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My Dual Sport Experiment

Tourmeister

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

:tab If you aren't planning on riding single track trails or doing jumps on dirt tracks, I really don't see the point in a full blown dirt bike. Any 400-650 sized DS bike would be fine. IF you start getting into technical two track, like say rough jeep trails, some of the 650s can be a handful and something like a 400/450 might be easier, even though the 650s will do it.

:tab What I like about my 530 EXC is that is is essentially the same bike as the 450 EXC, but with a slightly different stroke than the 450 (I think another 25mm maybe?). The result is a bit more bottom end, so I don't have to rev it like the 450. However, it still weighs the same. I also like that the suspension is fully adjustable. I had a KLR 650. The difference between it and my 530 is light years! I just wish I could upgrade from my 530 to a newer 500 for the FI. I get tired of messing with the jetting for the carb.

:tab Pretty much any bike you get will be under sprung for your weight. They are set up from the factory for 180 lb riders (or thereabouts). You might not think it makes a big difference, but if you get the right springs, oil, and damping settings for the suspension for your weight (with riding gear), it makes a world of difference!! It is not that expensive and worth every penny. I would not even think about engine/exhaust mods before doing the suspension.
 

Tourmeister

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Then take into consideration weight of the bike. Picking them up can be a chore and doing it several times in a row will wear you down if it's too heavy.

I speak from experience ;)
Oh yeah, another BIG difference between my KLR and the KTM 530 :lol2:
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

:tab If you aren't planning on riding single track trails or doing jumps on dirt tracks
Some sweet air would be nice... :)

Nah, I just plan on putting around mostly. If I do single track it will be slow and easy.

I get tired of messing with the jetting for the carb.
When and where is that an issue?

:tab Pretty much any bike you get will be under sprung for your weight. They are set up from the factory for 180 lb riders (or thereabouts).
I believe the one I'm looking at has been tweaked a bit for weight.

Then take into consideration weight of the bike. Picking them up can be a chore and doing it several times in a row will wear you down if it's too heavy.
I said I was old, not feeble ;)

I picked up my Africa Twin solo twice this weekend without any issue. The bikes I've been looking at are 200 lbs lighter than that. It's hard to imagine they would be as much effort to lift.

Speaking of... I noticed this yesterday:

XR650L
Wheelbase: 57.3 inches
Wet Weight: 346 pounds
HP: ~40

CRF250L
Wheelbase 56.9 inches
Curb Weight 320 pounds
HP: ~22

26 lbs difference? Does it really feel that much heavier with that small of a difference? Especially considering I'm probably 285 lbs with all the gear on?
 

mitchntx

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Jetting comes into play when you take it to higher elevations.
As the air thins, the amount of fuel needs to be tapered back.
Not a difficult process to rejet ...
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

I can say from experience, and as a guy who is in the gym at least four days per week, that picking up a 235lb KTM300 on a steep rocky hillside gets really tiring after a couple of times. That was one of the reasons I never considered a big GS. Sure I lay it down in the driveway, but generally the bike is on it's side where the terrain is slick or steep or rutted or muddy. Also getting an XR650R out of a fence is easiest four guys.
 
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Tourmeister

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

:tab Basically, whenever I go somewhere higher than about 3.5-4K ft, I have to change the jets in my carb to keep the bike running good in the thinner air. Each step in the jetting gives me about 3-4K ft of play before I have to change it again. My last trip was all in the 4.5-9K ft range and I could feel it at the high end of the range, but the bulk of the time was around 6-7.5K ft, so no biggie. You just have to shoot for the average.

:tab I am leaving for Colorado soon and I have to rejet for that because we will be doing most of our riding in the 8-13K ft range. So I will jet for 9-12K ft. The high end of that range will just be some of the actual passes, so really only a small portion of the time. However, it is that last 1500 ft or so before the top that is often the roughest and where you want the bike to be running its best... The bike will still run okay, but losing power or bogging down on a steep climb is not fun.

