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To buy used WR or YZF?

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Hi,I am 18, a complete novice and am looking to buy a first bike. I live in michigan and will be doing primarily trail riding...maybe...just maybe a bit of mx. I will most likely have to buy a used bike because I have about $3500 to play with. I am a college student who needs a bulletproof, fun time. That is why the snowmobiles are getting sold (too expensive). I would really like to know the pros and cons of each, and if possible the top speeds of both?

thanks a lot

I am 6foot and 145lbs so i am a tall lanky guy.

so please any suggestions on which bike would be great. bear in mind that i do not want to outgrow the bike in the next couple of years...maybe a 400/426/450 then?

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catmanz440,

welcome to TT. information comparing the features and performance of the two models can be found in the 250F FAQ; see the link in my sig.

in general...

- the WRF gives you a lower first gear (good for slow speed crawling), a taller fifth gear (higher top speed, around 85MPH), and electric start ('03 and '04 models only). the E-button equipped WRF weighs perhaps 25 lbs more than the YZF due to the addition of the battery and the starter. stock, the WRF comes from yamaha a little choked up to meet sound regulations, but you can undo this with the so-called "FREE MODS". again, see the FAQ for info. summary, the WRF is a trail ready race bike.

- the YZF has a close ratio transmission which is designed for MX tracks but is usable as well on the trails. it will top out at around 70MPH. the YZF has no "trail accoutrements", so if you plan on doing organized events in michigan you wil need to buy some hardware (like a stator and some lights). see my sig for some details on the SDM ride. summary: the YZF is very light, very flickable, has good grunt, and is a GREAT bike for a novice rider.

note: you will notice from reading TT that many people "YZF-ify" their WRF's, and conversely others "WRF-ify" their YZF's. this is perfectly normal behavior and don't be surprised that you find yourself doing the same. 🙂

as for outgrowing the 250F's -- the frame size on the 250F and 450F is the same. so the 450F is not physically bigger, there's just more horsepower on tap. your weight is perfectly fine for the 250F; don't worry you'll go plenty fast. i would not recommend the 450F for a novice (especially on trails) as the pain amplification factor is way too high. stick with the 250F until you feel like you need more power. and you won't need it for quite a while.

jim aka the wrooster

'01 wr250f

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Thank you very much wrooster. Now I know what engine size to get, but I still am a little skeptical about which bike. I am leaning toward the WR because of the lights the taller gearing, and the coolant overflow tank. They are all nice features to have. Of course E-start is a plus too, but not the deciding factor. However wrooster, what did you mean by YZ-iffy and WR-iffy, I am a little unclear by what you meant.

Thanks for the links too! Now, I just gotta sell the snowbmobiles and wait for spring! (damn snow in michigan)

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wrooster means that some people with WRFs add features that YZFs have, and YZFers add features that WRFers have? And welcome to the club!! youl find alot of usefull info here from a great bunch of riders. And what part of Mi. are you from?

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yes, that's exactly what i mean.

examples:

some YZF owners add a stator and lights;

some WRF owners take off the lights and coolant overflow;

some YZF owners revalve the stock MX suspension for trails;

some WRF owners change the cam timing to the YZF setting.

jim aka the wrooster

'01 wr250f

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Any suggestion/guide on what to look after when buying a used YZ/WR'F? I know a couple of guys having bad times due to trouble with valves and broken engine rod on '01 and '02 models, but don't know how to "detect" those kind of problems

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Any suggestion/guide on what to look after when buying a used YZ/WR'F?

ok, i just went through this same discussion with another TT'er via PM and email, so i'm just going to cut-n-paste a whole bunch of crap below and you'll need to read through it. someday i'll organize this into something we can put in the FAQ...

jim aka the wrooster

'01 wr250f

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Wrooster,

As a veteran TTer who is clearly above board and knows WRs, I wanted to run the following by you.

In a compromise with my wife I have decided to consider a used '02 or '03 WR250F rather than the '04 to save a couple grand. I figure for a first bike I can't go wrong if I find one that has been well maintained and has some aftermarket mods already done.

I found one in Portland (local) advertised on TT (newbie). Here is the description:

Late 02 (10/02) wr250f. Excellent cond., low hours, free mods, DrD exhaust, renthals, michelins, radiator guards. $3995.

I PMd him and he said he's never raced, taken great care of the bike, and rides trails about once a month and that the only reason he is selling is because he thought it would be fun to try a different bike (CRF).

