This is a perfect example on how marketing sells. Remember the 97 cr250. I do. The frame was horrible. Frame design has come a long way in the last 10 years and the engineers realized that flex in the right places is good. The cr250 was the number 1 selling bike then and it was not that good. It just looked real good compared to the rest. The dealerships couldn't give away the 05 yzf450 this year. There was a couple of reason's for this, but I think the main one was appearance. I don't care if you like Honda or not, but the bike looker, not only a performer. The yzf looks dated compared to the Honda. Now the 06 yzf450 has the newness factor and it will sell a boatload becuase of this alone.
Just so everyone is clear on this, these motorcycles are retail products; the market is the only reason they exist.
The reasons the YZ450 never
sold as well as the CRF are mostly bad press and public misperceptions. To wit:
> "It's a pure, race-only machine, too high strung and powerful to be ridden by the average rider for recreation". "It hits like a big two-stroke" Remember that? The earlier ones are beasts, but to say things like that is to exaggerate ridiculously. I've owned 3 big two strokes, including a CR500, and even a raw '03 YZ450 is nothing like one. But I know several people who passed on one because of this.
> "The four-speed limits its usefulness to the track only". There is no technical reason the YZ450 needs more than 4 gears for MX. None at all. With first gears at the same ratio, a YZ426 has a 3 mph advantage on a 4 spd YZ450 at the rev limit on pavement. Mine goes 90 mph, and none of my riding buddies run away from me on the grades roads in the desert (except for the guy with the XR650
). The CRF's didn't pull me up the hill at Carlsbad, or down the street at the Elsinore GP. All MX bikes have close ratio transmissions with high first gears, and they could all use an overdrive in the desert. Hopefully, now that Yamaha
has decided to take this objection off of the table, they will have used the opportunity of the extra gear to spread the speed range out a little, instead of building an unnecessarily close ratio gear set.
> "It's heavy". It never weighed more than one pound more than a CRF in any model year.
As far as aluminum frames is concerned, the advantage of the material is that its lower weight per mass allows more mass to be used at the same weight. This enables the construction of more rigid frames, and regardless of what anyone says, frame flex is just plain bad. (Who uses steel swing arms anymore?) In particular, the steering head area is critical. It must be able to rigidly maintain the steering axis in one place relative to the rest of the vehicle in order for the bike to handle precisely. A sturdily built steel steering head represents a considerable amount of weight in a location well above the center of gravity.
The 97 CR250 was not the first screwed up frame Honda ever built. You may remember that Jeremy McGrath and several others rejected the '94 CR250 frame (steel) in favor of running the '93 on their factory rides. It had everything to do with geometry, and nothing to do with material. The same is true of the '97. If you have a problem that surfaces once all frame flex has been eliminated, it is because of flaws in the suspension, engine mounting, or geometry, and rather than de-engineering the frame to cover the problems up again, you should improve the components that are actually inadequate to match the frame. A lighter, less flexible wheel
will necessitate changes to the suspension. Does that mean you shouldn't try to use one?