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SSS - better with steel or aluminum?

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Hello,

I have a 02 YZ250 and a 06 YZ250. I’m only going to keep one of them and I’m wondering which frame works best with SSS suspension – steel or aluminum? I’m curious if anyone has had the chance to compare the steel frame with SSS suspension back to back to an aluminum frame with SSS suspension? I know I could swap the parts and test myself, but I very short on time to make a final decision and was hoping someone else might have had the opportunity and would share their opinion(s). I only ride off road, enduro type, single track.

Thanks

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Not by personal experience but from many comments on TT forums,

the steel frame YZ250 is better suited for enduro and off-roading (more 'feel' of terrain)

plus, pre-'05 open chamber forks are generally easier to fine tune for off-road plushness.

 

Aluminium frame (more rigid) and SSS closed chamber forks better suited for MX.

Edited by mlatour
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The 2004 steel frame is better for everything. According to Reed, DV and Ferry. Doesn't matter which suspension. But I don't know how different the 2002 frame is.

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Most would say steel is better. If you're selling because you need the money, the '06 should sell for much more.

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Most would say steel is better. If you're selling because you need the money, the '06 should sell for much more.

What do you say Mike, you have both now. Do you have any complaints with the aluminum?

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What do you say Mike, you have both now. Do you have any complaints with the aluminum?


I don't think my 2 is a fair comparison. The ergos changed in 2002.
But IMO the 2000 (revalved stock susp) is more comfortable for slow trails and the 2016 (stock X susp, clickers full soft) is easier to flick around. I actually haven't ridden the old one since getting the new. The new feels much lighter and the faster I ride the better it feels when compared.
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On 6/16/2017 at 4:36 AM, numroe said:

The 2004 steel frame is better for everything. According to Reed, DV and Ferry. Doesn't matter which suspension. But I don't know how different the 2002 frame is.

What those guys do on a bike and need from a bike is not the same as what we need. I am assuming that the OP is not prepping his 02 to take a run at the 2018 supercross championship. 

I would keep the bike that is in the best overall condition. 

 

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If both bikes are in equal condition, and you ride woods, the 02 is the bike you want to keep.  The older suspension works great in the woods when revalved (the SSS also needs to be revalved for woods as it comes with MX valving).  I have an 03 and an 06 (aluminum and SSS), and while both bikes are great, if I could only keep one, it would be the 03.  

Having said that, the differences are not huge, and if one bike is in better condition, then that is what I would keep.

02 and later have the same geometry and share a ton of parts.

 

 

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15 hours ago, Woodzi said:

What those guys do on a bike and need from a bike is not the same as what we need. I am assuming that the OP is not prepping his 02 to take a run at the 2018 supercross championship. 

I would keep the bike that is in the best overall condition. 

 

You're right about that! I'm pushing 60 and that dream has long passed. Only woods riding for me.

As I mentioned, the 02 is in basically new condition. The 06 needs a whole new top end, at least. Plus here in good ol CA we have this green sticker/red sticker thing. The 02 falls under the green sticker rules so I can ride it anywhere, anytime. The 06 is dictated by red sticker rules and is restricted in some areas during certain times of the year. From what I've gathered from the replies, I'm going 02. 

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5 hours ago, rpt50 said:

If both bikes are in equal condition, and you ride woods, the 02 is the bike you want to keep.  The older suspension works great in the woods when revalved (the SSS also needs to be revalved for woods as it comes with MX valving).  I have an 03 and an 06 (aluminum and SSS), and while both bikes are great, if I could only keep one, it would be the 03.  

Having said that, the differences are not huge, and if one bike is in better condition, then that is what I would keep.

02 and later have the same geometry and share a ton of parts.

 

 

The 02 suspension has been worked over by Race Tech. I know both ends have their gold valves installed and are revalved for woods, but I have no idea what the spring rate is. I'll just change out the springs for my weight and not worry about it. I know the 06 suspension has been serviced, but no clue as to how it's been set up. 

Thanks for the feed back. I'm going 02!

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6 hours ago, jcshew said:

I'm going 02!

Done! Too easy!

22 hours ago, Woodzi said:

What those guys do on a bike and need from a bike is not the same as what we need.

True.   However their opinion on this question is as good as it gets. Since they rode the factory bikes during the frame transition. It surprised me the most when they said the 2004 was better in the woops. Just point and pin it.  I'd have guessed that a stiffer alum frame would excel in fast woops.   BTW.  Chad just bought a 2004 YZ250 for play riding. 

I'd expect that 9/10 riders on any track with bumps and the same suspension would feel the diff between a 2002-04 steel versus 2006-17 alum frames in less than 30 secs on each bike.   I've had a few days where I've switched from 2004 to 2006+ with near stock SSS on each bike. The steel frame works so you don't need to guess what the bike is going to do. The steel frame also soaks up rider mistakes, so we can ride it at our best pace for longer.  The alum frame is a bit more jittery and the front tire doesn't track as well.  I wonder if they really are the exact same geometry.

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27 minutes ago, numroe said:

True.   However their opinion on this question is as good as it gets.

I wouldn't say that at all. Chad is still riding pro supercross. I am a long retired intermediate. There is a huge difference in how hard we push the bikes. 

I would trust your opinion much more, since you have ridden both and I assume that you ride at a level that is closer to the rest of us. In this case you reached the same conclusion as the pros, but I doubt that you would agree every time. 

Look at what MXA has to say about riding pro-level bikes. In most cases, they say it is a miserable experience. 

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I prefer the aluminum frame. I find the steel too flexy. Might have something to do with my size at 230+ without gear. The aluminum is much harder to set up suspension and less forgiving.

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I prefer the aluminum frame. I find the steel too flexy. Might have something to do with my size at 230+ without gear.

Sounds logical. Which year model steel frames have you tried?

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Sounds logical. Which year model steel frames have you tried?

Last generation. Plus a few from the 90s.

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I have only had aluminum framed yzs so this may not mean much. I race HS from NJ sandpits to typical rocky northeast conditions. My experience has been basically what others have said. They are not very forgiving and have chronic front end feel/traction problems. However, in the sand I think the aluminum frames are really good. It is just when you get in the hard pack and rocks you notice their problems.

I don't know how much better the steelys are. I do know that despite how terrible my 09 200xc suspension was, the front end was stuck to the ground and had great feel comparatively. My opinion might be skewed by my terrible bike setup skills.

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Set up is everything no matter what bike it is. I only run aluminum frames and absolutely love them. The harder you push the better they are. Their light, precise, And strong. My suspension is set up perfect for me with T-6 valves etc. not looking for an argument, just giving my opinion.

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I mean I hear you but... My yz is by far the most well setup bike I've had and it really doesn't compare to the other bikes I've had/ridden (in terms of my complaints).

I'm still happy with the bike for other reasons, I'm just being honest about my experiences with the al frames. I'm also fairly confident that many people have similar setup abilities as me. Also, I'm not trying to say that it can't be fixed, just don't expect it to have perfect front end feeling without some work.

Edited by EEE299

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I think Numroes sentiments are spot on.

My aluminum yz is awesome in the sand and Southwick MX style we do in New England but when it goes off road the steel would be where it's at. The aluminum is skittish.....but that's how you ride MX. For off road you want to be precise and you want the flex for the roots and rocks.

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