If you enjoy camping or the outdoors and just want a simple trail bike to explore off-road, this post is for you.
After a recent camping trip, my dad who is 70-years-old tried my dirt bike on the trails and dirt roads throughout the mountains around us and he was instantly hooked. He asked me what bike he should get, and I was left without a clear answer. So I've done quite a bit of research and I decided to share what I've learned in this post.
I'll share a few good options for trail riding bikes, in order from the simplest and least expensive, to the most aggressive and most feature-packed.
Coleman CT200U Trail Bike
This bike is basically a simple lawn mower engine slapped on a very basic frame. If you just want to zip around a few trails while camping, it's an adequate bike, but don't expect much.
The bike's max speed is 24 miles per hour. A lot of guys like to buy these bikes because they are cheap and then they modify them, remove the governor, and try to achieve higher speeds. Just removing the governor alone can increase this bike's speed to 34 miles per hour, but you'll be running at 6178 RPMs, so don't expect the bike to survive for long.
The engine is a pull start and like any small pull-start engine, may become difficult to get started at times. Many owners of this bike have complained that the clutch tends to die out very early in the bike's life, and that they often run into significant problems in the first year or two of ownership. I recommend this bike only if you're handy with a wrench and just want a little camping bike.
The real problem with the Coleman CT200U is comfort. The seat is hard and unforgiving with no shocks. It basically feels like you're riding a bucking bronco.
The main attraction of the Coleman CT200U is the price. You can pick one up from Amazon for $521
There are two versions of the Honda CRF150. The regular 150 is a racing dirt bike, but the 150F is designed to be a "family" dirt bike. It's for a family who wants one dirt bike for the whole family to use and play around with.
The bike is an all-electric start model with no kick starter. It's heavy at 233 pounds with all the fluids ready to ride, but it's a full-featured dirt bike.
The 33" seat height on this bike makes it short for many adult riders. Remember this bike is built for a family, so its lower seat height allows for others to ride. For proper aggressive riding, most adults would want a taller seat height. I wrote a full post about purchasing the right size of dirt bike for your height
. However, if you're riding casually, you may not even care that the bike is technically too small for you.
This bike sells for $3,799 brand new, and you could probably find one for under $3,000 if it's two years old.
This is a fantastic all-around dirt bike. It's the perfect bike for a beginner who wants to take the sport seriously and wants a quality bike that will still be on the trail 20 years from now. This is the bike I bought for my wife, and both of us really enjoy it.
The TTR-230 has plenty of power for any new dirt bike rider. In fact, you'll rarely find yourself hitting 5th gear at all. You'll be able to power up rocky, steep hills when you want to go aggressive, or you can leisurely cruise around dirt roads out in the woods. You could even take this bike to the motocross track and soar 20 feet into the air.
The TTR-230 is designed as a beginner's bike. The seat height is just a little bit lower for a new rider to feel comfortable to reach the ground, or for a shorter person such as some women. If you're new to dirt bike riding, you'll find the bike to have an incredible amount of power--enough to do wheelies or throw you completely off the seat if you were to let it rip, but experienced dirt bike riders will find it far more mild than the 250 or 450 bikes.
The TTR-230 is an electric start bike, and we've never had any issues at all getting it to start--even in very cold weather.
The Yamaha TTR-230 runs about $4,299 if you buy it off the showroom floor, but you could buy one used for much less. I bought a 2-year-old TTR-230 that had seen so little use that the little hairs were still on the original tires and I only paid $3,000 for it.
KTM 250 XCF-W
This is the kind of bike a very serious trail rider would ride. It's incredibly powerful, has all the most powerful features, and the power itself is unmatched given its size and purpose. You could argue that this is the best trail bike on the market.
This bike runs a whopping $8,599 brand new, though you can get them used for much less. Expect to pay about $5,000 for one that is 2 years old and well maintained, and $3,500 for one that is 7-8 years old.