How do i know if my timing is off or not

Alright so i just got head put back on with new cam chain and guide. The bike starts right up but it sounds a little bit weird. Can i check the timing by getting the bike to tdc and aligning one of the cams with the top of the head. And then count how many pins are in between those 12 o clock dots? Mine ahould be 12 since its a yz250f right?

You need to check and confirm the dots on the cam sprockets are in the right spots with the crankshaft at TDC of the compression stroke.

 

You have the Owner's Service Manual for your bike?

i am pretty sure i've said about 10,000 times that counting the pins does nothing more than prove you can count.  maybe even above 10.

 

YZEtc stated the ONLY correct way.

Should my bike even start if the timing is off? Even by 1 tooth?

yes it can start if off by 1 on either the exh or int or both

Well, depending on the year of the bike, and whatever cam you might be running, the cam marks might not line up with the cylinder head. And in that case, counting the timing pins between the two cam timing marks does have some merit.

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