My 05 CRF 450 vs my 03 YZ 450

Ok Bro’s, I said I would give an honest opinion on the two machines, well here it is……….. And it’s a LONG read, final opinion is at the bottom,

If you’re a Red Rider and you don’t want to hear someone’s bitching about this bike then LEAVE KNOW!!!! Don’t read anything, go get your owner’s manual and read how to change your air filter……………

Know mind you, I have only 3 hours on the CRF, and have not raced it as of yet (tomorrow should be first race, I was supposed to race two weeks ago, but my MOM passed away). Today I prepped the bike for tomorrow’s race (oil change, air cleaning. I regreased the bike while new so I didn’t have to deal with the dirt factor).

During my breakin, It took me one hour to feel comfortable on the bike, and then I was able to dial in the sus & fork height.

Owners Manual, they barely show you how to wrench on the bike????? They do sell another manual , if you’ll need if you actually work on your bike…………YZ manual, tells you when you should scratch yourself as well as re-build the whole BIKE. Even thought you’ll probably never need it. Honda’s &%$#@!, YZ Major props

Change the air filter, &%$#@! was Honda thinking regarding their air filter. I rode & raced bikes for 30 years, this is the WORST air filter removal and re-installation that I’d ever run a crossed. (Past owner of 15 different bikes). You have to be a Rocket Scientist or David Copperfield to install this filter. Line up turn/twist 20 deg. &%$#@!!!!! My change out was ready to install, oiled, greased, inserted into basket, tried to install into air box, grease rubbed off, it felt like it was not line up properly, could not determine if it was lined up. So, I removed it again and played around with it for about ONE HOUR, so I KNOW that it will seat properly. I’ve read numerous reports from professional’s and they state, that this is one of the primary causes regarding CRF value issue. People don’t install the filters properly, which in turn allow dirt to enter into the motor. It is very easy to SCREW this up!!!!!!!! Give me my YZ any DAY!!!!!!

Oil Change, engine and tranny.

Three different size bolts???????? 8mm plastic engine protector, ok, 10mm engine drain bolt – ok, 12mm tranny drain bolt – &%$#@!, why not a 10mm????????? Drained the engine oil- ok, drained the tranny oil, and all over the frame it leaked, have plenty of rags with ya to clean up…..I changed the oil filter, took off, installed the new filter, (note, Yamaha has exterior oil line to check to see if system is working, no exterior line of the Honda, they mention’s don’t screw up or else……….. so I get ready to install, I check the cover, three oil holes, ok, so I look at the bike, fours oil holes………..ok, which one do I line up, I finally check the cover again, the cover bolt holes are offset 3mm, not enough to see by the naked eye, but enough so I don’t screw up…..ok I’ll give Honda that one, but it does not state in the Manual about that??? Fill the engine oil, ok…….try to fill the tranny oil……….&%$#@!. Should we change the name from CRF to &%$#@!??????? What was Honda thinking on this one?????? Maybe they are in partner with the BillyMan funnel company or what ever it’s called…………..

Finish, the CRF looks sweet, but than, ALL brand new bikes sitting in your garage give you that warm and cozy feeling…………..but, no more white creases on the fenders and graphics that bubble after they are applied.

Number plates, I installed my numbers & backgrounds from Decal works, they were easier to install than the YZ’s, still same theory tho, windex, warm them up, and use the heat gun or hair dryer…….

The plastic number plates are A LOT lighter, which did save them some weight in this category, I don’t know how much abuse they can take and I hope I don’t find out.

Rideablilty (I was going wait to post until after my first race. I’ll add a race report in the future)

It took a GOOD hour to get used to the feel……….then once it started to feel good, as I got up to speed, the bike felt like my 2002 250F in corners and in the air. This bike loves to jump and have been over jumping everything. I hit a 70’ uphill step up and over jumped it by 20’, flat landed and did not bottom out the susp. The susp is too soft for me (225#) but is still manageable, I’ll re-spring very SOON………

Power wise, it felt a tad under power, only, cause my YZ is geared TALL (15-47). That gearing calmed the YZ for me, but, also allows me to ride most tracks in 2nd & 3rd. On tight tracks I ride the YZ in 2nd……… The CRF had me riding it like a two smoke, I was constantly shifting between2nd-4th. I’m gonna re-gear the CRF, and play with it until I feel happy, but I (being an old 45 geezer) love the YZ’s 4 speed’s………to each his own…….. I love my YZ motor.

