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Recommend me a midlife crisis dirt bike

Eman Resu

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At 45, I'm seeking my first dual sport or enduro to enjoy Michigan's trail systems with my teenaged kids. The kids are each riding a '05 & '06 Honda CRF150F that I got from a friend last year. I'm ~6'5" @ ~275#. I'd plan to buy used this fall-winter or whenever a really good deal presents itself. If given the option, I'd choose reliability over speed. Being street legal is positive, but not a requirement as I won't be driving it to work. Budget, probably somewhere around $5k but preferably less.

What say ye' Irate?
 

88mitsu

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Can't really go wrong with a DRZ400S. Reliable, street legal, not as big or heavy as a 650 dual sport.

But not as light and nimble as a real dirtbike though, but as big as you are I think you would be fine.
 

evernoob

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All you're going to get are opinions of people who like various bikes.

Michigan's trail system is very heavily biased to single-track, so lighter is better. Those long stages get unenjoyable fast. You're tall and big so you're going to have to work harder anyway, this is a system where smaller people have a distinct advantage.
 

Rennat_2006

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250 or 450 4 stroke from any of the big name brands. I have had both and would recommend the 450 myself, your kids will be ready for a 250 by the time you buy a bike following your schedule you mentioned. 450's can be lugged around like a tractor then rolled into the throttle and come alive but its manageable power.
 

SLOWPOKE693

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KTM 350 EXC-F or 500 EXC-F depending on how much power you want. Bikes are super light and fully street legal. :smokin:


20170724_175259.jpg
 

crispins

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Here is my advice.

Find a short set of stairs, like 4 or 5 high.

Throw yourself off the top onto the ground.

if you can walk around the next day then get any bike you want, if you are hobbling around for days then skip the bike your ass it too old.

Get a SidexSide like the rest of us your age
 

SLOWPOKE693

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Here is my advice.

Find a short set of stairs, like 4 or 5 high.

Throw yourself off the top onto the ground.

if you can walk around the next day then get any bike you want, if you are hobbling around for days then skip the bike your ass it too old.

Get a SidexSide like the rest of us your age

I ride my bike 3 times a week around the track i have at the shop to stay in shape.....I'm 45. Its alot more fun than forcing myself to go to a gym. If you can't handle riding a dirt bike for a few hours without being sore for days, then thats your body telling you to get off your ass and exercise.

I did buy a SxS at the beginning of the year but only to short course race it. I'd still be doing MX races on a dirt bike at 45 but with my current job and responsibilities, a cage, helmet and 5pt harness has become a necessity for the kind of fun I want to have. Growing up sucks. :laughing:
 

Fullsize80cherokee

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I prefer a fuel injected 450 4 stroke over a 500 2 stroke. My opinion only but Elevation is weird with carbs.
 

Eman Resu

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Here is my advice.

Find a short set of stairs, like 4 or 5 high.

Throw yourself off the top onto the ground.

if you can walk around the next day then get any bike you want, if you are hobbling around for days then skip the bike your ass it too old.

Get a SidexSide like the rest of us your age


I still run out of talent on my MTB, so no worries there. That's a big oh-hell-no to SXSs. . . too much $$$ and I'm legally bound to the same MI trails as my Jeep. Motorcycle gives access to new trails and allows the kids (15 & 12) to have some fun without being chauffeured by dad.
 

Will12785

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Crf230. I'm 6'4 220 lbs and have no problem with it. A little more power to pick the front end up when cruising would be nice, but by no means a deal breaker.
 

woods

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CR500 for stupid.

WR250R for practicality.
 

DMG

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Reliable, tough trail or dual sport: WR250R, DRZ400. A KTM would be more fun, more maintenance and more likely to hurt yourself. I have had a bunch of bikes and all I have now is a WR250R. And I ride like a pussy because I am 45 and have a family to take care of.
 

Ebs

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Suzuki DRZ400. Long running model for Suzuki in a couple different versions. It started as their off-road trail bike that turned into their street legal dual-sport (I don't think they make a dirt only version anymore). Still in production and has been around long enough the info and parts are out there as needed. Modern enough that it won't look/feel like you're on a dinosaur.


Other bikes for about half your budget:

Honda XR400R (old school air cooled 4 stroke, reliable trail tractor, no radiators to smash)
Honda XR600R (old school air cooled 4 stroke, reliable trail tractor, no radiators to smash)
Kawasaki KDX200 or KDX220 (probably the best 2-stroke beginner/intermediate trail cruiser)

Downside is all those were last made in mid-2000's, so even a clean one might need a good once over. Upside is they are were quite popular and well regarded trail bikes so there's enough info and parts out there as needed.


