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Winter Project: small bore, 25 year old or older bike. Suggestions?

woods

Yawp.
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Poking around for a bit of a winter project. My first bike was an 86 and had an antique OHRV plate on it which was neat. Be cool to have a bike that could have one.

Wouldn't mind doing a full rebuild. Tear the engine down and stuff if I had to.

Could use some suggestions.

I'm tall with a 35" inseam, so something of a taller variant preferred.
300cc or smaller.
1998 or older.
Dual sport and off-road oriented.
Electric start is nice, but I can deal with a kick.
Fuel injected preferred, but I can deal with carb(s).
Must be street legal.
Cheap, obviously.

Anything to keep an eye out for?
 
XR250L? Kinda a tough list ya got. I want to see some other suggestions. I couldn't think of hardly any. Maybe older XT250. Both are rare bikes but do pop up. There was an XT200 also that was a taller bike and more like the XR200. The tw and xt225 dates back that far and are very desirable but have cramped ergos. But are super fun and unstoppable on tight trails
 
The ultimate DR350 breaks your list but riders swear that is the best all around bike. I rode one once on gravel and it was a great bike. And I was keeping up with better riders on better bikes. Alot of complaints that the drz didn't fill the gap
 
I picked up this '72 XL250S last year as a project and it has been languishing in my garage. I don't know what your perception of cheap is and I probably over paid for this one in the heat of the moment but it is mostly complete and in obvious need of some love & attention.

I'm not going to get to it this year and probably not even next year. I'd be willing to sell it at a loss to a point.
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I picked up this '72 XL250S last year as a project and it has been languishing in my garage. I don't know what your perception of cheap is and I probably over paid for this one in the heat of the moment but it is mostly complete and in obvious need of some love & attention.

I'm not going to get to it this year and probably not even next year. I'd be willing to sell it at a loss to a point.
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Neat ride but I'm thinking going a bit newer. Would like to stick to 80s and 90s- preferably 90s.
 
Neat ride but I'm thinking going a bit newer. Would like to stick to 80s and 90s- preferably 90s.
Whatever bike you find and before you purchase do some research on parts availability (heads, cams, pistons, ignition items, machine shop availability etc) Many parts on those popular back in the day bikes are getting to be unobtainium. You could end up with an endless money pit. Ebay can be a good source for used parts. Even with Honda some stuff can be frustrating to source from the 80's and 90's. I refreshed an '87 XL600 and should have earned a few credits in the school of hard knocks! It turned out nice but going through the process was an eye opener for me. I'd stick with Honda (XR250L) and then Yamaha (XT models) if you want to do this but be prepared and use due diligence. The newer and still in production bikes may not look so bad once your research is done.:beer Good luck!
 
I'd stick with Honda (XR250L) and then Yamaha (XT models) if you want to do this but be prepared and use due diligence. The newer and still in production bikes may not look so bad once your research is done.
yea, I think those are the ones I'm going to look for.

I recently got an 86 Honda Shadow running, but it was one of those 700cc ones. it was a bit of a trick to get parts. that will be something to look out for for sure.
 
Tw200 parts are still around. I got a 2022 model and 2023 is released soon. Just the carb, cdi and front brake has been changed since 1985 or so. Oh ya no kickstart after a certain year. But a 95 frame could have any year parts. Warning....dont get sucked in to the tw world.
 
I sat on a TW200. The seat would have to be at the height of the bars for me to ride it. :lol2
 
Not a woods bike, but will be a fun winter project

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Wow, great. My instinct is always little red Honda, I love them, but the XS400 is a cool bike. It's a well-rounded displacement with 30 or so horsepower. 12-14 horsepower is pretty scary these days. Just the average car has between 180 and 200 horsepower. Best of luck.
 
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So what is the list of potential bikes! I keep thinking I have forgotten an obvious choice. I had a cm200 that was kinda of impressive. And a 90s version is the nighthawk 250. Which probably would work well with some shinkos and usually a cheap bike. Ergos might be cramped though.
 
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