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Posted: 7/29/2005 12:04:13 PM EDT
I am thinking about getting a dirt bike for trail riding in desert/mountainous areas. Any suggestions for make/model/size? I used to ride them when I was a kid, but I'm now a 40 yo fart so I won't be doing things like racing. I'll probably use it when hunting also.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:06:24 PM EDT
Try this in the all-new Cars and Bikes forum.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:08:23 PM EDT
Really look at KTM.

By the time you dress up another brand with the aftermarket shit to make it worth a fuck you will spend more than a KTM.

All my trail riding buddies have switched to them and they kick ass.

I need a little coin before I go for it.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:09:35 PM EDT
You might want to look at a Dual Sport bike. Street legal is nice, that way you can ride to the trails. The 400/450cc are about right for me, the 650cc seem a bit over kill, kinda heavy. I have a DR350 now but have been itching for a KTM 450.

Go check out the new bike to see what you like, then check the paper for used one for a fraction of the cost.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:11:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Really look at KTM.

By the time you dress up another brand with the aftermarket shit to make it worth a fuck you will spend more than a KTM.

All my trail riding buddies have switched to them and they kick ass.

I need a little coin before I go for it.


As a long time off-road rider and racer, let me tell you this truth: In the middle of an Enduro (during a reset check), you will see all the Jap bike riders taking a siesta, drinking Gatorade, wolfing down a light sammich...and you will see all the Eurobike (KTMs included) riders working on their bikes.

100% Guaranteed.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:13:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Really look at KTM.

By the time you dress up another brand with the aftermarket shit to make it worth a fuck you will spend more than a KTM.

All my trail riding buddies have switched to them and they kick ass.

I need a little coin before I go for it.


As a long time off-road rider and racer, let me tell you this truth: In the middle of an Enduro (during a reset check), you will see all the Jap bike riders taking a siesta, drinking Gatorade, wolfing down a light sammich...and you will see all the Eurobike (KTMs included) riders working on their bikes.

100% Guaranteed.



I am pretty sure I'd go with a rice-burner. I had a Honda Nighthawk until we started having kids. I also had Yamaha dirt bikes when I was young. Would a ~250cc bike be enuf to get around or would I be itching for more power three days after buying one.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:13:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/29/2005 12:16:37 PM EDT by MachinegunManiac]

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Really look at KTM.

By the time you dress up another brand with the aftermarket shit to make it worth a fuck you will spend more than a KTM.

All my trail riding buddies have switched to them and they kick ass.

I need a little coin before I go for it.


Dress up a trail bike??? I never do but then again I'm not one of those MX wanna-be's. My bike( Kawasaki KL250) isn't very pretty. It was one of those confiscated stolen bikes that no one ever claimed. It was beat up but was easily fixable to run and was only $50. I don't understand dressing up an off-road bike when you use them the way they should be used.

I would go with a Japanese bike because of they're affordability and dependability. There's nothing wrong with getting a used bike either. Personally I think that the new ones are so overpriced for what they're intended purpose is.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:14:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NevadaARshooter:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Really look at KTM.

By the time you dress up another brand with the aftermarket shit to make it worth a fuck you will spend more than a KTM.

All my trail riding buddies have switched to them and they kick ass.

I need a little coin before I go for it.


As a long time off-road rider and racer, let me tell you this truth: In the middle of an Enduro (during a reset check), you will see all the Jap bike riders taking a siesta, drinking Gatorade, wolfing down a light sammich...and you will see all the Eurobike (KTMs included) riders working on their bikes.

100% Guaranteed.



I am pretty sure I'd go with a rice-burner. I had a Honda Nighthawk until we started having kids. I also had Yamaha dirt bikes when I was young. Would a ~250cc bike be enuf to get around or would I be itching for more power three days after buying one.



uh...2 stroke, right?
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:15:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/29/2005 12:16:44 PM EDT by IAMLEGEND]

Originally Posted By MachinegunManiac:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Really look at KTM.

By the time you dress up another brand with the aftermarket shit to make it worth a fuck you will spend more than a KTM.

All my trail riding buddies have switched to them and they kick ass.

I need a little coin before I go for it.


Dress up a trail bike??? I never do but then again I'm not one of those MX wanna-be's. My bike( Kawasaki KL250) isn't very pretty. It was one of those confiscated stolen bikes that no one ever claimed. It was beat up but was easily fixable to run and was only $50. I don't understand dressing up an off-road bike when you use them the way they should be used.



I mean with better exhaust, handlebars etc. Nothing cosmetic.

