First bike after 35 yrs, need help!

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3/24/2018 9:58 AM

I need help... First a quick profile: 57 yrs old, 5-9, 170lbs, good shape (ski, mtn bike, gym). Experience: raced moto in NJ/ PA from 14 to 19 years old, A few trophies, no firsts! Last bike, 78' Yama YZ250E. Recently rode kx250f 1/2 dozen times on single track and fire roads in 17'. Friends bike.

My goal is to buy a bike for racing MX and some JDays in the MA/ NH area. Some great loamy and sandy tracks, including Southwick. Plus trail riding in Plymouth with my new friends.

Question is what should I buy? Budget is approx $6k. Kx250 was OK, hated having to kick start it since it was carbureted. Do I need a 450 to be competitive? At 170 lbs I worry it's more power then needed. Love stats of the KTM 350s, with elec start, but rare to find one in my budget. Love idea of Yamaha reliability, but are they awkward and hard to turn? I see bargains on KX 450s... I really do need some insights, so please chime in ...

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3/24/2018 10:07 AM

450 is fine. It's less maintenance. A cheap clearance kawi or Suzuki would be a good deal. Electric start is a nice luxury but maybe not worth the premium you're seeing.

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3/24/2018 10:12 AM

450 should be just fine. With the newer one's you can always detune them so they have less of a hit. Create your own map for your riding styles (trails, MX, etc.)

As for which bike, the cleanest one you can find with the best price.

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"Sorry Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower."

3/24/2018 10:20 AM

With EFI, bikes are pretty easy to kick so I don’t think e start is a must. Get the newest 450 you can for your budget in your favorite color. Or get a 250 two stroke and really have some fun!

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3/24/2018 10:21 AM

At your age/weight/height/budget, I'd seek out a 250 two-stroke or 250F.

Two-strokes work great in the sand. A YZ250 with a flywheel weight and vet-friendly suspension set-up could be the ticket. At 219 lbs./46 HP it will be easier to manage than a 240 lb./58 HP 450.

A YZ250X has a mellow engine spec and softer suspension. With a flywheel weight it could be vet perfect right out of the box. The wide-ratio transmission may not be good for moto. I haven't tried one. I like my YZ250.

A 250F could be ideal as well, but will be expensive to rebuild when it is time. I wouldn't buy a used one, as it has likely been hammered/neglected by a 18 year old.

I'm 35, 175 lbs., 6', and moto for fun. I'll never buy a 450 again, as a 250 two-stroke gets me around just fine. It is fun, light, nice-sounding, and affordable, which is how I like women as well as dirt bikes.

In a perfect world, beg a ride on a few bikes at a practice day. Offer $20 to take a bike around for a lap or two. Many riders will offer a ride then use that cash to get a case of beer later. I'd let you ride mine for free.

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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

3/24/2018 10:21 AM

A new Zook

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3/24/2018 10:34 AM

YZ250 2 stroke with a flywheel weight for my money is the best do it all bike out there. Gets me around the moto track just fine, it’s a blast in the woods, and it’s cheap and easy to work on. I’ve also got a YZ250F I love for moto, but the maintenance costs definitely get higher with them. I’m 26, 5’9”, 175 for what it’s worth.

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RPM Performance
CT
783

3/24/2018 10:36 AM

I race JDay and some select NESC/Nemx events, mostly at southwick on 2015 kx250f.

If your budget is $6k, you should be able to pick up a nice new fuel injected 250F for right around that price. The fuel injected bikes are easy to kickstart once you learn the “motion” of kicking, as long as it’s in good mechanical condition. Personally, if I Don’t need a new bike right away, I like to buy used bikes with less than 10 hours on them. You can tell right away when a bike is actually mint. Usually you can save $1500+ off the OTD dealer price.

But like someone else said, a YZ250X sounds like a great fit for you. It’s excellent in the woods, and if you’re not too aggressive MX rider you’ll find the suspension and power to be really good too. You should try to ride one. Personally, I think a 450 is too much for Jdays. The only advantage I see with a 450 in your case, would be extended service intervals.

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3/24/2018 10:38 AM

B DUB 333 wrote:

A new Zook

Yes, but an RMZ250.

A light vet rider who has been away from the sport will likely enjoy an RMZ250 more than an RMZ450.

