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Buying a small practice bike


winddown
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I have a question, a mate suggested that I buy a little cheap dirtbike to practice the basics on, I was thinking of a  yamaha WR250.  The cost isn't an issue, I can sell it later or whatever.   I'm not happy with the idea of practicing all the basics on my T7, cause of it's weight and the fact I don't want to be dropping it every time I go out and practice.  The thought of dumping my T7 makes me cringe but dropping a sacrificial 250 wouldn't bother me in the least.  What do you guys recon, a good plan?  I have a lifetime of experience on road bikes, which is good start, but of little practical use in the gravel I think.

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I think it's a great idea, and if I could convince my "government", I'd buy me a Stark Varg and beat the hell out of it on local MX tracks/enduro parks.

 

My way will be to attend some beginner's offroad classes with my T7. Might be an option for you, too.

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5 hours ago, Tenerider said:

 

My way will be to attend some beginner's offroad classes with my T7. Might be an option for you, too.

 

I'll do that, have been planning on it, but not on the T7, on the new little one.

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8 hours ago, winddown said:

I have a question, a mate suggested that I buy a little cheap dirtbike to practice the basics on, I was thinking of a  yamaha WR250.  The cost isn't an issue, I can sell it later or whatever.   I'm not happy with the idea of practicing all the basics on my T7, cause of it's weight and the fact I don't want to be dropping it every time I go out and practice.  The thought of dumping my T7 makes me cringe but dropping a sacrificial 250 wouldn't bother me in the least.  What do you guys recon, a good plan?  I have a lifetime of experience on road bikes, which is good start, but of little practical use in the gravel I think.

Are you just trying to get better at gravel riding or real off road riding such as single track or trails going up the mountain?  Or both?  I can lend advice on gravel riding that will make it somewhat easier for you to get comfortable and you don't need a different bike for that but rather just practice.  Let me know.

I did start a gravel road thread on here somewhere.  Could dig that up and add to it.

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A small dirt bike to play on is a great idea. 

 

My 23 year old daughter wanted to buy a street bike but I talked her into getting a small dirt bike instead. 

 

Learning to crash with some control cannot be underestimated. Even if only riding on the street, that skill can save your life or reduce injuries.   And it's not a skill that is easy or painless to learn on asphalt. 

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I actually started offroading on the 275kg Honda Crosstourer, put some Anakee Wilds on and started the TET south Netherlands and did the basic offroad training with this bike which i still have and ride a lot.
Loose sand was my Nemesis but i knew i liked offroading so i bought a XT660Z, did the TET South again right after the melting of the snow and later the TET North and the Drenthe loop plus the Intermediate.
But i wanted more and not only more offroad but also more offroad on my travels but i didn't like the one cilinder on long distances and that's why i ended up with the T7.
Have thought about trading the CT for a lighter bike but since i don't own a car and don't want to the big bike was more convenient.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Landshark said:

Are you just trying to get better at gravel riding or real off road riding such as single track

No, just gravel.  I just want a cheap bike I can throw around while learning the basics, something light and expendable.  Something I can pick up easily.

 

Edit:  I don't want to be in Neil's position

 

Edited by winddown
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Posted (edited)

I believe gravel road riding is easier on a T7 than a small dirt bike.  The T7 keeps you planted on the gravel road.  And if you stand up in the thicker gravel you can travel faster and feel more confident.  Keep the speed up, keep your hands and arms loose and don't tense up.  I prefer 70 t0 90 km in gravel to keep it stable and then I'm comfortable.  

When stopping, use the rear and front brake enough to bring the speed down quickly whilst only locking up the rear tire briefly all the while your shifting down to prepare for a sudden take off.   Practice this maneuver like you're about to hit a deer and you'll get good at it.  

Weave down the gravel road if you're the only one on it to get used to what the bike will do in the loose stuff.  Come to a complete stop and then do a controlled burnt out and let the stones fly.  