ETA: My Honda 250 was a beat to shit POS to look at it. I don't care about that. I mean strictly performance upgrades.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:20:24 PM EDT
The handlebars on mine's crooked and I don't even have an exhaust. Like I said, beat to hell. I thought you meant the stupid little plastic pieces. An exaust is definately a good idea though. Especially when the weather starts getting cold, it's going to seriously screw up the engine(freezing). I had a lawnmower muffler but that got blown off. But for those of you who actually have a complete exhaust, a better exhaust means more HP.

I might end up getting another one next year.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:21:36 PM EDT
I have a Honda XR250 and an XR 400,the 250 would be a good bike to look at if your not looking for anything to wild.very dependable,have over 1000 miles on it with no pboblems.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:23:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MachinegunManiac:
The handlebars on mine's crooked and I don't even have an exhaust. Like I said, beat to hell. I thought you meant the stupid little plastic pieces. An exaust is definately a good idea though. Especially when the weather starts getting cold, it's going to seriously screw up the engine(freezing). I had a lawnmower muffler but that got blown off. But for those of you who actually have a complete exhaust, a better exhaust means more HP.

I might end up getting another one next year.



Yeah, totally. I'm totally with you. I wouldn't waste a cent on the dumb plastic shit.

Just performance upgrades and protection like bark-buster handguards and stuff.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:24:06 PM EDT
Suzuki DRZ400. Good, usable power but not too much. Kinda heavy, but has the happy button.

The happy button makes all the difference in the world. Kawasaki has the same bike but they painted it green and call it a KLX400.

My favorite is the KLX300. No happy button but is a good trail bike. Much lighter than the 400, too.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:25:13 PM EDT
Happy button?You refering to electric start?
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:29:01 PM EDT
I have a Honda CRF450. Its fast, light, reliable and it's a Honda.

I would buy another in a NY second.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:30:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By bwyatt:
Happy button?You refering to electric start?


Yeup. Unless you've got serious time under you riding four-strokes off-road, the happy button is almost mandatory.

My KLX300 (which I raced in NETRA Hare Scrambles-Open class against all the big boys) required three or four different ways of kick starting depending upon how it died.

Simple stall, but bike is upright: Method one.
Stall, bike is on its left side: Method two.
Stall, bike is on its right side: Method three.
Bike is upside down with me under it: Method four.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:34:48 PM EDT
Listen to the gobblin,I do not have electric start on my 250 or 400.The 250 isn't to bad but the 400 when cold will kill you kicking it over.Once it is warmed up its not to bad.Been a few days that at the end of a ride dropped it and had to get help kicking it,it is a beast to say the least.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:40:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By bwyatt:
Happy button?You refering to electric start?


Yeup. Unless you've got serious time under you riding four-strokes off-road, the happy button is almost mandatory.

My KLX300 (which I raced in NETRA Hare Scrambles-Open class against all the big boys) required three or four different ways of kick starting depending upon how it died.

Simple stall, but bike is upright: Method one.
Stall, bike is on its left side: Method two.
Stall, bike is on its right side: Method three.
Bike is upside down with me under it: Method four.



Goblin...sounds like you know bikes. I might just never mind my friends all buying KTMs and stick with Honda.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 12:52:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Goblin...sounds like you know bikes. I might just never mind my friends all buying KTMs and stick with Honda.


Heheheh. I slept at a Holiday Inn last night, what did you expect?

Seriously, I've got thousands of hours and tens of thousands of miles in the saddle of dirt bikes. Raced from '91-'94 and again in 2000. My uncle Donald was an eight-time New England Grand Enduro Champion, 1975 National Enduro/Reliability Series Champ, and six-time ISDT competitor (Olympics of off-road racing).

It's in my blood.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 1:20:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Goblin...sounds like you know bikes. I might just never mind my friends all buying KTMs and stick with Honda.


Heheheh. I slept at a Holiday Inn last night, what did you expect?

Seriously, I've got thousands of hours and tens of thousands of miles in the saddle of dirt bikes. Raced from '91-'94 and again in 2000. My uncle Donald was an eight-time New England Grand Enduro Champion, 1975 National Enduro/Reliability Series Champ, and six-time ISDT competitor (Olympics of off-road racing).

It's in my blood.



w00t!

Trailriding is in your blood?!
I had it all backwards. Any of the bad crashes and my blood was on the trail!
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 1:25:26 PM EDT
HONDA

Make no mistake. The Honda XR is THE premier open-class, four-stroke dirt bike. Period.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 1:49:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BB:
HONDA

Make no mistake. The Honda XR is THE premier open-class, four-stroke dirt bike. Period.