:tab Since it is just a single cylinder thumper, it's just the one carb that has to be redone. Getting my carb in/out of the bike is a pain because it is a tight fit between the frame, motor, and air box. Those crazy Austrians left juuuust enough space if you get it turned and twisted just right. On many bikes, you don't actually have to remove the carb to get to the main needle and jets. You can just rotate it in the boots to get access. That just doesn't work well on mine. So I have to disconnect the fuel line and throttle cables and then drain all the gas. Once I get it out and pull the top and bottom off, I usually give it a good cleaning since I am already there and the bike usually hasn't been ridden in a while. Then it is just a matter of removing the main jet and pilot jet (if needed), possibly adjusting the needle height, reassemble with the right jets, put it all back together and shove it back in the bike. It is not hard, but it takes time. It would be nice to have fuel injection and just not worry about it at all.

:tab With the FI, the fueling is adjusted on the fly based on a map that uses various sensor data to determine optimum fueling in changing conditions. Even that is not fool proof though. Years back I rode my 98 VFR 800 to the top of Mt Evans in Colorado. The parking lot is at like 14000+ ft I think. The bike was fuel injected. The bike would run, but it would not idle. I was doing good to walk across the parking lot myself and started seeing spots twirling around in the air in front of me :eek2: It went away when I just stood still for a bit and focused on relaxed breathing. When it came time to ride back down the switchbacks, I had to keep the bike revved above 2500 rpm and slip the clutch to keep it running at the slow speed needed to negotiate the curves and wait for other traffic. Later I found out that the FI map stopped at 12K ft, so once I got higher, the fueling never changed. Around 12500 ft, the bike started running fine again. In 2000, they changed the FI system to a "Closed loop", which means they added an oxygen sensor in the exhaust to monitor combustion efficiency. My 2000 VFR 800 did not have the issues the 98 model had at higher elevations. I believe most of the FI bikes in the last 15 years or so have all been of the closed loop variety. They also usually have some kind of catalytic convertor.

:tab While I would like to have a KTM 500 EXC with the FI, my 530 still does just fine and is a real blast to ride. Back in 2010 I did most of the same passes we'll be doing on this trip while riding my KLR 650 with sea level jetting. I don't recall now why I did not rejet it for the higher elevations :shrug: I had to crank up the idle speed when we got up high and it noticeably got boggy up high, especially when I tried to give it gas to keep my speed up during long steep climbs. But I did make it. I just had to work harder than most of the other riders that were on bikes like FI WR250/450s and the various non FI but properly jetted KTMs in our group. It wasn't long after that trip before three or four of us started shopping for KTMs :lol2:

:tab My 1200 GS is fuel injected. I can let it sit for months and it will start right up every time. With my 530, I have to remember to drain the float bowl in the carb before it sits for more than a few weeks. If I forget, it gets all nasty, especially the pilot/idle jet, and that forces me to remove the carb and give it a good cleaning to get it running again. Pilot jets can be a pain to get cleaned. It really sucks to pull it, clean it, reassemble everything, and try to start the bike only to find out the jet isn't clean enough :doh: So now I just keep several spare jets on hand and throw away the clogged one and replace with a new one. They are cheap and that saves me a lot of time and aggravation. I had the same issue with my KLR. It was never a problem until they started putting the alcohol in the gas.
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

I left out the word "with" as in "with four guys."

Even if a rider sticks to gravel roads they are still likely to get into trouble at some point. This is especially true if they are riding a fast bike. Lots of times that means getting stuck in the ditch beside the road or in the fence. Either way it is hard getting the bike out, and the heavier it is, the harder it is.
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Even if a rider sticks to gravel roads they are still likely to get into trouble at some point. This is especially true if they are riding a fast bike. Lots of times that means getting stuck in the ditch beside the road
Been there, done that already a couple of times :)
 

StromXTc

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

I left out the word "with" as in "with four guys."

Even if a rider sticks to gravel roads they are still likely to get into trouble at some point. This is especially true if they are riding a fast bike. Lots of times that means getting stuck in the ditch beside the road or in the fence. Either way it is hard getting the bike out, and the heavier it is, the harder it is.
I hear ya, had to clutch walk my pig up the steep rocky hill after dumping it in the absolute worst part of the incline at the bend. :doh:


Scott...liked your descriptions on the jetting experience. Reminded me of my China rider with the same tight, tip of the finger haggling of the carburetor. Happy to be done with it too.
 
