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Transitioning from 250f to 450f

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I've been trail riding an RMZ 250f for the last few years. I'm thinking about stepping up to a 450, probably an RMX 450Z but am not sure if it's the right move having never ridden a 450 before. I'm 41 years old so got into off roading fairly late in life. I'm of average ability and ride trails that are relatively open and quick and not too difficult unless muddy and wet. The thing I struggle with most when riding is exhaustion, I think because I don't ride often enough to maintain conditioning and because my strength is fairly average, though I have always had good aerobic fitness. Does this mean I wouldn't be a good fit for a 450? I've heard some people say they tire you out but others say they are less exhausting than a 250. The other thing I am apprehensive about is the step up in power. I'm an ok rider, but not a particularly quick one nor do I have much experience riding difficult terrian though that is something I want to get into. Do those who have ridden a 250f and a 450f have a perspective on this?

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I have an 06 Honda CRF450R and an 05 CRF250R, both valved for woods. The 450 has the 2002's lower compression piston and Steahly's 33oz. FWW to reduce flameouts and help the tractor ability. The 250 has as Hotcams stage III to boost the top end. Both have full exhausts. Basically what I did was to soften the bottom of the 450 and boost the top of the 250. They are both decent bikes in stock form but these mods enhanced their strengths and made them more versatile. I prefer the 250 for tight singletrack because of its lighter weight and easier turning and the 450 for more open trails, desert and dunes. If I had to get rid of one I think it would be the 450 since I ride tough trails more than open stuff. Both bikes work great for me though and cross over to the opposite duty very well. The 450 would be a better choice for a large rider for sure.

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I'm actually not too far off from your situation. I've got a few years on you, but also rode a 250F (CRF250X) for years and last year sold it and bought a 450 (2012 WR450). The weight aspect is a little give and take. A lighter bike will deflect & bounce off more stuff, which is tiring, where a heavier bike will plow through/over stuff. But in tighter gnarlier terrain where you're physically throwing the bike around more, you feel the weight of the 450 more, which is also tiring. If you're picking it up off the ground, it's obviously heavier and you'll definitely feel that. So in some conditions, the weight actually helps. But in others, it is a detriment.

 

As for the power, well that depends too. If you're talking an MX bike, it's going to be very snappy with a good hit, and not very user friendly in tight or gnarly offroad terrain without some modifications. If it's a trail bike like my WR, it's a little different. I see you're in New Zealand and mentioned the RMX450. Unfortunately we don't get that bike here in the US, which is a shame as I hear it's good bike.

 

That bike has FI, right? And is it tunable by the owner? That's the saving grace for my WR450, the FI tuning. You can make it into a snarling beast, or you can make it feel almost 250-like off the bottom, and still have plenty of steam up top. That's what I did when I first got it, made it pretty soft on the bottom, which made it more manageable and eased my transition from 250 to 450. As I got used to the bike, I modified the FI map and now have a nice happy medium of tractable power down low for the tight stuff, and lots of steam up top for more open terrain.

 

Sounds like the majority of where you ride is more open terrain, which plays into the 450s hand, as it's the really tight technical stuff where a 450 is harder to ride and more tiring. Fitness is still very important though, much more so than outright strength. So yeah, I think you'd likely be fine on a 450, esp if you can tweak the FI on it. I'm also pretty sure the RMX is lighter than my WR, so that helps too.

Edited by GP1K
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I have an 06 Honda CRF450R and an 05 CRF250R, both valved for woods. The 450 has the 2002's lower compression piston and Steahly's 33oz. FWW to reduce flameouts and help the tractor ability. The 250 has as Hotcams stage III to boost the top end. Both have full exhausts. Basically what I did was to soften the bottom of the 450 and boost the top of the 250. They are both decent bikes in stock form but these mods enhanced their strengths and made them more versatile. I prefer the 250 for tight singletrack because of its lighter weight and easier turning and the 450 for more open trails, desert and dunes. If I had to get rid of one I think it would be the 450 since I ride tough trails more than open stuff. Both bikes work great for me though and cross over to the opposite duty very well. The 450 would be a better choice for a large rider for sure.

 

Yeah, I've thought about running two bikes, it'd be the the ideal scenario but boils down to a question of cost I suppose. Do you find yourself favoring one bike more than the other or do you choose your ride based on the conditions you'll be riding in? 

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Yeah, I've thought about running two bikes, it'd be the the ideal scenario but boils down to a question of cost I suppose. Do you find yourself favoring one bike more than the other or do you choose your ride based on the conditions you'll be riding in? 

