500 range total (because I would also have to buy all my off road gear too)  How many of you guys ride dirt as well as street?
 
Right up my alley.
 
I used to have a DRZ-400.
 
PRO's - Great bikes, last forever and you can find em cheap on Craigslist. Tons of aftermarket parts availible, lots of help on thumpertalk.com in the DRZ forum. Huge loyal fanbase of people willing to help other DRZ owners out with technical advice. Great Dual sport bike, can ride from your house to the trail.
 
CONS. Heavy bike, with a good skidplate you are looking around 320 lbs. Dirtbikes get dropped, you fall off sometimes, laughing, until you go to pick the damn thing up. When you go to pick up a DRZ-400 on a flat level surface, it is heavy but you can pick it up. Go to pick it up on a hillside? You might be walking back to the road or car to call for help.
Slow bike, not very powerful. Only makes around 34 hp stock. You might think that is ok, but you are used to an FZ-07 and you would tire of the slow heavy bike after a while. And, you easily dump $2000 into exhaust, Carb, and big bore kit, and still only have 44 hp and still be a slow heavy bike.
 
Honda CRF 250 L.
 
PRO's- Fuel injected, has a fuel guage, looks like a dirtbike, can be rode like dual sport on the street., low price.
 
CONS- Heavy 320 lbs without a good skidplate. Slow even slower than a DRZ-400. Geared like a street bike, has trouble on steep hill climbs and doesn't have a good dirt suspension, unadjustable suspension, will kill your butt and back in the rough stuff and don't even take this on the whoops.
 
Honda 450X
 
PRO's Bike is based on the bike that wins Baja every single year, but has a more mellow engine. More mellow engine than the motocross 450R. Geared for the trail, wide range gears. Makes good HP stock, bike can do 90mph stock but even more important, bike can climb almost any hill you need to climb in the desert. This bike is made for the desert, is light, has a headlight. There are a ton of aftermarket parts available. In most states, add a brake/tail light from trailtech, a horn and a mirror and you will be street legal. If your state requires blinkers, then you can get a blinker as part of the kit. Outstanding fully adjustable suspension.
 
Cons- Not many. Cept for you will probably be buying used, and four stroke top ends do go out once in a while. A Four stroke CRF450X top end will cost you close to $2000, so would the top two bikes. So, it's always a gamble with a used four stroke, how well did the previous owner take care of it? Honda top ends seem to last a while. Not as long as the underpowered bikes above, but they last pretty long. You will not out grow this bike, put an exhaust on it and it gains like 5 hp and loses a ton of weight, but I know so many guys who run the 450x stock and freakin rip on it. Especially in the desert. You re used to an FZ-07, so this bike is not too much for you at all.
 
KTM 250 or 300 XC or XC-W. Two stroke.
 
I know what you are thinking, eww, I would have to premix my gas! I premix, it's easy. You get a five gallon can and aa bottle of Amsoil Spectra dumps into the five gallon can and mixes it to a perfect 80-1 . Yes, you can run amsoil spectra in a KTM at 80-1.
 
PRO's. My bike weighs 215 lbs before fuel. About 223 with fuel, give or take. You can pick this bike up and carry it if needed, lol. Power. Very useable power, with great low end torque. It can be as fast or as slow as you want it to be. KTM has perfected the Two Stroke Engine. Rips in the desert, sticks to the trails in the mountains like a mountain goat, so much fun to ride. Nothing is as fun to ride as a KTM two stroke. If you choose the XC-W like I did, it comes with horn, tail light/brake light stock. And, while I do have a plate on mine, and do ride it on the street, I driving to the trail with my bike in the back of my rig. Especially a KTM on the back on my rig. I get comments at the Gas Stations all the time. Nice KTM, bad ass KTM, etc, etc. It is the best dirtbike I have ever owned. And, cheap to rebuild, Like , silly easy and cheap to rebuild. You can rebuild the top end while watching a you tube instructional video for like $200 , and do it in two hours. So, you can buy a KTM 250 XC or XC-W used for like $3,500 and if the top end goes out, no big deal. I have honestly rebuilt a top end the night before a ride before, it's so easy and cheap. That's the great thing about two strokes, low cost of ownership. Outstanding suspension, one of the best dirbike suspensions every made, just avoid the new 4 chamber forks (2015 and newer).
 