Also, an RMZ250 can be had dirt cheap. And with a pipe and maybe a high compression piston would likely be plenty powerful for an older guy.

This isn't drag racing. Too much power can be worse than not enough. Whiskey throttle on a 450 is unpleasant regardless of age and experience!

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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

3/24/2018 10:49 AM

pCp 252 wrote:

I race JDay and some select NESC/Nemx events, mostly at southwick on 2015 kx250f.

If your budget is $6k, you should be able to pick up a nice new fuel injected 250F for right around that price. The fuel injected bikes are easy to kickstart once you learn the “motion” of kicking, as long as it’s in good mechanical condition. Personally, if I Don’t need a new bike right away, I like to buy used bikes with less than 10 hours on them. You can tell right away when a bike is actually mint. Usually you can save $1500+ off the OTD dealer price.

But like someone else said, a YZ250X sounds like a great fit for you. It’s excellent in the woods, and if you’re not too aggressive MX rider you’ll find the suspension and power to be really good too. You should try to ride one. Personally, I think a 450 is too much for Jdays. The only advantage I see with a 450 in your case, would be extended service intervals.

My lap times are better on a 450.

I crash harder on a 450.

I'd rather ride a 250. Also, a top-end is dirt cheap and they don't eat tires/chains/sprockets.

For safety and cost, you will see me on a 250 two-stroke until I keel. I'd consider an RMZ250 for a woods bike or spare moto bike. I'll never consider a 450 again. Too many bad crashes, and I don't want to go that fast any more. If the ground looks blurry, that is faster than I want to go and/or crash.





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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

3/24/2018 10:50 AM

B DUB 333 wrote:

A new Zook

Bry145 wrote:

Yes, but an RMZ250.

A light vet rider who has been away from the sport will likely enjoy an RMZ250 more than an RMZ450.

Also, an RMZ250 can be had dirt cheap. And with a pipe and maybe a high compression piston would likely be plenty powerful for an older guy.

This isn't drag racing. Too much power can be worse than not enough. Whiskey throttle on a 450 is unpleasant regardless of age and experience!

Too much is never enough.

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

3/24/2018 10:52 AM

Ktm 300 sounds perfect for you.

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"fortunately I keep my feathers numbered.....for just such an occasion"

3/24/2018 11:08 AM

B DUB 333 wrote:

A new Zook

Bry145 wrote:

Yes, but an RMZ250.

A light vet rider who has been away from the sport will likely enjoy an RMZ250 more than an RMZ450.

Also, an RMZ250 can be had dirt cheap. And with a pipe and maybe a high compression piston would likely be plenty powerful for an older guy.

This isn't drag racing. Too much power can be worse than not enough. Whiskey throttle on a 450 is unpleasant regardless of age and experience!

I agree with this. You’ll have a blast on that bike and it’s more than ready to do whatever you need bone stock.

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3/24/2018 12:36 PM

Appreciate the feedback. I like the idea of a two stroke, but really loved the torque off the bottom of the kxf I rode. It really hooked up out of turns. I did ride my friends KTM 300 a few times... Was like butter, but I never really felt like it hooked up well... So I do think I will go 4 stroke ...

I found a 17' Honda CRF450 with electric start for $6,000. I have read the Honda's feel have great handling and are not too crazy power wise. I am also seeing really good prices on YZ250F's.

Can you comment on the mellower 450 vs. powerful 250 comparison? Are YZs really that hard to turn?

Thanks again guys. I have missed this sport for too long. If I read another MXA, Dirt Rider, Dirt Bike or RacerX for the perfect bike, my eyes will bleed.

