What is the ultimate trail bike???

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#1
It's time for me to slow down. I currently own a 2000 KTM 200exc. My latest injury has taken a little wind out of my sails. Although I love my current ride, I think it is time to go back to the four strokes. I'm definately faster on the 200exc then any other bike I have ever owned, but I have also been getting injured much more often and much worse since I bought this bike. My latest injury consisted of a crushed testicle, which required emergency surgery and a nice little hospital stay. I'm still not totally out of the woods. I'll be on bed rest for at least another week. This is a continuation of an entire year plagued with injury after injury. One more serious than the next.

I'm not ready to give up riding, but I am definately going to change my focus. I'm going to stop trying to go as fast as I can and I may never race again (currently a competitive "B" harescrambler). I just want to be able to go trail riding, but still have enough speed to keep up with the other guys I ride with.

I need a good trail bike that isn't going to be too hard to start, not overly heavy, broad power band with a lot of low end torque (controllable for when I want to just take it easy), and enough speed to keep up with everyone else on the trails when needed. It doesn't have to be able to keep up in the open. I'm not necessarily looking for a race bike. I no longer care if I have the fastest or the best bike. I just want to enjoy riding at my own pace, which will vary quite a bit, but will be slower than it has been recently.

I am very interested in the new KTM 250 four stroke. I hope it is not like Yamahas WR250, because I don't want to have to ride it aggressively. I am leaning towards the four strokes, maybe even towards the XR lineup. I owned a WR400 a while back, but I don't really need all of that speed any more. When I had the WR, I loved the power and by no means thought it had too much power, but I'm not sure I need it any more.

Please help a fellow biker out there with all of your suggestions. All opinions are welcome. By the way keep your eyes open, you may see a well maintained, MX-TECH suspended 2000 KTM 200exc going up for sale soon. It also has a carbon steel skid plate and pipe guard. Other goodies to go along with it including spare parts and an extra silencer and possible a Scotts steering stabilizer as well.

Thanks,
Neal
 
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#2
Neal,

Sorry to read about your injury. Ouch! I also have a ktm 200 but when I'm not on that bike I absolutely love my 96 XR 400. They are just a fun bike to tool around on and it keeps up with the 'race' bikes. I also had a worked to the gills xr 250. It had the 280 kit in it and it was just as fun. Reading your post I would say the XR's have the broadest power you can find. They also have great breaks. In your situation I would get the 400 (I also have the baja designs dual sport kit on it) it is the do all bike. Parts are cheap, they run forever, low maintenance. Oh and I have never had a problem starting an XR. No liquid cooling to mess with. Much more docile than any WR. Just my opinion. Good luck with recovery.

Mark
 

Patman

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#3
If I was looking for a pure fun bike I think a late model XR250 with some suspension tweaks, a big bore kit, and a pipe would be it. Solid as an anvil, inexpensive to maintain in terms of $$$ AND time. :think Hmmmmm now you have ME thinking.
 
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#4
Nothing against the XR suggestions, but you did ask for the ultimate trail bike. You have described a KTM 400 EXC.
 
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#5
Almost, I agree the ktm has a great engine. But price and maintenance aren't even in the same league as the xr. Neither is the reliablitly of the aircooled engine. Starting and suspension advantage KTM. Price reliability advantage XR. Parts availiablilty, shoot even bike availability XR. Don't get me wrong if there were as many used ktms out there as there are xr's and at the xr price i would by the ktm in a second. But for a second bike I'd do the xr.
 
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#6
I love KTM's, but the 400exc may be more than I need. The 400exc is a race bike in my opinion. What about the drz 400. I'm even thinking about dual sporting what ever I get. My local dealer has a couple of hold over 2001 for $4,500, but I certainly wont rule out a good used bike.

