The misunderstood YZ490


107 replies to this topic
  • cactusted

Posted November 12, 2008 - 09:28 AM

#1

I've been reading these forums on and off for months as I got my "new" 89 YZ490 up and running. I can't argue with most of the negative critiques...the bike is a handful. What amazes me is the inability of the "experts" to see what the popularity is. I realize that the majority of their points come from a racing or playing perspective and I wouldn't choose this bike for race or casual play either. I've been riding for 30+ years and the YZ490 fits a particular niche that the experts can't seem to get...even though you'ld think after responding to 100's of 490 lovers they'd start to get the point. It's a vintage bike that people enjoy working on & modifying to their own taste. It's different - not like the other dozens of 500cc's that I see (blow by) every weekend. It's for the same guy that goes to the drag strip in his V-8 Vega and gets off on explosive power. Long desert trails and climbing are exactly what it's for. If you want to argue that there are much better choices for the racer or casual playtime user...most 490 owners won't argue. But if you want to: be different, scare the crud out of yourself and race the guys to that big tree 2 miles away (loser buys)...I'm drinking for free. By the way, I figured out how to get that 60-70MPH jackhammer handlebar effect caused by the engine to go away if anybody wants to know. See this is the unique fun that the YZ490 2 wheel rocket provides. There are reasons that many people love the 490 and it isn't because we're idiots or don't know better like the experts proclaim. It's because we love the uniqueness combined with that "scares me half to death" invigorating feeling everytime we twist the throttle. Can't be beat!

  • shrubitup

Posted November 12, 2008 - 09:54 AM

#2

:thumbsup: post some photos!

  • why_zed

Posted November 12, 2008 - 10:00 AM

#3

Give-er.
I love big bore 2 strokes.

  • RCannon

Posted November 12, 2008 - 03:54 PM

#4

As a former YZ 490 owner, I have to comment. I must also say i am damn glad to be former on this bike.

It could have been great. The yz 465 was a great machine. The 490 cannot be defended. Yamaha screwed it up and never bothered to fix it.

Big bore two strokes are really good machines. The cr 500 and kx 500 are machines that would do anything a 490 would do, only better.

  • mikeythefokker

Posted November 12, 2008 - 06:33 PM

#5

Yeah, I love Yamahas but the yz490 is inferior to both the cr500 and kx500 in almost every way that you can measure. I would call it retarded, but if I were retarded and someone called me a yz490, I would be offended.

  • baby arm holding apple

Posted November 12, 2008 - 08:14 PM

#6

I loved ALL of my open class Yamaha's!

  • Agitator

Posted November 12, 2008 - 09:53 PM

#7

what's with all the negative whining?? People say bad things about this bike but what are the specifics?

I like the original post and have to agree with shrubitup... put some pics here!!
sounds like a nice ride- the cousin of my '88 yz250

  • RCannon

Posted November 13, 2008 - 04:50 AM

#8

what's with all the negative whining?? People say bad things about this bike but what are the specifics?

I like the original post and have to agree with shrubitup... put some pics here!!
sounds like a nice ride- the cousin of my '88 yz250


Understand that for many of us, hating the 82 yz 490 has become our life's passion. Just like a celebrity sticking up for animals or the environment. Some of us have made it a mission.

The 490 SHOULD have and could HAVE been a relative to the yz 250, but many things went wrong.

Also, showing up on a two stroke motorcycle forum and posting how much you like the yz 490 takes real guts. Its on the level of going to political forum and talking about how cool Communism is.

  • cactusted

Posted November 13, 2008 - 06:54 AM

#9

Communism! Thanks for making my point. People tend to lose perspective as they jump on the hater bandwagon. "If I were retarded I wouldn't want to be called a YZ490"...dude, thats funny. Maybe a better title would have been The Misunderstood Affection of the YZ490. I'm not sure if my original post sunk in with some. I don't recall saying this was the best bike ever made or that a KX or CR of the same vintage were inferior. I actually love the KX's & CR's...definately some hardcore bikes with guts. In most ways I agree that Yamaha made a bike for racing that shouldn't be on the track & believe me there are many hardcore 490 lovers that consider this statement "a hangin offense". There are flaws. I am: in my 40's, 6'3" & 300lbs...I do not want to jump 20 feet high or hit a row of 20 whoops. I want to tinker in my garage & when I go out I want to twist the throttle & take off like I just got a 250HP shot of NOS. The KX's & CR's will beat a 490 on the whoops & turns etc...but I enjoy pulling away from them on the straights. It's a matter of what gets your adrenaline going. The guy in the new Corvette will never understand what the 72' V8 Vega driver see's in his car. The Vega driver admires the Vette but can't hide his sheepish grin when he leaves the Vette in his dust! One of the 490's "fatal flaws" is the 4 or 5 speed tranny combined with RPM's that rap out WAY too quick. This is also one of the attractions. 5th gear in 5 seconds & 70MPH seconds later...WOW. There is an undeniable market for this insanity. I didn't ask anybody to hold my ugly baby or kiss it on the forehead...I just asked you to stop calling it ugly (to my face) and appreciate another point of view. I'll post pics in a week or so...got to take some first.

