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Old     (norcalmalibu)      Join Date: Jun 2004       04-14-2010, 9:33 PM Reply   
Well I have the fever to get back on the dirt. I was always into riding when I was younger and got bit by the speed bug on the street and go out of dirt around 16. Well fast forward 10 years and I'm looking to head back to the dirt. Here is where I'm at.

I'm looking at a green sticker bike, I want to be able to ride when I want and where I want anytime. I will mostly be riding trails, I doubt you will find me on the MX track. I want a two stroke always been a fan of how they ride.

So my choices so far are in the 250 class. I've been looking at a couple CR 250s after talking to couple guys they recommended the older CRs over the Kawi, Suzuki, Yamaha bikes due to the CR having an aluminum frame. Does this really matter for a newbie getting back on a bike?

In regards to the Suspension most of the 250 bikes I've seen for sale are set up for a rider around 180LBs, I'm 210 and would most likely get the suspension dialed in. What are some good bay area places to have the suspension tuned?

Also what about KTM? I know nothing about them but was always told they are the "bmw" of bikes so to speak?

thanks guys!
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-15-2010, 7:02 AM Reply   
Look for a 2000 or 2001 CR250, or any green sticker (<2003?) KTM smoker IMO. The KX/YZ/RM's from the late green sticker days are fine too. Another really great trail bike (if you can find one) is the ~95-98 RMX250. The 00/01 CR's are great bikes, but aluminum frames are more form than function IMO. Stay away from the first gen (weak frames) and third gen (great frame, but weak motors) CR's.
Old     (colorider)      Join Date: Jun 2001       04-15-2010, 8:08 AM Reply   
Ktm 300. Get the suspension sprung and valved. You will be very happy.
Old     (boomboom)      Join Date: Apr 2008       04-15-2010, 8:27 AM Reply   
I have no idea what a "green sticker bike" is so not even sure if my input will apply, But, the early aluminum framed CRs absolutely sucked. Once they figured the frame out--the motor sucked. Stay with as new a CR as you can afford if you MUST have a Honda. Do not shy away from the older YZs because of the steel frames. The steel frames are proven and really handled well. Further, the motors of most YZs absolutely rocked. My experience with Suzuki is that they are unreliable and become clapped out much faster than teh red/blue/orange bikes.
I have no experience with the KTMs though I heard they handle a bit different than the Japanese bikes--not really bad, but it may take some getting used to.

Don't be afraid of a 4-stroke. They are much easier to ride and you can stretch the maintanence out a bit if it's not getting flogged often.
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       04-15-2010, 9:40 AM Reply   
Trace, I agree with you on the 00/01 CR's. I've had 2 2000 CR's and they're great bikes. Only thing that sucks on the 01 is the carb, that can easily be replaced with an 00 carb.

Jason, I couldn't agree with you less. DO NOT get the newer CR's (02-07). They suck...I know from experience.

KTM's are great...I have a 07 250SX and love it.
Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       04-15-2010, 10:09 AM Reply   
Jason, that sucky motor you're referring to is still the most current CR250 motor. It came to life in 2002.

2000 - 2001 CR250s are the ones to have. 2cd Gen frame, and the proven motor that everyone wants.

The KTMs are awesome, but you'll pay a premium for them.

Don't forget that it's mostly rider. I knew a guy that rode the hell out of a first generation Alum frame CR. He rode circles around everyone on the bike that everyone claims is no good.

I'm a Honda guy, but I know a lot of guys that are happy with the YZ 250s. This would be my second choice.

I would avoid 4 stroke motocross bikes for heavy trail riding unless you're prepared to take it to the shop often. they're not intended to rack up those kinds of hours. Been there, done that, paid a lot of money in repairs that I couldn't do myself. I've rebuild my CR 5 times by myself in my garage.
Old     (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       04-15-2010, 10:44 AM Reply   
Another '01 CR250 owner here. I've got the early carb and no running issues. The bike is great.

I had a '02 KX250 before it. The motor was a beast. Lots of hard hitting power. IMO it needed a flywheel weight to mellow it down. A good bike also. I'm kinda partial to the aluminum frame, though. Not really for any particular reason.

I've also owned a EXC250f KTM. Good bike, but underpowered. IMO if you're going 4-stroke for a trail bike, then stick with the KTM's. The top ends are very durable. Out of the box the KTM had the softest, most woods oriented suspension.(on the EXC bikes. SX's are the track bikes) Probably not the best thing for a big guy.

