Is there too much POWER for a beginner?



27 replies to this topic
  • tommygundown

Posted November 07, 2003 - 01:26 PM

#1

I'm looking around for a first dirt bike to ride on beaches and some roads to get there. I haven't ridden a lot on dirt bikes, but have ridden a bit on the road. Is there too much power for me in a WR400F? Should I get an old 250? :)

  • Thumpleupagus

Posted November 07, 2003 - 01:50 PM

#2

I think there are a couple factors to look at.
First what do you weigh and can you muscle around a 400-they are rather heavy. The less experience you have, the more you'll be fighting the bike and tiring yourself out.
Second, are you the type that can control yourself with the power it produces? If so, then get it and just be careful as you learn-you'll love it as you get better.

My very first dirt bike was my YZ400F-it was a handful for me at first (still is sometimes). But I wouldn't trade the power for anything now. As a matter of fact, if I could get my wife to agree, I'd be looking at the 426 or 450 just because...

I'd say go for the 400 :)

Plus if you are riding in the sand, the 400 will be a lot more fun than a 250...

  • natblazer

Posted November 07, 2003 - 02:14 PM

#3

In my opinion you will have a hard time having too much power in the sand. There certainly are situations that excessive hp can get you into trouble, however sand by nature is very taxing of a motor. I ride a 65 hp kx500 in the sand and dont get me wrong, its plenty, but i wouldnt be opposed to more.

Dont forget to do your tire homework for sand riding as well.

Sand is a blast though, so have fun.

  • Indy_WR450

Posted November 07, 2003 - 03:43 PM

#4

No problem for a beginner. After a few months you will be comfortable with the power. Get the 400! :)

  • LarryCO

Posted November 08, 2003 - 07:46 AM

#5

I can honestly say that I was (and in some circles, probably still can be) termed a "beginner". The WR426 (2001) was my first and only bike that I've owned. I considered the WR250 as well, but since they both have the same seat height (my other big concern...being able to ride technical trails and touch the ground with your feet!), I sure am glad I pulled the trigger on the 426. Having that extra power at your fingertips sure is nice...and you'll soon learn where and when to use it.

Larry"MN"

P.S. It's freekin' cold here! Brrr...I miss those occasional sunny, 70 degree Denver winter days! :)

  • IceBox

Posted November 08, 2003 - 07:30 PM

#6

I am in the same boat as LarryCO gone LarryMN. I bought a WR450 as my first bike and though it can be a handful when you twist at the wrong time, the power is always welcome. It is a blast in sand and the trails. It is smooth and controllable if you want it to be, otherwise just twist harder.

I will second the MN cold, -10 F last night. :)

  • John_H

Posted November 08, 2003 - 08:29 PM

#7

Some of my buddies with lesser bikes love to ride mine. Others try it and just want to putt around on theirs. Although any bike requires maintenance, an aggressively ridden bike with more power needs more.

More power in dry sand is better. If you just want to cruise around, an XR might be more your style. They definetly have softer seats!!! I just haven't found a softer seat worth the trade off in power. I'd recommend you ride a couple if you can and then decide. Might save you some money in the long run.

  • wrk24wheel

Posted November 09, 2003 - 07:04 AM

#8

I just started riding for the first time a few months back. A freind of mine found me a used WR400 to buy. This was my first and only dirt bike that I had ridden or owned. I must say that I was very intimidated at first, but after a few times out riding, I was finding new ways to get more power out of the bike. I must say, that as a begginer the best mod you can make to bike immediately is to install the WR or YZ450 Cam. I installed the YZ450 cam a couple of weeks ago and wish I had done it sooner. It definetely makes learning a lot easier. You get pretty discouraged after hours of riding in the heat and then spending 20 minutes trying to start the bike.

As for the weight, not riding any other bike before, I learned how to control this bikes wieght and power. I had no dislikes or anything else to compare. The bottom line, I would not give this bike up for anything (except maybe a new YZ450 or WR450) I would say get the 400 and have a blast!

  • Junior_Vet

Posted November 09, 2003 - 08:03 PM

#9

Tommy,
You are asking on the 400 board. You may be getting a biased answer.