  • baby arm holding apple

Posted November 13, 2008 - 08:25 AM

#10

Communism! Thanks for making my point. People tend to lose perspective as they jump on the hater bandwagon. "If I were retarded I wouldn't want to be called a YZ490"...dude, thats funny. Maybe a better title would have been The Misunderstood Affection of the YZ490. I'm not sure if my original post sunk in with some. I don't recall saying this was the best bike ever made or that a KX or CR of the same vintage were inferior. I actually love the KX's & CR's...definately some hardcore bikes with guts. In most ways I agree that Yamaha made a bike for racing that shouldn't be on the track & believe me there are many hardcore 490 lovers that consider this statement "a hangin offense". There are flaws. I am: in my 40's, 6'3" & 300lbs...I do not want to jump 20 feet high or hit a row of 20 whoops. I want to tinker in my garage & when I go out I want to twist the throttle & take off like I just got a 250HP shot of NOS. The KX's & CR's will beat a 490 on the whoops & turns etc...but I enjoy pulling away from them on the straights. It's a matter of what gets your adrenaline going. The guy in the new Corvette will never understand what the 72' V8 Vega driver see's in his car. The Vega driver admires the Vette but can't hide his sheepish grin when he leaves the Vette in his dust! One of the 490's "fatal flaws" is the 4 or 5 speed tranny combined with RPM's that rap out WAY too quick. This is also one of the attractions. 5th gear in 5 seconds & 70MPH seconds later...WOW. There is an undeniable market for this insanity. I didn't ask anybody to hold my ugly baby or kiss it on the forehead...I just asked you to stop calling it ugly (to my face) and appreciate another point of view. I'll post pics in a week or so...got to take some first.



At the same time when I was 21 and wild as well as 150
pounds this was the desert machine! I loved that 4 speed tranny! Mine did have some work by a guy in the know. Also at the time I do not remember a KX 500. I think it was a 420 and not the machine the 500 was. The CR 480 had major electrical problems. RM was not up to snuff and this was the time of Maico/Husky factory implosion. Cuss the 490 if you will. Mine out climbed
everybody at Jawbone on a many a weekend. At a 150 pounds with a 2nd gear that never stopped forward momentum how could I not be the top climber.

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  • RCannon

Posted November 13, 2008 - 06:13 PM

#11

Communism! Thanks for making my point. People tend to lose perspective as they jump on the hater bandwagon. "If I were retarded I wouldn't want to be called a YZ490"...dude, thats funny. Maybe a better title would have been The Misunderstood Affection of the YZ490. I'm not sure if my original post sunk in with some. I don't recall saying this was the best bike ever made or that a KX or CR of the same vintage were inferior. I actually love the KX's & CR's...definately some hardcore bikes with guts. In most ways I agree that Yamaha made a bike for racing that shouldn't be on the track & believe me there are many hardcore 490 lovers that consider this statement "a hangin offense". There are flaws. I am: in my 40's, 6'3" & 300lbs...I do not want to jump 20 feet high or hit a row of 20 whoops. I want to tinker in my garage & when I go out I want to twist the throttle & take off like I just got a 250HP shot of NOS. The KX's & CR's will beat a 490 on the whoops & turns etc...but I enjoy pulling away from them on the straights. It's a matter of what gets your adrenaline going. The guy in the new Corvette will never understand what the 72' V8 Vega driver see's in his car. The Vega driver admires the Vette but can't hide his sheepish grin when he leaves the Vette in his dust! One of the 490's "fatal flaws" is the 4 or 5 speed tranny combined with RPM's that rap out WAY too quick. This is also one of the attractions. 5th gear in 5 seconds & 70MPH seconds later...WOW. There is an undeniable market for this insanity. I didn't ask anybody to hold my ugly baby or kiss it on the forehead...I just asked you to stop calling it ugly (to my face) and appreciate another point of view. I'll post pics in a week or so...got to take some first.



