Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki??

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Mar 20, 2014
Looking to get a new dirtbike sometime soon. Looking at something around 140-200cc. Nothing crazy but will get whatever is the best bang for the buck. So I have wandered at all 4 of those above brands, but which would you recommend? I will be buying new FWIW. I previously had a Suzuki but was plagued with problems from the get go, however it was used so that may have been the problem. You think a 144cc will fit me okay, being that I am 5 foot 7 inches, 160lbs?
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Dirtbike or dual-sport? Play or race?

Just for play or trail, the Honda CRF230.

It's as reliable as a rock, tough as an anvil and the power is very manageable.

Way easier to maintain than a CRF250. Way less power too but that goes without saying
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I bought my wife a CRF230 to ride. I am actually riding it tomorrow I enjoy it so much. I have a CR250 which is a blast but actually prefer the 230 on the trails. It is so easy to ride, has electric start and like was said above, pretty much indestructible. The gears are short and closely spaced and it isn't a motocross bike but for a fun and reliable trail bike it's tough to beat.
ive always been a Yamaha fan. for trail bikes the TTR and WR lines are decent and affordable. for a serious bike a yz250 is a ton of fun.

Its hard to go wrong with any Japanese motorcycle. They are all built superb IMO
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Depending on how much you want to tinker, you can get a Lifan 200GY for less than half the price of a comparable Japanese bike.

You are getting half the bike though.

The motor is probably the best thing about the bike. The OHV pushrod 200 is a Honda CG copy. It's actually pretty decent. You usually won't have to split the cases until the rest of the bike is used up

The rear suspension geometry is messed up. You have to run a lot of slack in the chain
The electrical system is pathetic. Not a problem if it is a playbike. Ignore the lights that don't work
The speedometer is hideously inaccurate ...doesn't matter. It will very quickly break.
Tachometer reads slowly and will not work occsionally.
The steel is pretty low grade and the welds are hit and miss. I haven't personally observed any dangerous bad welds but there are numerous reports of it.
Even with good tires, it will not be as stable as a similar size CRF/TTR/DR.
It has that uber-Sano anodized upside down fork....works about as well as a long travel version of a WalMart bicycle fork. Damping? Use heavier fork oil, you might get some.

It's kinda' fun to play with and if you have a lot of time to kill and can be resourceful and patient on parts, it can work.

I like the orange one. Reminds me of a KTM
Originally Posted By: hpb
You won't go wrong with any of the Japanese brands. I'd avoid the Chinese stuff like the plague!

The Lifan engine is a decent Chonda clone.

If you get rid of the "supporting cast",(ie: frame, suspension, electrical...) the Lifan is okay. Many people have done the horizontal Lifan swap into Honda Trail 70/90/110s. It's like getting a new Honda CT with a 140cc engine


I still haven't found the perfect Craigslist Honda CT Trail bike for my Lifan swap. Just need a good frame and suspension and intact/unmolested harness....oh, and a title. Nothing on Craigslist ever has a title.
Yes the Lifan engines are ok...but if you have to throw the rest of the bike away, it kinda defeats the purpose of buying a new one in the first place! The Chinese will eventually get there, but for now, it's Japanese all the way for me.
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