I'm currently shopping for a bike. I'm looking at a difference of about $1k from an 01/02 426 to an 03/04 450. I'm wondering what the difference is between the 2 ( other then the engine size). If I go with a 426 and spend $1k less will I later be wishing I had spent more and picked up a 450? Or is there really not much of a difference?

I'm just getting back into the sport. I've been off riding street track for a while. Going to be mostly trail/desert riding here in Nevada.

The major difference is the electric start. 03/04 have electric start. It is also rumored that the 02 wr426 is very close to the same weight as the elec. start 450. I have the 426 and love it. I find it very easy to kick start.

I've owned all three generations of 4xx's and each one (400>426>450) has been a significant improvement over it's predecessor. While the 450 is about the same weignt as the 426 it feels much lighter. It also has a little better suspension and IMO much more comfortable ergonomics particularly the seat/tank transition. It's not any one huge difference but just a bunch of little things that add up to make the 450 worth the extra $'s. Plus the estart :thumbsup:

If im way off on this one, somebody correct me. But the 426 doesnt have auto decompression does it? Ive done some riding on an '01 YZ 426 that had the manual decompression that was just a pain in the ars, making it much more tedious to start. either way, i doubt you'll be disappointed. but if i were you and had the means, id go for the 450

I agree with PD, you should get the newest one you can afford, take advantage of all the year to year improvements, go with the 04 if possible. The 03 is very similar but I did do the 04 starter upgrade on mine which was easy but about $225, otherwise my 03 has been great. Good luck.

Here are my input on your question. First, a little back ground, I have owned a 2001 WR426 for the last couple of years. Secondly, I am in CA and you are in Nevada. I only say this because in CA the 2001 is green stickered and until the 2005 WR450 it was not green stickered in CA (anyone correct me if I am wrong). So, until 2005 in CA the positive of the E-button was offset by the lack of green sticker. So, back to your question; over time I altered my 2001 WR426 with the 2003 450 YZ cam which eliminated the need for the de-comp lever, allowed "bump-start" starting and basically made the kick-starting ritual easier overall. It, along with other "free-mods"mproved it's performance. This modification (with my labor) cost something under $150 when you include the cam, valve shims, oil change etc. Next I changed to an IMS 3.4 gallon "narrow/ deep tank" and to a YZ seat to "skinny up" the front end area and let me sit more forward on the bike. This was a big improvement and made the rider and the bike more "as one". This cost me about $225 for the tank and about $100 for the seat. So let's say including the cam I spent a little under $500 to get my 2001 WR426 to be "the best that it could be". Basically, along with other reasons, these mods were done because I have a short inseam of 30". I am not that short overall (5'11") but short legs. They all made a big positive difference. But you still don't just push the magic button to start her up. From second hand knowledge I believe the suspension on the 2001 is better than the following couple of years and then eventually improved over the 2001. So, what is the bottom line? If I had it all to do over again and the E-button had come out earlier on a green sticker CA bike I would have bought a "new" one. Now that I have made all of the improvements ( I did not list the Scott's stabilizer, hand guards, after-market (?brand?) kick-starter, J-D jetting kit, Dr. D hot start lever, !/2 of Uni-guard radiator guards (yes, 1/2- if you put an after market tank on, alot of the rad. guards won't totally fit), I don't know what I will do. Crashing, trying to hot-start, stalled going up hill and being tired makes me want to kill for a E-button; but 90% of the time the WR426 is still my main love. Last comment, 426 VS. 450 (449) means nothing- you will never realize it's full potential. Sorry for the long post. Good luck on your decision.

call me lazy...but the e-start alone is worth the extra $1K

Stick with the 426 and save the extra $ to put towards the Aluminum framed WR450 that may oneday appear, hopefully 07. Who knows, we may have EFI by then too? But maybe first they should change their bolts supplier, hopefully they wont use butter metal? lol

All I know is I love my 426 Ridden alot of bikes but I love the 426.It is a little top heavy but diifferent bikes for different occasions for what kind of riding I do it is great Trailriding and cross country racing. Once in a great while I have a hard time getting it started usually after a crash.I know everyone I have ridden with on a 450 my 426 stays right with it never had one pull me at all.

Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like I may just save the $1k for now and go with a 426 (unless I find a hell of a deal on a 450). I'm thinking like Stranglersfan said. Once I get back into it and ride an 01/02 for a year or two I'll probably be ready for a new bike. Then I can jump from the 426 to the latest and greatest. I've just seen some bikes that have a huge difference between them in a couple years. Sounds like the biggest change here is the e-start. Maybe after a couple years of kicking I'll be more then happy to move to a brand new bike.

You won't be disappointed, the 426 is a great bike. As for stalling on hills you can add a Rekluse but then there goes 1/2 of your savings :thumbsup:

I dont mind starting my 426 at all. Just make sure you know the starting procedure. :thumbsup:

The 426 is an awsome bike, but the 450 has many improvements that make it work the difference in price. my 04' is a pain to start at the beginning of each ride, but after that the e-start is great to have. Try starting a stalled 426 on a steep rocky hill and you'll wish that little start button was at your right hand.

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