XR? Are you serious? XRs are like time-capsules. If you want to see what dirt bikes looked like and performed like fifteen or twenty years ago, check out a Honda XR.

The XR650R is a fairly recent desert racing bike, but even that design has five or six years on it now. The XR400R and XR250R are 1980s design and technology.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 3:17:24 PM EDT
go to google. enter 'baja motorcycle results' and do a seach. that old technology has won every major desert race in north america since 1997.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 3:47:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BB:
go to google. enter 'baja motorcycle results' and do a seach. that old technology has won every major desert race in north america since 1997.


I don't need to google. I know the results. I also know that the undisputed king of the desert bikes, the Kawasaki KX500 was discontinued years ago, ending alot of the support for desert riders who rode anything but Red (Honda). Since Honda is virtually the only game in town, OF COURSE Honda will win.

But you didn't mention that, did you?

You also didn't mention that the Honda XR650R is STRICTLY a desert bike, did you? That it was designed SOLELY for desert RACING? Ahhhh. I didn't think you did.

What was it you were saying about those results, btw?
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 4:39:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/29/2005 4:59:06 PM EDT by BB]
No, I did'nt mention that it was a desert bike. I didn't mention it because a desert/mountain bike is what the original poster asked about, him being in Nevada and all

And I also agree with you 100% when you say the Honda is the only game in town. Kinda what I meant with my original post

What do you think about the KLR650? I've heard they are a good dual-sport bike and I've been thinking about getting one.
Link Posted: 7/29/2005 4:54:44 PM EDT
this is like my 03 gasgas ec 250 luv it.

Link Posted: 7/29/2005 7:47:33 PM EDT
Yamaha WR owner here. I have nothing against Honda and would ride them anytime but the best bang for the buck is Yamaha. I have a WR400 and the WR 400/426/450 are known for reliability, quality and rideability. I have heard the honda crf450's have had some minor valve issues that are not hardly ever an issue with the Yamaha. For all you Honda guys don't get all up tight, they are great bikes and you won't go wrong with one of them. If you go Honda either XR if you want affordable reliability or CRF if you want performance and fun. I ride trails in Southern Nevada and Utah and I would go with four stroke on any offroad bike for sure. The only time I would consider a 2 smoke is the Motocross track and even then the decision would be hard.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 2:52:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BB:
What do you think about the KLR650? I've heard they are a good dual-sport bike and I've been thinking about getting one.


The KLR650 is just like an XR650R except it's heavier, slower, more top-heavy (higher CoG), and less comfortable to ride.

Other than that, it's pretty good.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 3:20:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/30/2005 3:24:38 AM EDT by BB]

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By BB:
What do you think about the KLR650? I've heard they are a good dual-sport bike and I've been thinking about getting one.


The KLR650 is just like an XR650R except it's heavier, slower, more top-heavy (higher CoG), and less comfortable to ride.

Other than that, it's pretty good.



Less comfortable? I would have thought the opposite since the XR is a race bike. I was thinking a heavier bike would suit the highway better. I am a little leary of the Kawasaki though from a reliability standpoint. I guess I could get the Honda with the lights, or buy a road kit, but I was also looking for more of a road bike than a dirt bike; one that can do highway, dirt roads and light offroading well.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 3:40:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Justy:
Yamaha WR owner here. I have nothing against Honda and would ride them anytime but the best bang for the buck is Yamaha. I have a WR400 and the WR 400/426/450 are known for reliability, quality and rideability. I have heard the honda crf450's have had some minor valve issues that are not hardly ever an issue with the Yamaha. For all you Honda guys don't get all up tight, they are great bikes and you won't go wrong with one of them. If you go Honda either XR if you want affordable reliability or CRF if you want performance and fun. I ride trails in Southern Nevada and Utah and I would go with four stroke on any offroad bike for sure. The only time I would consider a 2 smoke is the Motocross track and even then the decision would be hard.


I have to agree with just about everything you posted.

In the 80s, if you wanted to ride a four-stroke in the woods, the Honda XR line was pretty much all you had to pick from. Starting in 1984, Honda really dumped alot of R&D into their XRs. This continued for a couple of years. Sure, there were other brands to pick from (like Suzukis DR line or Husqvarna 4-strokes), but they were either drastically inferior to Honda's XRs (Suzuki) or drastically more expensive and finicky (Husqvarna). In the 80s, virtually every single 4-stroke that was ridden off-road (with the exception of very high caliber racers and racing teams) was a Honda XR. They were affordable, as reliable as a shovel, and offered pretty good performance.

