buying 220 instead of 200...mistake??? need help.

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Dec 30, 2003
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#1
i really wanted a kdx200, but have a chance to get a pretty good deal on a fresh kdx220. i ride almost exclusively woods trails. i do not add tons of aftermarket add-ons, or need a high revving mx type motor. what is the truth about the kdx220 stock piston being prone to failure?? the bike i am looking at is a factory piston, 2001 220. i really need input on this one from ACTUAL kdx 220 owners. i would like to hear the horror stories and the good reports. thanks alot!!
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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#2
I have an '03 220. I also ride exclusively woods - no MX. It is true that the 220 doesn't rev stock. To go faster you just upshift (that's why they have 6 gears). In stock form it is very tame - too tame in my opinion. I came off a ATK 260 that was a real screamer. I had to change my riding style once I got the 220. However, I actually like it better because I'm faster on the KDX without as much effort. I had to scream the ATK for power/speed, but the KDX is the opposite. It'll pull like a 4 stroke down low. So, it's easier for me at least to ride the KDX faster. With only a few mods the power is on par with my old ATK. Throw away the airbox lid, add a FMF Gnarly Desert (or woods) and jet it properly. It's a serious woods weapon now! As far as the stock piston grenading, I've heard the stories. They most often (from what I've heard) let go around 500 miles or so, quicker with performance mods. I've got a little over 100 miles on my bike now, and a forged piston is my next investment as insurance against majorly-bad things going on in the cylinder.
The stock suspension is sprung a little light for me, but I have yet to tinker. It's plenty soft though...
Overall, I'm very pleased with the bike now that I'm used to it. I don't think that you can go wrong, especially if it's a good deal. With a few bucks, you have a serious contender on your hands.
 

Smit-Dog

Mi. Trail Riders
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#3
I have an '02 220 with the stock piston and zero engine mods. Just over 1000 miles on the bike. No problems.

Like with most things like this, for every "horror" story you read about, there are probably 1,000+ "good" reports that are never posted.

If you are still in doubt, check with Jeff Fredette over at www.frpoffroad.com. He has a long and extensive history with the KDX, and can probably shed more light on if this is a real or perceived issue.
 
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#5
thanks for the input. seems like a lot of people at least LEAN towards an early piston replacement. i'll just have to factor that in to what i pay.
 
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#7
I have a 03, 220. I guess around 1000 miles on it too. No problems here either, I mean none on any part of the bike. I have only replaced the plug once. (at about 300 miles) This was my first 2 stroke and I am sure the first plug failure was a combination of my fault and stock jetting issues. I have added fmf rev, rb designs carb bore and jet, delta force II reed cage, air box mod ( I did mine different than most, I just cut off the high part of the top where the snorkel was and made about a 4"x5" hole.) heavier springs and a wer steering deal. At any rate, a great bike that I have been messing with the whole time I have had it and no problems, thanks Kevin
 
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#8
Really, If you want a screamer, buy a 125. That said, I love my kdx! I have a 2002 kdx 220 and I replaced the stock piston after one year. As you stated, heard to many stories of piston failure. I can't comment on the desert pipe, I went with the woods pipe. I love all the bottom end it has, she also has enough on top for me. Of course the DFII and RB carb (air styker) might have little to do with that. Good luck! :)
 

Fred T

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#9
kevin c. said:
I have a 03, 220. I guess around 1000 miles on it too. No problems here either, I mean none on any part of the bike. I have only replaced the plug once. (at about 300 miles) This was my first 2 stroke and I am sure the first plug failure was a combination of my fault and stock jetting issues. I have added fmf rev, rb designs carb bore and jet, delta force II reed cage, air box mod ( I did mine different than most, I just cut off the high part of the top where the snorkel was and made about a 4"x5" hole.) heavier springs and a wer steering deal. At any rate, a great bike that I have been messing with the whole time I have had it and no problems, thanks Kevin

With those mods the stocker piston is sure to crack the skirts sooner than later.
 
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#10
I've got a 89 KDX 200 and my sister has a 01 220. So i've got plenty of ride time on both. The 220 is great for woods riding in stock form. Seems you could pull a stump over with it at times. Bout the only thing that it needs is some heavier springs up front if your over 130lbs. Throw a pipe and reeds on it and rejet and you'll have more power than you know what to do with. Certainly not the top end screamer that my 200 is though, but if woods is all your going to ride then thats not a problem.

-Maurice
 
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#11
2001 kdx 220 with fmf pipe (wood) , reeds, etc, i ride over 2500km every season with stock piston and no problems. i always do the top end every winter. good luck with your future purchace.
 

marksharp

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#12
Replace piston?

I have an "03 220 with lots of mods. I called Fredette about the piston issue and he said it was pretty much when, not if the stock piston will cause a problem. The kit was about $100 and 2-3 hours work. An extra pair of hands is handy when reassembling the new piston. Not bad insurance IMO. The stock piston may last a long time, but if it pukes when you're riding some day, the damage is substantial. It's your call, do you feel lucky?
 

Smit-Dog

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#13
Bottom line: Sounds like cheap insurance, and a "must-have policy" if you have engine mods.
 

Rcannon

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#14
I just finished a top end in my bike with a Weisco piston. It is almost more difficult to type the message compalining about doing the work than the actual piston change. Dont worry about it and order one. No big deal!