YZ400 compared to a 2 stroke 250

Never rode a YZ400, but I am in the market for a new bike. I am very interested in the YZ400/YZ426 and was wondering how it compares to, say, a YZ250 2 stroke? when it comes to power and handling?

one of the main attractions to the bike is not having to ever mix up the gas/oil fuel mix anymore.

So, is this bike (yz400/426) a great bike, or will I be disappointed?

Also, is there a major power and handling difference between the 400 and 426?

The YZ400 is a great bike for a lot of reasons. Great power, low maintaince, good handling, great supension and noooo premix needed.

That said, it depends on the riding you are REALLY going to do, to decide if you'd be better off on a 2-stroke 250. There is a reason you don't see a bunch of YZ400's doing supercross. For short straights, the hit of a 250 is perfect and the light weight is important on really tight tracks. If you're riding outdoor MX, Desert and Trails then the YZ400 out shines a 2-stroke 250 with it's power. Not having to do top ends all the time is nice as well.

The 426 has a little more power across the board, with a more aggressive hit. I ride a 400 and I can't use all the power. If a guy beats me on a 426, it's because he's a better rider, not because of the bike. We'll see how much faster the YZ440 is ! :D

It really all depends on the riding you'll really be doing :)


Chris in the Mojave

'98 YZ400F

[This message has been edited by Chris in the Mojave (edited 05-08-2000).]

There was supposedly a comparison in Dirt Bike or Dirt rider last month(?) but I didn't see it.

I can tell you that a friend of mine races MX outdoors and he used to ride a KX250. A couple weeks back he rode his new DRZ400 against a YZ250 guy he used to finish within + or - 1 bike length of on the KX and at the end of a couple laps he was a full turn ahead of the guy.

I think comparing two riders on two different bikes is unaccurate. You must ride one of each and then compare. Lap times would be a good test, as long as you are comfortable on both bikes. My personal experience with riding my 426 and a buddies '99 KX250........We found a perfect drag race spot. Ran about 6-8 runs, then switched bikes and I rode his. The 426 came out ahead with both riders. Sometimes not by much, others it blew it away. On the trail the 426 will chug up hills much easier than the KX. In the sand, it walks away from the KX. When jumping, the KX feels quite a bit lighter. It is quite apparent that the 426 has much more low end and is much more smooth. Because I (nor my buddy)is an expert MX racer(s), I could not say which one would be the better race bike. The magazines seem to think that lower class riders will improve be faster on the 426, I could see this. Less worry about being in the right gear and no need to rev it up to let'er rip!

Hope this helps


I'm still struggling with this same question - 4 vs 2 stroke. Somewhere on the web I read a post where a guy said of the people he knew that bought yz400's approxmately half went back to 2-strokes. Well I bought a 2000 WR400 that I use for eastern style (tight) enduros and hare scrambles. I feel like I was faster on the RM especially in the corners. For the record I am running the IMS seat and tank. I don't know if it's my bikes set-up or if I need to adapt my riding style however I am seriously considering trading back to a 2-stroke...

2stroke vs 4 stroke

When I was searching for my current 99 YZ400,I looked at several bikes and talked at length with the owners, inevitably we'd get down to the 2 stroke vs 4 stroke question. Two of the guys had 426's on order and one guy actually had the shiny new 426 sitting there in the corner of the garage, as I was looking at his 99 400.

They were 35+ riders and had ridden 2strokes, pretty much forever. They'll never go back to the 2 strokes and point to the great power delivery of the thumper and the fact that they don't get beat up on the 4 stroke. They stay fresher longer into the moto.

Conversely, The guy I bought my YZ from went back to 2 strokes. He missed the hit of the 2 stroker, the ease of starting and the lighter weight.

Me, I love my yz400! I've ridden two strokes since 1973 and love the powerband and delivery of the thumper. I have NO regrets going to the 4-stroke.I use it for MX, trail riding, hill climbing, etc. Now, if I had some extra cash, I wouldn't mind having a 250 MXer as a second bike!

I would like to throw my two pennies in on this one. I have been out of MX for 10 years now. I am just getting back into this great two wheel sport. I would not say that I am an expert rider or suggest that I am. Anyways, my buddies all ride two smokes. I had tried ridding them and was having a lot of problems with the power delivery. I ride alot of trails/hill climbing and spend about half the time on a MX track. This year I was out shopping for a new bike or previously enjoyed bike and ended up on impulse, buying a 99 YZ400. The main advantage of buying it was that even if I didn't like it was that I could sell it for the same price that I bought it for. I bought mine from a dealer. I test rode it and fell in love with it right away. This is what I would suggest you do. Get to a track or wherever you plan on riding and see if you could (borrow/steal) ride a two and a four stroke to compare what you think that you will like better. I will never buy a two stroke again. This bike has allowed me to get back into riding a lot quicker than if I was on a two stroke. The power delivery is smooth all the way through and it still rev's. Besides the best part of this bike is that Growl. Love that Bark!! Happy shoppin!!!


