Jump to content
San Diego Adventure Riders
Rexx Riot

Wife's First Bike

Recommended Posts

Hey guys,

I'm new to dual sports having purchased my DRZ400 from a member here at the end of the summer. The intent at the start of 2018 was 1) move to Idyllwild at least part time, 2) get a dual sport to add to the stable, 3) get a dual sport for wife's first and only bike (she is not interested in street riding, just linking trails), 4) get a good ol busted up 4x4 to keep on the mountain

first two objectives met, last 2 in the works.

There are deals to be had on great used machines all over the place, but her heart is into older bikes (lost boys is her fav flick and naturally an 80s enduro is her perfect vision of what a bike should be). Namely enduros from the 70s and 80s. To that end, I've got eyes on a couple different Honda XL250's from the mid 80s that seem in good shape with fair write ups. I have viewings pending with both machines. I do have some concerns with part availability and the nature of a dual carb bike in general as I'm still pretty new to 'analog fueling' a la carbs (my main bike is EFI for 7 years and the carb on the DRZ is a new beast to me, but so far so good! Got it flowing nicely after shaking the winter off it). 

Anyone have opinions on the XL250 of yesteryear? I know they preceded the NX then XR series and seem to be very well loved over at TT and other outlets but wanted to ask here as 1) i trust this community more in general and 2) these are native coastal so cal bikes and might have different maintenance concerns compared to a barn-bike out in the midwest etc.

Any model specific details to cover during a walkaround/test ride that you guys know of? Any size concerns for a 5'4" 120lb tough chick with 0 motorcycle experience (she's been on the back of the dizzer but never at the helm)? She can tip-toe the DRZ but I'd want for her to be able to flatfoot her first bike on pavement so she can get a bit more leverage and control when dealing with uneven terrain etc. On paper the XL seems like it'd be a great fit for her but paper > realworld isn't always a simple translation. 

Any OTHER models you have experience with that a 30 something like me who is pretty new to motorbikes might not know of from the late 70s early 80s that she might fall in love with? I imagine a dr350 or xt225/250 would be good for her but she still prefers something older and simpler. Kick start is fine, road legal a must as we'll be accessing stuff from our home in Idyllwild sans a truck and trailer. 

Any and all input, feedback and convo is welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did the 225 thing, heavy , not great suspension, electric start, wife couldn't pick it up, / then a 230 , better, electric start, suspension goodish, wife couldn't pick it up, / then a KTM 250 pumped up, electric start, fun, pretty, wife can't pick it up. Hmmm.

Maybe older would have been a good thing ( bike not wife). If you want try riding a 230 come on by, warn me first I'll get running ( I hope), KTM blew up so it will be a down a while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good notes, and wonderful offer thanks @Uncle Champ! I'll be in touch re: CRF demo for sure.

The XL250 is just south of 300lbs wet and ready as i understand but I'm not sure how it wears the weight or if my wife would be able to take it by the scruff of the neck. We'll have to see if the chance to find out comes to fruition soon! We hope it does

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The XL's were good bikes and remained unchanged for many years; heck-they're Hondas!  While they may not be as up to date as the newfangled stuff I would imagine they could be had for cheap and are reliable; sounds like a great starter bike for a "tough chick"!  

Carbs are very simple and easy, especially on these bikes.  Usually pretty easy to pull, some carb cleaner for the initial cleanup and checking the jets if varnished up and also cleaned up with carb cleaner and they will usually fire right up.

I tried to teach my wife to ride some years back; she just lacks the confidence and without some of that I am afraid she will get hurt so that only went a season or two.  She's content to come along to the desert (it's been years though) and hang out or stays home if I get to do a day trip.  Good for you to have a wife that wants to ride; I think that is awesome!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See if you can find a Beta 125 rr.  That's about as small and light as you will find in a street legal bike.  Still sort of tall, but could be lowered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first thought would be electric start, just to make the new experience easier. On that note, dr 200, tw200, a plated ttr 125 ( not common), plated Honda 150 and 230. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good inputs everyone thank you. Still pending some responses on the pair of XL250s we are spying online. Did a little homework and there are plenty of cheap options for new dual carbs and carb rebuild kits etc. Suspension components available still too and plenty of part bikes laying around it seems so I'm not so hesitant about the idea of the XL250. 

Spotted a pair of great looking Dr350s in the meantime which I think would be perfection for her, one of 'em electric start. She's in love with the idea of a kick but having never experienced a kick starter myself I simply have nightmares thinking about kicking something to life after dropping the bike a jillion times in the heat etc...."maybe the button ain't that bad on a first bike dear". she shrugged with a "yeah okay i think you have a point". either way, we're just eager to find a good fit in good shape. Seemingly lots of things to see in the 1500-3000 range which is fun!

I'll keep everyone posted on the quest for her first bike. After our hikes this weekend and the trail discoveries she is more amp'd than ever to get on 2 wheels. She is a confident driver (3 pedals and everything) and very assertive with her right foot....but she has a healthy fear of 2 wheels on this side of things having never been at the controls, especially after my first big crash a few weeks back. We'll ease her in nicely and she'll be leaving me in her wake in no time I'm sure. 

I'll put the options @dirt dame and @Wierdrider on the review list and get to some more homework! Thanks guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m a DR350 fan, good bikes but might be a bit heavy for a first bike for short leg people.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OMG thank you guys for the leads!

We've been all over offerup and cycletrader but tend to disregard CL as it is usually a needle/haystack experience for me. We both hugely appreciate the leads I'm diving in!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're meeting with a few guys this week to take a look at a couple XL250s and a Dr350. I'll keep you guys posted, thanks as always!

 

PS: during our hunt for her enduro I got a lead on a gorgeous ol Honda VF700 i might be grabbing this week too haha. Who knew?! Very exciting week for the Riot family!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Put a golden fatty front on before she goes in soft stuff, night and day confidence builder, in fact I have a pretty good one that I would consider parting with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Uncle Champ said:

Put a golden fatty front on before she goes in soft stuff, night and day confidence builder, in fact I have a pretty good one that I would consider parting with.

I'll keep it in mind and I'll be sure to bother you when the time comes if it's still around!

 

Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey team just wanted to update. Maxi Overdrive got her first bike last night and brought it home. She is the proud owner of a 1986 yamaha tt225 that needs some TLC and work but she is excited to get dirt under her nails with me and her brother (who is a solid mechanic and will be leading the wrenching efforts on the project). It'll be a super fun project for us and the payoff will be great! Got it super duper cheap too so that is always great!

IMG_1304.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm, old heavy but cool, can she touch the ground on both sides at once? Looks like fun.

Congrats,

Welcome Maxi Overdrive,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah she can get both paws down together and she felt pretty good. Much more slight than the DRZ she's had some practice on so she felt pretty good about it. I'm not sure on figures, but the bike felt quite light. I wouldn't think any more than 300 lbs but i don't have much frame of reference on 'light bikes'....I'm used to my SV650 and my DRZ. Kick start only is something she is happy about on THIS side of a long hard day full of crashes, but we'll see how it pans out!

 

Thanks again for the well wishes and leads guys! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×