250cc Motocross Two or Four Stroke?

250cc 2-stroke vs. 250cc 4-stroke

If you’re looking to get into racing motocross at AMA sanctioned tracks and are wondering which bike to buy for the 250cc class, then pay attention. Although the four-strokes have pretty much taken over the motocross market lately, it seems that there are a lot of people trying to bring back the two-strokes, and it seems to be working. AMA made it legal so that a 250cc two-stroke can run in the same class as a 250cc four-stroke. Now, the first reaction I had when I heard of this was without doubt to pick the two-stroke. I looked into it a little bit more and came up with this….

250cc Four-Stroke

YZ250F 4-Stroke

Now most people would think that a four stroke with the same displacement as a two-stroke would not have a chance, and that is why the AMA originally allowed the four strokes to run a bigger engine in 1998. This isn’t the case, due to the fact that companies have put so much more money and effort into making the modern four-strokes extremely high-performance. Some riders that do not like the two-strokes snappy power will often stick to the four-stroke 250 just because they like their broad and easy-to-ride power-band. A 250 two-stroke may have more peak power, but when the day gets long and the track starts to get really rough, that’s when the four-stroke starts to shine. Due to the tractability in rough and slick conditions, the four-stroke will be easier to ride faster late in the day. That doesn’t mean it will be faster than a two-stroke though…

250cc Two-Stroke

Two-strokes are fun to ride because they have a bigger top-end “hit” compared to the four-stroke. If you keep the two-stroke on the pipe then it will definitely be faster than the 250F, as long as the conditions aren’t too rough. For those of you that want more, snappy power, and a lower center of gravity, then go with the two-stroke. It may not always have the traction that a four-stroke has in rough or slick track conditions, but the horsepower makes up for it.

YZ250 2-Stroke

So Which Bike??

After reading the info on each bike you would probably guess that the two-stroke is the better bike for AMA racing, and my answer for that would be, “Yes.” Clearly, it’s a faster bike if the track is in good shape, it handles better because it has a lower center of gravity and is a 2 stroke, it has a lighter front-end allowing you to skim over whoops and bumps, and it smells good. But I will say that if you are a four-stroke guy that doesn’t like the snappy-feeling power-band on the two-stroke, then you will be fine on a 250F. The 250F is by no means slow, and any good rider should be able to win on it. My choice would be to ride the 250 two-stroke though because it’s faster, and it’s a new rule that I would take advantage of. Good luck, and no matter what stroke you ride, have fun!!

-Tom Stark

 

 

How To Sell A Dirt Bike

How to sell a dirt bike or motorcycle

Almost every single dirt bike or motorcycle ad I see has at least a couple defects in it. This makes it more difficult to sell a bike, especially in this poor economy. So if you want some tips on how to make your ads more professional and how to sell a bike more quickly, listen up!

Making a bike look good:

People will be a lot more interested in your bike if it looks nice. That’s starting with making your bike clean. I always spray my bike with soap and water, then I scrub everywhere I can get to with a tooth brush. Taking the plastics off makes it easier and you can get into a lot more spots that you couldn’t before. If you don’t mind spending a little bit of money on New Plastics and/or graphics, then I highly suggest doing it. It will allow you to sell the bike quicker and you might get your money back doing it. It makes the bike look really nice and fresh because not everything is scratched up anymore. Make sure you don’t go overboard on replacing or refurbishing parts, such as repainting the frame, case covers, etc. along with plastic and graphics to make it literally look new, otherwise buyers might think there is something suspicious and get scared away. Make sure not to just clean it before someone comes to look at it, but also for the pictures, because it’s not very inviting to look at a bike that is dirty in the ad.

Pictures:

Pictures is an absolute must if you want to sell a bike. People don’t want to travel far without seeing a bike and find out that it’s an absolute wreck. I suggest that you post at least one or two pictures of your bike/item.

 

Title:

One of the first things you want is a good title, which isn’t very difficult, but I have seen quite a few ads that are titled, “Dirt bike for sale.” Now that may be true, but does that say much about what it is? Not really, and not many people are going to click on it if they just say that. So if you want a good title, make sure you have most if not all of the model info. For example, a good and simple title is. “(Year of bike) (Make of bike) (Model name).” It’s that simple. Here is a title that I have for one of my dirt bikes, “2001 Yamaha YZ125.” It’s really that easy.

Description:

This is where I see the most mistakes or defects in peoples ads. Anything from spelling, grammar, to too much detail and too long. To have a professional looking ad you want to write just enough info for people to see so they don’t contact you asking a million questions. All you have to write is a little bit about the bike, such as a sentence or two about its history, what’s been done to the bike, what aftermarket parts it has, and anything else that a buyer should know.