Where you need to be cautious is in the blind corners.  You don't want to be out in the center or the wrong side of the road and smack into an oncoming vehicle.  Slow down, hug the side of the road you're supposed to be on and proceed with caution then open the throttle in the straight away.  

Practice, practice, practice.  It's fun just to go out and do.

A small bike like a 250 is a bit unnerving when riding gravel roads.  Unless the road is just hard packed dirt.  I find the rear wheel wants to spin easily and the front has less grip as well.  But with that said, it is good to practice with a smaller bike as you will appreciate the T7 on the next practice session.

 

Edited by Landshark
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Landshark said:

I believe gravel road riding is easier on a T7 than a small dirt bike.  The T7 keeps you planted on the gravel road.  And if you stand up in the thicker gravel you can travel faster and feel more confident.  Keep the speed up, keep your hands and arms loose and don't tense up. 

 

A small bike like a 250 is a bit unnerving when riding gravel roads.  Unless the road is just hard packed dirt.  I find the rear wheel wants to spin easily and the front has less grip as well.  But with that said, it is good to practice with a smaller bike as you will appreciate the T7 on the next practice session.

 

 

I notice these 250 and 450 wr's have a seat height of 965mm, the T7 is only 874mm?  Yet in all the vids the guys are straddling them easily at rest, is it because they are narrower, easier to get your feet down? 

 

Yeah I've pretty much lost interest in the 250 and am looking (just looking) at the 450.  Thing is it's not much heavier, so the issues with it that you describe would be the same?   I understand the dynamics of the extra weight of the T7 making it more stable, I have really had fun on it out and about on the dirt roads so far.  Moving along it's a dream, handles like a dream that is.   I put that down to the new suspension, it's really aced it. 

 

EDIT:

HEY!  I might have found a better way.  Here is a dirtbike riding school not too far away that even provides bikes 🙂  I'll call them tomorrow and suss them out.  I can bat around carefree on someone else's machine 😁

 


Off-road motorcycle lessons are perfect for both adults who have never stepped on a motorcycle before and backyard bashers with more experience.

 

It's all fun stuff LS, Learning new skills, buying new bikes.  I don't really want a little 450 or whatever, I just want to get proficient on the dirt without trashing 25k worth of new bike, you can understand that.

Edited by winddown
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5 hours ago, winddown said:

 

I notice these 250 and 450 wr's have a seat height of 965mm, the T7 is only 874mm?  Yet in all the vids the guys are straddling them easily at rest, is it because they are narrower, easier to get your feet down? 

 

Yeah I've pretty much lost interest in the 250 and am looking (just looking) at the 450.  Thing is it's not much heavier, so the issues with it that you describe would be the same?   I understand the dynamics of the extra weight of the T7 making it more stable, I have really had fun on it out and about on the dirt roads so far.  Moving along it's a dream, handles like a dream that is.   I put that down to the new suspension, it's really aced it. 

 

EDIT:

HEY!  I might have found a better way.  Here is a dirtbike riding school not too far away that even provides bikes 🙂  I'll call them tomorrow and suss them out.  I can bat around carefree on someone else's machine 😁

 


Off-road motorcycle lessons are perfect for both adults who have never stepped on a motorcycle before and backyard bashers with more experience.

 

It's all fun stuff LS, Learning new skills, buying new bikes.  I don't really want a little 450 or whatever, I just want to get proficient on the dirt without trashing 25k worth of new bike, you can understand that.

I hear ya.  Breaking anything on The T7 is a bit pricey.  And the bike is too heavy to have it fall over at inopportune times.  It is way easier to get proficient at off roading with a small bike.  If you do fall over it's like picking up a pedal bike in comparison.  

If you take the lessons, let us know how it goes.  Sounds interesting.

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If you want to fall in love with a small bike, pick up a TW200. It's one of the happiest places on two wheels, as long as that place isn't a highway.

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