In 1990, the regular players in the 4-stroke game decided it was time to update their bikes once again. Suzuki (which dropped the DR line for a few years due to dismal sales), jumped back into the market with a new DR lineup. The DRs were highly anticipated from many people, including all the dirt bike magazines. Everybody had the impression that the new DRs were going to be "super 4-strokes." It didn't happen. Yes, the bikes were much more modern than the old DRs, but even such a leap in performance only brought them up to what everybody else was offering at the time...namely Honda. That year, Honda introduced their new XR line and while it was more or less the same bike, a number of upgrades were made such as rear disc brakes and cartridge forks. Honda continued to rule the off-road 4-stroke market.

One thing that has to be remembered, during the 80s and 90s manufacturers dedicated most of their R&D resources to 2-strokes. 2-strokes ruled the land in terms of performance, and emissions concerns were almost non-existent at that time. So, while 4-strokes got better in baby steps (due to limited R&D), 2-strokes got all the newest designs and technology and the performance gap between the two (for off-road purposes, motocross was strictly 2-stroke domain) got even wider. Off-road 2-strokes were what people raced if they were really serious and 4-strokes gradually faded deeper into "casual" off-road riding.

Honda attempted to bolster the XR line in 1996 when it offered newly designed bikes, but that effort was too little, too late. The new designs might have been improvements, but by then the 2-strokes were so far out in front in the technology wars, even these new XRs were relegated to trail riding and occasional weekend-warrior racing. Again, Suzuki fared even worse than Honda. There were a few more European 4-strokes to pick from at that time, but they still fit into the old Husqvarna mold: They were very expensive and very finicky.

By the late 90s, everybody in the off-road world (motocross, desert, enduro, hare scrambles, and cross-country) started understanding that emissions from dirt bikes was going to be an issue in the near future. However, only one manufacturer decided to act swiftly and decisively. That manufacturer was Yamaha. Conventional wisdom had looooong held that motocross was too demanding for 4-strokes to compete in. Thus, nobody made a 4-stroke to compete there. Until Yamaha. They unleashed the YZ400F on the world as the millenium was drawing to a close and that one bike set in motion a revolution in motorcycle technology that continues unabated today. The YZ400F, piloted by Connecticut's own Doug Henry, won a Super Cross event and then followed up that historic win by taking the United States National Motocross Championship the very next year.

With that one bike, Yamaha assumed the role that Honda had long-ago held: Leader in the 4-stroke dirt bike world. Since Yamaha had the jump on everybody, they expanded their 4-stroke line-up to the point that it spilled over into the traditional areas of 4-stroke participation: Deserts, enduros, etc. Soon, Yamahas were THE bikes to have if you wanted a 4-stroke for any off-roading. It took years for the other manufacturers to catch up, but the damage had been done already. No one was going to catch Yamaha in this race for market supremacy. Yamaha stuck its neck out almost a decade ago and is now reaping the benefits of that bold move.

However, in the end, the real winner is the off-road dirt bike consumer.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 10:05:29 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 9:04:17 AM EDT
Anyone have any experience with the Kawasaki KDX200? I read some good things about it on dirtrider.com.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 11:39:13 AM EDT
One more question: how much do dealers move of the msrp? With cars the invoice is published all over the place but I haven't seen the same sort of negotiating tools for this case.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 2:17:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BravoCompanyUSA:
Wobblin-Goblin, great summary!

I was lucky enough to be in the stands to watch history when Doug Henry won in Las Vegas. It was the start of the new age of race bikes.


Thanks. Yep, Henry's win in Las Vegas was historic. It also started the whining from all the 2-stroke racers.

How would you compaire the new Honda CRF to the YZF ?

My initial impression (only from observation and not experience), is the new breed of racing 4 strokes like the YZF and CRF would be a bit of a handlefull for casual trail riding and hunting etc.


A. From what I hear, the aluminum-framed Honda CRFs are kinda harsh, much like the early 2-stroke CR aluminum perimeter frames. At this point, I'd go with the Yamaha. My brother has an '02 YZ250F and it is phenomenal. Hard to imagine it's four years old already and the newer ones are that much better. For a 250 4-stroke, it is a fire breather.