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3/24/2018 12:38 PM

Bry I agree with just about everything you have said in this post. DawnPatrol, I was in a similar situation as you a couple years ago. 57 yo , (a little bit taller and heavier than you 6'2" 220) and out of it since 1981. Started up again doing all Vintage Mx, but wanted a modern bike to do some of the Masters of MX series and maybe some AWRCS (woods racing). Tried a couple of 450's ---did not like at all, for all of the reasons listed above. Finally settled on a 17 YZ250X with a little heavier flywheel and did a Rekluse clutch. Got the suspension done and this feels like the perfect bike to do all the types of riding that I want to do on a modern bike. Its just a wee little softer hit than the YZ250 I had (not much) have not noticed the tranny ratio being a problem on a moto track, and the Rekluse clutch is like cheating in the woods. But at nearly 60 yo,I'm not looking for any National #1 plates , (except in my Vintage moto racing,lol)

In summary, definitely think you'll have a ton more fun on the yz 2stroke, but any of the new 250F's would be fine as well and you can buy those for under 6,000. My buddy just bought a leftover 2017 Honda CRF250 today for $ 5400. But ,if you're like me ,you'd enjoy the yz250x more.

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3/24/2018 12:50 PM

Thanks guys. When it's all said and done, any bike is better than no bike. I gotta pull the trigger, make a move, worse case, trade-up, down, sideways, but do it in the saddle, not on the coach...

Hee Haa!

See you at Gillette on 4/21 ...

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3/24/2018 12:51 PM

Sorry, 2 last things--- my YZ250x starts on the first easy kick every single time, and as far as YZ's not turning, if you can't get a Yamaha to turn, then you need to take up knitting. Never really understood that. Can you knife under someone easier on a Zook ? probably, but if turning a YZ is psychological roadblock for you, bolt on a set of the aftermarket offset triples and now you got a Suzuki with better suspension,

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3/24/2018 1:01 PM

DawnPatrol wrote:

Appreciate the feedback. I like the idea of a two stroke, but really loved the torque off the bottom of the kxf I rode. It really hooked up out of turns. I did ride my friends KTM 300 a few times... Was like butter, but I never really felt like it hooked up well... So I do think I will go 4 stroke ...

I found a 17' Honda CRF450 with electric start for $6,000. I have read the Honda's feel have great handling and are not too crazy power wise. I am also seeing really good prices on YZ250F's.

Can you comment on the mellower 450 vs. powerful 250 comparison? Are YZs really that hard to turn?

Thanks again guys. I have missed this sport for too long. If I read another MXA, Dirt Rider, Dirt Bike or RacerX for the perfect bike, my eyes will bleed.

YZ250s turn just fine with the forks 5mm up in the clamps. They shake as well at speed with that set-up. Just be ready for that at higher speeds. Set the forks at 0mm to eliminate the shake and deal with wrestling it a bit in corners. Or drop the rear end a bit to help stability. I'll deal with the shake.

If you want a 450 go for it. Just be aware that they will tire you out regardless of off the bike conditioning due to weight/torque/engine inertia. I go to the track for fun, not a demanding workout that isn't very fun. I can do that at home!

I don't want to ride a 450 at 35, let alone 60! Gary Semics won the +50 Class at Loretta's in 2012 on a KX250F against 450s.

Also, if you run into a problem with the engine 450s/250Fs can be very expensive to repair. I'd rather have a simple machine that can be fixed on the cheap. Putting 2K on the Visa for a dropped valve would hurt.

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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

3/24/2018 1:07 PM

I need to have fun before I can be fast, or faster. Maybe the reality check here is although I'll feel like a kid again, I am still and pushing the big 6!. Heck, the 09' kx I was riding was fine, so I am convinced to go 250f or 2s... Awesome feedback, Thx Now onto Craig's list, cycletrader, etc ...

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3/24/2018 1:20 PM
Edited Date/Time: 3/24/2018 1:23 PM

B DUB 333 wrote:

A new Zook

Bry145 wrote:

Yes, but an RMZ250.

A light vet rider who has been away from the sport will likely enjoy an RMZ250 more than an RMZ450.

Also, an RMZ250 can be had dirt cheap. And with a pipe and maybe a high compression piston would likely be plenty powerful for an older guy.

This isn't drag racing. Too much power can be worse than not enough. Whiskey throttle on a 450 is unpleasant regardless of age and experience!

Stock the bike and also the air forks would be fine. After getting used to it, a 50t rear sprocket, a full exhaust, and the lean coupler installed and the bike is a whole different animal ( 90% on this forum couldn't ride it to its full potential)...and the engine is bulletproof.

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3/24/2018 1:36 PM

DawnPatrol wrote:

Appreciate the feedback. I like the idea of a two stroke, but really loved the torque off the bottom of the kxf I rode. It really hooked up out of turns. I did ride my friends KTM 300 a few times... Was like butter, but I never really felt like it hooked up well... So I do think I will go 4 stroke ...