He sent me pics yesterday but they were in Mac format and I couldn't read them so he is supposed to be sending them again. Assuming I like what I see when I go to look at it I'm considering offering him $3500 (High KBB $4100, Low $2800). Do you think this is a good price given your expertise on the '02 and thumpers in general?

I have always had concerns with buying a used bike since you never know what you're getting.

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i think your approach to get a one year old or two year old bike is a good one. while it is very nice to get a shiny new '04 bike i don't think you are giving much up. and you are already "down the depreciation curve" so to speak, plus you'll have more money to buy accessories and MX gear.

i haven't really priced used bikes out so i don't know what to tell you about what to offer. i'm a "touchy-feely" buyer, i like to go over to kick the tires and also to take a psychological survey of the seller. that helps me with the pricing. but the range you note below seems reasonable assuming that the bike is in the condition stated.

some advice is to ask about the fluids, valves, bearings, and seals -- have the oil and filter been changed regularly? have the valves been checked? has the linkage been serviced? have the steering stem bearings been greased? have the fork and shock fluids been tended to? what about changing brake fluid (which no one likes to do but is very important for the longevity of your braking systems). none of these issues alone is a "deal breaker" but you can get a good feel for what kind of maintenance has been done by asking these types of questions. check the back of the kickstarter, see what kind of scars the footpeg has given it. ask what has been replaced internally and who did the work. and of course you can ask some oddball, off-the-wall question and see if the guy BS's you -- for example, ask if he did all the free mods, including the BLACK WIRE mod. then if he says "yeah, i did that one as well", start thinking hard ... on the other hand if he says, "i think you mean the GREY WIRE" ...

of course, since it's local you can go start her up and take a 5 minute ride -- that may help get your mind at peace. note: you may have to let the seller start the bike, as the 250F has a "drill" that is a bit obtuse if you haven't done it a few times. but that's a great thing to watch -- if the owner can start it on the first or second or third kick that's a good sign. when you do ride it, check for reasonable clutch engagement w/ no chatter; smooth acceleration and good top end power; shifts all 5 gears up and down, lugs 5th gear OK; firm brakes and controlled fork dive; etc. although you may not have been on a 250F before by now you should have the concept that a 250F has about the same power as a 125 2stroke but with a much broader powerband. i.e., you don't need to wind it out to get going fast.

the setup you are looking at seems a great starting point -- my only comment is that you will want to install the '03 YZF cam. it really is the best mod going for the '01 and '02 WRF's. and you may have to get a spark arrestor for the DrD to ride certain trails. the WRF really is an excellent starter bike -- and one you can grow with as you get faster on the trails. at least that's been my experience. let me throw you this curve however; if you don't need the lights and the tall 5th gear, consider the YZF as well -- if only to take a look at one (most everything is common on the two bikes).

good luck with your purchase; let me know how you make out.

jim aka the wrooster

'01 wr250f

pps

you probably know about the 250F FAQ, http://www.thumperfaq.com/

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Thanks Jim! A wealth of information as I expected. Hopefully I will check it out this week and let you know what I find. I have been lurking on TT for about 3 months religiously and doing research on bikes and really have my mind set on the WR. I bought my son a new TTR90 for Christmas so the WR seems like a good bike for putting with him or running with my friends. A good "compromise" between the TTR and YZF.

He sent me some pics and looks like it is in pretty good condition but does show some ride wear (he clearly didn't do the truck bed liner mod on the frame like you did !). Saw some kids toys in the background so it sounds like he's a family man which can't hurt (gross generalization).

I did notice some scarring on the side of the kick starter and the right rear swing arm but that could have been from a single crash. No button on the '02? I can send you the pics if you don't mind checking them out and giving your long distance opinion. Would Email be best?

I'm sure when I start riding I'll meet some local TTers that might help show me the ropes. Anyway, thanks again. It's guys like you that make this forum such a great resource Weird how you put a bunch of strangers together with a common interest and get such a family feeling. I don't know what I would have done if I had not stumbled across this site .

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sure, i'll take a look at the pics.

ps

no button on the '02 -- correct. e-start only on '03 and thereafter WRF's. but with the '03 YZF cam ($100) in the '02, you won't need e-start, "trust me". so no drill, just kick it and off you go. btw, i think that the '02 is slightly lighter than the '03, and the weight is carried lower since there is no battery mounted up high under the seat. both Good Things i believe.

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Here they are. Is that a stock tank (Clarke)? Looks like aftermarket graphics too. Looks like the kick start damage is from the foot peg. Let me know what you think and I'll let you know what it looks like in person.