BTW, fully half of all the hare scrambles guys ride MX bikes, my brother included. For the casual rider, I can see one of them being a tad too much. They are also louder than I'd like. Noise pisses too many people off these days and we've got to do something about that. Loud bikes will only make things difficult for us in the long run.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 2:27:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/31/2005 4:50:36 PM EDT by Wobblin-Goblin]

Originally Posted By NevadaARshooter:
Anyone have any experience with the Kawasaki KDX200? I read some good things about it on dirtrider.com.


Hard to believe, but the current model ('05) is virtually the exact same KDX200 that was sold in '95, the last year Kawasaki redesigned the 200. I had a '91, which was in the middle of the '89-'94 series KDX200 run. That was a fantastic bike for it's time. The current model was fairly competitive when it came out in '95, but Kawasaki hasn't changed diddly since, except for BNG (bold new graphics- ie, different stickers on the gas tank ). It didn't take long for the competition (KTM200, etc) to pull away and leave the KDX squarely in "play bike" territory.

The one major issue I have with the KDX is the rubber-mounted handlebars. They cut down a smidge of vibration but give a pretty lousy feel to the steering. If I were to get one (and I might), I'd get rid of that setup.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 5:40:27 PM EDT
Well, I ride this sucker for Hare Scrambles.

<--------

2003 KX250. It has a Pro Circuit exhaust pipe (came free when the bike was bought), Pro Taper bars (absolutely bullet tree proof. All the trees I've hit haven't so much as bent these babies), and BarkBusters (saved me from more broken hands than I can count)



This beautiful Green Machine has only won 2 races with me so far, but that isn't the bike's fault. Right now, it is coming up on being 3 years old and it is still running on the original piston, rings, and cylinder. 4 strokes are fun and pretty fast, but if you plan on riding many tight trails, the wieght will kill you. Course, maybe it's just because I'm used to riding the bugger woods of the Moose Run(titled as the Toughest Race in America, of which I won my class in June) and anything else Bill Gusse can throw at us. Best thing you can do is get to know the local dealer, and take some test rides. Riding the bike(s) you are interested in is the only way to really make up your mind.

Long live the 2-stroke!

WIZZO
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 5:50:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By BB:
go to google. enter 'baja motorcycle results' and do a seach. that old technology has won every major desert race in north america since 1997.


I don't need to google. I know the results. I also know that the undisputed king of the desert bikes, the Kawasaki KX500 was discontinued years ago, ending alot of the support for desert riders who rode anything but Red (Honda). Since Honda is virtually the only game in town, OF COURSE Honda will win.

But you didn't mention that, did you?

You also didn't mention that the Honda XR650R is STRICTLY a desert bike, did you? That it was designed SOLELY for desert RACING? Ahhhh. I didn't think you did.

What was it you were saying about those results, btw?



You also forgot to mention that the Honda that won wasn't the same one off the showroom floor. Honda throws stupid money into all of its racing programs.

Thier race bikes are totally different from stock.

See what the privateers are running.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 5:50:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/31/2005 5:53:05 PM EDT by akethan]
Just picked up a '05 PW50 For my son's third birthday.

Here's a old shot, the PW may be too small for you so, I'd get a 4 stroke Yam or Honda

Link Posted: 8/1/2005 5:34:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shootemup:
You also forgot to mention that the Honda that won wasn't the same one off the showroom floor. Honda throws stupid money into all of its racing programs.

Thier race bikes are totally different from stock.

See what the privateers are running.


Yep. Factory bikes have all the million dollar goodies on them.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 10:09:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shootemup:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By BB:
go to google. enter 'baja motorcycle results' and do a seach. that old technology has won every major desert race in north america since 1997.


I don't need to google. I know the results. I also know that the undisputed king of the desert bikes, the Kawasaki KX500 was discontinued years ago, ending alot of the support for desert riders who rode anything but Red (Honda). Since Honda is virtually the only game in town, OF COURSE Honda will win.

But you didn't mention that, did you?

You also didn't mention that the Honda XR650R is STRICTLY a desert bike, did you? That it was designed SOLELY for desert RACING? Ahhhh. I didn't think you did.

What was it you were saying about those results, btw?



You also forgot to mention that the Honda that won wasn't the same one off the showroom floor. Honda throws stupid money into all of its racing programs.

Thier race bikes are totally different from stock.

See what the privateers are running.



