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10 year old dirt bikes

  1. #1
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    10 year old dirt bikes


    So I've resto'd a couple DR350's this year and have been riding my street-converted 1990 DR350 every chance I get. I still love street riding but aside from going to Palmer last year I've never had this much fun on two wheels.

    I'll be keeping the DR350 as my dual-sport, long haul, motocamping, multi-day thingy, but most of the time I'm just out on Sundays riding singletrack for 5-6 hours on local trails and power lines. Typical new england trails stuff - rocks, mud, roots, dirt, bit of sand..

    Which inevitably has me thinking about getting another bike in the spring, or picking up a project later this winter. Something a little newer, a little lighter, a little more purpose-built for the kind of dirt riding I'm doing.

    For argument's sake let's say you had $3k and wanted something well under 250lbs to throw around, what would you look at? Seems like this is sort of 10-year-old bike territory.

    I'm not hung up on 2t vs 4t, and actually a little intrigued by the 2 strokes. Most of my time is spent going under 20mph and negotiating tight trails, but I'm starting to hear these 250/300 two strokes are somewhat preferred in endurocross type stuff because of the weight savings? Yes, I'm still pretty ignorant on most of the stuff that's out there. I did ask a similar question some time ago and got a lot of edumucation but thought I'd revisit with this fresh on my mind. And yeah.. this post is all over the place.

    In either case I've got to get rid of a bike or two before I get into anything else...

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  2. #2
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    YZ or KTM 250 two stroke

    /thread

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  3. #3
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    I prefer the 300 because of the monster low end. It allows you to keep the revs low and be quiet. The smaller displacements can be just as quick but you’ve got to ride the motor harder.
    It does offer a tiny bit more stability as well, but it’s fairly negligible in most instances.

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  4. #4
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    I followed a very similar path : In 2014 I bought a DRZ400S because I wanted a "dirt bike". I quickly found out that the DRZ-while an excellent motorcycle-was a pain in the ass for a newb to pick up constantly in New England woods trails. I bought a 2012 KTM 200 XC-W that had been plated and converted to an XC. This thing was a NETRA woods "race bike" and I have effectively retired it to a life of prolonged abuse being thrown on the ground. The 2t is a nice compliment as it's easy as hell to keep. No valves to screw with. Mine is kick-only so no battery to maintain. 0.7L of gear oil every now and then, stay on top of the air cleaner, keep the chain clean and you're pretty well done. On the upside the bike is fun as hell and very well suited to the terrain you're talking about. I'd ridden the 250 and 300 KTM 2t'ers as well and they are also lovely. They, and my 200, 'chug' through stuff shockingly well. I have to gear my 200 a bit lower and stay on that clutch a bit more than the bigger units, but the KTM hydro clutch (magura) is effortless. Especially with the MME 'cheater' lever Chip here turned me onto. This bike has taught me a world about clutch control and managing traction. I was comparatively very lazy with the DRZ.

    I was also interested in some of the mid-sized 4t enduros like the 350 EXC/XC-W. But I was leery of buying such a high-perf machine used 'n abused. NESR and like sources convinced me that the risk of buying a used 2t was lower as the worst case scenario was likely easier and cheaper to fix. I just did a whole new top-end on mine and it is pretty darn easy. My 200 is very easy to wrench on.

    KTM 2t's are very common. Lots of 250 and 300's out there. Many already plated. I'd be on the lookout for a 250 or 300 XC-W with a plate. If a 200 (relatively rare) pops up, I'd consider it too. Mine has been great. Assuming your budget permits, of course.

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    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Pretty much what bubba said. I have a 125 2 stroke and it's great, but is more challenging than what you want. I'd go 200-300 KTM 2 stroke.

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  6. #6
    Lifer
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    There's a handful of good options out there, and I'm not sure you can really go too wrong. I'd lean away from motocross trims, but some riders prefer to start with those as a base. My perception is that stems from an era where it was a lightweight moto bike, or your DR. Trail/Enduro/XC trims are going to have wide ratio gearing, less peaky power, less harsh suspension etc.

    Probably not entirely what you had in mind, but half the budget : 99 KDX 220 w/ Reg $1500 Smaller chassis makes learning the rough stuff a little easier, especially if you don't have a long inseam.

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  7. #7
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Derp. Don't know why I didn't recommend the KDX. A fine, fine choice. Well within budget. Betcholikeit.

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    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Yeah, you should definitely just go ahead and buy Pete's KDX. Have to do it soon though as I think he's moving at the end of the month.

