Dirt Bikes

I started riding dirt bikes in Jr. High in 1973 with a Honda XR75 and continued to ride through High School (upgrading to a Honda XL125 which I immediately tricked out for dirt riding). I raced a Suzuki RM125 during my last two years of High School (79-80), but sold it to buy my 1st Martin guitar. I bought a very used Honda SL175 (for $175!) while in college and rode it for awhile, but then was bikeless (a sad state of affairs) until about 1987 when I got a 1984 Honda XR200R. Not long afterwards, I bought a 1984 Honda XL200R as a second bike for commuting and for my wife to ride. I sold both bikes about 2 years later, to buy falconry telemetry (these hobbies are all inter-twined!). A long, dry period lasted until March 21, 1998 when I bought a brand-new 1996 Honda XR250 with proceeds from various writing projects, including the Falconry Equipment book (see what I mean about being intertwined?? <g>). The first thing I did upon getting it home was go out and catch some air!  That got me going again and since then I have been bike-less for just a short period.

In Fall 2010 at age 48, I decided it was time to hang up the dirt bike boots while all my joints and bones are still intact.  It was a great ride!

Which one was my favorite?  On the whole... the Kawasaki KDX200.  That was the most trustworthy, reliable, good handling, friendly bike of the bunch and it still had enough performance that I was very comfortable riding it in a 2-hr hare scramble and on an MX track.  It could do it all.  The best handling of the bunch was the 2005 KX125/144.  It never, ever, ever did anything odd, turned exactly how I wanted it, and felt good doing it.  Even with a 144 cc upgrade, though, the motor was kind of flat.  It wasn't bad, it just didn't have the kick of the '01 KX125 or the KDX200.  The best motor was far and away the KTM 200sx.  That was The Motor!!!  The whole bike wasn't too bad either, except that I couldn't get my leg over the straight rear fender and my boots were constantly getting snagged in the shrouds.  The worst?  Tie between the Yamaha YZ250WR and YZ450F.  Not that either were bad bikes, again, but they had their issues.  The WR had really soft spongy suspension that still suffered from low-speed YamahHop that put me on my head several times.  I never did get the motor running just right.  The YZF was solid and reliable with good suspension, it was just a big tank that I couldn't get to turn and it was a beast to get started after dropping it.  The 4 speed really limited it off-road, too.  I bet an '06 or up would be a different deal, but the '04 was one of my least favorite although it was still a lot of fun and I'm glad I owned it.  If I ever do get another bike, I'll be looking square at an '08 or up KTM 200 XC.  Yup.  That would be tempting!

Feb 2016: Never say "never". We're back in the game.  2008 Honda CRF150F and 2008 Yamaha TTR 230!  Riding on the Canadian River, TX (YouTube)

The Bikes

1973 Honda XR75

1978 Suzuki RM125

1983 Honda XR200R

1996 Honda XR250R

1992 Yamaha YZ250WR

1996 Kawasaki KDX200

2001 Honda XR50

2001 Kawasaki KX125

2002 Suzuki JR80

2005 Kazuma Meerkat ATV

2004 KTM 200sx

2004 Yamaha YZ450F

2005 Kawasaki KX125

2005 Yamaha YZ250 off-road

2006 Yamaha TTR-125 LE

2006 Kawasaki KX85

2008 Honda CRF150F

2008 Yamaha TTR-230

 

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