The XR650Rs that Honda races are actually not that far removed from what the consumer buys. I know because I've watched those XRs being built in the American Honda race shop by Johnny Campbell. I also know how much prep went into the KX500s back in the day when they ruled Baja. Most of the budgets spent in desert racing (especially Baja) go into the logistics/support side of things. You think it's cheap to have a helicopter accompanying your lead bike for the 12 hours of daylight when flying is permitted in Baja? Or housing and feeding the 50-100 volunteers that man the pits? The bikes cost next to nothing in comparison (even with works suspension components, which is pretty much the most exotic thing nowadays, though the "factory" Hondas stick mostly with Precision Concepts-modified stock Showa stuff). Privateer teams (like Mike Childress and Mouse McCoy's XR650R that won the Baja 500 in June) often employ much more radical engines than the factory bikes in Baja on the premise that horsepower wins. Campbell and Hengeveld, however, stick with Bruce Ogilvie's theorem (he's Honda's off-road coordinator and a former Baja winner as well as ISDE medalist) that even in a long sprint like the 1000 has become, it's best to have rideable and reliable power.

But back on topic, I agree that a KDX might be a great sleeper deal for NV AR Shooter to examine. Since it doesn't sound like he's going to be racing, even though it's a two-stroke, all it really needs for his probable demands would be dialed-in suspension to accomodate his weight (the stock setup is on the very soft side) and an aftermarket pipe (while retaining the stock silencer/spark arrestor; this will keep it pretty quiet while the aftermarket pipe will help wake up the power delivery). The beauty of it is that because it's a comparatively dated design, it's going to be relatively inexpensive to buy. Also, for trail use, I'd recommend the KDX220. Is tuned for a bit more torque. While the KDXs may not be the best race bikes (though Jeff Fredette is still very darn quick on his!), they're still great little trail bikes being inexpensive, easy to maintain, easy to ride, quiet (with the stock silencer/spark arrestor), fun to ride, easy to start (especially compared to a non-electric-start four-stroke) and lightweight.

The contemporary 250cc four-strokes are designed more as racers, and you've got to ride them more like 125cc two-stroke motocrossers to really obtain the full benefits of their motors. They're not stump-pulling torque monsters, despite being four-strokes. To get that kind of grunt, you've got to look at 400s or larger, but then you're dealing with more weight, expense, etc.

For a newer trail 250cc four-stroke, the Yamaha TT-R250 is another overlooked machine. Electric start, a bit lower seat height than the race bikes, easy to ride, quiet and again, relatively inexpensive.

BTW, my job has included T&E of a variety of motorcycles and ATVs over the last 25 years, and I maintain a close working relationship with all the manufacturers as well as the enthusiast media. Thus, it pays for me to keep an open mind about these things and examine not just what's the best race bike out there for a future Ricky Carmichael but what might best suit Joe Schmoe from Kokomo with a wife, two kids and a fat mortgage. HTH.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 11:12:21 AM EDT
You know, there was a "Kato" that worked for "Dirt Rider" magazine in the '90s....
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 2:22:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kato4moto:

Originally Posted By shootemup:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By BB:
go to google. enter 'baja motorcycle results' and do a seach. that old technology has won every major desert race in north america since 1997.


I don't need to google. I know the results. I also know that the undisputed king of the desert bikes, the Kawasaki KX500 was discontinued years ago, ending alot of the support for desert riders who rode anything but Red (Honda). Since Honda is virtually the only game in town, OF COURSE Honda will win.

But you didn't mention that, did you?

You also didn't mention that the Honda XR650R is STRICTLY a desert bike, did you? That it was designed SOLELY for desert RACING? Ahhhh. I didn't think you did.

What was it you were saying about those results, btw?



You also forgot to mention that the Honda that won wasn't the same one off the showroom floor. Honda throws stupid money into all of its racing programs.

Thier race bikes are totally different from stock.

See what the privateers are running.



The XR650Rs that Honda races are actually not that far removed from what the consumer buys. I know because I've watched those XRs being built in the American Honda race shop by Johnny Campbell. I also know how much prep went into the KX500s back in the day when they ruled Baja. Most of the budgets spent in desert racing (especially Baja) go into the logistics/support side of things. You think it's cheap to have a helicopter accompanying your lead bike for the 12 hours of daylight when flying is permitted in Baja? Or housing and feeding the 50-100 volunteers that man the pits? The bikes cost next to nothing in comparison (even with works suspension components, which is pretty much the most exotic thing nowadays, though the "factory" Hondas stick mostly with Precision Concepts-modified stock Showa stuff). Privateer teams (like Mike Childress and Mouse McCoy's XR650R that won the Baja 500 in June) often employ much more radical engines than the factory bikes in Baja on the premise that horsepower wins. Campbell and Hengeveld, however, stick with Bruce Ogilvie's theorem (he's Honda's off-road coordinator and a former Baja winner as well as ISDE medalist) that even in a long sprint like the 1000 has become, it's best to have rideable and reliable power.

