02 450, 03 450 or new CRF250?

I have been debating on which bike to buy. I have looked in to a couple 03 450's and just found an 02. The 02 can be bought for $3000. It had the piston/rings/valves done over the summer and has new tires, sprockets, chain and brakes. Is there much difference from an 02 to 03 that a 34 year old, 6', 200lb novice could detect? I have heard bad things about the valve problems and steering offset. I really feel I should go to a CRF250, but I really don't get to ride that much and would kind of like to keep the cost down. The thought of spending $6000 on a new bike and only putting 10-15 hrs on it over next summer...doesn't make a lot of sense. I have ridden an 03 a couple times and it is a handfull, but fun. I have talked to a guy that went to a CRF250 from the 450 and he says he's faster. I am coming off a CR250 and had a DRZ400 before that. I am not in any hurry to buy, as I won't be riding in the winter. Thanks in advance for any advice and suggestions!

For your situation I would get the 02. It already was rebuilt so that's one less thing to worry about.

Just think...if you get the 02 you'll be saving $3000.

If you get a Storm link for what? $110 or whatever it is you'll have the handling of the 03.

I have been wrestling with this same decision. I live in SoCal and ride almost exclusively in the Western Mojave although in Summer I occassionally have done some riding in the Sierras. I am 40 yrs old and a 240lbs intermediate rider (not running with the WFO crowd but not far behind them....I pick my spots to go fast and obviously not a big air guy). I currently ride a 2000 DRZ400E with a lot of work done to it. The bike has been great, anvil reliable and tractors like an XR but revs better! However, it is HEAVY and has horrible brakes and is really a straightline desert Cadillac without enough hit to easily loft the front end. I recently rode my buddy's 03 CRF450 and it changed my life.....call it a mid life crisis...except instead of a tight bodied nubile blond, I have fallen for a racy lady in red!! I want to buy a CRF450.....the 03 I rode made me instantly a better rider....I was railing corners that the DRZ would reject completely, lofting the front end in third gear on demand with a simple blip of the throttle, and even getting some air on jumps that I would never dream of taking with my DRZ (and this was a bike set up for a 175lb rider). I am so smitten, I am willing to forfeit my beloved electric start button. My dillema however is whether to buy an used 02 and get a green sticker or a used 03 and save a few bucks but benefit from some of the fixes made to the 03 model, or buy a new 04. I think my decision comes down to whether one model year is better for me and my type of riding or not??? What do you guys think?

My understanding is the 04 crf450r has some definite improvements over previous models. Higher compression ratio engine with more power, Renthal bars, better suspension, and lighter. Resale value is higher if you choose to sell, so pay it off quick and keep a new bike in the stable every couple of years. Those are the reasons I used to purchase the 04 model,as misguided as they may be. Go ahead, bite the bullet then explain it to your significant other after. You only live once.

Personally, i'd get the '02 and with just a few hundred of the thousand+$$ you'll save, put some nice after-market accessories on it.

Right now i'm selling my '03 CRF ($4000), i want to buy an '02 and with what i'll save in going a year down can just about buy me a set of Motard wheels which is what i really want to do. :)

Personally, don't think you'd notice a big difference between the '03 & '02.

I'd say get the 03. I was looking to get a 02 but was able to get a good price on a new 03 and liked the "little" improvements.

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