Hey Buddy, what kind of bike should I buy? - Dirt Rider Magazine

If you read your November issue of Dirt Rider Magazine cover-to-cover than you likely read the Old Bikes Renewed story (page 48) and saw Brett Madron's Industry Insider 2007 RM250. Well, as a true "dude on the inside", Brett and his posse from Fastway/Pro Moto Billet really wanted to "show up" for that story and actually brought three used, refreshed and really shiny off-road bikes to Idaho for me to play with. It was their own in-house used-bike shootout. And what they (and I) learned is so useful that I thought I'd share the morsels of info here.Almost any of the Fastway/Pro Moto Billet bikes could have made the cut for magazine glory, but the overall usability of the RM250 eventually won out. A close second (if we were keeping score) would have been the super cool 2006 Yamaha YZ125 and third would probably be the race-tilted '06 KX450F.Here's Brett with a quick used-bike buying guide that makes sense. Think about these things before you start shopping.As a member of the motorcycle industry I often get asked, "Hey, what kind of bike should I buy?". Of course my answer always depends on what kind of riding this person will be doing and what skill level and financial backing they have. It does seem that I get the question often from someone who is just getting into the sport of trail riding and wants a good used bike. They may have ridden as a kid or young adult, but are getting back into the sport. A lot has changed in 15 years and there are a lot of options for a good used bike right now. So for the new or returning rider that wants to get into riding, here are a few suggestions: First, decide if you are a mountain trail rider, a desert sand wash rider, a motocrosser, or a combination of these. The type of riding you prefer plays heavily into what kind of bike will work best for you. Mountain trails require low-end power and torque and supple softer suspension. Desert sand washes are more suited to a big-bore bike with tall gears and a little stiffer suspension. Motocross can be fun on any bike, but riders with more skill will prefer a powerful bike with stiff suspension. If you are going to hit all three you will likely have to choose your favorite type of riding and make concessions when riding on different terrain. Second, realistically assess your skill level. An entry-level rider typically won't benefit much from the latest and greatest technology. A good older clean bike that is well maintained and reliable can save you some money and still get you out enjoying the great outdoors. If you are a rider returning to the sport with a lot of skills, (even if they are rusty), you might prefer the latest suspension and technology. Your skills will return quickly and there is a chance you will outgrow your new "old" bike quickly. Third assess your mechanical abilities. If you are not a mechanic, do not buy a bike that needs work. No, your buddies won't help you fix it and you will soon be on the "persona non grata" list on riding days. Buy a motorcycle that you can ride with minimal repair. If you have good mechanical abilities, you can save some money by purchasing a bike that needs minor repairs. Regardless of your mechanical skill level, stay away from bent frames and bikes with troubles in the crankcase. There are too many good options for used bikes to spend your hard earned money replacing cranks and transmissions. Fourth, assess your body type and riding style. I am going to throw diplomacy out the window and say it like it is. If you are a big person, buy a big bike. If you are a small person buy a small bike. Of course skill level must be factored in a little. A 250-pound guy has smoked me on a 125 as well as a 125-pound guy on a 450. However, I have also more often seen a smoldering 125 laying besides a sweating exhausted 250-pound guy and a 125-pound guy laying in the trees beside a crashed bike. Bigger bikes require more strength and body mass to make them behave. Small bikes require finesse and timing to get them to perform at their best. Finally assess your long-term commitment. There is no need to spend $9k on a bike to have it sit in your garage. My spouse taught me this lesson. Buy a good used bike and prove to yourself that you are committed. Of course if you just picked up your lottery check you can disregard this recommendation.... buy big, buy many, give me a call.****2006 YZ125
This is a clean 2006 Yamaha YZ125. It has been well taken care of and has been upgraded with Fox Suspension valved for intermediate motocross for a rider outside the normal target buyer for a 125 (he's heavier). It has an aftermarket FMF pipe for increased mid and upper RPM power characteristics, as this rider is a desert guy that hits the occasional trail and sand wash. It was outfitted with the Fastway System 5 damper and a Version 1 hand guard system as well as Fastway foot pegs. This bike might seem like a shoe-in for a beginning off-road rider but many riders are caught in the trap of thinking that a rider should start with small displacement bikes and work his or her way up to a 450-race machine. A YZ 125cc two-stroke is a race bike plain and simple. It is a great bike for a beginning motocrosser, but the high RPM power and lack of low RPM grunt may make this bike better suited to an intermediate or expert trail rider (or someone who wants to become one) when taken on tight technical off-road rides. The lighter weight results in a bike that is responsive and inspires confidence but when presented with a log or a tight rocky section, the need for momentum and expert clutch and throttle skills overshadow the weight advantage. This bike is best suited for a beginning motocrosser, experienced trail rider or someone who wants to learn clutch, throttle and brake control and have a blast doing it. It's not a brainless bike to ride but it's pretty forgiving at the same time. It's low maintenance, easy to work on and comes stock pretty much set up for anything. Heavier riders have luck with YZ250 fork and shock spring rates and/or a revalve (like the Fox setup here).Here's a parts list for this blue beauty:
FMF Turbine Core II
Pro Taper Bars Windham Bend
Dunlop 952 Rear
Dunlop 742 Front
Ironman Sprockets
Devol Guide Plate
Regina O-Ring Chain
ProMoto Billet Kickstand
Fastway Brake Snake
Fastway F6 Footpegs
Fastway Chain Blocks
Fastway Front Brake Hose Guide
Fastway Version 1 FIT System with integrated steering stabilizer mount
Fastway System 5 Steering Stabilizer (available in December)
Ride PG Graphics
Fastway Case Saver
Scott's bar clamps with a GPR post for my damper mount.
