2001 YZ426... First Bike, First Ride

Hello Everyone,

Been interested in getting a dirtbike for the last year or so, and I finally took the plunge today! About a month ago some friends from work steered me towards this site, and I have been reading the forums (this one in particular) for the last few weeks.

A 2001 YZ426 came up for sale for a really, really good price with about 100hrs on it. The guy that owned it maintained the bike fairly religiously keeping detailed logbooks of all his services and sold me the bike with quite a few extra's (tires, levers, gaskets, etc..). The fellow that owned it put two seasons of light riding on it, and then basically got out of the sport. He rode it a couple of times a year each year since he bought it new, but basically lost interest in the sport. It has a couple aftermarket things on it, but its mostly stock, including all the plastics and graphics. I looked at a few other bikes from the same vintange and the looked to be absolutely @$% kicked compared to this one.

So.... after reading the forums here for for the last couple weeks and learning as much as I could ahead of time I had some reservations about this bike. I had heard not just from your forum, but from other people as well that this was definitely NOT the bike for me seeing as how I have never really ever been on a dirtbike, or streetbike of any kind. Hard if not impossible to start unless the procedure is followed exactly, and an extremeley torquey and heavy bike to ride.

Well.... after mentioning what I had read to the fellow I was going to buy the bike from, he offered to take me out for the day, let me ride the bike and then decide for myself. Well I took it out today and I think I probably had the most fun (that wasnt on snow), ever, period.

The bike seems ridiculously simple to start, even after stalling it a few times, and dumping it once. It goes first kick every time. Although the bike does seem pretty powerful and I can see how it would be possible to get into trouble with it, its got an extremely manageable powerband. As far the weight goes, its nothing compared to slinging around a 600lb sled for a day. I basically couldnt be happier with this thing.

A couple questions have come to mind now though. Being that its so easy to start, is there something perhaps wrong with it? I seems to function exactly as other have posted here, and the owners manual indicates. Once its on its compression stroke and it gets near T.D.C. and locks up I just pull in the decomp lever, move the kickstart down about another inch or so, then let it come up, release the decomp lever and give it a normal easy kick through and it goes every time.

The other thing is (and keep in mind, this was my first time out ever) I wasnt really into any super gnarly terrain or anything, but I couldnt get this bike out of third gear. I started feeling a bit uncomfortable with the speed and not being used to the bike I kinda chickened out and backed off the throttle every time I got it revved up a ways in third gear. I am sure that will change once I get comfortable on the thing, and get some more experience, but how fast will these bikes actually go?

Anyhow, just thought I would share what a great day I had today with all of you guys, and let you all know how much this forum helped and influenced my decision in buying this bike. I absolutely love it! My girlfriend will never see me again!

I took this photo fairly early in the day, it got A LOT worse later on, but I think you can see its still in pretty good shape from the photo.


congrats on the purchase. im sure youll only love it more every day.

as far as the starting, i read a lot about people saying its hard to start sometimes, but in all my experience (and i ride a yz400F for dirt) if the bike is properly tuned, jetted, maintained, it will have no problems starting. now if you dump it and it sits upside down for a while or it lands 100 ft from where you are, sure, you might have to kick it over a few times. but sounds like you got a good deal and youre happy. so thats what counts!


Nice bike and a great find, enjoy a truly reliable bike that will give you a lot of enjoyment. Starting a 426 isn't bad if the valves are kept in tolerance and the carburetor is clean and has fresh gas. It sounds like the previous owner was doing all the right things. If he didn't give you the factory shop manual get one. This will walk you through any work you need to do.

Many modifications are detailed here and lots of good people with a great stock of knowledge. best of luck and stick around here, you'll like the place.


Good post, thanks for the review. I just bought a 01 YZ 426 on Saturday to. So far it hasn't left my garage. I bought the Clymer manual off of ebay for 40 cdn shipped. I'm gonna change all the fluids, adjust the valves and clean the carb before I take her out. Where in BC are you? What kind of sled do you ride? I have an M7 and was just wondering how riding a bike like this compares to riding a sled. This is my first bike in about 15 years!

Congrats on the new toy. Sounds like its setup good and in good working order. From what you said, it starts exactly like its supposed to.

I personally think people make too big a deal about the "starting ritual".

Nice bike, sounds like it starts just right with the procedure. Top speed 80-90 mph I'd say.

Congrats on the new toy. Sounds like its setup good and in good working order. From what you said, it starts exactly like its supposed to.

I personally think people make too big a deal about the "starting ritual".

Agreed! The "starting ritual" is not that big of a deal to me either. I came from an xr 600 to the 426, and starting the bike is cake! :applause: Don't worry about being stuck in 3rd for a while. The bike is fast and gets up to speed real quick! Once you get used to it a little, and your riding skills improve, you will be all teeth! :lol:

Nice bike, My experienced riding buddy has one and he can putt around or flat haul with any other bike in the woods.I remember the ole' 3rd gear days, they'll pass!

My brother and I both own 426's.

Sounds like the previous owner taught you the starting procedure.

One tip I suggest is that if you dump it over, pull the compression release and kick it over several times. Pull the hot start and then kick start it.

I have the stock front sprocket (?) and run a 48 rear. 84.4mph according to my GPS when my bike topped out flat out on dirt.

At the sanddunes (glamis) I run a 49 rear but only reached 73mph before I shut it down.

Your name "gearcutter"....you dont happen to work in a gear shop...?? and as for the 01 426....love mine, great machine...If Im riding , and I dump it..do as the above post says...works all the time..keep those valves dialed in..and the bike will treat you well..Im riding about 10 hours per month...1 adjustment in a year..sweet..

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