my friend told me that yamaha...

First of all, don't e-start when cold. If the temps are up, you can get by with it. Your battery could be weak. Don't give the bike throttle when cranking. These are just some things that I saw were not mentioned. Did the bike crank well before you bought it?

Oh yeah, and from what I've read here properly tuned bikes will kick back if the throttle is twisted when kicking it. Or does twisting the throttle amount to poor maintenance now?


That proves you're just making this up. EVERYONE knows you DO NOT hold the throttle open on these bikes to start them. They have an AP squirt pump, which you could easily search out.

You bought a used bike. It's a pile of crap from what it sounds like, if any of this gibberish is true. Go bitch slap the jerk you bought your used bike from and quit whining about it.

PS, these bikes don't kick back. You should try getting some exercise to tune up your girlish leg muscles.

Are you talking about the internal part that gets mushed from too many kickbacks or letting the kicker slam up on it's own after starting?

I can't recall what that part is called but I never let my kicker slam back up after starting and always start it with a good boot on in case it kicks back (lazy kick will do it). Sounds like the previous owner let the kicker slam too many times.

I don't think there is any thing that could have been done about the gear issue.

I think the gear issue is from part of the kickstarter breaking off but I agree that letting the kickstarter slap back or the bike kicking back may have caused the issue.

At least I know about it now and will watch out for it, I consider it a weakness in the design but one I can work around. I'm sure there are people here that will say you should never let a kickstarter slap back on any bike but I'm of the opinion it's a well known technique for good starts that many riders who have to do a dead start will kick the bike and be on the gas and pulling hard before the kickstarter has even come all the way back up. It's even a technique specifically called out and highlighted (with a picture) in the Dirt-Rider riding tips book.

First of all, don't e-start when cold. If the temps are up, you can get by with it. Your battery could be weak. Don't give the bike throttle when cranking. These are just some things that I saw were not mentioned. Did the bike crank well before you bought it?

It cranks well after being on a battery tender but after a bit of riding it no longer does, like the charging system isn't keeping the battery charged. I have been riding it really easy trying to get used to it (and it's been really muddy around my area) so I may not be running it hard enough (high enough rev's consistently) to keep it charged.

I know not to give the bike throttle when cranking, so does my girlfriend but people make mistakes and accidentally giving a bike gas when trying to kick it shouldn't break a bike. I watched it happen and know exactly what the cause, (the kickback) my girlfriend was having trouble kicking the bike so she really jumped up and dropped down on it, and when she did her elbow dropped with the rest of the body giving it gas. A newb mistake. Hell yeah. Should it break the bike (if that's what caused it), hell no.

I hope I don't come across wrong sounding like I don't like the bike. I do, love it and wouldn't trade it for another. Just a little dissappointed in some of the little things that seem to cause breakages (like the woodruff key issue). Some of them have been fixed, others haven't but I'm not in love with the idea that every owner has to come to an internet site and read for three hours to find the undocumented (in the owners manual) weaknesses in their bikes.

But if that's what it I am, ready to learn. I'll try to stay out of flame wars, don't want to be that dick newbie here. I was just a bit shocked at first as other forums I've been to readily point out all of their machines flaws so people can work around them, I got the feeling here people make excuses for them or blame them on the owner not knowing the secret handshake.

I've overlooked this thread and I don't see where this is going. Never had trouble with my 01 426 and I still own it. Many friends have one and all my buddies (owners or not of the famous 426) agree that we've never seen a so wonderfull combination of reliability and power. The XR250 was very reliable but so what... it's quite slow compared to the CR250 of the same year. With the 426 you're on top of power with great reliability.

I don't get the back kick thing... Kick it the right way and you'll never have problems.

I don't get how you got to talk about the key and e-start thing, this thread is about 426s that don't have an e-start.

I see two reasons why 426 could be considered as non-reliable.

1) People don't now about this bike and asssume that, because of its performance level, it must be unreliable.. just like many comp bikes of the past. WRONG :lol:

2) People owned them and did not give the bike proper maintenance and/or treatement. Example: If you start that bike and twist the throttle to the rev limiter within a second to warm it up (how many times do we see that at the track? :lol::banghead::banghead: ) don't come to me whining the bike is not reliable :busted: . If you do it, you must be someone that plans a head rebuilt at least every year. Many practices/patterns can be very armful on these high performance bikes. You just need to be more brillant than a cocomber and you should be alright to maintain and treat your bike properly. Hek! Even a newbie like me can do it :lol:

It is very difficult to buy those bike used. If you buy a used two stroke and you get screwed, you can rebuild it for very few $. Not the case with the 426s. I bought mine used but it had less than 20 hours of use on it...