The stock suspension on a CR may prove a bit soft for someone your size. Most of these bikes will be due for a suspension overhaul at that age anyway. Get some heavier springs. You may be suprised though. These were designed as track bikes. The springs are a bit stiff for trail use. They may work out great for you.

Honestly... I don't think you can go wrong with a '00-'02 smoker. They're all pretty good.
Old     (wakeboardingdad)      Join Date: Aug 2008       04-15-2010, 11:20 AM Reply   
I own 2 KTM's and most of my friends ride KTM also. We all use to ride other brands. There is a reason that you see orange everywhere you go. There are so many varieties out there with all different power deliveries and gear boxes. Almost too many choices. I had an 01 CR250, converted for woods and all I had were gold valves. The stock suspension set up for 165 lbs. from the factory soaked up my fat azz at over 200 and closer to 230 most of the time, especially with gear on. I also had a gnarly pipe, flywheel weight and throttle cam too. For MX, the overloaded suspension probably would have killed me though. With you looking for a green sticker I'm thinking you're not doing MX though. I like my 450EXC KTM and I love my sons 85SX. Compared to the other brands of mini's, it has GOBS of torque. I rode the 300 2stroke and liked it, but I liked the 250 better. Most woods folks like the 300 due to its torque. I call the 85 a mini 300. I'll tell you one thing: I like the gearbox of the worned out Honda better. I could always find neutral and I hardly ever missed shift. My KTM, not so much. You can't have everything I guess. Good luck on your purchase. If you can get to a big ride with the KTM semi there for demo's, you will not be sorry. You might even find a KTM dealer who will demo a bike for you. Ours will and one of our other favorite more distant shops gives you 3 days to ride a used bike and bring it back if you don't like it. You can't beat that. Oh one more thing. KTM has the parts deal going on. They actually stock parts! Why? Because so many of the same parts fit all different bikes. Unlike other brands, the shops can't stock enough to cover all the bikes. I think they are fairly priced too.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-15-2010, 11:36 AM Reply   
I agree with Jason that the 'zooks are a little lower on the reliability scale. Also, supposedly the nikasil plating in the cylinder bore on Kawasakis is thinner than the other brands, so you won't get as many topends out of them before having to have the jug replated.
Old     (norcalmalibu)      Join Date: Jun 2004       04-15-2010, 1:13 PM Reply   
Thanks guys for the info so far. This is all good stuff. What should I be looking for when I got out to look at these bikes? I had a feeling I would be rebuilding the suspension with any bike i get for my size 6'2 210lbs. These are the choices I have in mind so far? Also what about bay area shops anything in the east bay?
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-15-2010, 2:48 PM Reply   
- Check the compression
- Check the condition of the air filter and chain / sprockets
- Look for fork oil leaks
- Put it on a stand and:
----- Wiggle the wheels to feel for any play in the bearings or suspension
----- Spin the wheels looking for any lopes or dings
----- Turn the steering to feel for any friction in the neck bearings
- Bounce the suspension up and down looking for some damping
- Look around the bottom of the motor with a flashlight for oil leaks or a busted case
- Ride it until it warms up, and go thru all the gears
- Make sure it goes into neutral without a fight, and doesn't lurch forward or stall when clicking it down into first with the clutch in
Old     (westsiderippa)      Join Date: Dec 2006       04-15-2010, 3:47 PM Reply   
well i can tell you that the one in soquel is beat to shisat. shon g. had me go look at that one for him and its straight clapped out homie. my buddy has my old cr for sell in san jose. its been ridden 5 times its an 01 has about 2gs in aftermarket parts and looks like a brand new bike. i know he will let it go for 3gs if you want it. again its like buying a brand new 01 cr. in pleasanton there is is an all original 01 cr, guy is a collector its all og and all stock been ridden like 5 times. same guy i bought mine from before. they are legit bikes. i think he wants like 2500. oh and my old bke not only has perfectly dialed suspension, sparky, chain sprockets has a kehin carb and more. pretty much a dialed in woods weapon.
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       04-15-2010, 3:59 PM Reply   
I'd go with what Bryan is offering if possible...some of the used bikes on CL have been through some serious $#!t...just gotta be careful or you'll end up having to spend money fixing it.