But back on topic, I agree that a KDX might be a great sleeper deal for NV AR Shooter to examine. Since it doesn't sound like he's going to be racing, even though it's a two-stroke, all it really needs for his probable demands would be dialed-in suspension to accomodate his weight (the stock setup is on the very soft side) and an aftermarket pipe (while retaining the stock silencer/spark arrestor; this will keep it pretty quiet while the aftermarket pipe will help wake up the power delivery). The beauty of it is that because it's a comparatively dated design, it's going to be relatively inexpensive to buy. Also, for trail use, I'd recommend the KDX220. Is tuned for a bit more torque. While the KDXs may not be the best race bikes (though Jeff Fredette is still very darn quick on his!), they're still great little trail bikes being inexpensive, easy to maintain, easy to ride, quiet (with the stock silencer/spark arrestor), fun to ride, easy to start (especially compared to a non-electric-start four-stroke) and lightweight.

The contemporary 250cc four-strokes are designed more as racers, and you've got to ride them more like 125cc two-stroke motocrossers to really obtain the full benefits of their motors. They're not stump-pulling torque monsters, despite being four-strokes. To get that kind of grunt, you've got to look at 400s or larger, but then you're dealing with more weight, expense, etc.

For a newer trail 250cc four-stroke, the Yamaha TT-R250 is another overlooked machine. Electric start, a bit lower seat height than the race bikes, easy to ride, quiet and again, relatively inexpensive.

BTW, my job has included T&E of a variety of motorcycles and ATVs over the last 25 years, and I maintain a close working relationship with all the manufacturers as well as the enthusiast media. Thus, it pays for me to keep an open mind about these things and examine not just what's the best race bike out there for a future Ricky Carmichael but what might best suit Joe Schmoe from Kokomo with a wife, two kids and a fat mortgage. HTH.



Here is the laundry list of mods that Campell gave to a mag that tested the bike.

"The XR650Rs that Honda races are actually not that far removed from what the consumer buys."


Just like the one on the showroom

That being said, here is the link to the article.

XR650

I own a Honda car, a CRF450 and a RC51 streetbike. I believe that Honda's are the best engineered bikes out there. THe latest race results may not speak for themselves tho.

I don't know who you are, but I've been around the MX and roadracing scene for a long time. I can tell you and everyone else outhere that 99.9% of the time the winner is on a bike that is unobtainable to the average person, regardless of funds.

Just look into the 96' Mid Ohio AMA roadrace where they tried to claim the rear shock off of Duhamels cbr600 under the rules.

Honda claimed that the shock cost in excess of $60,000.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 3:28:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/1/2005 4:00:58 PM EDT by kato4moto]

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
You know, there was a "Kato" that worked for "Dirt Rider" magazine in the '90s....



Present and accounted for! Actually, I started with Charlie Morey on the very first issue (Dec. '82) and stayed on staff until the company downsized in Oct. '96. Been freelancing since then--and shooting more! (Though probably riding less .)

ETA: Here's a link to the Honda Red Riders Web site on some of the modifications/prep they do to their Baja racers that could be utilized by pretty much anyone. Not a lot of unobtainable tricks when you examine them. www.hondaredriders.com/insideline/archivefeaturedetail.asp?ArticleID=090111c0801b8aa9&Type=OR&bhcp=1

Here's one on what they do to convert a CRF450R to a desert racer (this was done before the X came out earlier this year). www.hondaredriders.com/insideline/archivefeaturedetail.asp?ArticleID=090111c08013d725&Type=OR&bhcp=1

And here's a story from two years ago on what it takes to turn a stock XR650R into one of their race bikes. Things haven't changed that much since; they're continuing to test different suspension settings and engine modifications, with the goal of having optimized settings for every course and condition they anticipate in an upcoming race. http://www.hondaredriders.com/insideline/archivefeaturedetail.asp?ArticleID=090111c08013d670&Type=OR&bhcp=1

As for Shootemup's assertion that people couldn't buy even the shock off Duhamel's CBR600RR, that's very true. In the pro road race and motocross departments, there's a lot more money involved. The off-road end of things is allotted a far smaller budget, though that budget is still far greater than what's usually spent by the typical privateer team in Baja.

But having been in both the pro MX and road racing departments as well as Johnny Campbell's cage at Honda, I can tell you that much of Honda's desert success has been due to superior preparation of surprisingly close-to-standard motorcycles as well as the planning of logistics and pre-running.