Neal
 
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#7
Neal, no offense to you in any way, but I've read a lot of your posts on DRN and judging from your writing, you're a guy who is very excitable on a motorcycle. It sounds like you routinely ride beyond your abilities and get pitched off. Is that the motorcycle's fault, or Neal's fault?? Your KTM 200 EXC is a fairly docile motorcycle. I'm not convinced that you need to trade it for an XR400 or some mild-mannered four-stroke trail bike. You can get pitched on your head just as easily on an XR as you can on your KTM. It's all contributed to your riding style and judgement. If you ride beyond your capabilities and experience level, you're going to crash no matter what color of motorcycle you're sitting on. I think you need to adjust your attitude and excitement level before looking to switch bikes, and it sounds like you're on the road to doing that from your thread. I would try sticking with the KTM for a while and just toning it down a tad. In many people's minds, you already own the ultimate trail machine. I hope I didn't offend you with this post, that was certainly not my intention. I just don't think your recent injuries and crashes have much to do with the motorcycle you're riding. I think they were caused by an overzealous right wrist and that can bite you on ANY motorcycle.
 

Smitty

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#9
I've got to agree with Bob and Wolf. I've read a lot of great race reports from MB, the crash details are great followed by the charge through the pack and the next crash. ;) Maybe keep the KTM and lay off the racing.

Then again a crushed testicle would make me rethink a lot of things too!! :( :scream: :(
 
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#10
Like some of the others, I think you've got a great bike in the 200. I'd just keep it.

If you want a lot of low end torque, I don't think your going to find it in the newer 250 4 strokes. I think you'd be better of going with the XR250 as also suggested. It's more old school 4 stroke power, even if it has less than the new ones.

A 280 kit and some suspension makes for a nice little bike. I keep wondering if I shouldn't be on one.

If you're rich, just order one of them BBR CR125 / XR200 thingies. Then have POWROLL do a 245 stroker for it. What I should be on.:)
 
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#11
I think you guys are partially right

You're right about one thing. I am the reason I have been getting injured and crashing a lot lately. My recent quest to continually go faster and faster has caused me a lot of pain. My feeling has always been that in order to improve you have to push your limits. I started riding dirt bikes when I was four years old and rode nearly every day until I was about 19 or so. I injured my back at work and kind of got away from riding for about 11 years. In all of the time I rode as a kid, the worst injury I had was a twisted ankle. I rode a lot of tough terrain, but I didn't ever ride over my head. After I started riding again, I joined a riding park and soon felt like I had to push myself to keep up with all of the young racers. I didn't have any serious accidents the first year and half of trying to keep up while riding my WR400, but I didn't like the bike after I started racing. Mainly because of the weight factor and the fact that I'm only 5'8" and 165 pounds.

Many times I have said that my 200exc is the perfect woods bike and for some one wanting to race or ride hard all of the time, I still think it is. Which brings me to my point. I'm ready to go back to the old days when I didn't care if I was the fastest guy out there. Right now I could care less about racing. I still love to ride, but I haven't been having as much fun as I used too. Thirty minutes of fun for several weeks of misery isn't worth it any more. I truly think that if I wanted to I could some day become a competitive "A" harescrambler, but right now my career is more important to me than being the fastest guy on the block. If this recently injury would have taken place in September instead of now, my career would be in great jeopardy. I can't risk that any more. I'm not 17 any more, I have too many responsibilities.

I am going to slow down and take it easy. I find that on my 200 exc, I can't ride slow. In order to make the bike shine and feel smooth, I feel like I have to push it. Granted I don't have to ride over my head, but it seems like I always do, because I look at every ride as a training session. About the only time I don't get hurt is when I go on a nice trail ride with some close friends. That's when I just ride and I'm not really training, but we don't exactly put it on cruise control either.

Again I don't feel like I can really ride my 200 slow and that's what I want to do now. Keep in mind, there will be times when I want to open it up, but my main focus is going to be on fun now. I think the first step to achieve this will be to get a bike with more controllable power, alla four stroke. I grew up riding four strokes and almost all of my injuries have been on this two stroke. Someone is trying to tell me something.

