I'm on the horns of a dilemma...

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11/23/2020 3:26 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/23/2020 3:31 AM

I'm 48 years old and have been off of a bike for the better part of 15 years. The last new bike I owned was a '04 CRF450R. Now that my kids are grown and self sufficient I'm ready to be selfish and get back into riding and racing.

When I stopped racing I was a mid pack intermediate in the 450 class and a top five guy in 25+ and 30+ at the local level. Like almost everyone here, I grew up on the pegs of a dirt bike so I'm not a beginner by any means. I'm sure it's going to take months for me to get comfortable on a bike again though after such a lengthy layoff.

Here is my dilemma...which bike do I buy? Not so much which color do I buy as I feel they all are great machines. I'm stuck between 350 and 450. I've read many articles and watched even more videos about the 350. Seems unanimous that you have to flog the 350 to get the most out of it. However, when I raced 450's I remember being pretty tired by the end of a hot moto, but I would hate to be on a 350 and lined up against 450's on a long deeply plowed start straight. Then I think I would have more energy at the end of a moto if I were on a 350. It's hell being me sometimes!!

I'm sure this has been debated ad nauseam but any advice or real world insight would be appreciated.

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11/23/2020 3:32 AM

Seeing has you have plenty of experience, I say get a 450. If it's too much power you can always just detune it to your liking.

Good luck and have fun.

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

11/23/2020 3:46 AM

I vote 350, the bike will let you get comfy riding again without trying to kill you.

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11/23/2020 3:52 AM

350

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11/23/2020 4:52 AM

I’ll vote 350 as well. People always mention having to wring them out but that doesn’t mean they are slow. My 350 and all the ones I’ve ridden are absolute rocket ships. Every 450 I’ve ridden I have hated. Too much inertia, feel too heavy and too much engine braking for me to have fun on. Feels like I’m along for the ride on a 450 where on a 350 I’m in control and it’s a lot more free feeling and whole lot more fun which means I personally go a lot faster on a 350.

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11/23/2020 5:02 AM

Hi Side wrote:

I'm 48 years old and have been off of a bike for the better part of 15 years. The last new bike I owned was a '04 CRF450R. Now that my kids are grown and self sufficient I'm ready to be selfish and get back into riding and racing.

When I stopped racing I was a mid pack intermediate in the 450 class and a top five guy in 25+ and 30+ at the local level. Like almost everyone here, I grew up on the pegs of a dirt bike so I'm not a beginner by any means. I'm sure it's going to take months for me to get comfortable on a bike again though after such a lengthy layoff.

Here is my dilemma...which bike do I buy? Not so much which color do I buy as I feel they all are great machines. I'm stuck between 350 and 450. I've read many articles and watched even more videos about the 350. Seems unanimous that you have to flog the 350 to get the most out of it. However, when I raced 450's I remember being pretty tired by the end of a hot moto, but I would hate to be on a 350 and lined up against 450's on a long deeply plowed start straight. Then I think I would have more energy at the end of a moto if I were on a 350. It's hell being me sometimes!!

I'm sure this has been debated ad nauseam but any advice or real world insight would be appreciated.

Get a Yzf 250. Youl charge the entire race and have fun. The fun part is the best.

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11/23/2020 5:25 AM

Height/weight?

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11/23/2020 5:30 AM

I was in exact same boat. I went 350 for a couple years, and then went to a 450 because I thought I missed the low end lug of a 450. Can’t say if it was the right decision either way. Now I miss the lightweight feeling of the 350. My main issue with the 350 was the horrible 4CS suspension and I wasn’t in good enough shape at the time to ride a 350 fast for very long.