And from what I've seen over the past 25 years in the business, both as an amateur club racer on both pavement and MX, plus lots of miles in off-road events (eight finishes in the Baja 1000 out of eight starts with a best of third 250cc Pro) and as a motojournalist, I'd say the bike comprises a larger percentage of the equation in road racing than in moto or off-road. The rider can overcome machine defiencies in the dirt more easily than on asphalt IMHO. But again, this is rather off-topic in regards to the initial query posed by NV AR Shooter who's looking for a trail bike to use in Southern Nevada and Utah (some great trails near the Jean DBS site, especially after a rain; Beer Bottle Pass, anyone?).
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 4:15:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BravoCompanyUSA:
Wobblin-Goblin,

great summary!
I was lucky enough to be in the stands to watch history when Doug Henry won in Las Vegas. It was the start of the new age of race bikes.

How would you compaire the new Honda CRF to the YZF ?

My initial impression (only from observation and not experience), is the new breed of racing 4 strokes like the YZF and CRF would be a bit of a handlefull for casual trail riding and hunting etc.



Agreed. Excellent time-line by WG.

As for the CRF vs. YZ-F, I'm assuming you're asking about the 450s. In a nutshell, the CRF is probably a little easier to ride for the average guy. A pro might prefer the harder hit of the Yamaha, however. As for the Honda's aluminum frame being too stiff, you're thinking about the first three generations of aluminum-framed CR250Rs. Honda has repeatedly played with the torsional and lateral rigidity numbers of the aluminum frames and seem to have settled into an equation that is liked by most. It'll be interesting to see how the aluminum-framed YZ-Fs (and the KX450F) compare when it comes to frame rigidity. As Honda discovered (after several generations of aluminum-framed dirt bikes), most rigid does not always mean most-liked. The rougher the terrain, it seems, the more you need a little resilience in the chassis so the overworked suspension (and rider) doesn't have to attempt to absorb every little thing.

BTW WG, do you know Josh McLevy? He's from CT. Very talented young man, though he could probably back off a touch and get better results.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 4:46:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/1/2005 4:47:26 PM EDT by BB]
kato4moto, any suggestions on dual-sport bikes? I'm looking for a mostly paved road and dirt road, occasional trail bike.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 4:53:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BB:
kato4moto, any suggestions on dual-sport bikes? I'm looking for a mostly paved road and dirt road, occasional trail bike.



Sending e-mail.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 5:06:58 PM EDT
Look at the XR650 and the Suzuki DRZ
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 5:46:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kato4moto:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
You know, there was a "Kato" that worked for "Dirt Rider" magazine in the '90s....


Present and accounted for! Actually, I started with Charlie Morey on the very first issue (Dec. '82) and stayed on staff until the company downsized in Oct. '96. Been freelancing since then--and shooting more! (Though probably riding less .)


Wow. It is you.

You know, since you mention Fredette, I happen to remember an article in Dirt Rider about a dozen years ago where you went out to his place to test the KDX200...and you wound up taking a dive and bending his personal ride.

Heheheh. I got a memory like an elephant. You are sooooo owned.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 5:53:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kato4moto:
BTW WG, do you know Josh McLevy? He's from CT. Very talented young man, though he could probably back off a touch and get better results.


Yes, I know of him. He rode with my club (Hoot Owl Scramblers) some. In fact, I do believe that he showed up to an outlaw race our club put on in November of 2000. That was more or less the last time I rode seriously. Kenny Law and myself were doing some hot laps pulling away from everybody else in practice (1/2 mile woods course). Just as we were getting ready for the actual race (which McLevy participated in), my wife went into labor with our first child.

Sold the bike soon after and haven't ridden since. Going up to Maine to see my uncle pretty soon. He puts on a ride every year in August.

Kato, I am very glad to see you are a gun enthusiast as well as a motorcycle guy.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 6:40:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/1/2005 6:44:00 PM EDT by WIZZO_ARAKM14]

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By kato4moto:

<snip>
Kato, I am very glad to see you are a gun enthusiast as well as a motorcycle guy.



+1

To you too Wobblin. Guns, Trucks, and bikes? Sounds like I need to get out to CT and hang out

WIZZO

EDIT: And about the KDX 220, I was surfing Kawasaki's website and it looks as though they dropped it for 2006 along with the KX125.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 2:32:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By WIZZO_ARAKM14:
To you too Wobblin. Guns, Trucks, and bikes? Sounds like I need to get out to CT and hang out


My door is always open, WIZ.
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