Thinking about a new '04 YZ450F- advice?

My dealer has 2 left-over '04 YZ450F on the floor, brand-new. One has an FMF "silencer", Tag bars, Tag upper clamp. The other is stock. Price is excellent. I currently have a KX125, KTM200sx, and KDX200, all of which are for sale and if they sell, I'm tempted on the YZ450F. I need your advice, though...


44, 170 lbs, 30 yrs experience, don't race (maybe once a year in a 2 hr MX-oriented hare scramble), mostly play-race at the local track, also ride "off-road" in everything from desert to woods. The KTM covers all this ground really well, as did the combination of KDX/KX. The KTM is fairly new to me, though, and I'm not confident of its reliability- right now it has the well-known crankcase crack (from the previous owner's too-tight chain), the fork seals leak, and the front brake gets mushy mid-week. Other than that, this bike is just about perfect for me. I ride 2-3x a week and reliability is extremely high on my list. I don't mind doing pre-maintenance, but I hate having a bike break down. A brand-new Yamaha is appealing and I was looking square at a pre-mix YZ250 until I saw the nearly $1000 cheaper price on the 450F.

I'm wondering:

1) the real-life reliability of the YZ450F. Seems good/excellent from what I've read here and elsewhere.

2) will the 450F be too much bike? I've ridden a YZ426 and an RMZ450. The YZ was poorly maintained and I wasn't comfortable with the bent bars and extremely stiff clutch. I was instantly comfortable on the RMZ and it didn't feel like "too much power" at all to me. In fact, I had to look back a couple of times to make sure I was even roosting, it was so smooth. Also ridden a YZ250F and it seemed like the perfect XR to me (I've ridden XR200 and 250's for years)- no scary at all.

3) maintenance costs of the YZ450F. The great thing about the KDX200 and KX125 are that they're relatively easy on the chain/sprocket, tires, and clutch. The YZ450F has got to be harder on these items. Correct?

This is a fairly big decision for me. I'm not rich by any means, have 3 kids to support, and am self-employed (meaning: I get hurt, I don't have income). I would expect to run a new bike, whether 250 or 450F, for 4-5 years.

What do you think- would a new '04 YZ450F be a good move or should I stick with the KTM200sx? Appreciate any thoughts, comments, warnings, admonishments, rebukes, or pats on the back for those of you who've been there/done that.

1) The YZ450, any year, is as close to being a brick as you can expect to get in machinery. My '03 has still not needed its first valve adjustment. Regular maintenance includes oil changes each 2-3 rides, with a clean filter every time, and a clean air filter every 1-3 rides, depending on conditions.

2) The '04 will feel lighter and snappier than the 426, with a power delivery that can be difficult to manage. Add a Dr.D 8 oz flywheel, or a GYT-R "off-road" flywheel to civilize it some. It will not feel as light or nimble as the RMZ450, and even though they aren't that far apart in power, the '04 will feel like it has considerably more.

3)A YZ250F will need a valve job about every 2 years, give or take, depending entirely on how much and how hard you ride. It happens more often with the smaller bike because they rev so much higher; there are just more openings and closings of each valve. As far as the chain, I,ve been running the same rear chain on my '03 for over two years. It's a Regina ORN6. Frankly not that expensive, and in any kind of long term view, an excellent value. Tires are another matter, of course, and the bike is quite capable of blowing away a rear tire in three ride days if you use the wrong one, and/or ride the crap out of it.

You can now get a new left-over '06 for about $5700 OTD in many places. If it were me, I would try to do that. The '04 is a great motorcycle and it will serve you well, but it is not, IMO, worth $4700 sitting next to an '06 for $1000 more than that, unless you simply can't afford the difference. Still, it is brand new. Tough decision, I suppose.

Thanks- advice taken and considered.

3) My mistake (corrected), I meant 450F not 250F as I mistakenly typed. Since you're claiming 2 yrs for the 250F, I assume the 450F goes longer.

My dealer suggested the flywheel, too. I ride with him pretty much every weekend and he's pretty familar with my riding.

$1000 more would be a bit of a stretch.

Since you're claiming 2 yrs for the 250F, I assume the 450F goes longer.
My '03 already has, and I don't know how long it's going to go yet. I've heard from some guys here who have broken them, or just worn them to the point of needing work, and from otheres with 2001 YZ426's that still haven't been gone through.

Well, I'm delivering the KTM200 on Saturday morning and meeting with a guy who sounds very interested in either the KX125 or KDX200 later that day. If either of the Kawis sells, I'll have enough $$$ for the YZ450F. I've been reading posts about YZ450F, YZ250's, and YZ250Fs until I'm blue in the face :mad: and I think the 450F can work for me . I'm going to ride the track owner's personal 450F and 250F and see what I think before I sign the ink.