I asked my local dealer, who I have rode with, about the KLX. He said that based on what I have been riding, I would not be satisfied with it. He suggested the drz400. If I get something like the drz, I will probably make it street legal. I used to love taking my dirt bikes out on the rode and cruize to some little trails or dirt rodes. That was before the cops gave a crap and before I even had my license.

Keep them coming guys.

Neal
 
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#12
by the way....

By the way my latest injury took place while I was climbing a steep hill. On the 200 I have to be very aggressive in order to climb a hill like this. I was cresting the hill and more less ramping off of it when I noticed THE TREE. On my old WR I could have just motored right up. That is the only advantage the WR has over this bike and yet another reason I am thinking along the lines of a four stroke.
 

DougRoost

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#13
Great insight and when I started riding again this year that was my attitude from the beginning -- to just have fun and trail ride. Coincidentally I am also 5'8" and 165lb. I went looking for a used XR250 or XR400 and ended up on a 1998 KLX300 that is a nice bike and a lot of fun. I will tell you that the KLX is lighter than the XR400 but it also has less power (a magazine article that was on PlanetKLX noted the power to weight ratios were about the same). With a pumper carb and the free mods, it's now a good bike and I enjoy it. It has better suspension out of the box than the XRs and it has a rigid perimeter frame. For this use I'll take it over a Yamaha WR any day.

That said, one of my riding buddies has a 1999 XR250 and it's also very nice. Not as much power or top end but it feels torquier. The XR400 definitely has more grunt but people I know who've had them note they are heavy (one such guy now has a KTM 200...). Honda parts availability is definitely easier than the KLX -- it's simply more mainstream (hence my signature). You can't really go wrong with an XR since even if you change your mind you can resell it easily.

You might like the DRZ400 but the recurring complaint is its too heavy. Another buddy of mine said to think of it as a better XR400, liquid cooled and e-start, but heavy like an XR400. And steering a heavy bike through woods or picking it up after a get-off after riding for long periods gets old.

My next bike is likely to be a KTM 400 E/XC. The 520 is the monster, the 400 just sounds perfect for my use. It's light, the handling is top notch, and it comes with all the goodies you'd end up adding to a Japanese bike (i.e.- don't compare retail prices only). And e-start is a nice thing to have on a thumper, only increasing the fun factor on a long day of riding.

My 2 cents. Hang in there and you can't go wrong with any of these IMHO.
 
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#14
In a similar situation

I began riding about a year ago. Started with a dual sport Suzuki 650, then went to an XR400 and then wanted to race Vet MX. I got a YZ400 and loved the bike on the track but it was not as smooth, or comfortable on the trails.

My injuries started about a month ago. First on the track, then jumping, then during a race. I had never gotten more than a small scrap while trail riding but the racing got more and more intense. I was clearing 60ft table tops and most doubles. I was having fun, but getting hurt. Now I am sitting home with a broken tibia.

I agree, a few hours of fun for a few weeks of pain is not worth it. I am 39 and also have a home, family and career. I am not ready to stop riding, but I do realize I must limit my risks. Riding in a race with 20 other slow old guys all trying to go fast is not low on the risk scale.

I am really thinking hard about going back to a *trail* bike. My XR400 with stiffer springs was great. Easy to start, maintain and ride. Air cooled, pulled like a goat, could not beat it.

There is an XR-DR in my future, just not sure which one. Does anyone know if the latest Dr's are Green stickered for California? I would probably want the dirt model, not the dual sport one.

Mike
 
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dirt bike dave

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#15
simmi - the dirt DRZ400 is supposed to be a red sticker bike, but lots of them seem to get greens since the program is such a mess. My buddy was able to get a plate on his and it makes a very nice dual sport/trail bike. IMO it handles better and is quite a bit faster than the XR4, but the XR does have very good low end power.

Not sure if the new DRZ250 is a green or red sticker bike.
 
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