CONCLUSION
 
So my advice is to find either a CRF-450X or a KTM 250 or 300 XC or XC-W. There are other choices, sure. But you can't go wrong with either of those two bikes. And seriously consider a two stroke if buying used. I know a couple of guys with 4 strokes sitting in their garages for over a year because they have neither the money or know how to rebuild the top ends.
 
 
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Cruizin
And, don't buy new. I never buy new dirt bikes, huge waste of money. For four grand you can get a much nicer, faster, lighter and trail capable bike than you can at your budget if you buy new.

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gigero
Is this your first dirt bike?
 
I agree with Mr admin. Buy used. Buy light. And buy a 2-stroke if you can.
 
My first dirt bike was an '05 ktm 450exc (4stroke - 260lbs). Somewhat heavy and very powerful. and I just bought a '16 ktm 200xcw (2stroke - 220lbs) and can't be any happier!! It's a hoot to ride. It's so nimble and it rips!!
 
You live in AZ so you can plate almost any motorcycle easily. Read up on it.
 
 
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squiernut
Look for a 2006 or 2007 Kawasaki KLX250S. I had one for a while and loved it. I didn't ride it much in the dirt, but as far as I'm concerned, it's a street legal dirtbike. I don't think it's race ready, but it'll work great for trail riding.
 

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snowdriftless
I think your best option is to buy a used offroad bike (Cheaper than dual sports) and get a street legal conversion kit for it.
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merc16
I hope this thread keeps going. I'm in for some learning. I'm intrigued by a plated KTM XC-W !

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so1102
I've actually decided that when I *do* eventually get a dirt bike, I am just going to get a proper trail bike and not worry about making it street legal -- I'll just end up with a hitch carrier of some sort to lug it to the trailhead with my Durango
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jake
I'm planning on a dual sport. I like the idea of having more than one use for my toys. I don't like having to make a huge event out of having a good time ( packing filling gas cans loading the trailer ect..) I want to get on and go and if need be I can trailer it out somewhere cool. Yeah they might cost more but that depends on how you look at it do you already own a trailer and something to haul it with ect...
 
It's very possible that I will change my mind later ;)

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Beemer
If you're going to get a street & trail bike I recommend something with enough power to do highway speeds w/o the bike screaming at high rpm. I used to have a Yamaha XT350 and it did the job fairly well, was ok on the street and 'just ok' off road but it wasn't as good on the trail as a CRF250L would be. I've thought about getting one of those trailer hitch racks myself so that I can go to Austin, Tx. in comfort and unload my FZ-7 when I get there. A true, 100% dirt bike is going to handle much better than and be faster than a so-so street & trail bike that may come up short on suspension and will probably be heavier so if it were me I would get the CRF250L and a trailer hitch rack. Have fun!

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ducttapewd40
My vote is dedicated off road bike and the hitch carrier. There is some intense riding to be done out in the AZ desert, so I'd choose the bike that did just the one thing very well with some knobby tires you wouldn't want to take on pavement anyway.
 
The other benefit is going to be that you'll be able to load up your truck with water, tools, lunch, and anything else you might want for a full day of fun without lugging it around in a backpack the entire time. I've also crashed my dirt bike hard enough I couldn't drive it and smashed my leg enough I could barely walk back to the truck to drive back in to retrieve it and go home. It would have sucked even more if the bike was my ride home too.
 
 

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Guest 2wheeler
Join the cult - the Suzuki DR350 cult!
 
The DR350SE is a GREAT bike - very rideable, super reliable, light weight (285lbs.), and plenty enough power. The best/only years to get are the 98SE & 99SE. The reason is that Suzuki had both an all dirt version and a street version. The difference is that the dirt version has a much better suspension, and does not have Suzuki's cush drive (do your homework on the cush drive). The 98SE & 99SE are the only street models with the dirt suspension and no cush drive making them much more dirt worthy. Plus they have electric start.
 
I had a 98SE which I upgraded quite a bit - Hell of a bike! When you read the reviews, you will see that the only thing it really needs is better fork springs. Obviously there is a lot more than can be done with them but that is the one it needs.
 
You can get them in the $1800-$2500 range in great condition with low mileage.
 
ProCycle sells quite a bit of aftermarket parts for them.
 
http://www.procycle.us/bikepages/dr350.html
 
 

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