99 YZ400 Stock!!

[This message has been edited by Kris Stratton (edited 05-09-2000).]

This is a pretty intersting thread, and like Moto Mike I've known guys that went back to two strokes. The guy I got my YZ400 from, bought a CR250. He had problems starting and touching the ground on the YZ400. He loves his CR, it fits him better.

Here's another twist on the question. We've been debating YZ vs. 250. Well I race Vet in the desert and MX I could run a CR500 if I wanted!!!!!! Anything over 250cc's is a "heavy weight", 2 stroke or 4 stroke. I've got a buddy with a CR500 that's offered to let me ride it and I plan on checking it out. So hear's a whole different question, YZ400 or BIG BORE 2 stroke (KX500, CR500)????


Chris in the Mojave

'98 YZ400F


Very good thought to put into the pot!

I came off of an old CR500 and onto the 426. I too just got back into MX after 10 years of street only riding. Although my old CR was modified moderately, it was a hand full!! Very violent power! My 130hp street bike is no match for that old CR as far as squirly goes. In the open sand, the big bore two stroke will indeed take the 426. Also in a flat out drag race. However, in any other circumstance I would not trade my 426 for the CR500. The 426 is just so much smoother that the hill climbs are only half as hard. Woods riding is much less fatigue on the bod. :)

I do know that they have tamed the newer big bore two strokes down some. All I know is that I am very happy with my bike. That's my story and I am sticking to it!

Just my $.02


I don't know what year your CR was but about '93-'94 time frame they basicly made a desert bike out of it. It's got a WR tranny in it and I think they smoothed out the motor. I'm told the bike hasn't changed since then. I'll report back here after I get to ride it...I'm racing a two day Euro-Scramble this weekend so it may be a while.

Don't get me wrong I love my bike and I think thumpers are the way to go but I have noted that the "Team Green" boys on the KX500 have given the thumper pilots fits in the desert races out here. What I find really distubing is Ty Davis has some DNF's due to the motor comming apart! We're supposed to be MORE reliable!....

Anyway I'm really enjoying this exchange :)


Chris in the Mojave

'98 YZ400F

Ok, 2 more cents. Big bore 2-stroke vs. big bore 4 stroke- My last bike was a 1981 Maico 490. That bike would eat up anything in a drag race. KX500,CR500, anything, including the rider!

I've heard the new XR650 is really fast, but it's also 300 lbs and has an extra 150cc's. Could be an interesting race against the CR500 and the KX500 though.

A big bore 2-stroke is the power king for now and it seems master of the desert; no 4-stroke of the same displacement will beat it, yet. I've ridden the CR500 and it is an absolute blast, wouldn't mind having one, but the YZ would still be my first ride! That power delivery is oh so smooth and plenty potent for me!

And yes, I do regret selling the Maico, but I only have room for one bike...for now :)

Alexjoz is right, the Honda 650R is too heavy. I've got two buddy's with these. And while they are great desert trail bikes, unless you've got Team Honda's wallet to spend on Carbon Fiber and Ti bolts to lighten them up, they are not race bikes.

A shoot-out of YZ426/CR500/KX500 would be interesting! I think that's part of the reason the YZ is going up to 440 this year, to keep up in the "Off Road" racing area where it competes with big bore two strokes and even big bore 4-strokes like the KTM 520.


Chris in the Mojave

'98 YZ400F

A couple riding buds of mine ride CR500s and I'm amazed at how well these bikes handle tight single track, but they sure vibrate alot! When we trade rides they come back saying "WOW" where I say "Gemme back my thumper!" mainly because I've adjusted my riding style to using engine braking. When I let off the throttle on the 500 it actually seems to speed up! :)


'00 YZ426

[This message has been edited by YZFWrench (edited 05-11-2000).]

One of the magizines had an open class shoot out a month or so ago. CR500, KX500 was included with the YZ426 and guess who won? You got it! 426. I forgot which mag it was, but my memory is all I have left of the article. They liked the jumping properties of the YZ the best of the bunch, they also praised it on other catagories as well. My old CR500 was a '86 and would eat up the newer "detuned" models in a drag race. I never thought I would be complaining about too much power. What I was really complaining about was the type of power, like I said very violent!!

My apoligies to all. I found that magazine, it was a April 98!! Issue of Dirt Bike. And it was the YZ400 not the 426. The three sections they compared the bikes were MX, Dunes, and woods. The bikes compared were KTM 380, CR500, and KX 500. The YZ must have just came out then because they said the bike did not show up in time for the complete woods comparison. So they picked the KTM 380 as a winner to that one........ However on both the MX track and the Dunes, and Dune jumping the YZ came out ahead of the big 2 strokes. Sorry for the misleading post. I read the article about a month ago when I was comparing different bikes before I bought my 426.


Tim - there was an article at the start of this year that was a 426 and 250 comparison. I'll see if I can dig it up.

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