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here's what jumps out for me, visual inspection only... :*)

pretty sure that the tank is clarke 3.2 gal YZF style. (good)

seat is SDG, YZF-style. (good)

renthal bars. (good)

radiators seem straight. (very expensive to replace, ~$175/side new!)

white air guides in front of radiators ok. (good)

plastic is not trashed. (good)

all the lights work. (good)

everything important seems to be there, no missing parts. (good)

frame sides have more paint on them than mine, that's for sure! (good)

frame sides have some surface rust, just like mine. (typical)

some teeth left on the pegs and brake pedal. (good)

some knurl left on the shifter. (good)

kick starter wear is normal. (typcial)

front tire appears good, back a little less so (hard to tell). (good/ok)

he definitely didn't race it. (good)

(there would be signs-- mangled footpegs, bent rads, white lines in the blue plastic, munged radiator air guides, etc etc etc.) the only evidence i can see that he wiped out is that there is no longer a "rubber bootie" on the rear brake pivot (right hand side lever). a couple of bucks at the dealer will cure that.

but:

1) brownish seepage (oil?) at timing plug (smaller of the two), case left hand side [bike Eng. Left.jpg]. ask about that. maybe it's just the glint off the case, or some dirt. but the dirt is sticking to something. if the plug is cracked or stripped, no biggie, it's a couple of bucks.

2) don't know what the scar on the right side of the swingarm is, right below the rear disk caliper. could be "transport scuff" from where it fits into his tiny pickup truck, or something like that. my experience with swingarm damage is linear rock scratches, not large blemished areas like shown in the pic.

seriously, don't worry about stuff like the stickers/graphics. that crap is $39 to replace. better to see all of the parts there and the radiators in good shape. my '01 WRF has a lot of combat miles on it (~3000 in class A & B terrain) -- this '02 WRF looks a lot better from an aesthetic standpoint. the bottom of my frame is pretty bunged up (from hitting rocks) and in front of the engine there is very little frame paint (jumping downed trees). of course i change the fluids on my bike with abandon and do grease jobs whether it needs it or not, cause i'm anal about that stuff i guess.

oh almost forgot, if/when you go there check the front fork tubes for dents or big nicks. another "high dollar" item. also, take a look at the dipstick when you are there, see if there is any water or anti-freeze evidence. (e.g., white/milky "thousand island salad dressing" look to it)

all in all, from the pics it looks like it's in pretty good to excellent shape. i don't think the owner is BS'ing about his usage. and, i think you are even close to a thousand bucks ahead of a stock '02 WRF. the SDG seat and narrower clarke tank make a great combo vs the bulbous stock tank. the renthal bars won't bend like the stock steel ones. the DrD exhaust is about 97 pounds lighter than the stock steel exhaust AND it give much better performance (it is louder though). all of the aftermarket stuff he stuck on is top notch -- which is a good sign. i don't go for mickey-mouse stuff, that's a big turn off when i see it. no sign of that here. for a two year old trail bike the plastic and frame are looking good. all the expensive stuff seems to be straight. i believe you could do a lot worse. follow up with him on some of the questions that i PM'd you about, and those nitpicks above. you could ride this bike directly off your trailer/truck onto the trails, with little to no prep, or so it would appear. of course those extra aftermarket bits might keep him firm on his asking price. such is life.

my 0.02 -- go there, ride it; if it feels good, buy it. i think you said that this is your first bike but the test drive won't be a big deal. assuming you have the whole clutch business and shifting thing worked out (1st is down, then 2-3-4-5 are all up), there shouldn't be any problems.

if you do buy it make sure he gives you the excellent OEM owners service manual (came with the bike at no extra cost) and the OEM spark plug removal wrench (same).

regards,

jim

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Jim,

I can't thank you enough for this advice. I know it must have taken you quite a while to write this all down and I sure appreciate it. I am always a little leery about buying anything used especially something like this that has the propensity to have been abused and I know nothing about. I am encouraged by what I hear and I'll let you know how it goes. A test ride will be no problem as I rode quite a bit as a kid and have done some street riding as an adult. I hope you don't get bugged about stuff like this from a lot of other TT users and I promise I'll try not to abuse the privilege. Don't be afraid to tell me when enough is enough!

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it's cool, just let me know how you make out.

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Well I went and looked at that bike and it followed me home. It looked even better in person and I was able to get him to come $200 off his asking price but I would have paid what he was asking. Come to find out that oil leaking out was just because the cap was loose.

