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KX500 or KDX200?

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Apr 28, 2003
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#1
I currently ride a 1994 CR250R. I've ridden for a quite a few years now and I'm looking for something that would give me more pull off the bottom end and is "dead-nutz" reliable.

I ride a lot of Arizona trails and also visit the MX-tracks about 25% of the time I go riding. I don't really ride competitively on the track so I'm not really worried about susp & handling trackwise.

My gripe about the CR is that to climb some of the nasty/rocky/steep hills on the AZ trails I have to really attack them on the CR... wide open.

I really want to obtain more low end to "grunt" up the nasty hills in a more controlled fashion.

My CR250 is very reliable, so whatever replaces it will have to be also. Currently some dealers are selling off 2003 KDX200s &KX500s for $3000 & $4000 OTD. Both these bikes IMO are very reliable, and should have more low end than my CR250??

Will a KDX200 feel slow after riding a CR250? The KDX comes with all the trail goodies for only $3000 so price IS my main factor for considering it.

Price not being an issue. I'm pretty sure I'd like a KX500. I know they have power, and you get ~5 years out of a 500cc top end (unless your Jeff Stanton or Larry Ward).

I've never owned a NEW or even MODERN bike so I don't mind riding a dated design. My 10yo CR250 drag races side by side with the new ones.

So for more trail/low-end power oriented bike upgrade which do you recommend?

(No four strokes please- My buddies with 450's have to do way more maintenance than I do).
 

125 rider

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Oct 1, 2000
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#2
If you said the CR250 was too powerfull and a handfull in the woods then i would tell you to look at the KDX line. But since your wanting MORE power and lower in the rpm range, the next logical choice is the 500 or a different 250.
 

woodsy

Mi. Trail Riders
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Jan 16, 2002
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#3
Hi Daisycutter:
I was exactly in the same position (opportunity to purchase the mighty KX) as you last February and I went ahead and did it!! I am hear to tell you - NO REGRETS ON MY PART!!! The KX500 is, by far, the most miss understood bike on the market!! I rode CR500's for years and LOVED their horse power but didnt like their "I dont want to start right now" attitude! I have a freind that has ridden the KX500 for years and his biek ALWAYS has been a really good starter, VERY RELIABLE, FASTTTTTT, and I thought its BIG BORE power valved motor may make an excellent "tractor".
I "street legaled" mine with a 75 watt stator/lights, added 14 oz flywheel weight (UNBELIEVABLE TRACTOR!!), DG full skid plate, aluminum kick stand, procircuit spark arrestor, renthal bars, IMS 3.9 gallon tank (got 93 miles out of recently). Most of the stuff I just mentioned I purchased off Ebay CHEAP!!
The bike will pull the front wheel ANYTIME and yet IDLE up the biggest hills - just keep this sucker off idle and it is unstoppable!!
A couple of issues I hvae had with mine (it was new too - ALL bikes have issues!!): It took me a while to get the jetting just right so I could "trials" ride all day without fouling a plug, not that I am a "slowbie" but I really like "trail plunking and trials type hill climbing too". Also it likes to destroy rear tires!! Of course, it isnt very often that I am out and dont catch a 5 gear wheelie on the pavement with it - this might contribute to the rubber loss!!
YES - BUY THE KX500 AND HAVE FUN!!! You will find the KDX200 "puttsy" fi you have been riding a CR250 anywhere near its potential!!
Hope this helps!
Woodsy
 

NGE

Uhhh...
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Sep 6, 2003
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#4
I used to ride a KX 125... I recently bought a KDX 200 for trail riding and occasional track stuff...

I can tell you the KDX is a FAR superior trail bike... The KX was better in the sand pits and the track (but the KDX does everything I am comfortable with... good jumper, just dont nail it through shutter bumps)...

The KX had to be tac'ed out to climb well.... The KDX just idles up things that would have had the KX's tire spinning free the whole way up, or bog'ed and died..

I have never ridden the KX 500... not sure what it's low end is like, but if it's like the KX 125 in power band etc... it will make a cumbersome and top-end reliant trail bike... (not good for the tight simgle track and technical climbs)

That being understood, the KDX does not have the harsh bite the KX 125 had... the power band is a bit "easier" on the KDX,,,, but she still gets up and moves... even my MX'er freinds have to admit that.. I can stand it up in the first 4-5 gears (who wants to wheelie any faster than that?.. not me... *crazy, not stupid.. LOL)
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2002
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#5
I have both. Had the KDX for a couple years to learn how to have fun on dirt. I'm 55 and like to get on the gas and have raced it in a GP but I'm not much of a hot rod. The KDX has a pipe, rejetted, and I run it hard in desert rocks, sand, and gravel and it has been lots of fun, little maintenance, ultra reliable. I thought I needed to try to power of a 2 stroke 500 so I picked up a KX5 with a pipe, lots of suspension work, etc. Where I can hold the KDX open through the gears I can give the KX a few seconds of throttle before I had to mellow out.

