2003 450 rumors: careful, you might get it

Let's see, I've owned the '99 400 and '00, '01, and '02 426 and each year they've gotten better (except for jetting problems on the '01). The '02 is a thoroughly refined four stroke race bike that can win OOTB with the right helmsman. One of the biggest assets is the reliability (yeah, I've heard of the various clutch, 4th gear, etc. problems) and most have had a great time roosting everyone in sight with only a few oil changes. I've also heard that the Honda 450 burns 25% of the oil every hour (no desert racing please!) and suffered more than a few tranny problems.

Question: how many of you are ready to give up the reliability you have for a lighter, more powerful bike? Sure I'd love to have Yamaha lose a few pounds and have an auto decompressor but at what price? Do you really want to change the oil every ride, bend the subframe after a simple get-off, tweak the frame, or bend the swingarm easily?

I don't! Better materials might do the trick (more $$) but just enjoy the bill when you have to replace something! For me, I'd rather carry a few extra pounds and have a more robust bike that can handle the next crash (cheaper for me to lose a few pounds than the bike). Still, I'd love the auto decompression system!

Any new bike will run into a couple of small (or big) problems. In the past (at least since 1987) Yamaha has does their homework before releasing a new model. I was hesitent about buying my 98 400 when they first came out at the end of 97. I rode and raced that bike for three years without ANY mechanical problems.

I agree with you that the potential is there but I honestly believe Yamaha will produce another quality product. I have seen some of the new Hondogs with split headpipes and it was not crash damage. How extreme do they go to save weight???? I guess we'll find out in another few months.


[ January 15, 2002: Message edited by: yzernie ]

several of us were contacted by Yamaha, ME INCLUDED! The spy asked lots of things, specifically electric start like the KTM.

Down notes from me to her were weight, suspension balance, carburation, ergo's (WR).

That was > 1 year ago.

The split headpipe issue comes with the titanium exhaust. Doug Henry tried the titanium thing once it broke in practice. I was surprised to see Honda do that actually. Most of the weight saving on the CR come from simple hardware changes. Ive said this in more than one string, the bolts on my YZ are on average twice the size as my CR. And its everywhere on the bike. I agree with building a robust motorcycle, but I believe that Yamaha could lighten up the YZ with sacraficing durabilty or reliability. It may not reach 220# but it could be and honest 228 without breaking the bank in my opinion.

I agree that weight savings are needed for the 426, but what good do all those skimpy lightweight parts do when you've got fifteen pounds of mud caked all over your bike after one wet lap? Okay, maybe less than fifteen, but you know what I mean.

i agree with blbainb the 426 is great but it needs a auto decompression system. i like the bike the way it is could start eaiser and way a few pounds less but its a damn good bike.

I wouldn't want to see an electric start on the next YZF4XX. What did you tell them about what you would/wouldn't like? E-start would add extra weight and being old school, dirt bikes DON'T have electric start. I would love to see it lose weight and I know the fasteners could shed some pounds, but don't go too crazy, a stripped/broken bolt kills a day of riding. When Yamaha looks at weight loss, I hope it doesn't come at the expense of cheesy wheels that ding on a rock, fasteners that strip or break, plastic that would crack or even weaker fuel tank. I would really like a new bike but 99 YZ400 is all setup for me, runs great, and has only crapped out on me once (cracked fuel tank). I was gonna replace it this year with a new 426 or 450. I wanna see what other problems arise from the 450 and see what Yamaha comes up with. I use to only own Honda's but this damn bike has turned me blue.


PK how old are you? Dirt bikes dont have electric starts, come on! If they could make the 426 at the current 250lbs with the electric start, they'd be sold out prior to release.

I saw my friend today who tests the new YZ's for Yamaha. Since his livelyhood depends on that, he again told me he could not tell me what changes were taking place for the 2003 YZ-F models. He did tell me that the changes will be good. I tried for a short time to get something out of him but he couldn't give it up. He said public information should be coming out soon regarding the changes. He could not tell me what "soon" was because he has no involvement in the public relations department.

I wish I had more information to give all of you but I respect his position and would never ask him to put himself into a bad spot with the bosses. Sounds like Yamaha is getting ready to go to combat with the CRF. GO BLUE!!!! :)


I agree with everyone that the bike could lose some poundage by thinning the bolts out and taking strategic weight savings. Although, I'm not so sure about why anyone would need more power? The stock YZF is only a few HP away from the 450 and the 520. Anyways...here's my beef: weight, clutch pull, and plug fouling, and if they're going to delve into the motor maybe an auto decompressor. :)

Ernie I hope you are right. The funny thing is everyone is talking like the 426 is all washed up. I haven't ridden the CR450 yet but I have passed alot of them at the races on my 00'426. Even if there weren't any changes to the 03'426. I feel it is the best bike of the bunch. Its definately time for an automatic decompressor but for those of us who have learned how to start our bikes it isn't a problem. I can't believe the number of people that watch me start my bike and then say "I thought those bikes were hard to start". The bikes only heavy when you have to pick it up off the ground which for me is often :)


A couple of pounds weight loss would be nice. I'm with you on the starting thing. It really is easy once you get it dialed (both the starting drill and the jetting).

I have replaced several of my bolts with aluminum ones. I only use them in non-critical areas as they do not have great tensil(sp) strength. Alot lighter than the stock bolts and not as expensive as titanium.


For me to jump off my 2 stroke (5 yrs riding)and jump on my new 02 426, the weight difference was of course their. My 426 wasnt as nimble, at first, but it was something I had to expect. I agree about the auto decompression deal, it is very hard to go from a bike that started in 1 kick (KX250) to now at least 3. Im starting to get the hang of it now though (1-2 kicks). All in all I love my YZ Blue Thunder and Im getting the hang of it! :)

(dont mind the whining!)

I really don't see what the problem is for everyone when starting the beast. Of course it doesn't fire up like a two smoke, but c'mon guys, don't limp leg it and she'll start. If I abide by the drill (which I have down to a t) she always starts first or second kick (when cold) and always first kick when hot. Beef up them leg muscles guys :)

Only 4k? Am I missing something?

Excuse my ignorance, but who or what is Ferry? What do dirtbike replicas usualy have? (with sportbikes, it's just a paint job..)


This is too damn funny.........

a ferry replica!


I heard that it is going to be a Yellow & Black "Hanna Edition YZF450" punched to 449cc's

Full Works style wearing lots of Titanium, weight at 226lbs. Completely new motor: 6valve Dual overhead cam, sep. Tranny/engine oil, integrated auto decompression w/ thumb lever hot start, hydro. Clutch, Works Brakes & Fuel injection. Cost $6500.00. This is from a very reliable source....

tim ferry....number 15 yz425 rider pro supercross and motocross. it was a joke anyways dude. just keep up with the site

I heard that for 2003 Yamaha is putting out a Ferry Replica. Bike specs

450 cc

Weight 225#

60 HP

works suspension

Alum bars

plus many extras.

Price tag $4k

The bike will be released on 4-1-02.

Get your orders in QUICK.

I just prepaid mine.

I heard about that too! :)

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