The guy who owned it used mobil red cap and changed the oil religiously. Other than that, no major services but everything is in great shape. 550 miles since 10/02.

I can't believe how strong this bike runs. I ran it down a two block stretch through three gears and it felt like it wanted to walk out from under me. I rode two strokes as a kid and I never expected this kind of performance from a four stroke. Come to find out it's a Canadian bike (anything to watch out for there?) and he bought it from a broker. Most of the YZ mods were already done and he has the top of the air box open running a Uni filter.

I am 5'9 and about 170 lbs. and the bike feels a little tall for me (toes only). I asked him where the front forks were set and he said 10. Should I soften it up a couple clicks? I probably won't be doing a lot of jumping any time soon but how soft is too soft? I haven't checked the rear spring, but should I soften it some to "lower" it? Jets are 170 and 40.

A couple final questions, do you know what those things are called that you put between the top of the front tire and the bottom of the fender to keep your shocks from compressing when trailering? Know a good site to buy from? Do you use a man funnel for draining your oil or have you just learned how to keep it from making a mess?

I can't thank you enough for all your help. Your wisdom and advice has made this experience so much easier (I'm looking for the bowing Graemlin but can't find him...I'm not worthy). Happy riding!

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sounds like you got a nice bike at a good price.

regarding the canadian version -- no biggie, the biggest issue *would have been* the exhaust. the canadaian WRFs have welded-in exhaust restrictors and so you can't do easy swap outs. but you have the Dr.D on the bike, thus you are all set.

the only advice i can give you about the suspension is as follows: assume that the previous owner had absolutely no idea what he was doing. that said, open up your manual and reset ALL of the clickers back to their original settings. don't forget the fork compression (bottom of fork) and the shock rebound (below the shock). just set them all back to OEM. then set the sag, both race and free, via the big adjusting nuts below the rear coil. there are a couple of good sites which tell you how to do the sag adjustments -- one even has a video which i can send you if you can't find it. don't forget to do the sag with all your gear on. now then, these sag adjustments are not going to markedly "lower" the bike -- the height is set primarily by the frame geometry and to some degree by the spring rates. and, changing the compression or damping characteristics is not going to change the seat height. when you put different shocks on your truck, the ride height doesn't change. when you put different springs (leaf or coil) on your truck, the ride height changes. of course there are limits to how far you can go before you have to do some welding or cutting. for your bike that requires some rear linkage surgery and internal cuts to the forks. ask steve unruh (TT'er sunruh) (5'7"???) about his lowering job if you want to go there.

regarding that "tall" feeling, i'm about your height (just shy of 5'10" on a good day) and the same weight. i too felt a little "up there" initially but you know what, after a while i've become totally comfortable on the bike. there have been rocky/knarly places i would have liked the bike to be 2" shorter but that's that -- you can't have 12" of suspension travel AND a short bike i guess.

keep changing the oil and she'll run forever for ya. the UNI filter is top notch, i run the same. but i use TWIN-AIR filter oil (the blue stuff in the orange can), and i love it. as always, i recommend getting the '03 YZF cam -- takes a hour to do, not a lot to go wrong, and there are only benefits. but you don't have to do it immediately -- hell, i had my bike for two years before the '03 cam was available and i wasn't complaining... all that much.

for trailering it's not a big deal to not block up the suspension -- but people have had experiences both ways. i too forget who makes those blocks but you can get them from www.rockymountainmc.com or you can make one from a 2x4 wood block.

as for the jetting -- sorry but that's a "ya gotta be there" thing. it's hard to diagnose via remote control. you said the bike pulls strong. that's a good sign. but once you get used to it, and there are some anomolies, post on TT and include every single detail you can think of (incl altitude) and you'll get some good advice.

i like the idea of the man funnel but since Feb '01 i've changed my oil so many times that i can do it in about 5 minutes and not spill a drop. i will recommend NOT taking the lower oil line bolt off the right side of the motor. that bolt is very prone to stripping and you're only going to get a tablespoon or two of oil out of that line anyway. follow the procedure i wrote up in the FAQ. quick, easy, secure, no stripped bolts.

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I am from Bloomfield Hills, about 20miles from detroit, although I currently attend Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, which reminds me, I gotta get back to my chemistry lab report!

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One thing wrong with liveing in metro Detroit and haveing snowmobles. You haveta take a road trip to ride them just like you do a dirt if your going to trail ride. Plusses are that there are more dirt riding months than snowmobile months. Hope Baja opens this weekend. Your right thuogh,Damn snow still on the ground.

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