The newer off-road models now (KTM, Yamaha WR, Honda CRF-X) are pretty sweet. They're all based on the motocross bikes, this is good and bad. You're getting modern everything on it, so no excuses if you want to look and go fast, they will run circles around those other bikes. They'll probably never end up as reliable as those old trail bike because of it though.



PS - Avenza on the smartphone works pretty well, you can download the pdf maps right off the MI DNR website to run in GPS-only mode.
 
Last edited:

HillbillyDeluxe

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Here is my advice.

Find a short set of stairs, like 4 or 5 high.

Throw yourself off the top onto the ground.

if you can walk around the next day then get any bike you want, if you are hobbling around for days then skip the bike your ass it too old.

Get a SidexSide like the rest of us your age


This sounds like lazy fat guy advice.
 

woods

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Reliable, tough trail or dual sport: WR250R, DRZ400. A KTM would be more fun, more maintenance and more likely to hurt yourself. I have had a bunch of bikes and all I have now is a WR250R. And I ride like a pussy because I am 45 and have a family to take care of.

Yawp. If I did it again, I'd go WRR. I'd pass on the DRZ. I rock a DR650 setup for international travel, and its had its issues. No matter how hard I try to convince myself an outdated carb'd bike is fine, I get on my street bike and its no comparison.
 

crispins

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This sounds like lazy fat guy advice.

I'm just giving it from my perspective, which happens to be fat lazy guy.

No but serious, I love sport bikes, I still have 2 of them, I know I can't take another wreck, so I don't ride them anymore.

I love dirt bikes too, however could I take clipping a tree with the handlebars at 30 mph, no I can't.

I'll keep my old ass in something with a cage.

YYMV
 

SLOWPOKE693

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On the KTM reliability note..... I've had my bike since April 2016. Since then I've used it for track days at MX parks, ridden it on the street in supermoto form for over 2500 miles and for the most part ride it 3 times a week out in the field at the shop. I change the oil and filter every 15hrs, have checked the valves twice with no adjustment needed a chain, and put 1 plug in it after i did the exhaust and tuner. Zero issues to date and I'd have no problem taking it on a 2 week riding trip right now. The newer 4 stroke KTMs are way way way more reliable than the older ones.
 

woods

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5k should get you into a brand new honda 250 dual sport.

The issue with that is you need a new seat, hand guards, a larger tank, racks, luggage, and a couple other things to dial in. Dual sports are tricky. Out of the box they're fine, but you need quite a budget to get them travel ready .
 

DMG

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On the KTM reliability note..... I've had my bike since April 2016. Since then I've used it for track days at MX parks, ridden it on the street in supermoto form for over 2500 miles and for the most part ride it 3 times a week out in the field at the shop. I change the oil and filter every 15hrs, have checked the valves twice with no adjustment needed a chain, and put 1 plug in it after i did the exhaust and tuner. Zero issues to date and I'd have no problem taking it on a 2 week riding trip right now. The newer 4 stroke KTMs are way way way more reliable than the older ones.

This is 100% true but look at the service intervals on the WR250R, for example. KTM got better but so did everyone else.
 

YotaAtieToo

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Ktm 300 2 smoke

No idea if you can get one in that price, but man is that the most bad ass bike I've ever riden.

The ktm 525/500s are cool, but they're so snappy they're a nightmare on the trail.
 

TrikeKid

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Here is my advice.

Find a short set of stairs, like 4 or 5 high.

Throw yourself off the top onto the ground.

if you can walk around the next day then get any bike you want, if you are hobbling around for days then skip the bike your ass it too old.

Get a SidexSide like the rest of us your age

LMAO, my dad's 64 and puts in 30-40 miles of single track a week, about half his enduro club are 40+, no reason an old guy can't ride a bike instead of a golf cart.
 

YotaAtieToo

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LMAO, my dad's 64 and puts in 30-40 miles of single track a week, about half his enduro club are 40+, no reason an old guy can't ride a bike instead of a golf cart.

It's one thing to ride dirt bikes your whole life, it's another thing to just hop on one in your 40s.

Not saying he can't do it, but your comparison is kinda apples to oranges.
 

-Dex-

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LMAO, my dad's 64 and puts in 30-40 miles of single track a week, about half his enduro club are 40+, no reason an old guy can't ride a bike instead of a golf cart.

Graham Jarvis, arguably the best enduro rider in the world is 40+, when you let your age determine how you have fun is when you’ve officially lost at life... exception to that rule being if you’re into underage women :flipoff2:
 
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