Price

The price is one of the most crucial pieces to selling a bike. Many sellers think their bikes are worth gold because they have thousands in aftermarket parts, or that they just put two grand into rebuilding it. Aftermarket parts add next to no value to bikes. In fact, some people would rather buy a stock bike, so if you have stock parts, I would suggest you put them back on and keep the aftermarket parts, or just sell them with them off of the bike. Just because you put 1500 into rebuilding the engine does not mean it’s worth that much more, it means that they blew the bike up and other parts will probably need replacing soon. Rebuilds DO NOT add to value because they are just maintenance. Now for figuring out your price, it depends on the model, year, and what kind of shape the bike is in. If it’s in good shape then take a look at other ads people are posting. Usually they are asking 10-25% more than the bike is worth, so I suggest you post it for a little less than the average.

Replying to buyers:

First of all, if you are using Craigslist and are not going to check your email every day or two, then please put a phone number so someone can reach you!!! I see hundreds of ads that do not have a phone number, so I have to wait for them to reply on email, that is if they reply at all. If you do check your email every day then you should be good, but I would still say that a phone number is a must.

Selling the bike

When a buyer arrives, make sure you are kind to them and do not get upset or have an unusual behavior at all. Probably the number one rule I use when selling bikes is “being honest.” You have to tell the truth and not hide anything to the seller so that they won’t come back to you after buying the bike complaining about something you lied about. It is much easier for everyone if you’re out front with everything about the bike, that way you can be confident in selling your bike. Also make sure that the buyer knows that this is an as-is sale, and if something happens to the bike there is no warranty if it’s a used bike. If you happen to sell it you will either want to give the seller the title or make a bill of sale telling who bought it, who sold it, what the price was, VIN # of bike, name, number, so that nothing will come back it you if it’s stolen or something.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reply. Thanks for viewing, and good luck selling your bike!

-Tom Stark

 

 

What Dirt Bike To Buy For My Kid?

Are you thinking about buying a dirt bike for your kid but don’t know which bike to choose or look for? I will give you some background on name brand bikes for kids to help you make a decision. Choosing the right bike for your young rider is very important, especially if they’ve never ridden before. Kids start riding as young as three years old, so once they are able to ride a bicycle without training wheels they should be capable of riding a dirt bike. And please don’t put training wheels on a little dirt bike, that just defeats the purpose.

There are a few factors that come in to play when finding the right dirt bike for a kid. Age, experience, size, and where you are going to ride all come in to play when looking for a bike. There are 50, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 125, and 150cc four-stroke dirt bikes that are mostly meant for off-road and trail riding. For the smaller two-stroke dirt bikes, there are a couple different 50s, 65s, and 85cc bikes. These are used for motocross racing.

Off-Road Bikes

50cc

There are a few different 50cc dirt bikes, but the most common is the Honda CRF50F/XR50R. This is where dirt biking starts for every little kid that has never ridden before. These things are almost bullet proof if you maintain it properly. If you are looking for a first bike for a kid that is under 7 then this is probably the best choice, unless they are bigger/taller than the norm. There is also the Suzuki JR50, Kawasaki KDX50 and Yamaha PW50; all of which are oil-injected 2-strokes that are very light and perfect for the smallest of riders, and the Yamaha TTR-50 which is about the same as the CRF, so it just depends what color you like best.

70 & 80cc

Honda made the CRF/XR70 and 80cc bikes for kids that are just starting, but a little too big for a 50cc. The 70 has a taller seat height with a little more power than the 50, but the 80 has a clutch which is perfect for training the little ones without letting them ride on a fast bike.

100/110/125/150cc

Honda has been known for their XR/CRF100 which reaches to a variety of riders. It has a clutch and is just right for the older kids to learn on if they are too big for the CRF80F. The 100 is a great trail bike because it has just enough power, and it’s also big enough for an adult, so this bike should be easy to find used, and cheap I might add. Kawasaki and Suzuki decided to make the ultimate pit bike for kids and adults. The KLX110/DRZ110 (Parts are interchangeable) has become popular because of how much power it has, or is able to put out, for its size. The 110 is an automatic, so it’s great for smaller riders that want more power than a 70 without going to a clutch yet. Yamaha also has a bigger off-road bike for kids, the TTR-125. The TTR-125 is a popular model for bigger kids just starting out. It has a clutch with enough power to haul riders around, young or old. Honda also has the CRF150F for riders that want more power and a taller ride height than the 100. Although the set-back for the 150 is that it weighs about as much as a full-size motocross bike. These mid-sized off-road bikes are popular for a reason, and this means that they have usually been ridden a lot and probably abused. So if you’re looking at buying a used one then make sure it is clean, it has somewhat low hours, and has been well maintained.