I found a 17' Honda CRF450 with electric start for $6,000. I have read the Honda's feel have great handling and are not too crazy power wise. I am also seeing really good prices on YZ250F's.

Can you comment on the mellower 450 vs. powerful 250 comparison? Are YZs really that hard to turn?

Thanks again guys. I have missed this sport for too long. If I read another MXA, Dirt Rider, Dirt Bike or RacerX for the perfect bike, my eyes will bleed.

YZ’s are not hard to turn at all. And if you put a rear link in them, they turn on rails. Really balances it out perfectly. I have both, 16 YZ250f and a RMZ250, and a RM250 2T. The 2T is just flat out fun to ride and its smiles for days after riding and racing. The YZ has more grunt than the RMZ, no question about it, but the RMZ is just as much fun to ride and it isnt any slower on the track for me. My YZ is stock except for gearing, I went to a 49 in the rear. My RMZ has the Yosh full Ti/ carbon exhaust. The exhaust opened it up noticably. Otherwise it is stock as well. The SFF forks on the RMZ were a little longer in getting dialed compared to the YZ SSS forks, but once dialed, they are very nice.

Point being, at your level, if you can score a new RMZ and throw exhaust on it, with your budget, you wont be disappointed. Otherwise the YZ is the best route. Unless you can find a good clean 350. Buddy of mine in Louisiana has a pristine 17 model with under 30 hours for $6500. Its tempting to snag

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3/24/2018 1:39 PM

If u learn real quick to ride with your clutch instead of the throttle you will be ok on a 450 but if you don’t you can get into trouble twice as fast on the 450 than you will on the 250

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3/24/2018 1:40 PM
Edited Date/Time: 3/24/2018 1:49 PM

I was off the bike for several years in the 90's. When I started back up in '98 I got a KX250 and realized how out of riding shape I was... strength, fitness, reaction time, balance. Had fun but it wasn't nearly as fun as I'd expected.

I thought about what was missing, what my goals were and how to raise the fun factor. For '99 I sold the 250 and bought a KTM 125. It was an absolute blast. I rode moto and off-road and for me it was perfect. I'm 6' tall and at the time was about 205 lbs but the 125 did everything I wanted it to do, it sharpened my skills and I was able to ride it a lot longer before getting tired. For '00 and '01 I rode a KTM 200 EXC set up for moto/off-road and finally in '02 I picked up an '02 Yamaha YZ250. For me that was the perfect recipe for having maximum fun. At the end of the day that is what matters.

My suggestion is to pick up a good used KTM 125 or 150 and go have a blast.

BTW, at the time I lived in CT so I rode quite a bit of sand tracks including Southwick. Didn't care how I did in races, just cared about having as much fun as I could.

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3/24/2018 1:41 PM

DawnPatrol wrote:

I need help... First a quick profile: 57 yrs old, 5-9, 170lbs, good shape (ski, mtn bike, gym). Experience: raced moto in NJ/ PA from 14 to 19 years old, A few trophies, no firsts! Last bike, 78' Yama YZ250E. Recently rode kx250f 1/2 dozen times on single track and fire roads in 17'. Friends bike.

My goal is to buy a bike for racing MX and some JDays in the MA/ NH area. Some great loamy and sandy tracks, including Southwick. Plus trail riding in Plymouth with my new friends.

Question is what should I buy? Budget is approx $6k. Kx250 was OK, hated having to kick start it since it was carbureted. Do I need a 450 to be competitive? At 170 lbs I worry it's more power then needed. Love stats of the KTM 350s, with elec start, but rare to find one in my budget. Love idea of Yamaha reliability, but are they awkward and hard to turn? I see bargains on KX 450s... I really do need some insights, so please chime in ...

Hell Yeah - welcome back!! Hopefully, you'll soon regret all that time off, I know I do; quitting from 1983 to 2002. I've been back now for almost as long as my first "mx career".

I'm 56yo 145lbs soaking wet and I'm all about my 450 - Feel like I have faster lap times on a 250 but I love holeshots.... A LOT!! plus I don't like to bring up the rear on the occasional trail ride I do. 250-450, there both the same size, one is just slightly heavier and faster IMHO.

