98 YZF 400 Good First Bike?


6 replies to this topic
  • rodgerss

Posted September 19, 2007 - 11:58 AM

#1

Hi everyone! I am in the market for a bike and am currently looking at a 1998 YZF 400. The bike is being sold for $1000 dollars and I have been told the following:

- Could use a top end soon
- kill switch doesnt work (thinks there is a wire broken somewhere)
- needs a new rear tire
- foot brake and clutch lever was tweaked recently on a ride

I have had street bikes all my life and this is going to be my first dirt bike. Is this bike good for a first ride? If so, considering the price, would this bike for $1000 dollars be a good buy? What are the costs I would be looking at to get the top end rebuild and new kill switch, possibly new clutch lever and foot brake? If staying away from this bike considering it will be my first dirt bike is recommended, which bike and 2 stroke or 4 stroke should I lean towards (I'm 6'1 200 lbs). Thanks for all of the help in advance!!!

  • 426 NOOB

Posted September 19, 2007 - 12:14 PM

#2

Definitely a good buy and an awesome beginners bike. Top ends are usually about $5-600 so its not too bad. It will have all the power and suspension youll need to learn to ride on. Good Luck

  • jayh300

Posted September 19, 2007 - 12:22 PM

#3

well... i have had my 99 yz400f for about a year now, so i will tell you what i have learned.
top end.... have not had to do yet. the other three issues are no big deal. I got a rear brake lever off ebay for 25.00 and there are guys parting out those bikes all the time. the 400's are heavy. I think mine is like 255 without fuel. The starting ritual is different from any other bike you have prolly ever seen. Was for me. once you learn it, it is no big deal. the price seems ok if the bike is ok. I would want to know, if you can find out, is service intervals.
there is a big difference on the 400. they do not like being rode slow. the no air flow over the rad's will make them overheat pretty quick. and you need to change the oil very often. I would ask about any valve adjustments, if the cam chain has ever been changed, but if it was like when I bought mine, the guy had no clue. the bike running correctly is very strong. I have an endurance computer on mine and it will hit 70 mph pretty easy. I have only had to do "normal" maint to mine, nothing major, so i would say i am pretty happy with mine. now... i only trial ride mine, no mx

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  • LJ

Posted September 19, 2007 - 12:36 PM

#4

I have a 99 and love it (very similar bike). It's heavy, but I only notice it when it's muddy and slick. Otherwise it's awsome for off-road riding. I installed a Rekluse auto clutch and now it's even easier to ride single track. The only problem I had was the clutch basket came apart, but I think it was my doing when I installed the Rekluse. Otherwise the valves have never moved in the 7 years I've had it. I just did the piston, rings, and timing chain last year, although I think it could have gone on another 7 years without it!

  • Kent Rathgeber

Posted September 19, 2007 - 03:22 PM

#5

Have you ridden dirt bikes before, and if so, what's your experience level? We need to know that before we can recommend a motorcycle.

As far as the 98 YZ400, in the condition you describe, especially the top end, I'd stay away from it. The reason being is that it's likely to cost a lot more than that thousand bucks to completely rebuild the top end. You need a new piston, rings, circlips at minimum. Given the age of the bike, it is highly likely you will need valves, springs, valve guides, valve seats cut (if possible, you may need new seats), valve keepers, and a new cam chain. Not to mention all gaskets and seals.

If you are new to dirt bikes, I suggest looking at the TTR-230-250, or the Honda XR 250. Both of those bikes are fairly well suspended (for a beginner) and are claw-hammer reliable. Keep fresh oil in the engine and they'll last forever. The same, sadly, cannot be said about a racing four stroke, which is what the YZ400 is.

A dirt bike and a street bike have 2 similarites, and those are the 2 wheels. A street bike and a dirt bike are so different that a comparison really (IMHO) cannot be made between the two, unless we're talking about dual-sport bikes (combination street and dirt bikes. usually means just enough lights and signals to get by as a street bike, but mostly meant for off road riding).

Good luck with whatever you choose, and welcome to the off-road world!

  • AlkalineOne

Posted September 20, 2007 - 01:56 AM

#6

Have you ridden dirt bikes before, and if so, what's your experience level? We need to know that before we can recommend a motorcycle.

As far as the 98 YZ400, in the condition you describe, especially the top end, I'd stay away from it. The reason being is that it's likely to cost a lot more than that thousand bucks to completely rebuild the top end. You need a new piston, rings, circlips at minimum. Given the age of the bike, it is highly likely you will need valves, springs, valve guides, valve seats cut (if possible, you may need new seats), valve keepers, and a new cam chain. Not to mention all gaskets and seals.

If you are new to dirt bikes, I suggest looking at the TTR-230-250, or the Honda XR 250. Both of those bikes are fairly well suspended (for a beginner) and are claw-hammer reliable. Keep fresh oil in the engine and they'll last forever. The same, sadly, cannot be said about a racing four stroke, which is what the YZ400 is.

A dirt bike and a street bike have 2 similarites, and those are the 2 wheels. A street bike and a dirt bike are so different that a comparison really (IMHO) cannot be made between the two, unless we're talking about dual-sport bikes (combination street and dirt bikes. usually means just enough lights and signals to get by as a street bike, but mostly meant for off road riding).

Good luck with whatever you choose, and welcome to the off-road world!


this is a travishamockery!!! the 98 yz400f is a great bike to learn on, and you will not regret it! my first time on a dirt bike and the first bike i bought was a 98 yz400, and im glad i went with it. i bought mine after being raced(hard) for 5 years, and it didnt need a top end yet. i sold it 2 years later, for $2000 and still didnt need a top end.

levers are cheap.

buy the bike!!!

try and talk him down to $800:thumbsup:

  • USED YZ426F

Posted September 20, 2007 - 04:05 AM

#7

Hi everyone! I am in the market for a bike and am currently looking at a 1998 YZF 400. The bike is being sold for $1000 dollars and I have been told the following:

- Could use a top end soon
- kill switch doesnt work (thinks there is a wire broken somewhere)
- needs a new rear tire
- foot brake and clutch lever was tweaked recently on a ride

I have had street bikes all my life and this is going to be my first dirt bike. Is this bike good for a first ride? If so, considering the price, would this bike for $1000 dollars be a good buy? What are the costs I would be looking at to get the top end rebuild and new kill switch, possibly new clutch lever and foot brake? If staying away from this bike considering it will be my first dirt bike is recommended, which bike and 2 stroke or 4 stroke should I lean towards (I'm 6'1 200 lbs). Thanks for all of the help in advance!!!


The bigger question is how are you going to ride it? Do you intend to take it on the track or play with it in tight woods, desert or powerlines? How you intend to ride is very important in selecting an off-road bike. Just like you wouldn't take you full-on touring bike racing through the mountains with your buddies on their crotch rockets, you may not like the feel of an MX bike in tight woods.
As far as the kill switch and levers are concerned - they are all cheap and easy to find / fix. The top end could be a different matter however and you won't know for sure what that is going to run you until you get it all apart.
I'd try to get them to come down to $700-800 max and use the money you say to fix the obvious stuff.
FWIW I just got my 2000 YZ 426 for a $1000, and I only had to clean the spark plug to get her running, and it is a beast (I am 6' and 200lbs). Tons of power and good suspension, although it feels a bit heavy in the tight stuff.





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