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mitchntx

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Lot's of rotate room on a de-smogged XR650

I would replace the phillips head bowl screws with stainless socket heads, though.
Using a long, ball-ended allen wrench makes it much easier.
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Well, 6 pages of this thread & we have it narrowed down to a 250 to 650 CC bike, something that's either plated or not plated, and something built in either Japan, Germany, or Austria. Honestly, here's what I'd do:

I'd look for something cheap that runs well. I'd look for lower CCs, but mainly, I'd make just sure that it runs well. Then, I'd ride it around the owner's yard and make sure that I can handle it easily, and that it throttles smoothly but has sufficient power to make me smile. Then, with the owner's permission, I'd gently lay it on his lawn & make sure it's very easy to pick back up. Because - hey, it's a dirt bike - you're gonna pick it up eventually. Then I'd buy it and have run riding it in that pasture you mentioned, plus whatever other places availed themselves to me. In a year, if I was still riding it and having fun, I'd analyze what I've learned, figure out what I REALLY want, then flip the old one and get what I want.
 

2WheelNut

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Jarrett....I used to ride a lot of dirt, even did a bit of XC racing for a while. Not relevant except that I traded a street bike for a plated 2012 WR450F a bit over a year ago thinking I might do some more of it. So far it just hasn't happened.

I have it but just never ride it. I thought I would but wound up getting my GS and find myself doing more ADV big bike rides than situations where I'd ride the WR. I probably have less than 2 hours / 50 miles on it since I've owned it.

Anyway...I'd be happy to let you ride it a bit and see if it works for you and if so, make you a decent deal on it. Plates are currently expired, but that could be fixed. It's fuel injected, electric start and I've already put fork and shock springs on it to handle my 250 pound frame. It's also a bit more like a real dirt bike than a dual sport so you can handle some reasonably hard terrain on it. It's a pretty decent setup although a bit more on the performance end of things than an XR so it would cost a bit more.

I also have a set of Super Moto wheels and tires for it in case you want to ride through town getting your Hooligan on. :) I could sell those separate if you don't need or want them.

Anyway... let me know if you are interested and I can let you know what I'm looking for for it in terms of a price and / or let you ride it some. Honestly....I'd just like to see it ridden instead of sitting in my garage. It's a great bike, it deserves some use.

Or....we trailer it to Arkansas and you can try it there a bit in August. (assuming room on someones trailer)
 
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copb8

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Jarrett....I used to ride a lot of dirt, even did a bit of XC racing for a while. Not relevant except that I traded a street bike for a plated 2012 WR450F a bit over a year ago thinking I might do some more of it. So far it just hasn't happened.

I have it but just never ride it. I thought I would but wound up getting my GS and find myself doing more ADV big bike rides than situations where I'd ride the WR. I probably have less than 2 hours / 50 miles on it since I've owned it.

Anyway...I'd be happy to let you ride it a bit and see if it works for you and if so, make you a decent deal on it. Plates are currently expired, but that could be fixed. It's fuel injected, electric start and I've already put fork and shock springs on it to handle my 250 pound frame. It's also a bit more like a real dirt bike than a dual sport so you can handle some reasonably hard terrain on it. It's a pretty decent setup although a bit more on the performance end of things than an XR so it would cost a bit more.

I also have a set of Super Moto wheels and tires for it in case you want to ride through town getting your Hooligan on. :) I could sell those separate if you don't need or want them.

Anyway... let me know if you are interested and I can let you know what I'm looking for for it in terms of a price and / or let you ride it some. Honestly....I'd just like to see it ridden instead of sitting in my garage. It's a great bike, it deserves some use.

Or....we trailer it to Arkansas and you can try it there a bit in August. (assuming room on someones trailer)
I had an 07 wr450f and it was an awesome bike! And the 12 is even sweeter.

Jarrett, if the price is right you can't go wrong with this bike.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Thanks for all the patience and info on this stuff. I know I'm asking a lot of dumb questions, but I'm new to it and just trying to figure out what's what before jumping in.

Starting to think maybe a smaller, fuel injected bike might be better for what I think I want to do with it. Going to go check out a CRF250L hopefully soon.
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Anyway...I'd be happy to let you ride it a bit and see if it works for you and if so, make you a decent deal on it. Plates are currently expired, but that could be fixed. It's fuel injected, electric start and I've already put fork and shock springs on it to handle my 250 pound frame. It's also a bit more like a real dirt bike than a dual sport so you can handle some reasonably hard terrain on it. It's a pretty decent setup although a bit more on the performance end of things than an XR so it would cost a bit more.