The 500 bears not resemblance to any 125 powerband, that is what really impresses me is that I can be in an upper gear, no revs needed, and I can just pull out of corners or up hills like a friggen locomotive. Last week I can to a mud pit after a desert rain and just had to take the line right through the middle, I started slowing and had visions of getting stuck but a little throttle and I was out no problem. I'm probably still faster on the KDX in any tighter stuff but my comfort with the KX is growing fast and I have to remind yself that there are good reasons to keep the KDX. I think you'd like the KX, I got a 97 with about $1500 of after market protection and suspension work for just over 2K, just got it's first new top end before I got it. When I was looking a couple months ago there were several for sale in AZ on cycletrader. I'm in NM.
 

gwcrim

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#6
I put in my vote for the KX500. Once jetted properly, you can idle through the woods just tapping the powerband when you need some juice. And hill climbs? Don't make me laugh!:laugh:

KDXs are great bikes but out west where you have deserts to bomb through the KX500 rules! :yeehaw:
 
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#7
I'd have to go with gwcrim. Unless you are going to spend more time on technical trails and less on on open desserts. The KDX just dosn't top out at 90mph(but it'll run 65). The KX probably has all the low end you will need. With both at $3000 make sure and get one of them. My dads 2002 KDX220 was $4000 and a 500 was about $4500(at our dealer).
 

NGE

Uhhh...
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#8
I don't ride desert.... that would be a big consideration if I did... 'casue you're right the KDX will NOT do 90mph.... I got mine to just under 70, and I didn't want to stay there very long...

But it is beautifull on the tight single track and other, less wide open, spaces.

It has plenty of torque to get an average size guy up about any hill that can be climbed. And it does ok on the really soft sand, but it's no KX in the sand.

So I guess the question you should ask yourself is "where do I want to be most comfy, the big open or the tight windy?"....

If what I hear here is true about the KX500's torque and powerband, I'm sure either will crossover "half-way decent".... I wouldn't mind getting my KDX into the desert some... (I have no desire to go 90mph on the soft sand... maybe I'm getting old... lol)
 
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#9
Originally posted by NGE
[(I have no desire to go 90mph on the soft sand... maybe I'm getting old... lol) [/B]
I must be old because I JUST WENT DOWN A TOOTH ON THE COUNTERSHAFT ON THE KX500, DIDN'T NEED ALL THAT TOP END. sURE LIKES TO WHEELIE.
 
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#10
Originally posted by Daisycutter
Will a KDX200 feel slow after riding a CR250?
Yes. Horribly so. It won't _be_ as much slower as it will feel.

BTW, how big are you? The heavier, the more I would lean towards the 5.
 

gwcrim

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#12
My favorite reason to own a 500 is that they are a doomed species. One day they'll be only fond memories. Buy one now, before they go the way of the original Hemi. Later on you can 'settle' for a 4 poke.
 
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#13
My favorite reason to own a 500 is that they are a doomed species. One day they'll be only fond memories. Buy one now, before they go the way of the original Hemi. Later on you can 'settle' for a 4 poke. [/QUOTE]

Exactly, that is what got me interested, won't be around forever. Guess I'll have to keep it as a collectable.
 

DougRoost

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#14
The other bike to consider splits the difference and is entirely more modern -- KTM 300 E/XC. It's KTM's do-it-all bike, has all the KTM top-notch hardware (hydraulic clutch, Brembo brakes, braided steel brake lines, aluminum goodies, etc.) and can be had used for <$3000. I used to have a Kawi and was disappointed with the way they don't seem to improve them, even when they know there are known deficiencies that would be simple to fix. I am really sold on KTM quality, power, and commitment to off road as well as MX.

The KDX and the KX500 are venerable but neither have been updated in a long, long time. There is now an aftermarket frame to help this for the KX500 but it's $3000 by itself. Borrow a ride on a KTM 300 and I think you'll be impressed.
 
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#15
The guy I rie with has the 300 and I haven't ridden it much but it doesn't compare to the KX500 in terms of torque. I didn't think it was all that fast, a little faster than my piped KDX really. True the kawasaki hasn't changed, thats why they are inexpensive, easy to wrench, and still lots of fun.