I road a 426 for an afternoon prior to getting my first 250F. I loved the bike, especially the engine braking but the power was too much for me. I had been riding for about 10 years. I bought a 250F and am now on my 2nd 250F. I feel that the 250 has enough power for me. :)

  • dave450wr

Posted November 13, 2003 - 12:37 PM

#10

Last year i went in to buy the wr 250.I ordered it and as i was leaving the salesman gave me a brochure to read.As i was driving down the rode i noticed that the seat hieght was the same on the 426.I couldn't help my self so i rang back and got the 426.Wow what a bike , my old one was a dt 200.With the extra power i find it easier to ride and hills are a breeze.I have recently got the WR 450 and even with the electric start it's a [@#$%&!] to start.I would prefer the 426 over the 450 even though the 450 electric.Make sure you do the air vent and carb tube mods if rriding thru creeks as the can suck in water.The major problem for me is yhe seat hieght as my feet just touch the ground.
REMEMBER 1 st ride there will be to much power.
2 nd ride there won't be enough

happy hunting - Dave

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • Dan_Lorenze

Posted November 13, 2003 - 12:55 PM

#11

Is there too much power for me in a WR400F?



Yes, without a doubt...

A great beginner bike is a friendly xr200 or xr400... Great bikes to get you familiar with off-road riding...

  • Rcsnowb

Posted November 13, 2003 - 01:37 PM

#12

I recently bought a WR450 after not riding for 2-3 years. My previous ride was a xr100. Everyone told me it would be way to much and I wouldn't be able to handle it. I bought one anyway thinking that they come so boxed up from the factory that if it was to much I could just leave it that way. My friends were all surprised when I had all the free mods done by the second ride. They were even more surprised when I was kicking thier a$$ 2 months later. It's not really a hard bike to learn on especially if you leave it boxed up for a little while. Plus you will want the extra power if you are going to be riding in the send it really soaks up the hp.

  • CronicArt

Posted November 13, 2003 - 02:11 PM

#13

I too had this problem at first. Initially I had an order in for a YZF250. I thought about it for a while and wasn't comfortable about getting used to the power and wanting more. So I went for the 2002 YZF426. The way I saw it was the size really doesn't matter because it will only go as far as you twist. I rode it slow at first to find out how it would react to different obsticles. As I grew into the bike I found myself looking for more power. This was also mt first 4 stroke which also took some getting used to. It basicaly is a point and shoot bike. Which makes it a little tricky coming out of turns because where ever the front wheel is facing is where you are going. Now that I added a full exhaust it slides a little more exiting turns which adds to the handling. The bike handles awsome to begin with. I have friends that ride expert class and have ridin both sizes. They handle the same and are close in power through 1st and 2nd, but the 426 pulls a little harder in 3rd and 4th. I am glad I decided on the larger of the two. I ride mostly trails, so the 426 with its heavier fly wheel than the 450 is a little more forgiving and stalls alot less. As far as starting it is a tempermental beast that hates hot humid weather. I can usually get it on the first kick. If the first kick doesn't start I pull in the compression release and give it 4 clearing kicks and that seems to do the trick. If you ride in cool moist air it creates so much more power you'll think you did some upgrades. Tires are very important. Here in the NJ Pine Barrons the terrain is a mix of sugar sand, sand/soil, and good ol'dirt. Right now I run a Dunlop 756 on the front (thinking of trying a michelin S12) and an IRC M5B on the rear. I love the IRC. It has an aggresive tread and is designed for soft terrain but unlike the other soft tires this one is made of a hard compound which adds alot of life if you come across harder areas. I haven't had any trouble getting either front or rear to stick on hard pack. You just slide a little more in the rear which is sometimes alot of fun. Get the bigger bike!

  • jchantzWR400F

Posted November 14, 2003 - 06:17 AM

#14

I have friends that ride expert class and have ridin both sizes. They handle the same and are close in power through 1st and 2nd, but the 426 pulls a little harder in 3rd and 4th.


They are not close in "power" in 1st and 2nd. The 426 will always, and in any gear, have much more "power" and will pull much harder than the 250's. I don't have dyno numbers to prove it (I would like to see some-a 250 pinned in 1st, vs. a 400/426 pinned in 1st), but common sense tells me that it's so. :)

  • LarryCO

Posted November 14, 2003 - 06:53 AM

#15

Let me restate my biggest "beginner" issue. It wasnt the "massive power" of the bike that was the hardest thing to address (just dont twist the throttle as much!)...it was the seat height. Yeah...I was seriously considering the WR250 as well, but due to the seat height being the same, got the 426 to save myself a future upgrade. Once again, very glad I did that.

