Monkey On A Rocket

I am 5'8" and 145lbs soaking wet.I have been on a bike since I was 3 years old. I currently ride a 2003 YZ450 with suspension work, DR.D Pipe, one step up from stock sprocket, and some other small mods insignificant to this thread. I love my bike (especially in Glamis) but recently I have been told by several people at the track I ride it well but could be much faster on a 250 (thumper obviously) based on my size. I am very physically fit and do not have troubles with strength or stamina. The bike is a handfull at times especially in the corners. What do you think? Is it worth the change? What suggestions might anyone have for future changes to my current bike if I were to keep it.Thanks to all in advance.

keep your bike man, if your comfortable on it thats the best thing you could probaly ask for, well not the best buts it sure does help to be comf. on a bike. besides sounds like that is a great bike, why get rid of it for a smaller stock one ?

That is a good point the expense of aquiring a new bike is not something I am excited about. On that note any sugestions to make the bike handle better? Thanks for the advice.

That is a good point the expense of aquiring a new bike is not something I am excited about. On that note any sugestions to make the bike handle better? Thanks for the advice.

Are these "friends" faster than you, or are you spanking them regularly, and they're looking for a way to slow you down? :naughty:

What do you mean by "handle better"? What aspect of the handling do you want to change? Check out the YZ forum for the best mods for your bike -- probably some suspension mods would give you the best bang for your buck. And don't worry about being on a 450. Sounds like you're about the same size as RC, and he has no problems with the 450s outdoors... :naughty:

As for the last of the conversations with the "friends", yes, I was faster than they were. As for the handling of the bike I know that Yamaha has made various changes to the 04' and 05" (aside from de-tuning the engine) to help its cornering abilities. The benefits that I would be interested in taking advantage of with the smaller bike are the weight savings from the top of the bike. This would help a little fella like me to manuver the bike with a little less effort around the track. As for the RC comment,yes he and I are almost identical is size he is just a hell of alot faster than my wettest dreams. Thanks.

Maybe try softer springs front and rear, that should help the bike settle a little lower in the corners, in effect help your cornering.

Remember though, when you make changes in one area, it generally will have an effect on something else.. Happy mediums are key.

Ask the blokes whoreckon youd be quicker for a go on there 250 and time it.

" I currently ride a 2003 YZ450 with suspension work, DR.D Pipe, one step up from stock sprocket, and some other small mods insignificant to this thread."

I have already had my springs lightened up and shocks re-valved I apologize for not clarifying that in my first statement. Shmidt Performance set it up for my weight and height. I am very happy with the work they have done.

Now that I think about it I may need to look at a new set of tires the front is beginning to wear as well a the back. I am running the stocker (what an idiot) and a Metzler in the rear. This may increase some confidence in the bike.

This post is traveling the way of a different forum I think. My have needed to start it up in the YZ450F tech section.

I'd certainly try a 250F before you make any decisions. You may find that you really like the smaller bike, or that you hate it. You certainly won't get the answer on a thread. Find out for yourself as it's all about personal preference.

The fact is, from the standpoint of steering geometry changes, there haven't really been any. The suspension units, mostly the forks, were improved in '04, and again in a big way in '05, but other than that, nothing. The main issue people have with the big YZF is a top heavy feel, and a general reluctance to turn. On the other hand, they are very stable, track well, stick in a corner better than most, and steer in a corner with great precision.

You could work on lowering the bike (It has 12" of travel, and 13" of ground clearance), but be careful to drop both ends, as lowering only the rear will make the forks shallower, and make it resist turning even more. Lowering only the front will help it turn in a little quicker by making the fork steeper, but at some expense to the bike's good tracking characteristics. Talk with your suspension guy.

As far as going to a smaller bike, I agree that what matters most is what you feel the best on. Being a master of the Big Blue Bike at your size makes you a pretty fair rider. You might be faster on any number of other bikes, but sometimes there is just a bike and rider that simply match up well. And that's hard to beat.

if you are fast on the bike and are comfortable then dont get rid of it. and if you like it in glamis then definately dont step down to a 250f. my '00 426 walks all over my buddy's '01 250f everywhere. he might get me a little on the start but im geared way higher than he is and he can never keep up. just work on making it faster for YOU.

I’m about an inch shorter than you and about 5lbs lighter. I’m also 43 years old. I ride a YZ450 and for the riding I do it’s the perfect bike for me.

That said if I were to start racing, seriously, for results more than just for fun, I’m not sure I’d be on a 450. If I was racing harescrambles, where you have to do dead engine starts, I think I’d lean towards a 250 2 stroke. If I was racing MX, I’d probably be on a 250 4 stroke. The biggest reason fast guys go back to smaller bikes or 2 strokes is fatigue. The big 4 strokes wear you out faster than anything else, that’s a given. For me there was even a big difference in endurance between the YZ426 and the YZ450. The 450 chassis just reacts so much faster and the added power (’00 426 to ’03 450) takes a lot more muscle to hold onto. If there’s one thing that I’ve always thought was the biggest factor for me going faster, for longer, it’s strength. On the 450 it seems like I never have enough strength and endurance to ride at 100% for long periods of time. I know I was younger then, but strength wasn’t that big a factor when I was riding 2 stroke 250’s. To put what I just said in perspective, I’m in pretty good shape for 43, and endurance wise I can ride my bicycle 100 miles without any trouble. I have more endurance than most people I know (except for my friend Bill, he's in crazy good shape and older than me). And I’m not talking about getting tired out trail riding, I’m talking about being able to ride at Intermediate or Expert speed for 20 minutes on an MX track. The last time I went to the track I did over 50 miles. When you’re talking about riding hard and fast for that long, there’s a big difference between doing it on a big 450 or a 250 2 stroke.

If my goal was to gather up a bunch of plastic trophies, I’d probably be faster on a smaller, lighter bike. But the reason I ride a 450 because IT’S FUN! One of the biggest thrills that’s kept me riding dirtbikes for over 30 years is horsepower. There’s nothing better than a new 756 on back, nice sticky soil and a big huge hill climb! Or coming out of a turn hard on the throttle and feeling like the bike just wants to rip your arms off. The other big thing for me is having a motor that responds instantly whatever rpm you’re at. I can crack the throttle on the 450 at pretty much any rpm and it jumps into the power and starts hauling. 250 2 strokes or 4 strokes won’t do that, at least not without a little clutch work. For me that means they work better for racing, but not as good for all different kinds of riding.

It just depends on why you ride. Do you ride for the pure fun of it? Or do you want better results when you race? I’m one of those guys that goes to the track just for the jumps. I could care less what my lap times are, I’m there to have fun. The guys that are worrying about their lap times are practicing jumping as low as possible, I’m the one out there trying to get as much air as I can!


I've got an '02 YZ426. I think if you got wider handlebars and maybe slide the forks up a little on the clamps it would help your cornering a bit.

But the reason I ride a 450 because IT’S FUN! One of the biggest thrills that’s kept me riding dirtbikes for over 30 years is horsepower.
:naughty: Amen to That! :naughty:

Thanks to all of you for the advice. It is greatly appriciated. I have been out of town and just got the opportunity to read the replies. Motobark thank you for reminding me why I head to the track most weekends for the fun and of course the jumps. Maybe I will catch you out there at some point.

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