Tag Metals grips.
Custom Pro-taper bar pad.
Short stubby gas cap breather valve.
Blue Pro Wheel Hoops laced to the stock hubs using the stock spokes.
Rear Tubliss Tubeless setup.
White rear fender (it was the one that was on my 250 - looks good with the Fastway graphics).
91-octane pump with Amsoil Dominator mixed 36:1.
Engine is a fresh rebuild with a Pro-X piston, Athena gaskets, and new OEM cylinder
Twin Air air filter.
Bel-Ray Gearsaver 75 wt.
Fox suspension front and rear (before the Fox rebuild: YZ250 front and rear springs, front revalved by owner for softer initial stroke and stock shock valving)2006 KXF450
This green machine was actually a race bike that has retired to the luxurious life of being used for everything. From moto on the weekend to a mid-week trail ride, this bike does it all. This bike was outfitted with the Fastway Flak Shield hand guards. These guards feature a billet clamp and provide the closest protection to a full wrap that we have found. The KXF was outfitted with stock exhaust and a Pro Moto Billet end cap. This option provides a spark arrestor that can be outfitted with two different silent insert to adjust power and sound level. This really provides a lot of versatility on a bike that might see the motocross track one weekend and a tight twisty single-track trail the next. It has great well-rounded power that can rip on a MX track and grunt through a snarled mess of rocks or blip over a pile of logs. The valving of the Fox suspension was well suited for a variety of terrain and performed excellent everywhere. One of the only downfalls to this bike is its weight and snappy power delivery for technical riding. Plus, she's no sweetheart to start all day. It feels heavy at the end of a long day. The torque and snap pulls on your arms and upper body and can really zap your energy. For a younger fit rider there are no issues but if you're looking for a bike to be calm, cool and collected all the time, this isn't it. It's a beast of motocross bike-harnessing that power and making it usable is key. If you don't have your dirt bike muscles tuned up, this bike will make you feel it. Also, if you want a trail-only bike, Kawasaki makes the KLX450R that is much more tame but still rips. The four stroke in general is expensive to maintain, but modern 450s have proven to be durable bikes as long as clean oil and air filters are rotated in. Stay away from a bike with high hours that is hard to start. Rebuilding is expensive. One other item to note; this bike, being the 2006, also has a four-speed transmission. If geared properly, this is transparent to most riders. However if the bike is geared for the mountains, expect to get left in the dust in the desert and visa-versa. Overall this is a great option for a used bike for guys looking for lots of power.KX450F Parts List:
Fastway F6 Footpegs
Fastway Flak Shields
ProMotoBillet Spark Arrestor Endcap
ProMoto Billet Disc Guard
ProMoto Billet Kickstand
CV4 Hoses and 2.0 Radiator Cap
Dunlop 952 Rear
Dunlop 742 Front
Ironman Sprockets
Renthal Twin Wall 996 Bars and Kevlar Grips
Rekluse Clutch COVER (not the clutch) (for higher oil capacity)
Regina O-Ring Chain
Ride PG Graphics
Fastway Case Saver
CP Piston and Rings
Fastway Chain blocks
Factory Kawi Cut Seat w/ One industries grip cover (for my height deficiency)
Clark Tank with Dry Brake System
Boyesen Super Cooler Water Pump and Impeller
TM Designs Chain Guide
Fox Racing Suspension (Valved for Intermediate motocross/aggressive of road)
Devol Skid Plate
Fastway Front Brake Hose Guide

That's a good looking YZ125!
That's a sprocket you won't have to change any time soon
Fastway has been hard at work testing and tuning their System 5 series dampers.
Block or bleed.
These are Fastway/PMB bikes after all...
How cool are those blue rims? Ridepg.com rim stickers stop the scratches
More Ridepg.com goodies-custom graphics.
FMF makes quiet power
Craig Hasselstrom takes his versatile YZ for a ride next to the beaver pond. Craig's not a little guy but he uses the 125 from Idaho's deserts to the mountains all season. It simply works.
The race-worthy KX450F can be a challenge to tame. But with some simple mods it can be a capable, legal and enjoyable off-road ride.
If you're riding from desert to hills or flat-land to rock gardens, the additon of some sort of case protection is a good call. Four stroke water pumps are vulnerable.
I've seen these pegs before...
The Fastway Flak Shields are some of the only Moto-style guards that are tough enough for decent bush/tree/moose encounters. They don't have the full-size coverage of wrap-arounds, but they are stout.
The first mod any off-road rider should do to their KX-F is to make it trail legal with a spark arrestor and a quiet insert. The Pro Moto Billet Endo system is an easy, inexpensive way to do both.
This is Brian Elliot. If you see him on the trail, DO NOT FOLLOW HIM