I hope you understood that what I posted was in fun. I watched some kids riding a chinese bike last weekend..god only knows how horrible it was. The kids were having fun and that is really why we do this.


The thing I will never recover from is the day I brought my 490 home. This would have been somewhere in 1984. The sticker on it was marked down to 1699. I sold a kdx 175 (dumb move) and my kx 125.

I rode the 490 around. Crashed twice when the front end washed out. By that time I had ran the tank 1/2 down. I sat down and I could have cried. I realized I sold one great bike and one decent bike for a steaming pile of undeveloped shit. Had I only bought the 465 I would have been telling a different story.

  • Agitator

Posted November 13, 2008 - 07:52 PM

#12

Understand that for many of us, hating the 82 yz 490 has become our life's passion. Just like a celebrity sticking up for animals or the environment. Some of us have made it a mission.

The 490 SHOULD have and could HAVE been a relative to the yz 250, but many things went wrong.

Also, showing up on a two stroke motorcycle forum and posting how much you like the yz 490 takes real guts. Its on the level of going to political forum and talking about how cool Communism is.


What's wrong with communism?
:moon:

From the story you told about your 490, things weren't really that bad. It used a lot of gas? That was all I got from what you said about its shortcomings on page 2.

You don't want to know about some of the nasty things my clapped-out old smoker has done to me :moon:

I guess my point (and it sounds like you feel the same way) is that having fun is the most important part of all this bike stuff. I was just surprised to hear so much negativity about this bike. However, it makes sense that yamaha punching a sweetheart 465 to 490 can be a little glitchy if not properly executed :thumbsup:

  • Helmet_Hair

Posted November 13, 2008 - 09:33 PM

#13

Given enough time, even the most dodgy of bikes will become quaint. Take the TM 400 Cyclone for instance. Probably the WORST dirt bike ever unleashed on the public. The throttle was a light switch and the frame was a flexi-flier. And yet....people (collectors) fall all over themselves trying to get a hold of a good one. Why? 'Cuz it was a notorious, naughty, nasty, POS! I think the YZ 490 will follow in the TM's footsteps and soon be VERY sought after. Hang on to those old nasty 490's.

  • doodman

Posted November 14, 2008 - 05:26 AM

#14

Not bashing the op, no way an air cooled 490 will "walk away" from a liquid kx or cr 500. The 490's combustion chamber was a flawed design from the factory, milling the head was a start. Also, I am not to sure of the cr480 being riddled with electrical problems.

  • rbeckett

Posted November 14, 2008 - 06:16 AM

#15

I've been reading these forums on and off for months as I got my "new" 89 YZ490 up and running. I can't argue with most of the negative critiques...the bike is a handful. What amazes me is the inability of the "experts" to see what the popularity is. I realize that the majority of their points come from a racing or playing perspective and I wouldn't choose this bike for race or casual play either. I've been riding for 30+ years and the YZ490 fits a particular niche that the experts can't seem to get...even though you'ld think after responding to 100's of 490 lovers they'd start to get the point. It's a vintage bike that people enjoy working on & modifying to their own taste. It's different - not like the other dozens of 500cc's that I see (blow by) every weekend. It's for the same guy that goes to the drag strip in his V-8 Vega and gets off on explosive power. Long desert trails and climbing are exactly what it's for. If you want to argue that there are much better choices for the racer or casual playtime user...most 490 owners won't argue. But if you want to: be different, scare the crud out of yourself and race the guys to that big tree 2 miles away (loser buys)...I'm drinking for free. By the way, I figured out how to get that 60-70MPH jackhammer handlebar effect caused by the engine to go away if anybody wants to know. See this is the unique fun that the YZ490 2 wheel rocket provides. There are reasons that many people love the 490 and it isn't because we're idiots or don't know better like the experts proclaim. It's because we love the uniqueness combined with that "scares me half to death" invigorating feeling everytime we twist the throttle. Can't be beat!


Yep I got the Dooky beat out of me by a 490 back when I was young and resilient. Loved the unbelevable power, hated the rest. But "IT WAS FUN". Would I buy one now, oh hell no. But I spent the money many moons ago, and it made me a better rider trying to keep from killing myself every time I added gas to the equation. Like ya say, it is a niche bike for sure. Was it good or bad? All depends on your point of view.

