Stock KTM or modified 250 MX'er for woods riding?

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#1
OK, in a nutshell, here's the dilemma. Current bike is a KDX 200
that I picked up after about 12 years out of the sport. I wanted
something unintimidating and easy to re-learn on. Love the bike,
but it's time for something new, and I'm ready to step up to
something a little faster, lighter, better suspended, etc.

I'm 32, 5-10, 170, very fit but not so much upper body strength
because I'm a bicycle road racer. Ever see the stick arms on
Lance Armstrong? You get the picture. I mostly ride trails in
Western PA, a lot of tight technical stuff with rocks, roots and
mud. I've done two harescrambles this year, racing Vet C.

Because I've always ridden 125's and am on a 200 now, I was
leaning towards (and being steered by friends towards) a KTM 200
EXC. The light weight really appeals to me because of the stick
arm thing, and I don't want to be picking up a heavy bike after a
crash 2-1/2 hours into a race. Probably looking at not much
under retail for this bike ($5800-ish).

However, I rode a friend's '03 YZ250 the other day, and it made
my KDX feel like a toy. I'm starting to think a 250 might be a
better idea, since there's more power to make up for C rider
mistakes. For example, you don't have to attack hills like your
life depends on it like on my 200.

I know that I would have to spend a little coin on a 250 MX bike
to make it easier to live with in the woods - flywheel weight,
bigger tank, etc., but I could pick up a leftover '03 KX 250 from
Motorcycle Brokers for $4100 delivered. I imagine that $1700
difference buys a lot of mods, and it's always nice to save a
little $$$.

So, I'm just looking for any opinions and/or suggestions from
anyone that has experience with either of these bikes. Thanks!

-Joe
 

dirt bike dave

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#2
A well setup two stroke 250 MXer makes an outstanding trail bike, IMO.  Nothing wrong with a new KTM200 either - they rip, too. 

The '03 KX reportedly makes great low end (I've never ridden one) and sounds like an excellent candidate.  Really, you can get them all to work great for racing or aggressive trail riding.  With a budget of $1,700 for aftermarket goodies, you might not get something as trick as a magazine project bike, but you can more than cover all the important stuff (including steering damper). 
 

woodsy

Mi. Trail Riders
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#3
I agree completely with Dave, but, I would do some research into the "new breed" of MX bikes before I spent my cash if I were you... Some things to consider are: I believe the newer CR250's have NO idle circuit in the carb (find out if ALL newer MXers are this way) - OK for MXen but I REALLY like my woods bikes to be able to be jetted properly for slow riding.. Check costs and availablity of trail mod parts - i.e. take a look at costs differences AND wattage output availability between lighting coils (you do want lights dont you) for all models. Take a look at upper end replacement costs associated with each one - I have seen CR250 jugs priced from $450 to $125 from the same supplier. PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT picking on CR250's guys!! I am just using it as an example.. Also, I am not a "Pumpkin Rider" but I know folks who have them and I have riddin with LOTS of guys who swear by them - they really do come stock with some really neat stuff.. Anyway, you are on the right track asking here cause sometimes a small amount of checking will save some BIG cash outlay down the road! Sounds like you are in for a LOT of fun no matter which "trail" you decide to travel!!
Good luck!
Woodsy
 
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#4
KX's can be awesome trail bikes but its not a ginuene trail bike w/ lots of torque. If the 200EXC feels to small KTM makes a 250, 300 and 380 2 stroke. The 250 is a MXer detuned, different timing and porting, and suspension. A 250 MXer can be a good trails bike but its harder to control meaning you need some arms to pull it around. But still if you're a skilled rider the KX isn't a bad choice.
 

Tom Dixon

Farmer Tom = Face Planter
Mi. Trail Riders
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#5
I have ridden many 200 KTM's and the 250 KTM is much easier to ride, because the power is much smoother. 200's are on or off, not a whole lot in between. I own a 250 EX/C and It is a wonderful bike. It is very fast, and the power is nice, but can come on hard on the top end.
 
