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Well I was all over the 400 option until today. An MX racer listened to my story about how I'd probably ride and my total lack of dirt background since 1972 or so and suggested the WR250 (Yami dealership don'cha know). And remembering how the 250 trials bikes used to claw up crazy hills that you couldn't climb on foot I'm thinking he's making lots of sense. He said that for tight trails the 250 would be a much more easy bike to ride and actually handles the tight stuff better than the WR450 by far. But if I wanted to go fast on the logging roads then the 450 would be a much better choice. I asked him how fast the 250 would manage on the logging roads and he replied "oh, it'll do 40 to 50 mph quite well." I wonder what this guy's idea of "fast" is..... :eek I'm thinking that 40 or 50 mph on gravel is PLENTY fast enough for this ol' cowboy!

The 250 is lighter and smaller, the power doesn't come on with so much of a rush and in the case of the WR it's got an E-starter. Nice when you're on a slippery slope and stall it.

Sat on a couple of DRZ's today and I must say that they DO feel quite top heavy, have a tall saddle and just generally did not feel "right" for me. However the WR250 felt like I was on my favourite mountain bike. Fit nice, felt nice. In effect the DRZ felt like a narrower and lighter XR650... ie: BIG!

So, what's the feeling about a 250 like the WR250 or the CRF250X for logging road and single track playing?
 
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I don't think you can go wrong with any Japanese 4 stroke. A Honda XR400 is simple, reliable, easy to ride, and cheap but you will outgrow its performance as you get faster. That could be months or years. As for the other Hondas both the the offroad specific CRF 450X and CRF 250X would be great but you would be lucky to find one used. XR650 is a monster stay away unless you ride nothing but roads. YAMAHA is my brand of choice. I've been racing a 2001 WR426 in Desert races since well 2001 with well over 3000k and done nothing but regular maint. and one top end to keep it fresh. It can be a handfull in the woods as I'm finding out now that I live in the Northwest. I might lean towards the Wr250F if tight woods is your ride of choice. You should be able to find them both used. Kawasakis got nothing of use unless you want a 2 Stroke. The Suzuki is a much better version of a Honda XR400. I would also stay away from any MX bike if you are just starting out. Their suspension is way to stiff for trail riding for mere mortals and they have a much bigger hit. Any KTM is great but bigger Maint. to Fun ratio than the others. Riding dirt can teach you a lot about bike control and transfer over to your confidence on the street. Have fun
 

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I think anything will do for logging roads. The modern 250's will do more like 140 kph I'm sure if geared correctly. Even my dad's old XR200 would 100 kph on the flat. You may want to stay away from an MX bike though if you plan on doing lots of logging roads due to their close ratio gear-boxes.

The lighter weight of the 250's will be a definate advantage for single track. I steered away from the 250's and got the DRZ instead though because I was concerned about the power delivery of the 250's. They make massive amounts of power (almost 35 hp???) out of a small engine. For advanced riders that's great, but for more average riders smooth power delivery is far more important than maximum power. The DRZ is one of the smoothest engines out there with lots of bottom end. This makes it easy to control on tight trails.

I always thought the ideal bike for trails would be a DRZ engine with a 250's chasis and weight. Nothing like that in existance yet.
 
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TeeTee said:
Well I was all over the 400 option until today. An MX racer listened to my story about how I'd probably ride and my total lack of dirt background since 1972 or so and suggested the WR250 (Yami dealership don'cha know). And remembering how the 250 trials bikes used to claw up crazy hills that you couldn't climb on foot I'm thinking he's making lots of sense. He said that for tight trails the 250 would be a much more easy bike to ride and actually handles the tight stuff better than the WR450 by far. But if I wanted to go fast on the logging roads then the 450 would be a much better choice. I asked him how fast the 250 would manage on the logging roads and he replied "oh, it'll do 40 to 50 mph quite well." I wonder what this guy's idea of "fast" is..... :eek I'm thinking that 40 or 50 mph on gravel is PLENTY fast enough for this ol' cowboy!

