02 426 Question

I like to trail ride and hill climb. My bike (02 YZ426F)likes to stall and seems to lack some torque when getting into technical situations such as a hill side. Now Im still in the Idiot phase of riding technique. Could I up a tooth on the rear sprocket or add a flywheel weight to help combat the situation.

Any recommendations?


Both would help. 2 teeth on the rear would be even better. You may lose a little top end but if that doesn't bother you, your first gear would become alot more trail friendly. I would try the sprocket first unless your stalling the bike alot. It's alot easier to install and less expensive. I use steel sprockets because of their increased longevity over aluminum, they also cost less...


02 YZF426

I started out on an '01 WR426, which of course has 'shorter' gearing. This made it a very forgiving ride on tight, twisty trails and hill climbs. You just twist the grip and wait for that chugging torque to do all the work.

Three weeks ago, I bought an '02 YZ426. This is a totally different bike. Twisting the throttle yields an instantaneous kick and the torque comes on a little later. Therein, lies your problem. No matter how you change the flywheel characteristics or the sprockets, the fact remains that the YZ426 is a screamer [out of the box] with a much 'taller' close ratio-type gearbox; therefore, you are just going to have to put in the seat time and burn through the learning phase.

The rear sprocket mod (+2 teeth) will help a little – but not as much as you would probably expect. As for the flywheel mod, I am going to say something that will put me in the minority around this forum… This will only serve to mask an issue that will not go away. Future thumpers (450’s and beyond) are going to continue to be designed to emulate two stroke style weight, power, and handling characteristics. You can either learn to deal with this characteristic now - or later. I tried to do this with my WR426. I was spending lots of cash trying to get YZ-like power. If you want to go the other way, just sell your YZ and get a WR.

Best advise I could give you - all that money you are planning to let folks convince you to spend on performance-related mods, spend that money on safety mods and your gear. That is your best defense [and offense] when learning. Make sure you have some strong bars, hand guards, and most importantly, some bigger diameter and softer grips (I prefer Progrip). These grips really help with respect to 'arm pump' which means you can focus on careful throttle control - imperative for riding this bike on trails/hill climbs. And, of course, don’t scrimp – buy quality riding gear (including a chest protector).

As for riding the bike itself, think of it as half way between a two and four stroke. You have to keep your revs up into the midrange band and learn to work the hell out of the top of first/second gears when in the tight stuff. Also, focus on carrying your speed through the corners or controlling your corner entry speed as the YZ426 has very little motor breaking effect. Lastly, when doing hill climbs, get a good running start and [minimally] try to be in second gear. If you have to punch it a gear up/down, try to keep constant throttle position before/after shifting - gently roll off just a little bit and only for the duration of the shift itself. I also found the stock suspension settings a little stiff [especially the front end] so I backed everything off a turn or click – this really helped in the whoops.

Look, I weigh 265 lbs. As I do mostly trails/hill climb, when I first bought the bike, I though 'uh oh', I just made a big mistake. But now, and with zero performance mods, I am learning to rip on this thing. If a fat ass like me can do it - so can you. Be safe, take your time, set realistic goals for yourself, and have lots of fun!

[ April 09, 2002: Message edited by: tmgolden ]

I ride a lot of trail and hill climbs of my YZ. When I got it the stock size srockets were still on it and it sucked in the slow trail riding alway killing it and on and off the clutch. I put a tooth smaller front sprocket on for 15 bucks instead of 2 teeth in the rear for 55 and now it is real nice. You have to watch the front end though, if you hit it too hard it will come up and over on you on a hill. I ride with guys on 250's and have no problem still staying with them on the dirt roads that go from trail to trail.

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