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    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Seriously. Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, cheap to fix. Bulletproof.

    Buy it before I stupidly convince myself that I have time to ride something like that.

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    Lifer typeone's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    another vote for Pete's KDX ... grab it

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  11. #11
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Damn. Yeah. Totally forgot about the kdx. Buy that thing. Yesterday.

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    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    That KDX is indeed a nice deal but looking for something newer & lighter, maybe even with EFI. Would probably be great to cut my teeth on a 2t but definitely won't be buying until Spring, or at least until I get rid of another bike, simply because I don't have the space.

    My DR350 is the dirt-only model, weighs in at 250lbs dry. Not too shabby for an ancient bike. Add a few pounds for the street kit, another 25lbs for my rear rack, gear & tools and it starts to get up there. Thinking about a 440 bore this winter for some more top speed (she tops out at 60mph with current gearing). Then keeping it set up for longer hauls and some street riding, camping, etc.

    300lbs+ is a real bitch though when you tip over on a climb or have to push it... well, anywhere not flat. Shaving 60-80lbs sounds amazing.

    Been drooling over the KTM 300s at about 220/225lbs

    Getting into $$$ but goddamn the 2018 Husqy FX350 and TE300 look SO nice. Interestingly the 4t FX350 is lighter than the 2t TE300.. but both around the 220lbs mark

    Yeah, my greatest trepidation around the 2t is low-speed trails/obstacles but it sounds like the 300's might be the ticket. Then there's the question of how often I feel like doing the top end..

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    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Among the various years, any particularly bad/good years or major updates in the KTM 300 2t line that might influence a purchase?

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    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    Among the various years, any particularly bad/good years or major updates in the KTM 300 2t line that might influence a purchase?
    newer chassis in '10. Paul can chime in perhaps, but I think 08 or 09 had a funny bit about handling/geo.
    there's a regular hydro clutch up to 14 I think, maybe 15, and a diaphragm hydro clutch after that. both are complimented by a MME lever.
    there's also differences between models and suspension (and transmissions) re whether its an xc, xcw and different versions of the forks as they get newer.

    that fx350 you mentioned above is essentially a white xcf350. the motor is sporting an entirely different tune (and possibly gear ratios) from its fe350 brother.
    the fx wants to be revved and ridden hard. in my mind, it's for gncc type stuff. the FE is entirely mellower and user friendly, and still picks plenty of punch when wound up.

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    Lifer typeone's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    Yeah, my greatest trepidation around the 2t is low-speed trails/obstacles but it sounds like the 300's might be the ticket. Then there's the question of how often I feel like doing the top end..
    not sure how big you are but you don't necessarily need 300cc to crawl around the woods, it's a lot of motor ... make sure you give ~200-250cc a look, they tend to rev a bit quicker, which can up the fun factor, but still goat around very well.

    on top end frequency, the enduro-focused 2Ts aren't like MX'ers, you can easily go 120+ hours and not have to do a thing. especially if you're mostly doing low-speed obstacles and trail work.

    if money ends up burning a massive hole in your pocket, Beta is coming out with a ~200lb, 200cc 2T enduro next year (might be my next move)

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    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chippertheripper View Post
    newer chassis in '10. Paul can chime in perhaps, but I think 08 or 09 had a funny bit about handling/geo.
    there's a regular hydro clutch up to 14 I think, maybe 15, and a diaphragm hydro clutch after that. both are complimented by a MME lever.
    there's also differences between models and suspension (and transmissions) re whether its an xc, xcw and different versions of the forks as they get newer.

    that fx350 you mentioned above is essentially a white xcf350. the motor is sporting an entirely different tune (and possibly gear ratios) from its fe350 brother.
    the fx wants to be revved and ridden hard. in my mind, it's for gncc type stuff. the FE is entirely mellower and user friendly, and still picks plenty of punch when wound up.
    Cool. ANYTHING would be easier than my current clutch pull. The few people who have been near it could barely pull it back with four fingers lol. I can finally two finger it without suffering but one finger is out of the question, and that's my goal. But that's another story..