Your posts don't make sense, first you say that the problems are related to the bike not being serviced properly, then you say the problems are well documented on the board. Which is it?

You misunderstood. There were problems of design related to the starter and woodruff key. They are well documented. There are also problems related to poor maintenance. You can find threads on TT about them, as well.

As for service, I have a very good idea of how the bike has been serviced, the previous owner bought the gold plan service contract with the bike which included unlimited oil changes, and two valve adjustments a year, which it's had. Besides a few oil changes done himself when he didn't feel like taking it to the dealer I have documentation for everything. He even saved receipts for oil so I know when the oil was changed by him, meticulous documentation.

This is only one aspect of evaluating a used bike. It doesn't tell you if the bike was ridden hard, abused while being ridden, or improperly operated. While most abuse can be detected by looking for obvious damage, abuse from improper starting procedures, improper shifting, and frequent impacts may not leave externally visible clues.

Of course, giving you the benefit of the doubt, what kind of service would prevent part of the kickstarter breaking when the bike kicked back (my girlfriend didn't kick through hard enough, she's little, it happens) and what sort of maintenance would prevent the bike from getting stuck in a gear?
Kicking back on a 4-stroke is a sign of an abnormal problem. You seem to think it is not. Ignoring it leads to the result, not the cause. Most gear problems are the result of poor riding habits, not inherent weaknesses in design.
Let me guess, lots of oil changes right? Bet that cures all of those third, fourth, and fifth gear losses I've read about here too?

Again, gear problems can usually be traced to rider habits. Improper loading and unloading of the gears while riding, short-shifting, improper downshifting, poor clutch adjustment, etc. Modern off-road trannys are pretty tough, but any mechanical device can be damaged when used improperly.

Truth is, it's hard to get an honest assessment of their real reliability issues as when people report problems rather than catalogue them some owners have such misplaced pride they seem to feel like letting others know of a problem is a personal attack, as if they purchased the wrong bike so they immediately start attacking the owner instead of placing the blame where it belongs on Yamaha.

Not that I've seen anything resembling that lately...

Completely untrue. While there may be some reluctance of owners to debase their purchasing decisions publicly, most riders won't stick with a machine they feel is inferior just because of some misplaced sense of brand loyalty. And they certainly won't do so if that machine is a money pit. In the case of the Yamaha 4-strokes, aside from some minor problems like the woodruff key and starter issues, the bikes have proven themselves to be very reliable. Anecdotal evidence notwithstanding, this appears to be borne out by their popularity, high resale value, and relatively small numbers of complaints by owners. A commonality that exists between all brands and owner dissatisfaction is often in relation to bikes that were purchased used. This owes more to the fact that no two riders treat a bike the same than from any inherent deficiency of the bike's design. If design is a valid issue, then most, if not all, owners of an affected model would have the same problems. Even some owners of the '03 models that were determined to have a poorly-designed woodruff key and starter clutch have reported having no issues with their bikes. Often these design defects don't show up until a new rider with a differing riding style purchases the bike from the original owner. So, even a bike with an admitted design flaw could be considered reliable by its owner.

All good points. I did think kicking back was a normal thing on a four stroke, I've heard stories from friends going back twenty years of a back kick and how bad it hurt their foot. I thought the whole reason the woodruff keys failed on stock bikes was a kick back, and stock bikes wouldn't be in a bad state of tune would they?

I've never had a bike kick back on me but I'm 230lbs and have a much stronger kick with a lot more weight behind it compared to my girlfriend so while I would be surprised if the bike kicked back on me I wasn't shocked when it kicked back on her.

I really don't think the bike has been poorly maintained. I had the dealer check it out and they said it's in great shape and I talked to the dealer who maintained it and they said the bike has always been well taken care of and shown no signs of abuse when they worked on it for it's twice a year tune ups.

I had also read somewhere ( maybe?) that Yamaha had changed the starting procedure to require (or allow) a small about of throttle on startup as they found that was what new users did naturally. Am I mistaken on that?

As for the problems, I agree nobody would keep a bike they feel is inferior. I don't in any way think the WR's are inferior, however I do disagree in that I don't think that the best bike is the same as a perfect bike. I think they could have a long list of quirks or potential problem areas and still be the most reliable bike out there if the list of Honda and KTM problems is longer.

Sorry for getting this thread so far off track, but inquiring minds want to know.

