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wameith

Help me buy my next bike

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I know this forum has a more general "What bike should I buy section", but I think I've narrowed down my choices, and I'd like input from you folks specifically, if you would.

I'll start with me. :thumbsup:

I'm 34, 6'2", 190 lbs. I started out racing motocross on CR125s when I was 14, graduated into YZ/CR250s as I got into my older teen years. I would be considered an "intermediate" rider at most of the tracks I'd ride. In my early 20s I started in on enduros with a WR250 (two stroke). Got to be a midpack B rider in AMA D36 events. In my mid-20's, I took a hiatus from riding. Not sure why now, could say I just got busy, could say it was because I moved to a new area.

I want to get back into MX. Most of the tracks I will practice on are pretty poorly maintained. Typically hardpack (to the point of blue groove) with gravel/sand on top, lots of ruts and square edge bumps, pretty ugly. I do plan on attending open practice at a couple of local MX tracks, too, and I've heard they're either muddy (over watered) or hardpack with the gravel/sand overlay. My experience tells me that getting a 250 two stroke (i.e. YZ/CR 250) to hook up on these tracks is going to be difficult, at least, for me. I've fought two strokes quite a bit on similar tracks trying to control the power, and I think I'm getting too old for that :thumbsup: I realize that you can get hurt riding MX, but I'd like to decrease the odds as much as possible.

The bike must be green sticker legal (I'm in CA). And I'd like to spend a maximum of $3k. That seems to mean something 2002 or older.

I've been told something like a YZ250f/YZ426f would be an ideal choice. I've also been told a 2002 YZ250 (two stroke) could be a good bike, too. At the end of the day, I'd like to be able to put in legitimate 45 minute motos. I realize I'll have to do my part in getting back to that level, but having an easy to ride bike will help.

Of the three bikes above, which would be most appropriate? I know that is somewhat subjective, but any opinion would be helpful. I know nothing about the four stroke Yamahas, I've never ridden one. In fact, I haven't really ridden any modern four strokes. How would the YZ250f or YZ426f compare to the YZ250 (two stroke)? I assume most of you guys came from a two stroke background.

I've heard the four strokes take a bit more to maintain, but I'm OK with that. I'm a mechanical engineer that likes to get his hands dirty, and I've always maintained my own bikes. Shim under bucket valve adjustments don't scare me.

Thanks for the input.

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I know this forum has a more general "What bike should I buy section", but I think I've narrowed down my choices, and I'd like input from you folks specifically, if you would.

I'll start with me. :thumbsup:

I'm 34, 6'2", 190 lbs. I started out racing motocross on CR125s when I was 14, graduated into YZ/CR250s as I got into my older teen years. I would be considered an "intermediate" rider at most of the tracks I'd ride. In my early 20s I started in on enduros with a WR250 (two stroke). Got to be a midpack B rider in AMA D36 events. In my mid-20's, I took a hiatus from riding. Not sure why now, could say I just got busy, could say it was because I moved to a new area.

I want to get back into MX. Most of the tracks I will practice on are pretty poorly maintained. Typically hardpack (to the point of blue groove) with gravel/sand on top, lots of ruts and square edge bumps, pretty ugly. I do plan on attending open practice at a couple of local MX tracks, too, and I've heard they're either muddy (over watered) or hardpack with the gravel/sand overlay. My experience tells me that getting a 250 two stroke (i.e. YZ/CR 250) to hook up on these tracks is going to be difficult, at least, for me. I've fought two strokes quite a bit on similar tracks trying to control the power, and I think I'm getting too old for that :thumbsup: I realize that you can get hurt riding MX, but I'd like to decrease the odds as much as possible.

The bike must be green sticker legal (I'm in CA). And I'd like to spend a maximum of $3k. That seems to mean something 2002 or older.

I've been told something like a YZ250f/YZ426f would be an ideal choice. I've also been told a 2002 YZ250 (two stroke) could be a good bike, too. At the end of the day, I'd like to be able to put in legitimate 45 minute motos. I realize I'll have to do my part in getting back to that level, but having an easy to ride bike will help.

Of the three bikes above, which would be most appropriate? I know that is somewhat subjective, but any opinion would be helpful. I know nothing about the four stroke Yamahas, I've never ridden one. In fact, I haven't really ridden any modern four strokes. How would the YZ250f or YZ426f compare to the YZ250 (two stroke)? I assume most of you guys came from a two stroke background.

I've heard the four strokes take a bit more to maintain, but I'm OK with that. I'm a mechanical engineer that likes to get his hands dirty, and I've always maintained my own bikes. Shim under bucket valve adjustments don't scare me.

Thanks for the input.

