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I hate it when people make a post like this, but I'm looking for some BIASED opinions.

I will be getting a new bike for next season. I was looking at the CRF450 but then thought the YZ450F would be better. Now I'm thinking about the CRF again.

I'm a novice racer. I've read the 4-speed on the YZF is a little less forgiving for a rider of my skill, but I heard the Honda is more prone to valve failure.

I'm not brand loyal, but I have never had trouble with Yamaha in the past.

Please give me some opinions.

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I have owned both brands... Yamahas and Hondas... This has included a 2001 YZ250F, and an '02, '03, '04, and '05 CRF450. I have also swapped rides with KTM, YZ426F and YZ450F owners, and a host of Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki 2-strokes.

I have never had any mechanical problems with my Yamaha or Honda rides. Both brands produce motocycles that are extremely well built, can be raced MX, Enduro, Cross Country, or equipped for other types of off-road riding.

Over time, the manufacturers will move toward a consensus on what the buying public likes for modern 4-strokes. Hondas didn't make the big hit power of the Yamaha, so Honda but in a bit more hit this year, and Yamaha moved toward more controllable power. Yamaha will likely put the aluminum frame on their '06 4-strokes to lighten up a bit and take on the handling character of Hondas... just as Honda thinned down their 5th generation frame to make it flex more like a steel frame.

Take as an example the similarities in recent 250 2-strokes. All brands make nearly the same power, and only have subtle differences in ergonomics, frame, suspensions, and fit and finish. Choose which color you like best and go for it. The rider still makes the biggest difference in competition.

I personally like Hondas a bit better. I like the stiffness and control of the aluminum frame, the ergonomics are perfect for me (5' 11" and 175lbs) the resale value has been very good, and I have yet to have the any valve train issues. I am, however, aware that others have had problems, so I do check clearances every 10-12 hours to keep on top of things - Once you get the proceedure down, it doesn't take too much time, and prevention is still cheaper than curing a problem overlooked.

After all is said and debated, these rides are intended for RACING. Racing usually requires reliability trade-offs to produce extra horsepower and reduce weight. My 1979 twin shock XR250 lasted 19 years without ever opening up the engine, but made a lousy competition machine except in tight Indiana woods racing or timed enduros, but in flat out competition MX, it couldn't come close to a 1980's or 1990's era 2-stroke.

I have ridden mostly 4 strokes for the past 20+ years, so I don't ride my current bikes like I used to ride my 2000 2-stroke 125 CR. First of all, you don't have to ride modern 4-strokes that way to go fast, and second, riding that way will place a lot of stress on the valve train components, and third, you will consume significantly more energy - regardless of whether you are riding blue, red, yellow, or orange.

You mentioned you are a novice racer. There is a reason most novices start out with 125/250 class rides. These rides are lighter, handle and turn noticeably better and make enough power to be a blast to ride, and I think make a better learning platform. 250/450 class rides are more of a handfull and must be ridden with a great deal more throttle control to stay out of trouble, but for heavier riders may be a better choice.

So, to wrap it all up, buy your favorite color, ride it respectfully, and maintain it as a prized $6K investment, and you will more than likely have an enjoyable experience.

Cheers,

😢

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I'm on my second CRF 450 my 02 at 200 hours replaced the piston with the 04 piston,replaced the intake valves with the same oem valves also replaced all valve springs and guide seals,I did it while I had it apart,I haven't experianced the valve troubles some have had,I now own a shiney new 05 CRF 450,I have rode honda's since 93 when my yamaha deal dried up,I have been a yamaha mechanic at the shop level and been to numerious schools,yamaha builds a good product,I base my purchase on the dealer support and the deal he cuts me.by the way I support you and all your comrades in arms you guy's and gals are doing a terrific job,remember long distance is the next thing to being there,shoot straight and I hope a bunch of them get to meet Allah!

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Thanks for your replys guys, it's way more than I expected.

I'm still curious about the 4 vs 5 speed. With my 250F I stayed mostly in 2nd and 3rd gear. I know the best way to decide is to ride them both and I will do that when I get home but for now all I can do is try and gain as much knowledge as possible.

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I think that 4 speed could be sweet, if you really want a 4 speed on the honda just put on a smaller rear sprocket and use first more often. Me i put on a bigger one and never use 1st. I just 2-5th and 3rd gear starts on concrete. THe honda is bad ass though

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