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11/23/2020 5:38 AM

I've said this numerous times and I know some guys agree, while others do not...At the local level, you are not at a disadvantage on any fast parts of the track, on a 350. Starts, straights, hills and fast sections you should not lose any time (if riding it correctly.) It's the tight, soft turns or obstacles out of corners that will potentially be where a 450 rider has an advantage. I ride and race with a friend and we are very close in skill and this has proven true between us. The trade-off is that a 350 feels more like a 250F in those types of areas on the track, so you gain a bit of agility but don't have the grunt of a 450. Once you have your momentum and the bike is revving, you are pretty much back on an even playing field with a 450. The 350 seems to have a spot in the power where it hits and really pulls super hard from mid and up. It's just that you have to work a little harder or be crafty in the tight areas. And that basically means get good at 2nd to 3rd shifts in those spots, where a 450 rider can stay in 3rd.At your level, it shouldn't be an issue. I say go with the 350. You won't get tired either.

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11/23/2020 5:47 AM

Another vote for the 350. In my opinion 450s are excessive for most people and the myth that a 350 needs to be ridden like a 125 is far from the truth. Don't get me wrong, they continue to build power the further theyre revved but just think of a 350 like a 250 on steroids, thats how I find they ride and are a perfect compromise between a 250 and 450, you definitely will not regret it.

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11/23/2020 5:51 AM

After spending 6 years on KX 450's I went back to a 21 KX 250. But I'm 63 and weigh 152.
It has plenty of low end power and I feel much more comfortable on it.
The 450 just got to be too much for me.
I think a 250 is the way to go, but it also depends on your weight. If your a big guy a 350 would probably be a better choice.

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11/23/2020 5:57 AM

If you were feeling tired at 33 your really going to feel tired at 48. The riding a de tuned 450 theory may sound good but it doesn’t erase the heavy inertia feeling of them.

Another vote for the 350 here.

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11/23/2020 6:19 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/23/2020 6:20 AM

Try to snag a ride on a 350. To me they are more fun to ride than 450’s.

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11/23/2020 6:29 AM

quadzrulebro wrote:

Height/weight?

I'm 5'10" and weigh 180 pounds.

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11/23/2020 6:31 AM

You guys are pretty much confirming what I was thinking. I'm sure I can find a little more bottom end grunt on a 350 with a gearing change and maybe an aftermarket exhaust.

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11/23/2020 6:38 AM

The 350 is the perfect 4 stroke.

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11/23/2020 6:45 AM

I’m in love with mine, 4CS and all it’s much better than the stuff I grew up with from the early 80’s to mid 90’s. ( ps. I always preferred 125s to 250s after moving on from minis )
But YMMV

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11/23/2020 6:58 AM

Im 48 6'/185 350 is fantastic.

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11/23/2020 7:02 AM

Hi Side wrote:

You guys are pretty much confirming what I was thinking. I'm sure I can find a little more bottom end grunt on a 350 with a gearing change and maybe an aftermarket exhaust.

That was my thinking and would be advise. More importantly get the bike you think you’ll have the most fun on. At this point thats all that really matters.

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11/23/2020 7:10 AM

I’m going to disagree with the main stream opinion here and say 450, for me at least. I currently own and ride 78 YZ400, ‘89 YZ125, ‘98 YZ250, 04 CRF450 dual sport, and an ‘18 KX450. (Yes, I have an addiction) I also owned a 350 for a year, and my son has a 150SX that I have ridden. If I had to own just one, it would be my KX. Why? Ease of riding. I’m, 48, ride 40a, and have also ridden my whole life. To me, riding my 2 strokes is way more effort, and I’d say about the same for the 350. Now maybe it is my riding style, I ride the front side of the torque curve because it takes less effort and keeps the chassis freed up, but I can just torque around the track and roll the turns on 450. I do enjoy the other bikes as well in the right condition, but every time I get on my 450, I’m chucking under my helmet because it’s so easy to go fast on. Riding back to back is probably the ultimate answer so you see which fits you the best.

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11/23/2020 7:15 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/23/2020 7:17 AM

i still don’t know where everyone thinks a 450 is some red seeing uncontrollable bull... the new 450s are so good with controllable power. I find them to be perfect for a vet because when you are fresh you can push but as you tire out just keep it a gear high and torque it. I’ve ridden 350s and they are fun but for me I am happy with the torque of a 450 and find its better for me and my riding style. I’m also 48yo 225lbs and in fairly decent shape since i’m Active Military ... but i’ve been riding my 06 KX250 the past couple weekends since my suspension was out for revalve and that thing beats me up worse than my 450... you really have to work to keep those things going!!!