For what it's worth I still can't go as fast on my 17 KTM450 as I could on my 08 CRF490 (only cause I rode the Honda for 8 years and could feel 1 clicker change or small fork ht. adj. - that and Euro bikes are just plain funky)

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3/24/2018 2:10 PM

I haven't seen any 125 or 250 2 strokes out there for sale, so that alone says people buy them and keep them.

You're all killing me! Blond, brunette, thin, zoftig, cans, the can... Like I ever had a choice! Well, at least I can chose what bike I buy.

One last question? Do you guys wear chest protectors and knee braces? On my last ride I got spit off the bike, over the bars onto the gravel at about 30 mph. Hit a ditch at dusk...Ooops! broke my shoulder blade... Ouch! All heeled now.

So I'll ride with chest protection, but worry about my knees ...

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3/24/2018 2:15 PM

If you're committed to going with a 4-stroke, DON'T get a 450 no matter how appealing it may seem in theory. You're in this to re-connect with the sport and for enjoyment of reliving your past. A 450 is the least FUN bike to ride and at your current age, speed, and weight there are no benefits other than they are the least expensive 4-strokes to maintain (nominal better than 350). A 350 is the perfect goldilocks bike if you want the best all around bike and it applies to basically everyone is your situation. Personally for pure fun, the 250 is even better but it's hard to argue with a 350 being the right bike.

If you weren't already decided on a 4-stroke, a 250 or 300 smoker would be the best call. Even with a 350, you may find yourself in a year or two wanting a 2 stroke since that's what you remember best.

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3/24/2018 2:24 PM

DawnPatrol wrote:

I haven't seen any 125 or 250 2 strokes out there for sale, so that alone says people buy them and keep them.

You're all killing me! Blond, brunette, thin, zoftig, cans, the can... Like I ever had a choice! Well, at least I can chose what bike I buy.

One last question? Do you guys wear chest protectors and knee braces? On my last ride I got spit off the bike, over the bars onto the gravel at about 30 mph. Hit a ditch at dusk...Ooops! broke my shoulder blade... Ouch! All heeled now.

So I'll ride with chest protection, but worry about my knees ...

I did a quick Google search and found several 2018 KTM 125's for about $7K.

Check with Razee's in North Kingstown, RI... bought a bunch of bikes, parts and accessories from those guys and they were awesome. They list the 2018 KTM 125 SX for $6999 and the 2018 KTM 150 SX for $7199. Personally I'd go with the 150 SX.

Regarding wearing protection: wear as much as you can.


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3/24/2018 2:26 PM

DawnPatrol wrote:

I haven't seen any 125 or 250 2 strokes out there for sale, so that alone says people buy them and keep them.

You're all killing me! Blond, brunette, thin, zoftig, cans, the can... Like I ever had a choice! Well, at least I can chose what bike I buy.

One last question? Do you guys wear chest protectors and knee braces? On my last ride I got spit off the bike, over the bars onto the gravel at about 30 mph. Hit a ditch at dusk...Ooops! broke my shoulder blade... Ouch! All heeled now.

So I'll ride with chest protection, but worry about my knees ...

These are a must IMO

- High quality helmet (Troy Lee SE4, New Fox lids, 6D, or any other with MIPS)
- Chest protector, not roost guard (My personal favorite: Troy Lee Designs Shock Doctor CP5955)
- Knee braces (not knee pads): High end POD, Asterix, AlpineStars, EVS
- High quality boots: SIDI SRS, Gearne 10 or 12's, FOX Instict, or Alpine Starrs 8 or above
- Neck brace: Atlas (Many people without any professional knowledge may claim neck braces are unproven, but take those opinions at your own risk.

Don't cheap out on these items, it will cost you more in the long run.

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3/24/2018 3:03 PM

YZF 250 the first year or so until you get back into the swing of things.

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3/24/2018 3:09 PM

Thats a long time.

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much ty. How to spot a paid forum poster/artificial forum traffic producer (see list of actions/phrases below):

Copius pattern amounts of phrases like “Anyone have”..., “Anybody know?”.... and their variations.

Thoughts?
Any help is appreciated!
Thanks in advance!