We'll see what happens!

If its the 1000 a month difference for a 2006 and you're financing it, thats not even 20 bucks difference in your payment...for a bike that is FAR better than an 04 in pretty much every way.

If its the 1000 a month difference for a 2006 and you're financing it, thats not even 20 bucks difference in your payment...for a bike that is FAR better than an 04 in pretty much every way.

Not financing it, writing a check. As a self-employed debt-free guy I won't do a loan for something as non-essential as a dirt bike. By the time we get done with all the perks the difference is going to be closer to $1500. Plus it'll help my small-town dealer out a bunch if I buy a leftover '04. I haven't bought a new dirtbike since 1998 (and that was a left-over '96 XR250!) so I'm sure I'll be perfectly happy with a new '04 given my modest play-racing riding.

But, there's still a few things that have to happen before it becomes reality so I'm not holding my breath just quite yet.

What, specifically, would be the advantages of an '06 or better? I know about the improved feel but, honestly, I don't know if I'm that sensitive to those things and I'm coming off a KX125, a KDX200, and a KTM200sx all of which I owned and rode at the same time. So, you know...I tend to adapt to whatever I'm riding.

What, specifically, would be the advantages of an '06 or better? I know about the improved feel but, honestly, I don't know if I'm that sensitive to those things
You would need to either have no experience whatsoever, or be dead to not notice the fact that it feels 30 pounds lighter (even though it weighs the same), it turns when you want to turn, instead of you having to convince it to, and it almost always does exactly what you expect it to. It's almost like it has an enthusiastic will to do what you want it to.

If you don't plan to buy one, look at the new 450's and tell yourself there's not that much difference, but don't ride one. The '06 has yanked a surprising number of loyal owners of every kind of 450 off their favorite brands and sold itself to them with as little as one ride. It's really that good. You will enjoy the '04, and it will be a lot different than your 200's. Just stay off the new ones. :mad:

LOL....this is getting awfully complicated! Maybe I'll just sell the kid my KDX and ride the KX125 for another year or so! Or vice versa. Or sell 'em all and take up fireside book reading....:mad:

I really want to buy from THIS dealer (small town, he's put a lot of money into getting a track built-before that, we had nothing, etc.). He doesn't have an '06 on the floor, but he does have an '06 YZ250 2S. Would you rather have a new '04 YZ450F for $4800 or a new '06 YZ250 for $5500? I'm really torn between the 4S and 2S, myself. My past 4 bikes (YZ250wr, KDX200, KX125, KTM200sx) have all been 2S and I'm sure I'd be really comfortable with the 250 whereas the 450F would be an adventure (and that's what it's all about, right?). Remember- my priorities are 1) Fun, 2) Exercise, 3) Fun. "Racing" is not even on my radar.

Thanks again for the help so far- it really HAS been helpful.

If you're comfortable on a 2 stroke, then I would say get the 06 YZ250 - that thing is KILLER and will feel about 50bs lighter than a 04 YZ450F! I really wish i could get comfortable on a 2t, but i just can't ... or havent been forced to? I really loved the way my friend's 06 YZ250 handles and feels, but the power for me.

I have an 04' and I love it. What grayracer recommended is true..i.e. that the pre-06 models do tend to be top heavy, compared to the 06-07 models. I ride both track and trail, and these bikes are extremely reliable...just change the oil and filter, and clean the air filter religiously, and you generally will not have a problem.

I have about 110 hours on my bike (bought it used with 50 hours on it), and the only thing bad that happened, in a year and a half has been one blown Fork seal.

Things I recommend if you get an 04':

1) Replace the stock chain: it will stretch, stretch, stretch, no matter how meticulously you clean/lubricate it. Change it before you ruin your sprockets.

2) Get rid of the stock front tire (Dunlop 739 ag), unless you ride nothing but hardpack. If you keep it on, and ride softer stuff, I can almost guarantee the bike will dump you on a flat corner. (I did it a few times) The back is probably o.k. to keep. I use a Dunlop 756 on the front and a Maxxis IT on the rear.

3) Install a STORMLINK new linkage to replace the stock one. It will definately make the bike turn easier, and feel less top-heavy. I got mine used for about $ 75, I think new they run about $ 139 ??

4) The 4 speed is nice on the track, but it's not optimum for trail riding. You basically have a first gear that is geared too high for tight, twisty trails, and if you change the sprocket(s) to gear it lower, you will find that when you hit the really long wide open areas (like fire trails), that you are now running a little too high of an RPM for long open runs. A 5 speed is nicer since you can have first gear be lower, and still have the top gear for the open stuff. I ride trails with it stock and have no problems, but again it's not optimum for a really wide range of riding.

