What bike for a new trail rider...........

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mudeevee
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What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby mudeevee » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:38 pm

This one comes up at least once a month. In fact it came up at last nights club meeting and again this morning..........

These are the thoughts we had last night. Update or add your comments if you feel differently.........

many people new to the TRf have little or no experience with bikes at all. Some have loads of road riding under their wheels - so what is good advice, for a first bike for Trail riding?

One of the things I've seen is that someone's 'first' bike really is their First - they use that bike to learn how to ride and often swap it within a year when they have more experience and can make choices on what suits them. Others 'first' bike is very quickly followed by another because they bought a 'dog' at their first go (I know I did)!

Often the first bike is chosen on budget and many have some very tight constraints in this regard. I'd recommend keeping the initial budget to around £2000 - anything less and you are likely to buy a real horror show. I'd also look at 4 strokes only as an initial purchase (2T's are fine, but even better when you are used to the road work that has to be done when trail riding in the UK)...........

So given a 2K budget and 4T, what fits the bill for someone new riding unsurfaced roads............... these are not listed in order of preference

1. Suzuki DRZ 400.
Pro's - Plenty of them around. Reliable, Robust, easy to maintain (long service intervals), spares easily available, very capable bike.
Cons - Heavy, horrid colour that yellow!

2, AJP 230cc (there are a number of options with AJP)
Pro's - Light, reliable (air cooled engine), quite a few on 2nd hand market. easy to maintain, easy to ride
Cons - Some say they are underpowered, typical riders wear funny clothes!

3. KTM EXC-F 250 (as late a model as you can get for 2K)
Pro's - Light, availability, well thought of endure bike that is road legal (no buggering around to get an MOT), reliable if maintained, durable, good build quality.
Cons - High seat for shorter people, do require maintaining, Orange!

4. Yamaha WR250F. Alloy frame if you can get one.......
Pro's - Fairly light and well regarded endure/trails bike. Quite a few of the older ones around for reasonable money.
Con's - Make sure it is an OK one from the start - some old dogs out there, so be careful when choosing a particular bike.

Things to avoid (in my opinion):

1. Honda's!!! - people (and I was one) assume that all Honda's are made equal and all are bulletproof - they are NOT! The CRF's come in a number of types and sizes:

CRF250R / 450R - These are motorcross bikes, used for flying around an MX track at perilous speeds and heights. They are not suitable for converting to road legal trail bikes by someone new to Trail riding.

CRF250X / 450X - These are updated R modes, made 'softer' for Enduro. While they can be made road legal fairly easily, my experience with one tells me they need loads of maintaining, loads of TLC and even then they ley you down. Give em a go if you are brave and have deep pockets.

CRF250L - The most recent 'dual sport' available from Honda. They are cheap to buy and run. they 'look' like their endure/mx cousins, but that is about it. Heavy, underpowered, floppy - these are three words I've often heard said about these. That said, there are many that simply love em! Just not me!

2. Buying a 2nd hand bike in Wales!

That's it from me for now. Feel free to add to the 'good' and 'bad' list. I've tried to be objective, based on my experiences - please try to keep comments useful for new members.

Thanks
Derek
Last edited by mudeevee on Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kevpg
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Re: What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby kevpg » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:35 pm

" typical riders wear funny clothes!"

I don't know what you mean? :)

Kev

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mudeevee
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Re: What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby mudeevee » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:09 pm

kevpg wrote:" typical riders wear funny clothes!"

I don't know what you mean? :)

Kev

If the Flat cap fits, wear it :)

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big yellow tractor
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Re: What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby big yellow tractor » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:06 am

Derek,

To add to your list;

Yamaha WR250F is a good starter bike. Normally a few about at reasonable money.

I agree with you on the CRF250L; I really wanted to like it but it feels as heavy as a DRZ (I know, that must defy physics, right ??) but with no power and floppy, boingy suspenders.
I'm led to believe the KLX 250 is a bit better at around the same money

I do have a bit of a soft spot for the CRF250X. I think the engine is a little cracker.
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mudeevee
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Re: What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby mudeevee » Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:06 pm

Thanks Colin - I've updated the original to include the wr............
Not with the 250X comments though!

Stewyjam
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Re: What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby Stewyjam » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:31 pm

I've had 2 strokes and four in the past, loved the Honda cr crossers for mx. been out for a few years but just brought a crm 250.

Not been out yet, hope I won't regret it.
Last edited by Stewyjam on Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

smokinrider
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Re: What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby smokinrider » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:59 pm

Be weary of 2nd hand 2strokes they can get expensive. But even more so with secondhand 4stoke enduro biased machines. (Repairing a dud 4 stroke engine will set you back 4 figures easy, compared to a fee hundred quid tops to totally rebuild a knackered stroker!).
If you buy a new stroker then it's up to you to maintain it and if you do it will see you proud. (I own a 2015 300 stroker with over 400 hours or 13000 + miles on it and it's never missed a beat. Raced rallied and green laned, often thrashed. I did give it a new piston at 170 hours. But know others who did their first piston change at 300+ hours.)

I took a guy out in February on his first green lane ride. He'd done a practice day having never ridden off road and then went straight out and got a ktm300!!! He was also only about 5 foot tall and couldn't get anywhere near touching the ground on it. He did however survive the day and rode as good as anyone else despite his novice status. And he loved it.

Best advice is don't rush into buying the first bike you see or get embroiled in an eBay bidding war and overpaying. A better cheaper bike is always around the corner.

Also. Blag goes on everyone's bikes and see what YOU prefer. Don't just rely on the everyone rides orange so I must approach.


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Stewyjam
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Re: What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby Stewyjam » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:10 am

I have been looking for ages. As you say strokers are Cheaper to repair and liked the idea of a classic. Mine came with history including a receipt for full enging build including crank in January. Regular top ends are easy and no messing around with valve clearances etc.
Last edited by Stewyjam on Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

Stewie
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Re: What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby Stewie » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:44 pm

A good starter bike for trails and road is the KLX250, better out of the box than the cfrl and late models are under 2k.
Off the beaten track!.

Syd
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Re: What bike for a new trail rider...........

Postby Syd » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:35 pm

My CRF 250 X has been brilliant. hardly spent any money on it, never let me down and i've thrown it at everything and into everything - poor thing.

its is road worthy and has an MOT. (CRFs dont come out off the production line with the basics to be road registered so watch out for that).

make sure you get one post 2008 as they are not as power restricted and lighter.


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