I gave my 2000 CR250 away. It had about 8 hours..98% brand new...for $1800. I had no choice...needed the money for the KTM in a hurry
Old     (wakeboardingdad)      Join Date: Aug 2008       04-15-2010, 7:25 PM Reply   
Also while it is on the stand, pick the rear wheel up and down to check for slack. Slack could mean just bearings or linkage too if the bearings weren't replaced soon enough. Also, if the seals are leaking on the forks, move the front wheel forward and back. If there is play, there is bushing wear. Not horrible, just some more money to get it right. Also, also, check for leaks on the shock seal or traces of oil on the shaft. More money of course and make sure the shaft chrome is good. If the seals are gone, it could have eaten the shaft up too.
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       04-15-2010, 8:37 PM Reply   
Don't try to check the linkage on a'll look like a retard
Old     (norcalmalibu)      Join Date: Jun 2004       04-15-2010, 10:54 PM Reply   
Thank again everyone for all the good info. I've called on a couple CR's and a YZ that I'm going to be looking this weekend. The range from good to bad on these bikes is crazy.

If anyone knows of a good CR or YZ let me know. Also I asked a couple post back if anyone knows of a good shop to do suspension please let me know.

Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       04-16-2010, 8:24 AM Reply   
You shoud buy anything that Bryan is selling! He spends half his life riding bikes, and the other half polishing them!
Old     (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       04-16-2010, 3:48 PM Reply   
Agreed with Jarrod.... Buy one of Bryan's old bikes. You wont regret it.

Bendow.... I almost just fell out of my chair. Ha, ha, ha.
Old     (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       04-16-2010, 3:53 PM Reply   
Oh, incidently... I bought my CR pretty clapped out and with a lot of hours on it. After a couple years of maintanence, cleaning, parts replacing, etc.... It's back to being super cherry. Condition of a bike is soo relative. Nice shiny plastics can make a old worn out bike look like new. Don't be afraid of a woods bike that's been maintained. If the guy selling it is a kid that doesn't know anything about what he's riding I'd be nervous about buying it. You'd be better off spending some more coin up front and getting something that is truly in good shape. My Kawi was mint, still on the original top end. I sold it for $2800. Picked up my CR for $2100 and immediately dumped about $1k into it. I probably would have been better off sticking with the Kawi, but I thought I wanted a 4-stroke.

Also, I'm pretty sure that at some point right around 2000 the KX and RM's are litteraly the same bikes with different color plastics. Could any body confirm that? I know the DRZ's and KLX's are the same bikes.
Old     (westsiderippa)      Join Date: Dec 2006       04-16-2010, 7:39 PM Reply   
just let me know if your interested in that bike, its worth it... if you need suspension shoot me another pm and il get you in touch with my suspension guy/mechanic. best in the biz, imo. if you bought my old bike it has all brand new race tech suspension, fuley valved sprung etc... about 1k in suspension work and plush as is gets.
Old     (norcalmalibu)      Join Date: Jun 2004       04-17-2010, 4:53 PM Reply   
Thanks for all the info. I'm looking at a couple this weekend. I will let you know what I find. I will hit you up regarding suspension when its time.
Old     (wakeboardingdad)      Join Date: Aug 2008       04-17-2010, 7:16 PM Reply   
(just thought of this) Nate, it may be so basic, but the very first thing to do is take off the seat and check the airbox. If it's filthy, caked with gook or if the filter is rotted; you can probably stop right there.

2nd on NOT checking the KTM linkage. They don't have any.
Old     (bruce)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-21-2010, 9:27 AM Reply   
Anyone with any experience with the CRF 250x as a trail bike? Looking at 2007 and newer. I've been riding a CRF150rb and I am 6' 200# so I'm too big for the suspension but it had lots o power.
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       04-21-2010, 9:40 AM Reply   
I don't like 4 strokes as trail bikes. Myself and a lot of others like 2 strokes as trail bikes..they're lighter with more power. You can turn an 00-01 CR250 into an amazing trail bike and all of the KTM 2t's are awesome trail bikes.

My dad who is a trail rider when from a CRF450X to KTM300EXC. His only regret was not going with the KTM in the first place...
Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       04-21-2010, 12:59 PM Reply   
"check the airbox. If it's filthy, caked with gook or if the filter is rotted; you can probably stop right there."

That sounds like my bike after every muddy trail riding trip....mius the rotted filter of course.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-21-2010, 1:55 PM Reply   
I owned an 05 250X for a little while, picked it up cheap to use as a spare bike while I tore my main ride down. It was slow and heavy, but the suspension, tranny, and brakes were nice. Seat is comfy too compared to KTM's upholstered 2x4's.


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