Suspension, the bike is set up for riders between 170/190, but like I mentioned, it is ride able bone stoke out of the crate.

Turn ability, like I said before, this bike feels like my 2002 250F, which means it KICKS AZZ on the track, it corners and jumps PERFECTLY……… CRF hands down Winner.


I’m comparing my 2003 YZ450 to my 05 CRF 450.

If I could put my YZ motor in the CRF frame, than I’d be in heaven with Mom & Dad. Since I can’t…………

Desert riding – YZ over the CRF

MX riding & Racing - CRF over the YZ

If the 06 YZ 450 comes equipped with the Alm frame, 5#’s lighter and lower center of gravity for better corning, IMO the 06 YZ will beat the 05 CRF 450.

If you want a CRF, you’d better prepare to be anal on your Maintenance, the CRF takes twice as long for bike prep than the YZ………… is it worth it, and I’ll tell you tomorrow.

excellent write up! :)

Sorry about your mom. Good read....looking forward to tomorrow. My newest addition to the stable, a 01' YZ426F is arriving then also via my Bro from Texas.

Ramarion my condolences for losing your mom. I appreciate your write up on the ugliness that most CRF riders won't share. I believe as you that a lot of engine issues in the CRF are due to that crazy airfilter - seems like honda could fix this once a for all pretty easy.

That Billy Manfunnel thing is the way to keep the tranny oil mess down -

Let us know how the handling and power compares after you race it - :)

I'm really sorry for your loss.

Thanks for the write up and the objectivity. I wish the magazines I take were that objective in there write ups. Your comments jive with several of my buddy's about the relative benefits of each. For the record, My bud sold his '02 or '03 (I forget)CRF450. He really didn't want me to buy it and was afraid of valve issues. Good friends are more valuable than good bikes.

I believe another Yamaha durability plus is that they hold so much more oil. I am happy with my rock solid '02 YZ426. I can get used to a slight top-heavy feeling before I give up piece of mind about durability. One mans opinion, both bikes are good.

about fillings the oil on both sides what i do is take a top like the ones they have on gear lube bottles and you can squirt it in there. no mess and cheaper than buying a funnel

Great review Ramarion. It seems to me the CRF is like a woman. She looks great and has all the right moves, but requires a lot of attention and money to keep her happy. :)

You pretty much touched on all the reasons why I ride blue. I don't race very often so reliability and ease/cost of maintenace and repair is a big issue for me. I'm sure you'll get the hang of all the CRF maintenance procedures. The first time is always the worst. Have fun with the new wheels.

Nice read, sorry about your mom.

I'll be looking for your ride report.

Interesting that you'd pick the YZ for off-road, I have an '03 CRF (looking to upgrade to an '05 or '06 soon), switched from Yamaha because the blue 450 is a four speed. That still ticks me off as I really like that "Yamaha handling" (but was not fond of the Yamaha gear breakage both my 426s sufferred, that's why they went to a 4 speed IMO). Maybe I'll buy a left-over '05 YZF and swap a 5 speed in it w/ the money I save...

...of course then I will miss that "Honda handling." But I won't miss that Honda valvetrain. The 06 has new valve seat material. I wonder why the change? :)

I also don't know why folks complain about the Honda air filter, I always think they are just parroting the mags. Thing only comes out one way, and that's the only way it will go back in, it has never been a hassle for me. If you keep the bike I predict this will cease to bother you.

Swapping jets, esp. the needle, is easier on the Honda. :)

I also don't know why folks complain about the Honda air filter, I always think they are just parroting the mags. Thing only comes out one way, and that's the only way it will go back in, it has never been a hassle for me. If you keep the bike I predict this will cease to bother you.