5) A lot of people recommend a heavier flywheel if you're going to ride often in tight twisty stuff. It will keep you from stalling out as often. I'm simply too cheap to fork out the money for a new flywheel, and I've learned to slightly increase the idle speed, and have gotten so used to the bike that stalling is very rare.

Bottom line is that these bikes are very powerful, durable, and will suit you well.

Good stuff, thanks for the reply.

1) heard that about the chain. Will replace it immediately.

2) we ride pretty much hardpack here in New Mexico and it's one reason I'm leaning toward the 450F instead of the more pipey 250. But, I'll get that tire off there ASAP anyway.

3) one of the '04's is setup with a Tag upper clamp already. It shouldn't need BOTH the Tag and a Stormlink, no?

4) I'd say "trail" riding is a 1-2x a year thing for me. And even then, I'm looking at 2-track jeep trails and such. I don't need to be going any faster on them than I could go on an MX track. No tight and twisty stuff at all. I really don't like riding single track or tight stuff- I like more open woods. And plus, I may still have my KDX200 for all that stuff. Also, when I do go to the woods I'm nearly always with at least 1, if not 2 or 3, youngsters on TTR125's.

5) my shop owner, whom I ride with nearly every weekend, recommended the flywheel too. If I get the YZ250 instead, a flywheel is at the top of my list. I rode a woodsified YZ250 a few years ago and it was superb.

Since you'll be mainly on hardpack, you might be allright with the 739 ag. It's just not a tire that's good for anything BUT hardpack.

To the best of my knowledge, the Stormlink should only be used with the triple-clamp standard Stock offset...if you use a non-stock offset along with the Stormlink, I've heard it can be a nightmare to get it to perform normally.

From what you'll be riding, I think the stock gearing would be fine for you. The gearing only becomes an issue on the tight, hilly stuff. Since I ride everything from track to open fire-roads to tight, hilly, twisty stuff, I have to compromise with the stock 4 speed.

Everyone seems to highly recommend a heavier flywheel....I've been thinking of getting it, for the simple fact that it might tone down the arm-yanking, tiring, hit that the 03 and 04's are known for.


Well, something's going to happen! I just sold both the KTM200sx and KX125 in the same 24 h period, after months of trying in the 125's case. Also sold an extra Fender Telecaster I had ('52 RI, just FYI) and I now have enough cash in hand to move on either the '04 450F or '06 250. I'm riding a 450F tomorrow to see what I think.

One thing I'm going to do is take my time making a decision (I still have my KDX200 to ride, so I'm not totally bike-less.. :mad: ) and another thing is I'm not totally ruling out something as crazy as a new YZ125. I loved my KX125 but had opportunity to sell for the price I was asking and the smart thing seemed to be "sell" (2001, after all), so I did. At this point, I'm leaning toward the 250 2S, but we'll see how I like the 450F.

I just picked up an 06 for under $5000. I'm 46 185lbs and a novice rider. I have a KTM300 in the shed and an 06 YZ450F in the garage that I took home last week. The 450 is easy to ride on the track. I jumped farther with the 450 on my first ride than I did on the KTM after a whole season. The stock suspension on the Yamaha is as good as the KTM with a re-valve. As for the 04 and 06 comparison, The aluminum frame and the 5 speed on the 06 will keep the resale value high. I had a CRF250 last year and think the extra power from a 450 is the best thing going. You don't have to work the clutch and shifter every second of the day to make it go fast. I think it's great to support your local dealer and he could probably find you an 06 or give you a good deal on an 07. Even if you like to pay cash you can still get a free SnapOn digital torque wrench with the 06 or 07, not sure about the 04. Maybe you would like an 06 KTM 300XC with twenty hours on it. I'll sell it cheap! Good luck with your decision. No matter which one you get, a new bike is a new bike! . .

I own an 04 YZ450 with about 30 races and approx 25 hours on it. This bike does not skip a beat. As for upkeep, I change the oil and oil filter every other race or every couple hours and clean air filter every ride.Other than chain adjustment and some small things there really is not much to do other than ride. The bike has been very reliable compared to people I know who ride red,yellow and green.

I rode an 06 a few weeks ago and other than the alum frame I personally did not notice much difference. If anything I think my bike had more pull-which could be due to the White Bros Alum Pro Exhaust. I will probably race this bike all next season and maybe go for an 07-08 depending on $$$ flow at the time. Whatever your budget is, if you can swing the extra G note go for the 06-if not the 04 will do just fine. You will not go wrong with BLUE!

2004 YZ450

Factory Connection Susp.