And yes, this is a 426 forum...so you're getting biased responses. The XR400 forum will say that it's a better bike, etc.

Drop us a line back and let us know what you ended up getting...and your reasons for that...

Larry

  • CronicArt

Posted November 14, 2003 - 09:35 AM

#16

Maybe I should clearify. Of course the 426 has more power on the dyno, but in close corse you can only use so much and the 250 hangs with the 426. Once it opens up a bit yeah the 426 smokes the 250. Flat drag race the 250 DOES hang with the 426 at first Then as the larger of the two winds up its see ya later. I have put my 426 against my buddies 250 to find out his top speed and he hung through 1st and 2nd but once I switch up I had to back off so I could pace him. And if you are wondering the 250 topped out at 72mph and the 426 topped out at 76mph Dyno or not you still have to take in account of power to weight ratio. Bigger is not always faster. If you put a 600 against a 250 in a close, tight course the 250 has the advantage. You think James Stewart on a 125 couldn't hang with the larger bikes. When his lap times are faster than the bigger class. So the 400 or 426 is not to much. :)

  • Math

Posted November 14, 2003 - 10:00 AM

#17



Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is there too much power for me in a WR400F?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Yes, without a doubt...

A great beginner bike is a friendly xr200 or xr400... Great bikes to get you familiar with off-road riding...



I'm with Dan on this one. I feel happy that I learned how to exploit all the little power that I had on smaller bikes that I owned before the WR. Good riders will pass you in technical sections even on a XR200 and even if you are running a WR. Having a less powered bike is not only less dangerous but also froces you to learn to delay your brakings, improve your clutch control, shift at the correct RPM and maintain the rev at the optimal RPM. IMHO, this is the only school to become a good rider. You will be able to ride the 450f but you would be forced to learn more on a smaller bike. Give yourself some time... :)

  • jwriott

Posted November 14, 2003 - 10:08 AM

#18

I'd buy the WR400 and put the stock exhaust insert back in and the lid on the air box. Then it will perform like a strong running XR400. :)

When you've gotten used to the bike, uncork it and have fun.

  • jchantzWR400F

Posted November 14, 2003 - 10:15 AM

#19

Maybe I should clearify. Of course the 426 has more power on the dyno, but in close corse you can only use so much and the 250 hangs with the 426. Once it opens up a bit yeah the 426 smokes the 250. Flat drag race the 250 DOES hang with the 426 at first Then as the larger of the two winds up its see ya later. I have put my 426 against my buddies 250 to find out his top speed and he hung through 1st and 2nd but once I switch up I had to back off so I could pace him. And if you are wondering the 250 topped out at 72mph and the 426 topped out at 76mph Dyno or not you still have to take in account of power to weight ratio. Bigger is not always faster. If you put a 600 against a 250 in a close, tight course the 250 has the advantage. You think James Stewart on a 125 couldn't hang with the larger bikes. When his lap times are faster than the bigger class. So the 400 or 426 is not to much. :)


In your original post, you said that they had the same power through 1st and 2nd. I'm saying that they don't have the same power. HP is HP, it doesn't matter if it's a 250 or a 426. We are not talking power to weight ratio. They may accelerate similarly, but they don't make the same power. Also, the 426 makes way more torque than the 250. I think is in most cases torque can be more of a factor for beginning riders than HP.

  • oldbones

Posted November 14, 2003 - 10:22 AM

#20

All things considered, and power being only one of them, I don't necessarily think a 400 (or bigger) is the best bike to learn on. I think you are better off learning on a bike that is too SMALL for you than one that is marginally too big. Your riding will progress much quicker, your confidence (a huge factor in your riding ability) will also build much faster. A good smaller bike that you can learn to toss around is the way to go. If you buy a few year old bike and ride it for a year or two, you will lose very little in resale value, then you can easily step up to the open class bike. The skills you learn on the smaller bike will help you stay "in charge" of the bigger bike, because believe me, the alternative isn't that much fun.




 
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