We have really nice, gnarly singletrack close to home and the 250 is a little better for that so I tend to ride it more often. I have had the 450 a lot longer though so I have ridden everything on that bike as well and it's always been great. I have had the 450 since 08 and the 250 since '10.

 

Of course on a long distance trip out to riding spots I'll bring both bikes just in case of a breakdown. In the desert the 450 totally rules. It has a lot taller gearing and lots of torque and power. It wheelies out of 3rd gear sweepers for example, something a 250 has to work a lot harder at. Dunes, of course 450. It turns a 10 paddle easily without bogging and the 250 needs a 6 paddle. No comparison as to which is better there...handling in the open areas feels about the same, stable and still lively enough. It's one of the things I really like about CRFs, they feel great to me.

 

But to answer your question, I guess I like the 250 better overall. It's just a little less work to ride and a little more intuitive for me- that frees up my mind just a little bit more to work angles and trajectories in a split second. It's not so much that I crash the 250 less but that it lets me ride it just a little harder while still in the comfort zone.

 

On the other hand the 450 does literally EVERYTHING. If I could only have one bike I guess it would be the 450, it's a jack of all trades. Added to that, I don't wring the 450's neck nearly as much. I anticipate fewer $$$ spent on the engine. I replace pistons every two years on both bikes but other than that the 450 has only recently gotten its first head rebuild and the 250 is a virgin, top and bottom.

 

Hope this helps!

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I'm actually not too far off from your situation. I've got a few years on you, but also rode a 250F (CRF250X) for years and last year sold it and bought a 450 (2012 WR450). The weight aspect is a little give and take. A lighter bike will deflect & bounce off more stuff, which is tiring, where a heavier bike will plow through/over stuff. But in tighter gnarlier terrain where you're physically throwing the bike around more, you feel the weight of the 450 more, which is also tiring. If you're picking it up off the ground, it's obviously heavier and you'll definitely feel that. So in some conditions, the weight actually helps. But in others, it is a detriment.

 

As for the power, well that depends too. If you're talking an MX bike, it's going to be very snappy with a good hit, and not very user friendly in tight or gnarly offroad terrain without some modifications. If it's a trail bike like my WR, it's a little different. I see you're in New Zealand and mentioned the RMX450. Unfortunately we don't get that bike here in the US, which is a shame as I hear it's good bike.

 

That bike has FI, right? And is it tunable by the owner? That's the saving grace for my WR450, the FI tuning. You can make it into a snarling beast, or you can make it feel almost 250-like off the bottom, and still have plenty of steam up top. That's what I did when I first got it, made it pretty soft on the bottom, which made it more manageable and eased my transition from 250 to 450. As I got used to the bike, I modified the FI map and now have a nice happy medium of tractable power down low for the tight stuff, and lots of steam up top for more open terrain.

 

Sounds like the majority of where you ride is more open terrain, which plays into the 450s hand, as it's the really tight technical stuff where a 450 is harder to ride and more tiring. Fitness is still very important though, much more so than outright strength. So yeah, I think you'd likely be fine on a 450, esp if you can tweak the FI on it. I'm also pretty sure the RMX is lighter than my WR, so that helps too.

 

Thanks for this, good to hear from someone who has transitioned from 250 to 450. Yes, a more planted feel is one of the attractions of an RMX 450 for me, that and more power on uphills, less shifting, shorter service intervals  and all the advantages a proper enduro bike has out on the trails over my current motocrosser.    

 

By all accounts the RMX is a good bike. My understanding is it was banned from sale in the US for environmental reasons.  Personally I find the idea that a dirt bike from a reputable manufacturer can be banned from sale a little disturbing , you wonder where it’s all heading. Fortunately the environmentalists in New Zealand haven’t turned their attention to dirt bikes yet, probably because they’re too busy trying to kill off our mining industry, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.  

 

The point you raise about engine tuning is a good one which I hadn’t thought of. I don’t know much about that sort of thing but will talk to my Suzuki dealer about it. I know the RMZ’s come with engine couplers which give the owner the choice of 3 engine maps and would assume the RMX is the same. But beyond that, maybe a technician would need to alter the mapping. 

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the 450 power is addicting. once you're hooked everything else won't matter.

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the 450 power is addicting. once you're hooked everything else won't matter.

Yep.  I weigh 150 lbs and love the 450 power!  Even though much of my riding is in singletrack - a 250f just doesn't do it for me.  I'd buy one for my wife.

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