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#6
Wish I could have paid 4100 for my bike, yeesh. I have an 03 KX250, and it's a beast in trails. I guess if I were to be serious about it, and put a smaller C/S sproket on it, then the gears would match better, but going slow through tight twisty trails with the stock gearing takes lots of clutch use. I havent ridden any newer 250s so I can't compare power characteristics, but in my opinion my bike doesnt have to much low-low end, but between low and mid it starts to rip and over revs really nice and far. It's not trail bike, and isn't designed for it. If it's worth taking the motor apart and having the port timeing changed, like cutting down the cylinder or something, that may help. Maby just putting a FMF Gnarly pipe or another low end pipe may do the trick. Hope this helps
 

woodsy

Mi. Trail Riders
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#7
Hey Beefydog - try a flywheel weight and then play with C/S gearing (front sprockets are DIRT cheap and every woods rider should have a full selection in the tool box)! I put a 14 oz on my K5 and the difference is UNREAL - of course its twice the cc's but still should really help your kx..
Woodsy
 
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#8
I would get this bike w/ the flywheel at least and maybe some other mods as long as you didn't come off a quad(you didn't, I know). You have to know haw to use to clutch and all that weight.
 

Chief

Damn Yankees
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#9
One of my buds owns a 380 exc and it appears to be a great trail bike. tons of low end torque. Another consideration is the ATK 250/260.  Also 'READY TO RIDE" as are the KTM's. They are a lot cheaper, very dependable, and often streetlegal, come with a lot of add ons. Forget the mods and buy something that's made for you. Take your time, shop and ride before you buy.

 

Chief
 
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#10
beefydog,
When you say your '03 KX is a "beast" on trails, I am assuming you mean the
power and how it is delivered. I'm pretty confident I can address that with
a flywheel weight and gearing changes, as I didn't have any trouble with the
YZ I rode, and it was in stock MX form. If you've ridden any technical
singletrack on the bike, how do you feel it handles in that environment?
 
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#11
I think by singletrack you mean just a normal bike trail correct? It handels everything I'v put it through fine. It seems that most of the weight, is down low, so it's easy to throw it side to side when weaving between narrow trees. but the suspension is sprung stiff, I bought it to ride motocross tracks, and I really like it for that. I would imagine that you can take any race bike and set it up for woods. You said that you weigh 170lbs so your a little heavyer than me, maby the springs will match you better for woods. Yes changeing the gearing is a must, and would definetly make it easier to ride trough the tight twisty stuff.
 
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#12
beefydog,

Have you had any problems with the bike, or is there anything else you think
I might need to know about it? After hearing from everyone, I'm pretty set on
the KX now, I can't justify throwing away another $1500 even if I was dead set
on a KTM before. Thanks for the help!

-Joe
 
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#13
Ive ridden a ported 03 kx 250 with Ohlins suspension and felt like it was the ultimate of ultimates. It was also a pro enduro racers bike so setup was everything. A stock motorcrosser in the woods will be a handfull until you work out ALL of its habitat. Even still you will have to spend the same jack to get the pumpkin to work for you as well. They are good but not at their best. You would be crazy not to look at a Gas Gas 300 they are sweet. If a Ktm is a 8 then the Gasser is a 12. they are that good in their territory. They only reason you don't hear about them is because they are better in the woods than out in the Cali test region. And don't forget to count on an 18 inch wheel for the green machine or you will be flat sorry.
Good luck
 
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#14
jruggery: The only problem that I have had, is the jetting. It came majorly rich when I got it, but then I met sombody with the exsact bike as me, and his runs perfect, little on the lean side. I dont know what to make of this, I'm not going to get into what I'v tryed. Nothing on the bike has broke or gave me problems. Most of the time when you crash, the clamps will flex, and make it seem like you really messed up your bars. If you can't stop to strighten them (like with your knees or against a tree) it does seem to go away as your riding it. I checked the team green website for jetting recomendations, and they recommend running 40:1 with stock jets. So I must have got a fluke or something. So far from what I have done, I really like how it's built. Easy to take apart, I'v taken apart the swingarm linkages, and subframe. I have no complaints about how it's build, and have had no failures. If I was a woods rider I would be happy with it just geared lower, and narrower handlebars with bark buster hand gards. That and crisp jetting and a clean buring oil like amsoil or somthing mixed at a higher ratio if you arnt gonna be whipping on it. Have you ever bought a brand new bike before? cause there are some things that you need to take care of, like spokes loostening and the breakin of the engine and transmission. I also greased the rear suspension when I first bought it, there wase already some grease in there, but it wasnt like crammed full how I like it.
Hope this helps
-Jim
 

HiG4s

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#15
I ride a Husqvarna MX bike in the woods, no problem, but it still has an idle circuit on the carb.. Husky make enduro bikes just like KTM but not as expensive... The down side is they are a smaller company that has had some US ditribution problems over the last couple years..

Mine is a great bike and I whole hearted recommend it, IF you have a good Husky dealer near by. If not, getting parts and support is a pain. Not impossible but a pain.