W/B Exhaust

I have an 06 450 that I absolutely love. However, riding my buddies 04 450 put just as much a smile on my face as my bike does. Yamis have a great history for being bullet proof with their engines. The 04 is a great ride and I personally liked the engine. Sure it felt slightly more top heavy but since I'm not whipping the bike it doesn't affect me in any way. The only thing that I noticed is sometimes his is a little bit harder to start when hot. If you can't afford the 06 then get the 04 and you will not regret it.

Thanks for the additional comments- they're really helping me here. I took 8-9 laps on the 450F and 1 lap on the 250F today. I rode my KDX200 first. :mad: since it's all I have left. Track was in perfect condition, meaning "soft, power robbing loam". First thing I noticed, not having ridden the KDX in awhile was how little power it had! Man, I had to keep it pinned in the corners to get out of 'em! I definitely have gotten spoiled riding the KX125 and KTM200sx. Still, the KDX did pretty good considering that it's 10-year old trailbike technology.

Then I rode the 450F. I just took an easy lap at first to play with the throttle and get a feel for the handling. By the 3-4th laps, I was picking it up a little and getting more comfortable. I has some power, for sure, but it's definitely not uncontrollable. The owner rode out on the 250F and said "Ride the track in 3rd" so I did and whatdyaknow? The 450F will pull the corners in third. I started to get a feel for rolling the throttle instead of snapping it, and was amazed at how fast the next corner came up and yet the bike didn't see to be working hard at all. I jumped all but the biggest tabletop and no issues there- bike felt good in the air, not 125 whippable, but it felt solid and steady. I started focusing on turning and, honestly, I didn't have any trouble making it take the inside line. What I did notice was that it wanted to push the front end a little when going slow. Pick up the pace and it was fine.

Then I switched to the 250F. Right away, the bike felt a little lighter, but it only took 1 lap to figure out that if that's what I wanted, I'd be better off with the KTM200sx. Parked the 250F, took the 450F back out again. Much better. I rode around in 1st gear as if I were trail riding and, yeah, I think a fly-wheel would be a good thing. I picked up the pace, giving the bike full throttle at times, just feeling out the power, and I think I could live with a 450F. I felt it in my forearms, but that's probably just me not being used to the bike. I wish I'd had a 250 2S to try, but I think the 450F could be a lot of fun.

I'll make a decision by Weds! My wife thinks I should get the 450F and she's fully behind the move, so unless someone stops by town and buys both left-over 450F's, I'll probably have one next weekend. And remember, the '04 that I'm looking at will come with Tag triple clamps, Tag bars, and an FMF pipe. I'd really rather have an FMF Q, but I figure I can sell this one and get a Q. The triple clamps should help the handling of the '04.

What I did notice was that it wanted to push the front end a little when going slow. ....the '04 that I'm looking at will come with Tag triple clamps, Tag bars, and an FMF pipe. I'd really rather have an FMF Q, but I figure I can sell this one and get a Q. The triple clamps should help the handling of the '04.
If the triple clamps are the stock offset, and being Tags, they likely are, they won't do anything to the handling. But they are cool, and they wil let you mount fat bars, so they're worth having.

One thing you'll notice about the front end push is that if you bust into the throttle, it will stop doing that almost immediately. Slipping the forks up 5-7mm in the clamps will help keep it from pushing as much, too. If you sort of plan on it pushing, and make the first half of the turn a little too wide, you can then crank it in, and as soon as it starts pushing, get on the gas and point it at the exit. Works fairly well. The bike also likes to turn better when leaned farther in, but that makes it a little tougher to save a push.

Hey man I have been reading this thread and I think its a good idea to support your dealer. Ok here is what I have to say, I ride an 04 yz450f and have not had 1 problem except going over backwards doing a wheelie at 60mph, but that was my fault! Seriously though with the stock gearing the bike will go around 85mph, thats plenty fast, and like you are saying you dont' do single track so the first gear will not be a problem with you. Yes the 06 may turn better and be smoother n all but is it really worth the extra money? Every year no matter what the latest n greatest will be better. You will not have less fun riding an 04 vs an 06, its all the same man atleast you are riding. Just save your money if it's tight for something important like an emergency.

Now as for me I am trying to sell my 04 450, i do love it, but I really miss 2 strokes. I want an 06 yz250 because that is my style. I do not race so going the fastest around a track is not my goal. I love slamming into corners sideways and dumping the clutch blowing out berms in uncontrollable slides. So thats why I want a 2 stroke so thats just my style. Well anyways the 04 will not disappoint you, and if it does (mechanicaly) it sounds like your dealer should treat you as well as you are treating them. I liked my 450 and i still do, the smooth planted turning style and roll on power is just not for me. I just like to steer bikes with my rear tire. Thats just my opinion, and either way, its a win win situation. Good luck.

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