Finding the right bike at the right price wasn't too difficult of a process. As I already have street bike experience, it was suggested to me that I would be fine getting something like a 250 4-stroke, which would be enough power to allow me to keep up with the guys but not so powerful that I couldn't handle it. It was described to me as starting out on something like my street bike, which is a Kawasaki ZZR 600. I was also steered away from anything like a 100 cc or 150 cc bike as it would likely be too short to be comfortable for me (I'm ~5'8" with a 33" inseam, so, longer legs than most guys my height). I was also steered towards Honda, and was leaning that way anyway, as I've heard so many people talk about the reliability of Honda as a brand. I'm sure other brands like
and Suzuki would have been fine too, but I kept hearing Honda from other people
over those two brands, so that is what I looked for.
So I hit Craigslist (see Side Notes - Part 2) and bookmarked like crazy; I was primarily looking for a used Honda CRF 250f. However, a friend that is in a similar situation mentioned that she was possibly looking at Honda 230 trail bikes as they are a little more forgiving and also have an electric start, as opposed to the kick-start the 250f has. She pointed out that it would be more difficult to kick start the bike as I would ride throughout the day from becoming more and more fatigued. That was an extremely good point that I had not considered, so I added the Honda 230 to my Craigslist search.
I was noticing that most of the used bikes I was looking at were ranging from $1200 - $3500 with most of them hovering around $2000 - $2200; I was expecting to pay up to $2000-$2200 but hoped (of course) I could find a better deal than that. My friend that is helping me through this process ended up calling about a 2005 Honda 230 we saw online that was still pretty much stock and hadn't been ridden much; a couple had bought it for their son who rode it a little bit and then lost interest and it ended up sitting in their garage (which seemed to be the story for quite a number of bikes on craigslist). My friend went and looked at it, called me and said he thought it looked like a good deal, so that evening we went and bought it for $1400 and brought it home. It happened to be Black Friday that day (and I don't "do" Black Friday) so I felt like I got my own version of a good Black Friday deal, lol.
So here it is - my new (to me) 2005 Honda 230 - bone stock and in pretty good condition. It could use a new left rearset, left clutch, and the handlebars could stand to be a little straighter (I'm guessing someone took a pretty nasty spill or hit a tree on the left side), and parts are on order, but what is there now works just fine. We also had to give the chain a serious cleaning and lubing, and the bike a bath. I have also been told by my friend - in no uncertain terms - that I am responsible for the care and maintenance of this bike. I'll get more into my own personal Zen and the Art of Dirt Bike Maintenance in a later section. So far I'm just in learning mode - I watched the chain getting cleaned and lubed, watched the oil filter get cleaned and re-oiled, and watched how to clean the bike.
The other two things my bike got in short order were a name, Kit Katt, and a Girl Riders sticker. I'm actually surprised this bike got a name so quickly - I've never named any of my cars, my first street bike never had a name, it took 2 or so years before a name popped into my head for my current street bike (although, again, I wasn't planning on naming it). Again, I wasn't planning on naming this bike - but there it was in my head that weekend, so Kit Katt it is. Oh, and the GR sticker is just the first of what I expect to be many - I can't wait to sticker this thing up (I'm gonna have so much added hp with all those stickers, lol!) (see Side Notes - Part 2)
Next step - go for a ride!