Oh yeah, and from what I've read here properly tuned bikes will kick back if the throttle is twisted when kicking it. Or does twisting the throttle amount to poor maintenance now?

I would argue that it amounts to improper operation. If an oven burns your food because you set the thermostat too high or left the food in too long, do you blame the manufacturer of the oven?

As for searching and missing threads. Whenever I searched for reliability instead of seeing problems mentioned I either saw everyone say how great they were, or the threads where I saw someone mention a problem I saw everyone jump all over them and say that it was actually due to abuse or lack of maintenance. Believing that to be true I carefully searched for a well maintained bike and thought I'd have no problems.

Sounds to me like your expectations have no basis in reality. We're talking about vehicles designed to go off-road, often being abused in the process. Assuming a premise that there is any such vehicle that could be bought new without some level of risk is just unrealistic. Throw in the fact that you were looking to buy used and the prospects of fulfilling your assumptions is pure fantasy. As I said in another post, abuse or improper treatment often has little to do with maintenance and often leaves no outward appearance. This is especially true of transmission problems that are related to improper operation.

I'm now coming on here to say that's just not true, this is simply not a problem I'm having due to abuse or neglect and of course right on cue here comes someone who's never seen my bike, or it's maintenance records doing an internet diagnosis of stupid owner who can't maintain his bike.


I never called you stupid, but it's obvious that you think that service records and outward appearance tell all there is to know about a used vehicle and concluding that your problems must be related to poor design. The many satisfied owners of these bikes says differently, and has much more weight than your singular bad experience. Every manufacturer produces a lemon now and then, but the market and time determines whether it is a design problem, a quality control problem, or user abuse. In the case of Yamaha 4-strokes, they have proven themselves to be very reliable, especially in comparison to their competition. I'm sorry you had a problem with yours, but so long as you deceive yourself into thinking it is strictly a design problem, you will never be happy with the bike. I might add that if you were so concerned with reliability you should have bought new. Each model year brings improvements, not just in design, but in determined shortcomings found by owners of previous models. If there is an inherent design flaw in a product line, it will likely have been addressed in the newer model. In the case of the Yamaha and its woodruff key and starter clutch, the problems were eliminated in the '04 and up models. Of course, you take a chance that a new design may have problems of its own, but that's a risk we all take when buying new. When buying used you also risk that there may be invisible damage, present or impending, caused by the previous owner's riding style.
All good points. I did think kicking back was a normal thing on a four stroke, I've heard stories from friends going back twenty years of a back kick and how bad it hurt their foot. I thought the whole reason the woodruff keys failed on stock bikes was a kick back, and stock bikes wouldn't be in a bad state of tune would they?

Kickback is normal on a 2-stroke because the cylinder is always on a power stroke and fuel mixture is present in the cylinder with every revolution. This isn't the case on a 4-stroke. 20 years ago 4-stroke dirt bikes were rare and so much of our understanding relates to the 2-stroke.

As for the woodruff key failures, most were related to a production problem that caused poor engagement of the conical mating surfaces. Under normal conditions this problem alone didn't usually cause failure, but when the stress of a kickback was induced, the key would sheer off. Since bikes are shipped with standard carb settings regardless of their destination, it's unlikely that factory tuning could be considered ideal for any situation. In fact, as most of us find out, the factory state of tune is rarely ideal and can be improved upon. This is especially true on models that must meet EPA and/or CARB testing for certification.

Wow! Deep or what!

Now where were we again?

What's that old saying? "The proof of the pudding is in the eating"... in other words, go get your problems fixed, then if you still feel insecure as to the reliability of these bikes? sell it and buy a brand new one! then you will know that with proper TLC and starting/riding/maintenace procedures, you will have a very reliable piece of machinery that'll give you endless amounts of fun for many years to come.... :lol: (have you ever bought a used car and wondered why after 3 months the clutch has gone? maybe it was summit to do with the elephant that previously drove it? it don't mean there's a manufacturing fault with the clutch or if the gearbox is crapped out? again, larry the elephant has a lot to answer for for trying to slam it in reverse when wearing boxing gloves!) it is a very big gamble when buying a used bike, it's in the wording, "used" and used it is! but how it was used is another question?

i felt the same way when i bought my used 02 WR426? it looks good? but how well has it been looked after? after all, a frequent oil change and a wash here n there don't mean jack-diddly-squat for the correct operational history of said bikes.....

I hope you get it solved either way as you will have your faith well and truly restored in Yamaha once your riding again. :banghead:

just my 2 cents worth :banghead:

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now