Lightweight motorcycle recommendation

Docg313

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Dec 4, 2022
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I’ve researched similar posts but wanted to get recommendations for a few specific criteria. I will be heading to Idaho to hunt next year with two guys who hunt off of motorcycle/dirtbikes. They both run crf250f and seem to really like them especially for the price. They are both however 4 inches taller then me and 20-30lbs heavier. The crf250f seems to check every box besides it’s heavy. I may be completely wrong but it would seem to me that a lighter weight bike would be easier for me to maneuver through difficult terrain. Im a beginner, 5’7” and about 170lbs. I’m more of the buy once cry once mentality so I’m ok spending money. Id like to be able to put racks on it. I’ve seen ktm and beta make lighter bikes but not sure how they are for a guy of shorter stature and which model would be best. Appreciate any input.
 

ChileVerde

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Mar 9, 2021
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In my opinion, you won’t notice the weight difference in 250f bikes unless you are racing someone on a lighter bike. Height is a different story though. It is very possible to modify suspension to have a lower stack height, but for hunting applications a more trail/enduro style bike would maybe fit the bill even better? Depends on terrain.
 

Overwire

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I agree with ChileVerde that seat height is going to make a greater difference in the ease of handling and maneuvering the bike then a few pounds, especially for a 5'7" beginner. A lower bike is going make it feel lighter in use. While heavy for what it is, the crf250f has a relatively low seat height and should have a very mellow and easy to use power delivery, low gearing, good reliability, low maintenance etc... and looks like a great option for casual riding and getting from A to B hunting (I haven't actually ridden one).

Something from the KTM EXC line-up (or a similar model from Beta, etc...) will be a much more capable motorcycle if you intend to get serious about recreational trail/enduro riding. Lighter, faster, better suspension and chassis, better brakes, more durable if ridden hard, etc... At your height you would probably want to lower the suspension (which is easy to do) as they are quite tall from the factory. The lower ride height will more then make up for lost suspension travel (which would still be more than a stock crf250f). They are of course much more expensive and higher maintenance than the crf250f. Even once lowered 2" to mach the ride height of the crf250f I don't think they would be any easier to use for hunting purposes than the crf despite the lower weight but they would be better for serious riding.

More motocross orientated bikes from any of the big names will be lighter but can have a difficult power delivery for beginner trail riding or hunting, stiff suspension, high maintenance, high ride height (they can be lowered) etc.. and I wouldn't recommend.

If possible I would try to ride one of your buddies crf250f's and see what you think.
 

Steve300xcw

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Pull the seat cover and carve some of the foam off it. Can send the suspension out to be lowered as well, though that would be the last thing I tried to change.

I'm a two stroke guy. That said for a bike I was going to hunt off of, and leave unattended for long amounts of time in the brush. I wouldnt be to picky. Grab whatever solid bike I could find that wasnt a 450. Wouldnt spend over $4k on it either
 

def90

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Get an old Honda XR250. Those things are bullet proof. 4stroke, tons of low end torque. Sounds like you aren’t a rider, don’t worry about the weight of the bike and seat height.
 

a_noob_hunter

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I used to do that in southern Idaho as well. I ran a carbureted KLX250s for the first year. It worked good but there were a few places that it barely had enough power since we were higher up in elevation (7000 ft). I believe the KLX has more power than the crf250.

The next year I upgraded to a KTM 350 XCF-W. Wow! What a difference. Those KTMs are on a whole nother level. No shortage of power and a completely different experience. If I go again and it has to be a 250 cc bike itll either be ktm or Husqvarna. Totally worth the extra money for more power and comfort. I even strapped a full 5 gallon gas tank to my stone glacier and rode 30 miles in the mtns to refuel my buddies atv. No way my klx would have handled the extra weight

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hiker270

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The Yamaha Dual Sport bikes (xt225, xt250, tw200) are also worth considering. The seat height on an XT250 is about 31" but if your concerned about height there are several lowering kits available to get it down to approximately 28".
 

colby12

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I fought this same battle a few months back, ended up with a KLX300. Nice bike and it saves gas driving back and forth to work. I have rode bikes on and off for most of my adult life and I am not good so maybe this is for moral support. I was dead set on the KTM, significantly lighter, more power, etc. had they have had one at the dealer I probably would have ended up with one. After a lot of thought and some bluntness from the better half, spending double on a bike for my skill level and the amount of use it will actually get was not worth it. I’ve had it in the mountains and it did fine, nothing real technical or difficult though. When I live closer to the big hills I will have a KTM but for now the KLX has been just fine.
 

SteveAndTheCrigBoys

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I'm about your same size. I could get a toe down on my CRF250L shifting my butt to one side. Definitely a bit uncomfortable if you're new to riding. Not even close on comparable yamaha, kawasakis, or KTM's. I was always afraid of hurting myself on the thing so I sold it.

I like the 230 or TW 200 recommendations. If I buy again I'll go that direction. And buy a beater so I don't worry about dumping it, my bike had never been dropped before I bought it
 

bow puller

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Are your buddy's residents or hunted off single tracks here? If you aren't experienced you can get into serious trouble quick.

I don't say this to scare you out of it, just be safe. I've ridden my entire life and am an above average rider and many of the trails shown open are just rocky goat trails with drop offs that I would not hunt off and a couple I flat won't ride.

Definitely ride where you want to go this summer unless your friends have and deem it safe.

A Honda 230 should fit well. More suspension than tw without being too much to control like big bikes. It's the official state hunting dirtbike of Idaho.
 
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Docg313

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Are your buddy's residents or hunted off single tracks here? If you aren't experienced you can get into serious trouble quick.

I don't say this to scare you out of it, just be safe. I've ridden my entire life and am an above average rider and many of the trails shown open are just rocky goat trails with drop offs that I would not hunt off and a couple I flat won't ride.

Definitely ride where you want to go this summer unless your friends have and deem it safe.

A Honda 230 should fit well. More suspension than tw without being too much to control like big bikes. It's the official state hunting dirtbike of Idaho.
Nonresidents but yes they’ve hunted off single tracks in Idaho in years past. They have also warned me of the difficulty of some trails. Part of the reason I plan to buy a bike this winter so I can have plenty of time on it before we head out.
 
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Docg313

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Appreciate all the replies. As a couple have said, I also am starting to lean towards a 230 bike. Appears the Honda is no longer produced since 2019? So if go that route I’ll look for a used one. Would the ttr-230 be just as good or would I be better suited looking for a Honda? I will keep eye out for Ktm also, but might be overkill for my needs. Appears the 250 Xc-f would be best bet if went that route if I could find a good used one for decent price? Would of course need lowering kit also.
 

ORJoe

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XCW-F would be better for you than XC-F in any size. Less of an aggressive race bike and closer to a soft and easy trail bike.
The CRFf, XT and TW bikes are attractive to beginners because the low seat height allows easier paddling, but the extra weight and clunking into stuff because of the lower ground clearance might be the reason you need to paddle.

As mentioned above, Idaho dirt bike trails can be a little nutso
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Docg313

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I live at approx 800 feet and will be hunting approx 7-9k. So next question would be with the 230s not being efi, what is the difficulty of getting jets set right? Is it something that can be set ahead of time with other peoples experience or something you have to mess with when you get there? That is the one advantage of the crf250-f I would assume, that it is efi. But also potentially more to go wrong with that.
 
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