Motocross Bikes

50cc

There are a couple different name-brand 50cc motocross bikes for kids, and they are both KTM two-strokes. KTM has the 50 SX Mini, which is for the smallest beginning racers. There is also the 50 SX which is bigger and suits a little taller beginning racer. These bikes both have a one-speed automatic transmission and are liquid-cooled. KTM 50s are expensive, but they are perfect race bikes for your little kids that are ready to tear up the tracks. There are also Chinese companies with 50cc motocross bikes, which aren’t made with as much quality.

65cc

KTM and Kawasaki are the only name brand companies that still make a 65cc two-stroke motocross bike. KTM has the 65 SX which is more expensive and usually the racers that are serious buy them. Right from the factory KTM puts aftermarket parts on their bikes, such as VForce reeds on the two-strokes, handlebars, and Brembo brakes. The Kawasaki KX65 is what riders that just want to race buy because they are so cheap. That does not mean that they aren’t fast, they just aren’t always as reliable and don’t have a very high re-sale value. Both are great race bikes for intermediate younger riders in around the age 7-10 that have been riding for some time. These bikes are usually not used for trail riding because they are not as easy to ride and lug around as a four-stroke is.

85/105/150cc

85cc motocross bikes are the start for a young teen aged racer. They have more power than most any kid could use, which makes these bikes a blast for adults or adrenaline-junkies as well. KTM, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha all make an 85cc two-stroke mx bike. Honda put a stop to their two-stroke inventory after 2007, but people still buy their late model bikes. Instead, Honda wanted to start a revolution for mini-bikes with their all new 150cc four-stroke motocross bike. It was well talked about, but once it came out it died slowly. They are powerful bikes and are easier to ride than an 85, but the weight and cost lost it for them. Usually these CRF150R’s (Big and small wheel) were bought by racers with money because they also needed quite a bit of maintenance. If you have money and your kid loves the easy ride-ability of a four-stroke then this would be a good race bike to buy.

If you don’t have a deep pocket, then an 85 or 100/105cc two-stroke stroke is a great choice. Your kid will love you for getting them one of these bikes; before they flip it at least once, that is. If you find someone selling a used 85 that hasn’t been flipped, then you’re either lucky or they’re lying. 85s are pretty much race-only bikes. I’ve trail-ridden with one, and it was not very fun because of the lack of power down low. The Honda CR85R and Yamaha YZ85 hit harder and are more snappy than the others because they don’t have a power valve. KTM’s 85 SX comes with aftermarket goodies from the factory like all of their other bikes, so it’s probably the fastest out of the lot. Kawasaki’s KX85 and Suzuki’s RM85 are very similar and are used by many riders that are on a budget because of how cheap they can be. Honda and Suzuki both have a larger wheel 85, which helps those taller kids that quite aren’t ready for a 125 or 250f.

Kawasaki and KTM have a big-bore 85 to compete in the supermini class (86-112cc). Kawasaki’s KX100 is a big wheel and has plenty of power for any young racer. KTM has a 105 SX which is one of the best power-to-weight ratio bikes you can buy, and also has larger wheels. When it comes down to choosing an 85,100/105, or a 150cc four-stroke motocross bike for your kid, it depends how big your pocketbook is, what fits your kid, and what color you like best.

If you know what bike you want to get, check out my article “How To Buy A Dirt Bike“. Thanks for viewing, and good luck buying the right bike for your kid.

-Tom Stark

Why Do Old Guys Buy A 450 Motocross Bike, Flip It, Then Sell It?

There’s a reason you may see a high number of used 450cc four-stroke motocross bikes for sale with low hours on them. Why is that? Do they have a common problem that is prone to failure? Usually not, but the nut attached to the handlebar occasionally does….

Brand New YZ450F Ready To Be Flipped

If you’ve ridden the big 750s and 800 motorcycles back in the 60s and 70s, you’ll know that technology has come a long way in just half a century. Well, guys that rode them back when they were young and the bikes were fresh don’t always realize this when their inner “teen” years come back and they want a dirt bike. When looking at the selection of bikes, they see that the biggest is “only” 450cc (not including dual-sport). Thinking back to their super bikes back in the day that were twice the size, weight, and not nearly as powerful per cubic inch of engine displacement, they thought they could easily hop on a 450F and man-handle it. Well, that’s when things go wrong…

Motocross bikes have changed in almost every way from 35 years ago. They are lighter, stronger, more powerful per cubic-inch, betting handling and suspension, and easier to get into trouble with. The sheer torque of a 450cc motocross bike will make a grown man require a new pair of whitey-tighties. Being able to wheelie at almost any given RPM and gear, it will toss you right on your bum before you can say “Watch this!”. “Ripping your arms off” is no longer a figure-of-speech.