    I was originally drawn to the FE350 but it packs on another 20lbs, presumably for the street stuff. If I were looking at a new dual sport, the FE350 would be one of my first test rides for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by typeone View Post
    not sure how big you are but you don't necessarily need 300cc to crawl around the woods, it's a lot of motor ... make sure you give ~200-250cc a look, they tend to rev a bit quicker, which can up the fun factor, but still goat around very well.

    on top end frequency, the enduro-focused 2Ts aren't like MX'ers, you can easily go 120+ hours and not have to do a thing. especially if you're mostly doing low-speed obstacles and trail work.

    if money ends up burning a massive hole in your pocket, Beta is coming out with a ~200lb, 200cc 2T enduro next year (might be my next move)
    100+ hours would be good by me, that's nice to hear

    Wow, haven't read much about that. Those beta's look sweet though. Don't see them much around here. As tempting as a brand new bike is, right now anything made in the last decade would be luxury!

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    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    And I'm about 130lbs, 5' 10", so yeah not much ass to haul around.

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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    And I'm about 130lbs, 5' 10", so yeah not much ass to haul around.
    if you go 2T, i would look for a 200. lighter weight, lighter feel.

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  19. #19
    Lifer ZX-12R's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    And I'm about 130lbs, 5' 10", so yeah not much ass to haul around.
    I'm more than double your weight and the 200 moves me around just fine in the woods.

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  20. #20
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Yeah, they’re all rippers. Pick one you think you can get along with and go nuts. There are primarily just differences in riding style, and the fun stuff that goes along with working a motor or not, that are the primary considerations, imo.

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  21. #21
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    OP, I'm significantly heavier than you and I occasionally consider "upgrading" to a 300 vs my 200.
    Then I'm reminded that my problems with the 200 power wise are all technique related.

    Remember the 2t machines have less rotational mass. They are going to feel lighter underway due to less inertia.
    Try one. You'll be surprised. I know I was.

    I don't have a lot of experience here, a couple whacks on older CR250's now and then. But that experience has left me with the belief that there is a world of difference between any of these "woods" 2t enduros (KTM XC/XCW, KDX, etc) and the MX'ers. The addition of a tunable power-valve assembly is a real benefit. Very versatile.

    The best reason to go 300 over 200 is sheer availability. There are shit-tons of 300's out there. Notsomany 200's.

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  22. #22
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    This is going to take some deep thought, haha

    Clearly the only perfect bike is all the bikes.

    My current line of thinking is if I can get something super light closer to the 200lb mark it'd be worth having the woods-only bike. At the 225lb mark I can get something street legal, maybe a lot newer, and replace the DR but with a substantial weight reduction. Street legal for me is just the absolute bare minimum for riding legally, I could care less about hauling miles all day, mostly just get from trail A to trail B.

    I'll have to try a few 2t's out in the spring to see how I feel about it. Will be lurking for deals this winter.

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  23. #23
    Lifer
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    There's a little more than what's on the spec sheet too. 2T's feel lighter than they are (on or off), and I think some of that comes from the weight being lower. No heavy valve train up by the top tube. I picked up Typeone's 250RR and it reminded me of picking up a 125. It felt so light. On paper, it's 224lb dry. My 236lb dry WR250F feels like it's made of lead in comparison, and I don't think it's the 12lb weight difference doing all that. Granted, my 4T probably weighs a bit more than the 250RR if comparing wet weights.

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  24. #24
    Lifer typeone's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    yup, was going to come back to say something similar ... my RR is a pig on paper but doesn't feel it at all while riding ... until your ride an even lighter 2T ... both my Husky's weighed exactly the same, 270 4T / 165 2T, but the 2-stroke felt like a mountain bike in comparison. neither bike was 'light' on paper either. 4-strokes always feel like i'm riding with a bowling ball in my lap.

    if you can find a punched out 125 -> 150cc 2T enduro focused machine, try one. they are stupid fun to ride single track on.

    and BTW, there is a Beta dealer 30min north of you

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  25. #25
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: 10 year old dirt bikes

    Makes a lot of sense. Now that I'm used to it the DR feels great when I'm moving. Even at relatively slow speeds I've gotten comfortable tossing it around a bit, but when it starts to tip - especially on a hill - all that weight goes right to my wrists and suddenly I'm jumping off the bike bench pressing 300lbs. Of course I have nothing to compare it to except MTB and a little CR85.

    Pushed the DR a hundred yards or so up a rocky, rooty hill after a breakdown once and it was basically the most intense workout of my life.

    Which brings up winter fitness goals, but that's also another thread, lol

    I really don't mind the struggle but I ride solo 95% of the time and do worry about getting in a shitty situation I can't get out of.

    Quote Originally Posted by typeone View Post
    and BTW, there is a Beta dealer 30min north of you
    Good to know!! I never see these bikes around.

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