Hick, and everyone thanks for the kind words about Mom...... :)

re: the airfilter, you owned Blue.......... our YZ's were idiot proof, clean, grease and line up the nipple DONE, no worries, yes some grease spillage. The Honda is not as easy, I saw the manual, your right it only comes out one way, twist and remove. So when I was ready for re-install, I inserted and turned, I thought I would feel it seat........when I turned it, it felt the same at 10, 20, 30 and 40 degrees, it did not give me a comforable seat. So I removed it and checked just the basket, the basket seats properly within a 5mm clearance.....if this bike is someone first ride......IMO they will seat it improperly......... :)

I did race yesterday, I SUXED!!!!!!!!!!! just like they all say, 10% bike, 90% rider, I'm still playing with gearing to give me a more Thumperess feeling (less shifting) than the 2 stoke feeling ride. I'll give a ride report after a few more hours on her. Like I mentioned, she does feel like my 02 250F, which is a GOOD back to that air filter puzzle...............jk I've vented enough :D

I believe another Yamaha durability plus is that they hold so much more oil.


The Honda and YZ, 03 & newer hold about the same oil capacity. My 03 oil replacement was between 1.1 & 1.3 l depending if the oil filter was changed or replaced.

YZ 2002 and older do have larger Oil capacity, they are both trying to get the weight factor down........

Sorry about your mom.

I agree totally about the air filter maintenance. Every single time that I clean mine I end up wiping 1/2 the sealing grease off. Looks to me like a company this smart could figure out something better.

On my CRF, I have a glide plate in the way of changing the oils also. If you will just lean it over onto something then it will be easy. I now have a kickstand on mine and it is perfect.


My condolences on the loss of your mother. :D

When you get a chance, I'd appreciate any further comparison of the cornering habits of the two bikes.

I've got the '03 model of each of these and have been accused of a bias when I would remark that I wish the CRF cornered like the YZF. :)

I posted a long time ago that it felt like the CRF needed more weight on the front wheel, as if the engine was too far back in the frame.

Then I hear that Honda did just that for '05. :)

My YZF makes me feel like I can pick a line and hold it without worrying about it washing or pushing. The CRF likes to scare me on occasion by washing the front end enough to spook me.

Does the new frame make the CRF feel as secure as the YZF now?


My YZF makes me feel like I can pick a line and hold it without worrying about it washing or pushing. The CRF likes to scare me on occasion by washing the front end enough to spook me.


Thanks about Mom......

I want to give the CRF another complete race w/ more saddle time before I can compare, but what you stated is how it felt yesterday.... :)

The track was DRY and slick, and I thought it would turn tighter than it was....the front end was washing and I was thinking that I had too much air pressure or the stock front tire was inadaquate... :) On my YZ I could never take the inside line and stay inside, for me I had to either come in wide and exit inside or vice verus, but than that was me, also when I turned like that, I had to keep my speed up, it worked for me anyways.......but the front end on the YZ never slid out or felt sketchy...........

anyways, my next race is in two weeks, I want some more saddle time and heavier springs before I can give an honest comparison... :D

I really expected to just jump on the bike stock and smoke some guys............LOL, it didn't happen :D

Yep-Mines the '02 and I like more oil (1.7+) and the 5 speed. The '06 YZ is supposed to be wet sump with more capacity to eliminate that high oil tank. I am unaware of anyone else's oil capacity and I certainly don't disparage anybodies bike. Since I like to take care of a bike almost as much as ride, I predict I can make any modern motocrosser last awhile. IMO, were I a motorcycle engineer, the absolute last place I would go to save weight is oil capacity. I know modern oil is good, but larger capacity allows more to cool and combat heat breakdown. We're hard enough on these bikes. Change your oil often, more often if you have less, agree?

Another Yamaha durability edge is 3 lighter and smaller intake valves VS most others with 2 large intake valves. Lighter valves can be controlled with less spring and the harshness of the valve bounce is reduced, all other things being equal. Mines tough as a tank. Ok, I'm done braggin'. I love my bike, but if it were green, yellow, red or orange, I'd still find things to love. Safe riding.

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