So, why am I writing this to you? Well, it’s basically a forewarning to you if you’re considering buying a 450cc motocross weapon. If you are fairly new to the bike scene, or have been off them for years, do not take them for granted. Start on a less-powerful and cheaper bike. Then, skill-permitting, you can move up in displacement. I would definitely suggest a smaller bike if you’re going to Start Motocross Racing. A 125cc 2-stroke is plenty for 99% of novice riders. A 250F (four-stroke) can also be good if you are a die-hard four-stroke rider). If you disagree, check out my post, “So You Think You Know How To Ride A Motocross Bike…“.

I’m not here to scare people. I’m just here to inform you that the more power you have under your butt, the more likely you can get into trouble. With that said, whether you’re on an XR100 or a Kx450F, have fun, and ride safe!

-Tom Stark

Why Are 4-Strokes Cheaper Than 2-Strokes Now?

You may or may not have noticed, but in my area, as well as many others in the United States, you can buy a 4-stroke of the same year as a 2-stroke for the same, or even less dollars. Why is this, you ask? Well, there are many factors as to why this is happening. First of all, you have to realize that an “Asking price” is NOT the same as a “Selling price” in almost every scenario. While there are many people asking “X” amount of dollars for a certain model and year of bike, they are almost always selling it for less, even if their price is “Firm”.

 4-Strokes Still Dominate The Racing Realm

'05 YZ250F - $1500

While most racers in the U.S. are still buying new four-strokes because of their advantages, many are going back to the ol’ faithful two-stroke. Their reasoning? For one, they are sick of dealing with 4-strokes. The maintenance, the breaking, the rebuilding, the billing, and more maintenance. Now, I’m not a hater of 4-strokes, and what I just said isn’t always the case, because some of them last a long time with little maintenance, but in the long run they will almost always cost more to operate because of more moving parts. Yes, a 4-stroke engine has almost double the moving parts as a 2-stroke. 4-strokes are like ticking time bombs, because when something breaks, it usually takes out more parts, resulting in a grenade-like explosion.

Why Buy A Blender When You “Know” It’s Going To Break…

If the owners aren’t sick of their 4-stroke after the first rebuild, they usually are after a second time. Not only do the parts add up to a large sum, but if you have the work  done by a shop, it’s nearly doubled. You have a piston and rings, valves, timing chain, chain tensioner, valve springs, shims, possibly the cylinder head ($400 alone for most bikes) and cam(s), maybe the crankshaft, bearings (they add up quickly), and cylinder re-sleeved or plated if it got scored. Although not every part needs to be replaced after every engine failure, you can still see why it adds up to a much bigger bill than if you were to rebuild a 2-stroke. It’s not uncommon to see people paying the price of a used bike for an engine rebuild…. Now you know why there are so many 4-stroke motocross bikes in the classifieds that need to be rebuilt; people on a budget buy them, and when something happens, they don’t have money to fix them. To add to the fact, most people don’t know how to or aren’t confident enough to work on a 4-stroke engine because of their complexity, which is why they bring it to a shop to do (greatly increasing the rebuild cost).

'04 CR125R - $2000

I could give you a list of prices for new parts on an engine rebuild, but it just feels redundant. You can look it up if you really feel compelled (It won’t be pretty, especially after you consider the labor). It’s for this very reason that riders are switching to a 2-stroke. Racing is expensive, and if you don’t have much to start with, why dig a deeper hole?

Destroyed Head & Valves

It’s A Buyers Market

Back to the “Asking” and “Selling” price, most people post their bikes for more than they are actually worth. It’s because they see other bikes of the same or similar model and year for a certain amount, so they think theirs is worth that much too because that’s what they are “Going for”. That’s far from the truth. In fact, a lot of people never even sell their bikes because they are asking too much. Smart sellers, or someone that want a quick sale, will either take at least a couple hundred off of their price initially when posting it, or they negotiate when someone comes to look at it. The only time you will be able to sell your bike when you are “Firm” on the price is when it’s already much cheaper than any other bike like it on the market. Even then, a lot of people go down another hundred or so, just to get rid of it.

In the end, it’s all about supply and demand, and the demand for cheap 2-strokes is exponentially increasingbecause of how cheap it is to operate them over a long period of time.

Mint '07 CRF250R - $2100

 -Tom Stark

Note: this article is not to sway you to buy a 2-stroke. It is merely news and information on what the off-road motorcycle market is doing, and what people are currently buying. Although, it does make 2-strokes just that much more appealing!