Or....we trailer it to Arkansas and you can try it there a bit in August. (assuming room on someones trailer)
That sounds like an awesome idea! That's a great mix of power and weight.
 

kubotamiketx

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

I just picked up my sons CRF250L from CA a week or so ago and rode it around the a little bit, it is pretty nice. 6 speed and runs strong for a little guy. Honda has a CRF450L coming out

[ame="https://youtu.be/4oE5ii_dr8k"]ALL NEW 2019 Honda CRF450L (The BEST Dual Sport Money Can Buy) - YouTube[/ame]
 

Tourmeister

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

:tab Try not to get hung up on finding the "perfect" bike right out of the gate. They don't exist. If you buy any used bike for a reasonable price, you should be able to ride it long enough to see what you like or dislike, and then sell it without taking a beating. Bikes like the XRs, KLRs, DRZs, etc, tend to reach a lower limit on the price and then never drop below that unless they are just trashed. So, unless you trash them you can usually get back out of them for close to what it cost to get into them, sometimes more...The only issue for you really will be the suspension because of the weight. If you don't get that sorted on any of the bikes you try, you will likely be disappointed with them, regardless of power. I would definitely try to accept the offer of a test ride on 2WheelNut's WR450 since he already has it set up for a rider your size.
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Some sweet air would be nice... :)

26 lbs difference? Does it really feel that much heavier with that small of a difference? Especially considering I'm probably 285 lbs with all the gear on?
Speaking of catching air, I did a heal clicker once...didn't mean too. :doh::giveup:

Back in the day when there were 125, 250 and 400-500 cc two stroke motocross bikes around, I rode/raced mostly 250 and a 465 but occasionally a 125. The weight differences were similar or a little less than above but the riding experience was significantly different. The 250 was a pretty good mix of power and flickability. But get on that 125 and hold it wide open and bounce it off things, anything to turn and just smile. My 465 turned okay but it was more of a point and shoot, short shift and ride the torque kind to thing.

Even though the weight is not much different, you have to take into account for the rotating mass of the motor ie. crank, rod, piston and flywheel. Think of how you're spinning bicycle wheel wants to stay up right when you spin it.
 

Tourmeister

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Most anything small will feel like a 10 speed compared to his AT :-P
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

plated 2012 WR450F
Really appreciate the offer!

I just picked up my sons CRF250L from CA a week or so ago and rode it around the a little bit, it is pretty nice. 6 speed and runs strong for a little guy. Honda has a CRF450L coming out
Yeah, I wish the 450L had been out a few years already. I'd be seriously looking at it. I'm thinking I should start with the 250 and see where it goes from there.

Most anything small will feel like a 10 speed compared to his AT :-P
Hehe, probably.
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

I like the sound of the option to pick something, ride it for a bit. Figure out what you like and don't. Then move the direction you want with a better purpose. If you shop around and pick up used like mentioned you will likely be able to sell it for what you have in it of not close. You might find that dirt is the way and want to go that route or decide its just not for you and scrap it all together. Either way it will be an adventure!

That WR450 sounds like a good deal. Will putt around a field all day or down a dirt road all day, hit as nasty of single track as you dare (slow and easy works as well). Can update the plates so the street legal part is already worked out. Will work well for dual sport. Add a comfortable seat though. Good suspension as well for about anything you care to throw at it. I would check that option out as I think the that while the 250 will be fun it you will out grow it quickly or be hunting for another gear in the wide open stuff. With the 450, like with your AT you will need to learn a little throttle control.
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

The advice I give to any full grown male looking for a first dirt bike is pretty much the same. You can’t go wrong with one of the big three...KDX200 (or 220), XR400, or DRZ400.

They’re all proven reliable machines, were (or have been) made for long enough to make parts readily available and fairly cheap, are plentiful on the used market, and are powerful enough to grow into without being too intimidating for a new dirt rider.

The DRZ has the advantage of being offered in a factory dual sport configuration, while the KDX has the benefit of simpler maintenance (as well as that awesome two stroke sound and smell).

None of these are gonna serve you too well on a motocross track, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what you’re looking to do.
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

I'm guessing a DRZ 400SM is not a good option due to the wheels?
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

I'm guessing a DRZ 400SM is not a good option due to the wheels?