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Don’t piss off the old people - the older they get the less “life in prison” is a deterrent for them!

2020.5 KTM 450 SXF FE
2006 KX250

11/23/2020 7:17 AM

Hi Side wrote:

I'm 48 years old and have been off of a bike for the better part of 15 years. The last new bike I owned was a '04 CRF450R. Now that my kids are grown and self sufficient I'm ready to be selfish and get back into riding and racing.

When I stopped racing I was a mid pack intermediate in the 450 class and a top five guy in 25+ and 30+ at the local level. Like almost everyone here, I grew up on the pegs of a dirt bike so I'm not a beginner by any means. I'm sure it's going to take months for me to get comfortable on a bike again though after such a lengthy layoff.

Here is my dilemma...which bike do I buy? Not so much which color do I buy as I feel they all are great machines. I'm stuck between 350 and 450. I've read many articles and watched even more videos about the 350. Seems unanimous that you have to flog the 350 to get the most out of it. However, when I raced 450's I remember being pretty tired by the end of a hot moto, but I would hate to be on a 350 and lined up against 450's on a long deeply plowed start straight. Then I think I would have more energy at the end of a moto if I were on a 350. It's hell being me sometimes!!

I'm sure this has been debated ad nauseam but any advice or real world insight would be appreciated.

Just my .02...

Other than as a beginner in the early 90’s, I’ve always ridden 250 (2-strokes) then 450 (4-strokes). The early CRF450’s with carbs always felt like a really fast but easy to ride 250 2-stroke to me.

The last two KX450’s I’ve had (2018, and before a 4-year break, 2013) had evolved into a different animal. To me, they are now more like an open-class 2-stroke than a 250.

My next bike will be a 350.

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11/23/2020 7:26 AM

This is a great dilemma to have. Great that you want to get back into riding mx.

Can you try each bike from someone you know? The new 450's are way better than the 2004 you had so you can't go wrong with one. A 350 sounds fantastic too, I've never tried one yet.

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11/23/2020 7:46 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/23/2020 7:48 AM

Ramrod wrote:

This is a great dilemma to have. Great that you want to get back into riding mx.

Can you try each bike from someone you know? The new 450's are way better than the 2004 you had so you can't go wrong with one. A 350 sounds fantastic too, I've never tried one yet.

It’s always interesting how much preferences vary...If I could have my 2007 CRF back, I’d take it over any modern 450.

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11/23/2020 7:50 AM

agn5009 wrote:

The 350 is the perfect 4 stroke.

You should ride a newer YZF 250 before you make up your mind.

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11/23/2020 8:23 AM

350. You won't be at a HUGE disadvantage, because most 450 guys cannot ride their bikes to the limit in your class anyway. Heck, I raced a 125 in the +30 Intermediate classes for a while and did OK against 450s, and you and I are about the same age and probably about the same speed. This sport is still more about rider than bike.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

11/23/2020 8:27 AM

Ideally I'd say try both and then decide but that aint always easy. I say get a 350, especially if racing is what youre looking at getting back into. For your classes at a local level how long you can push will be far more important than power and a 350 is a lot less physically demanding and has more than enough power. For starts you could very easily over come the power gap by putting a little time into practicing them. Starts are a lot more about the rider than the bike.

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11/23/2020 9:02 AM

Get the 350 and send the ECU away for mapping, lots of companies do this. Tell them you want more torque and bottom end pull. It would be like a 450 but you'll be amazed on how much it helps.

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11/23/2020 9:05 AM

350 you wont be disapointed!!!

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11/23/2020 9:09 AM

dcg141 wrote:

Try to snag a ride on a 350. To me they are more fun to ride than 450’s.

Agree. Actually, try to ride several different bikes. 250f. 250 two stroke, 350, 450 . . .
Go to one of those KTM ride days or something, if you can.

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