  • cactusted

Posted November 14, 2008 - 06:19 AM

#16

RCannon...Yeah I know you were having fun. It's hilarious to read the posts regarding this. The whole time I'm typing or reading I'm just cracking up. Somewhere there's a 490 Hater just pulling his hair out because he absolutely can't comprehend why anybody would ride a 490 & a 490 Lover that is about to go postal. I ride for a very defined purpose (as I've explained) and the my YZ490 is a blast. 2, 3 or 4 wheeler...it doesn't matter to me, I just like being out riding. That's what the sport is all about. I'm sure the kid out riding on his Pep Boys bike doesn't even know that it sucks...so for him it's freedom. I have ridden many other bikes...and for me the 490 is freedom. So what if I can't use my hands for the next week. There are many makes and models of any bike with or without performance mods and with or without a good rider that can "walk away" from any other bike on any given day. Will a 490 walk away from everything everytime...no. But if you haven't ridden a (good running) 490 and are just convinced that the others are quicker because of the 490's flaws...you haven't ridden a 490. There are more posts than not of previous 490 owners who (after seen the light) won't go back to it but still point out the insane, sometimes uncontrollable power. I'm just a dirt rider out having fun...relax everybody. Take Care

  • RCannon

Posted November 14, 2008 - 06:38 AM

#17

What's wrong with communism?
:moon:

From the story you told about your 490, things weren't really that bad. It used a lot of gas? That was all I got from what you said about its shortcomings on page 2.

You don't want to know about some of the nasty things my clapped-out old smoker has done to me :moon:

I guess my point (and it sounds like you feel the same way) is that having fun is the most important part of all this bike stuff. I was just surprised to hear so much negativity about this bike. However, it makes sense that yamaha punching a sweetheart 465 to 490 can be a little glitchy if not properly executed :thumbsup:


Communism certainly works for olympic sports!


No, the bike did not use gas fast enough. If it used it faster I could have abandoned it in the desert.

Its faults were constant pinging, impossible jetting, huge vibration, poor handling and poor suspension. To continue...oddly spaced tranny ratios, soft frame and soft wheels.

It was several steps in the wrong direction from the yz 465. To make matters worse, Yamaha did nothing to the engine ever again. I suppose 5th gear was put back on in 1989, but nothing else was done.

The 82 had an awful chassis compared to any motorcycle ever built. The rear shock was a problem. It was super long and sat under the tank. It was heavy. I would guess it to be near 15lbs.

  • scalejockey

Posted November 14, 2008 - 07:00 AM

#18

Its faults were constant pinging, impossible jetting, huge vibration, poor handling and poor suspension. To continue...oddly spaced tranny ratios, soft frame and soft wheels.

Thanks RCannon for what i was going to write down.


They handled so badly..(How bad was it?)that one ride i was dicing a kx 500 down a trail and didn't realize i had a flat front tire untill we stopped at a cross trail and he looked down at my tire.

It vibrated so bad that i had to sell it because of bone spurs.

Out of the 40 some bikes iv'e owned it still is in the top two worst.

Don't get me wrong i like to work on\mod to where a bad bike is ridable but this one was my biggest chalange.

  • MaxPower

Posted November 14, 2008 - 07:04 AM

#19

[COLOR="Green"]The YZ490 that Broc Glover rode in 85 was really close to a stock bike.He beat Dave Bailey on the trickest works Honda ever produced in the history of motocross.Glover is an amazing rider and the YZ490 couldnt have been all that bad
But I am not going to argue with someone that has owned one as I havent.
Its just that the race results have impressed me[/COLOR]

  • RCannon

Posted November 14, 2008 - 07:14 AM

#20

Its faults were constant pinging, impossible jetting, huge vibration, poor handling and poor suspension. To continue...oddly spaced tranny ratios, soft frame and soft wheels.

Thanks RCannon for what i was going to write down.


They handled so badly..(How bad was it?)that one ride i was dicing a kx 500 down a trail and didn't realize i had a flat front tire untill we stopped at a cross trail and he looked down at my tire.

It vibrated so bad that i had to sell it because of bone spurs.

Out of the 40 some bikes iv'e owned it still is in the top two worst.

Don't get me wrong i like to work on\mod to where a bad bike is ridable but this one was my biggest chalange.



Biggest Challenge??? Thats a nice way of saying it. I believe it may have been easier to teach a Pit Bull dog how to sing the national anthem than to actually "fix" a 490. There were just so many things to try and overcome.

I wish the internet was around then. I know I could have traded the bike for a decent 465.





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