In that configuration it would be a pretty poor dirt bike, but dirt wheels are readily available for a swap. Then you’d have two bikes for just a little more cost than one.
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

In that configuration it would be a pretty poor dirt bike, but dirt wheels are readily available for a swap. Then you’d have two bikes for just a little more cost than one.
IIRC, dual sports and supermotos derived from the same model (DRZ400S and DRZ400SM; WR250R and WR250X; KLX250S and KLX250SF) usually have different suspension setups as well to perform better on trails or street respective of trim.

I'm not trying to say getting the supermoto with a 18/21 wheelset with knobby tires on the side is absolutely heinous and blasphemous, but it doesn't technically allow for a complete 2-in-1 bike as implied. However, it may totally do the job for you. I know I hardly flirt with full capabilities of the tires and suspension on my own dual sport. Just a thought...
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

At the risk of being a kill joy, we're about four pages into overthinking this. (Of course, overthinking bikes is half the fun.)

I'd recommend re-reading Shadman's posts, setting aside $1500 and buying the first thing that comes along, even if it's not the perfect size, sprung right, or whatever.

In the meantime it's Smithville for lunch at Pockets.
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Thanks for all the info. Much appreciated.
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Well, after much overthinking, I decided to go pick this up today:

CRF250_L_3.jpg


2014 Honda CRF250L

It's got a couple after market go fast parts on it, but it's slow as molasses. That said, it putts along well and I think that's all I need for dirt for now.

I decided I wanted to go with a fuel injected bike so as to not mess with carbs. Plus I'm already familiar with 2012+ Honda's, so everything already makes sense to me on it. Also 2WheelNut made a good point to me today, that if my daughter and I might be doing some dirt biking together, the 250 would be good for her to start out on for sure. Probably me as well.

And if I get hooked on it, it can become her bike and I can buy something with more cajones.

Guess I'm a Honda guy...
 
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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Awesome choice! So you're coming to Mextrek in October????? Its a slippery slope.
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Just took it for a proper spin. Looks like it tops out around 80mph, but seems to cruise comfortably around 65mph.

It's much more fun running around in our pasture than my AT and it fits in the back of my truck with the tailgate closed.

This little thing might be a lot of fun.
 

woodsguy

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Well, after much overthinking, I decided to go pick this up today:

CRF250_L_3.jpg


2014 Honda CRF250L

It's got a couple after market go fast parts on it, but it's slow as molasses. That said, it putts along well and I think that's all I need for dirt for now.

I decided I wanted to go with a fuel injected bike so as to not mess with carbs. Plus I'm already familiar with 2012+ Honda's, so everything already makes sense to me on it. Also 2WheelNut made a good point to me today, that if my daughter and I might be doing some dirt biking together, the 250 would be good for her to start out on for sure. Probably me as well.

And if I get hooked on it, it can become her bike and I can buy something with more cajones.

Guess I'm a Honda guy...
Good choice and all good reasons. You can get the 450 model when it comes out, lol.
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

lol, yes.

I guess I've graduated from scooters to a proper motorcycle now :)
 

2WheelNut

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Well, after much overthinking, I decided to go pick this up today:

CRF250_L_3.jpg


2014 Honda CRF250L

It's got a couple after market go fast parts on it, but it's slow as molasses. That said, it putts along well and I think that's all I need for dirt for now.

I decided I wanted to go with a fuel injected bike so as to not mess with carbs. Plus I'm already familiar with 2012+ Honda's, so everything already makes sense to me on it. Also 2WheelNut made a good point to me today, that if my daughter and I might be doing some dirt biking together, the 250 would be good for her to start out on for sure. Probably me as well.

And if I get hooked on it, it can become her bike and I can buy something with more cajones.

Guess I'm a Honda guy...
Congratulations. Enjoy it. If you actually ride it on dirt very much at all , you'll find dirt bikes very addicting.
 
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Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Congratulations. Enjoy it. If you actually ride it on dirt very much at all , you'll find dirt bikes very addicting.
Thanks. Trying to get there as quick as I can. Camping (no bike) this weekend and on call next, so it might be a bit before I can get it to a real dirt bike park.

Seems like TexPlex is only open Fri-Sun. I want to hit there and then out to Time2Ride next. Will be jumping bumps in the pasture til then I guess :)
 

Jarrett

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Re: IF I were to get a dirt bike, what should I get?

Look out Evil Knievel :)

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZVpcsoKqcU"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZVpcsoKqcU[/ame]
 
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