If you can get an 06 or later model YZ450F, I think that would be the best choice by far. The 426 has a great motor like all Yamaha 4 strokes but it handles like a M1 Abrams. The 250F handles well but may not have the power you need at your size. The 250 smoker is a great handling bike and may suit you but at 34 you might appreciate the 4 stroke torque. Most older guys like them much better. If you want to get serious about riding, stick with the later models. If you just want to ride for fun again, any will do.

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Since it has to be GS legal in Cali, I'd go with a 02 2T. The newer 4t MX models are not GS legal in CA (as far as I've read) and an older model (03 or older) scares me because they often cost more to rebuild than they're worth.

Your riding experience is all 2 stroke, and the YZ250 has long been known for its tractability (for a 2t). It is also lighter and easier to handle, as well as being easy and cheap to work on. I ride a 07 YZ450F, just because I see the world going 4t (whether or not Gov'ts legislate the 2t engine out of existence), and I wanted to get in on the ground floor.

Like the poster above said, if you want to get serious, go recent 4t. If you just wanna have fun, almost anything with an engine and two wheels will do.

Just my 2 pennies.

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For your size and weight, don't do a 250 4 stroke!...You'll wear it out fast if you're going to do any sand riding (Glamis, Dumont, Pismo)...And you won't be happy with the power, since you used to ride 250 2 strokes...

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The bike must be green sticker legal (I'm in CA). And I'd like to spend a maximum of $3k. That seems to mean something 2002 or older.

I've been told something like a YZ250f/YZ426f would be an ideal choice.

It sounds like you want a YZ426!

At the end of the day, I'd like to be able to put in legitimate 45 minute motos.

Are you looking to race competitively or just have fun? If you're competitive, the YZ426 might be a bit too heavy. I have a 426, and I think that after 20 minutes of riding at a racing pace I'd be pretty tired.

I know nothing about the four stroke Yamahas, I've never ridden one. In fact, I haven't really ridden any modern four strokes. How would the YZ250f or YZ426f compare to the YZ250 (two stroke)? I assume most of you guys came from a two stroke background.

After only a few months on a 426 (my first MX four stroke) I have a difficult time adjusting back to a 250 two stroke. I love the instant power as soon as you twist the throttle. I ride technical singletrack in the woods, and need that low end grunt.

I've heard the four strokes take a bit more to maintain, but I'm OK with that.

Maintenance with any of the Yamaha four strokes won't be too much of an issue. I can't speak for the newer bikes, but the 400/426 are nearly bulletproof. There are many stories here on TT about people who haven't had to adjust their valves in years, if ever.

If you're looking to competitively race with a bike in the price range you mentioned, you *might* be better off getting a 250 two stroke, because of the weight. I recently rode a 01 YZ250 (same year as my 426) and the weight difference was very significant. I can see why the two strokes were still competitive against the four strokes back then

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I've heard the four strokes take a bit more to maintain, but I'm OK with that. I'm a mechanical engineer that likes to get his hands dirty, and I've always maintained my own bikes. Shim under bucket valve adjustments don't scare me.

Maintenance normally consists of oil changes and keeping the chain and air filter in good condition. Valve adjustments are very rare with big YZF's. Repair/reconditioning is what's complicated and expensive.

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Thanks for all the replies, guys. No, I am not looking to race competitively, at least, not at the moment. I'm sort of looking at this as a "transition" bike, as in transitioning back into MX. I'd like to work on my timing and corner speed, get a good workout and have fun. And I like jumping, at least, 30-50' doubles...I'll leave the 80' triples to guys with more balls/skills than me!

I'd even thought about buying a 125, because that's what I use to do to work on my riding for the 250s. That got me thinking about the YZ250f, but the 426 is vrey attractive. I understand the handling might not be as good as the two stroke, but I might trade that off for stability as the tracks will be mostly faster outdoor types.

Any other thoughts, I'd love to hear 'em.

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Go with the 2 stroke. Their easy to find and cheap to maintain. Besides being Green Sticker, its a good all around bike.

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First off 34 is not old!:thumbsup: I went from my last bike (a '79YZ 80) at age 14, decided to chase girls and work on my 69 Camaro and pretty much didn't touch a dirt bike until I was 33 - I regret the no dirt bike thing. Got a 96 YZ 250, rode the crap out of it then got a 2002 CR250, rode the crap out of it and got hurt twice, once badly. In 2006 got a YZ450F, now selling it and riding a 2006 YZ250 2 pop that I bought used. I'm 42 now and a very competitive Vet A MX racer in D13, 29, and 7. So why am I telling you all this?