The 250 is lighter and smaller, the power doesn't come on with so much of a rush and in the case of the WR it's got an E-starter. Nice when you're on a slippery slope and stall it.

Sat on a couple of DRZ's today and I must say that they DO feel quite top heavy, have a tall saddle and just generally did not feel "right" for me. However the WR250 felt like I was on my favourite mountain bike. Fit nice, felt nice. In effect the DRZ felt like a narrower and lighter XR650... ie: BIG!

So, what's the feeling about a 250 like the WR250 or the CRF250X for logging road and single track playing?
Hey TEE TEE, the WR250 would be a great choice. One of my riding buddies rides one. Enough power, reliable, great all around bike. Maybe it does'nt crawl up a rocky hill as easy as my bike. I haven't talked to him in a couple of weeks, but last time we went riding together he was mumbling about selling it[2 small kids, no time]. Low hours, well maint., very clean. I think it's an '01 [no E-start]. Let me know if your interested :thumbup
 

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Thanks guys. Yep, no MX style bikes for me. I'm aiming towards the 250's that have the rep for being more moderate with a smooth build up of power and the wider ratio gears.

The motoX racer dude at Pac Yam that filled me in on the WR 250 and 450 listened to what I had to say about my abilities and what and how I like to ride and said "250 for sure". He said that the 450 just wants to go all the time and it's hard to be subtle with it in the tight stuff.

Dirtbag and Mark, does that fit in with how you find your bikes?

I thought I wanted a DRZ until I sat on them. They just feel top heavy to me. That and reports of them being a bit of a tank in the tight stuff has put me off them. And these reports are coming from DRZ owners themselves so I'm giving them a pretty good confidence level.
 
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No replacement for displacement! But advantage to the 250s in both weight and handling. If I didn't have to haul around 190Lbs plus gear I would lean towards the 250s for woods riding. It's amazing how much power the little 4 stokes produce now. The only real down side usually for the 250s is you have to rev them a little more to get to the power instead of lugging them around. At the end of the day even fast guys will come away feeling less worn out riding the lighter bike. And stay away from mx bikes.
 
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Or if saftey is a concern this Honda and this Yamaha probably wouldn't get you in trouble. I would go with the Honda at least it could bring you a beer.
 
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TEE TEE, It might come down to how much you weight. I'm 215 in street clothes so the 450 was the obvious choice. Really the weight diff between a 250 or 450 is not that much. It can be made up in how much gear you carry.The WR 250 is known to be pipey for a 4-stroke. I've heard nothing but raves about the CRF 250X, but I have yet to see one in the woods. I've never believed that a 450 is too much for the tight woods. It just makes you learn throttle control that much faster. I find one of my bikes best traits is it's grunt just off idle. I usually ride with the guy on the WR250 [similar skill level to me], and a more experienced guy on a KX250. Say on a loose rocky uphill, my bike will crawl up smoothly, the WR will spin and bounce a bit,and the KX is all over the place. Simply because of how the power is delivered.
Just don't analyze it too much. Any bike you get will handle all you can throw at it.
No matter what you buy, you'll probably want something diff next year. Sometimes I get this yearning for a 2-stroke, but then I stall on a slippery side hill and just push the button and say why would I give up this.
FYI, I have a pal in Manitoba that sells KTM. I could get you a smokin deal [no sales tax].
 

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You guys are helping a lot. I'm starting to think 400-450 again just for the torque.

I know that I'll be on an uphill section, see something I don't like, slow down to jump it and get stable and then want to torque away at too low an rpm. Something the 250 probably won't tolerate.

E button is essential. I've decided that.

But those 2 specific 250's are what are tops on my list right now. A one or two tooth smaller front sprocket will go on before it hits a single trail. I don't mind revving it but it's gotta have the stomp to pull me through my doubts and poor technique as well as being light and easy to manuever. I know how much of a difference an inch or two on the wheelbase makes for tight maneuvering. That alone is making me look hard at the 250 option. It's not just the weight.

PS: In gear I'll probably gross out at about 210 to 215 pounds. 6ft 1in tall.
 
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