Two-stroke play bike

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Feb 13, 2004
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#1
Hi everyone (just joined DRN). After owning a Suzuki TS100 and Suzuki RM125 in my teens, I did not have a motorcycle for almost 25 years. In 2002, I purchased a new Yamaha XT225. It is an excellent motorcycle for its intended purpose, and a capable trail bike. Here in southeast Michigan, any type of dirt riding involves at least several hours of driving. I earned my street license, and with my dual-sport motorcycle, I can put on my helmet and putt-putt around on side streets whenever I please.

I also want to purchase a more specialized two-stroke enduro/play bike that can handle rougher terrain and modest jumps of 10-20 feet. I am looking for the following attributes: light weight, excellent handling/suspension, linear power, reliability, and versatility. I am considering the 2004 KTM 300EXC, the 2004 Kawasaki KDX220, and the 2004 Kawasaki KX250. Normally I would not consider a modern 250 motocross bike for a play bike, but I have read that the 2004 KX250 has very smooth power delivery.

I am 44, 5’9” and 175 lbs. I have a 30” inseam, but do not have trouble touching the ground on both sides of a Yamaha YZ250F (thank you size 13 feet). Price differences aside, which bike would you recommend, and are there some other bikes that I should consider? I would really appreciate hearing some insights, especially from people who own the bikes under consideration. Thanks!
 
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#2
A KTM300EXC would be an excellent decision. Now I am a die-hard KX fan and ride/race KX's offroad (enduro, harescrambles). But I gotta tell you you will not go wrong with an EXC. Second is the KX. GREAT offroad motor on em and once you get the suspension dialed for woods the bike is sweet. KDX's are nice for mild trail riding and are bulletproof. They are just behind in the technology so it rides like an old school dirtbike. I had an 87 and 90 KDX200 and loved em but once I switched to a 94 KX250 I was sold!!!!! The KX just seemed superior everywhere over the KDX. Another thing to consider is the EXC will have soft suspension, headlight, aluminum bar, o-ring chain, 18 inch rear tire, everything you need for trailriding.
 

70 marlin

Mi. Trail Riders
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#3
Tomck: welcome back to riding fellow michangander. Come hit the West Side trails some time with us! I live in the Jackson area and have the same problem you have. You'd be very happy with any of your choices. If you can swing it the KTM has a higher standard over the Japanese. Hey there's a fellow up the road from you that sells 1 or 2 old Husaberg's (surplus inventory) for great prices!!! I know their four strokes. But I have never seen a more tricked out bike for the price. Just a suggestion.
 
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#4
Get the KDX220 over the KTM300, cause the 300 will get you hurt if you don't have excellent throtle control...one whiskey ride and you'll be selling that KTM under "injury sale"....Don't worry the KDX will have all the power you need to get into and out of trouble, and if in a couple of years you're ready for more power you will be ready for a bigger bike.... Good luck with it.
 
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#5
My 03 kx250 is a great all arounder, especially with the 12t front sprocket, 120/90-19 Maxxis IT, pipe guard and skid plate. All of these parts combined were only about $150, mail order, and make it a good woods bike. Plus it will still do 65' triples set up this way. :) You can still get a new 03 KX250 for about $4k.
 
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#6
Thanks a lot for the responses, guys. It looks like there is no clear consensus other than that any of the three bikes will do quite well. I'll do some research on the Husaberg (heard the brand name before but do not know anything about them).
 

CJG

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#7
Tomck,
The Husaberg's are all four-strokes. They are supposed to be very good bikes(I haven't ridden one), but they have a reputation for being demanding maintenance-wise.

I currently have an '03 KX250 and an '03 GasGas EC300DE, and would recommend either of these bikes as a good trail bike. The KX is more demanding and the suspension needs some attention for casual trail riding, but if your aggressive you'll be rewarded(and the price is right). The GG however is an amazing trail bike straight out of the crate, it will easily outhandle my brothers '02 KTM200EXC on the tightest trails. The stock suspension is excellent, and the engine is extremely smooth from just above idle all the way to the top.

CJ
 
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#8
Joereitman,

What website did you use to get you add ons. I have a 03 KX250 and love it but I am looking for a good skid plate that covers the water pump and all.
 
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#9
I think it was a Moose product from maybe Newport cycle?? If you can't find site I will search for it. Will pull my receipt tonite and get part #. Most everything else comes from rockymountainmc.com. I also run a FMF Q series silencer. Quieter and adds top end.

My forks have midvalve to check valve conversion, much plusher.
 
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#10
CJG,

Thanks for your reply. The Husabergs are definitely nice looking bikes, but I would like to buy a two-stroke while they are still available. I checked out the GasGas site, and the EC300 is a great looking bike. It has a bunch of quality components, and just has a look of craftsmanship. There was one thing that was hard to tell in the photo. Is that part of a coolant recovery system that hangs down near the cylinder head? I am going to do some further research on GasGas bikes, and try contacting one of the dealers in Michigan.
 

CJG

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#11
Tomck,
I know what you mean about wanting a two-stroke, I'm not ready to be forced to ride a four-stroke yet either. Regarding the thing hanging down near the cylinder head, I assume you are refering to the mounting brackets that attach to the cylinder head from the frame, it's essentially another engine mount.

For more info on GasGas bikes, try www.smackovermotorsports.com . They are a dealer in Arkansas and they also have a nice little bulletin board with lots of GG info.

The GG 300 engine is very smooth and sneaky fast. My brother said it accelerated so smoothly that he thought it was torn up, until he almost overshot his first turn because he didn't realize how fast he was actually going. The 300 is like a four-stroke in many ways: it has power throughout the powerband, it doesn't have a big hit anywhere, and it will lug practically all the way down to idle. But, unlike a four-stroke, it isn't top-heavy, it starts easily even when hot, and the noise isn't deafening. For these reasons you may like the Gas Gas or you may prefer a KX or KTM because they have a more traditional two-stroke hit. Also, some people are not comfortable with the ergonomics of the GG's. Personally I can go straight from my KX to my GG and be perfectly comfortable, but some people are much pickier.

It seems like your in a no lose situation, the KTM, GG, KX, and KDX are all fine bikes, and any one of them could be a very good choice.

Good luck,
CJ
 

fuzzy

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#12
Don't count out the 200 and 250 EXC's either...A 200 EXC is a great bike! A KDX is a great bike! GasGas's are incredible. Most jap bikes will need susp work for decent performance....The KTM's/GasGas/TM (euro's) are pretty sweet out of the box. Regardless it sounds like you'll want something with a wide ratio trans, which is harder to find in a 2-stroke these days....Those mentioned above are about it...ATK(American) also...Expect to shell out some cash for a non-jap bike!
 

CaNaDiAn,Eh?

#14
From what I have heard the Gas Gas is supposed to be a terrific bike. The KTM's are awesome bikes, but you will need good throttle control. The KDX is an awesome bike, it's got all the power you'll need, and is also very forgiving. Plus it doesn't take much to turn it into a screamer. I don't know anything about Husabergs other than that they sure do look nice!
 

zio

Mr. Atlas
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#15
I love riding ktm 200's. I forget how light & nimble they feel. And they've got a good amount of power. Great all-around bikes, IMO. If I didn't have a 300 (which I love to death), I'd probably go for a 200. And re: too much power- no such thing. Throttle control is easy to learn on any bike. Personally, I think a 250 motocrosser is actually more difficult to master than my 300.