1. You're going to get back in the groove sooner than you think.

2. Don't buy a CR250 2 stroke

3. You could ride anything and be happy

4. Suspension on the 06 and up YZ's and YZ-F's is amazing stuff

Personally I plan on owning a 450, 250F and keeping my 250. They are all fun. None of the 450's can touch a 250 2 stroke in the corners, they're heavy. The Yamaha 450 is the most 2 stroke like in that it feels light in the air and the motor is revvy not chuggy. If you're going to buy a 2 stroke 250 YZ go with 2006 and up. You could even go with a 2005, but there were enough changes in 2006 to make them worth getting (biggest one: speed sensitive KYB forks). 07, 08 pretty much the same bike. The 06 YZ450 was all new of course, brand new 07's are cheap right now. Personally the 08 450 frame is worth getting an 08. (I'm saving for one, and waiting for the prices to go down.)

If you don't want to fork out for a new machine my vote would be an 06 YZ250. Save for a 450 and get one of those later! They are both incredibly fun. For either bike you are going to want to get your suspension re-valved or at least change springs and/or oil height for your weight. The YZ250 actually hugs the terrain and handles chuck holes very well. OBTW my buddy is smoking fast Vet A and is 6' and 225. Went through 3 450's (Suz, Hon, Kaw) and switched back to a YZ 250 2 stroke and is super happy. Still pulls hole shots on long straights!

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I think many people are missing the fact that you don't want to spend more than $3K...

Just be picky and take your time looking for the best bike for that price...Who knows, you might score a killer upgraded 426, or find a hardly used 250 2 stroke...But when it comes down to it, get the bike that is in better condition as they'd both work well for you...

I personally would try for a two stroke, since once you are back into it full swing, you'll most likely end up wanting a newer 4 stroke 450, and it'd be nice to still have the 250 in the garage...Then you end up with the best of both worlds...

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Owning both a 250 2 stroke (KTM) and a YZ450, I think I can say you'll be very happy with either bike. I got the KTM 2 years ago for $2500 and got the '04 450 last year for $3500. While I haven't raced (yet), I would be equally confident on both bikes. The difference in the two, is that the KTM needs a more aggressive hand to go fast, where I can be downright lazy on the YZ and still be fast. As for being reliable, both have proven to be bomb proof. I would avoid a 250F though, as I think you would find the power lacking.

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All the replies here have been super helpful. Thanks so much.

As someone mentioned here, I really just need to get back into the groove. The past couple of weeks, I rode a KTM 300 EXC. I know, wrong bike, but I couldn't complain, just happy to ride again. The engine made good power, but it was almost too much for the condition of the track and my current skills. Lots of wheel spin. And I couldn't get it to turn. And I didn't like the feedback from the front brake. I blamed the bike, of course. :thumbsup: But in reality, I think I was a bigger problem than the bike. I have to retrain myself to get up on the tank in the corners, inside foot out, outside elbow up. My timing is off for preloading on jumps. Etc. All of those things that seemed to be easy 15 years ago, I have to tell myself to do them now. That's the part that makes me feel old more than anything else! I guess I should say "out of practice", probably more appropriate (and makes me feel better).

The $3,000 limit isn't really hard and fast, but I do need the green sticker here in CA, and for any of these bikes, that means 2002 or earlier. It could be I get a newer dedicated track bike after awhile, then the sticker won't matter. But for now, it'll have to be 2002 or earlier. I suppose I can thank the CA air resources board for that. I know we all have to be contributing enormously to global warming.

Sounds as though either the two stroke 250 or the 426 from '02 should do the trick. I am a stickler for only purchasing well maintained bikes, so that'll be a challenge. It'll probably come down to the cleanest one I can find of either bike. A lot for sale around here, but they all seem pretty beat. If anyone here is looking to sell the above, I'm interested.

Again, thanks for the input.

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02' YZ426 for sure, lots of power good suspension, bullet proof, and easy to control. Shouldnt have a problem finding a clean bike under $3000, and ay have some left over money for goodies.

Ok I read a little more on your post, I am 36 I just came off of a 2 stroke strug out 86' TRX250r, the thing I dont like about a 2 stroke is they are alot of work on the track if you ask me. If you want the thing to go you have to be on the pipe all the time, ya they are lighter and you may be able to fling them around a bit better but for the tracks you are riding now I think a 2 stroke is going to ware you down more then a not so heavy (in my opinion) 426. You can set back on a 4 stroke and let the torque of the engine do the work. Affordable I think is the main key here, and as far as ease to ride and bang for the buck a 426 is hard to beat. You can MX it or woods ride with out changing the bike around much. No messing with pipes and touchy jetting. No mixing fuel. My 426 likes 91 octane pump gas just fine, if I feel like going out and running hard 112 works great. My TRX had to run 112 all the tmie or it ran hot, the jetting was a pain and as for trails....well it was a hand full. My .02

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