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Let's talk about 2T/4T MX handling

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This post is specifically geared toward motocross track riding...

What are your observations regarding the differences (strengths/weaknesses)

in handling traits between the YZ250 2T and the 250F bikes?

elaborate on details... I'm looking to get insight from real world experience here, have you ridden a YZ250 and a 250F on the same track - same day?

What was better about the 250F handling? What was worse about the F?

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Ive got a 09 YZ250F and a 06 YZ250. I feel the 250F handles quite a bit better actually.

Just the way the bike turns in, takes ruts and holds its line. I think the 2 stroke has a dead feel to it and I don't like the way the front end feels.

I also notice the 4 stroke has more stability.

IMO the 2 strokes frame needs more flex and could stand to loose a few pounds, then it would be no comparison as to which bike would handle better.

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I like the 250 2 in the woods, and it's a blast on the track, but I'm faster on the track on the f period. It doesn't dance coming out of corners. It's a docile beast with no bad temper, turns great, it's smooth, and it's 4 seconds faster on a 1 mile track w/ me on it.

The f seems more refined and truthfully it is. I've spent a lot of time on an '08 and I love it. Granted my 250 2 is an '05, but it's maintained well. Alas I like a bike that does both MX and offroad well... that's where the 250 2 shines in my eyes.

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Though I haven't ridden a YZ in quite a while I just had a yz250f and my cr250 at the track on Sunday. I prefer the 250f's stability but the engine braking kills me. On the 4t it seems like I can't ever completely let off the gas otherwise I'm coming to a rapid stop. I'm far smoother on the 4t though, but I really prefer the 2t in the woods or when the track is tight. I really enjoy having both for sure though!

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As a long-time fan of 4-strokes (30+ years) it took me a while to adapt to my first 2-stroke in 1996. I was thrilled with the flick-ability, but humbled by the constant vigilance needed to keep the bike tracking straight. Squeezing the tank with my knees was no longer an option – it became an imperative. Changes in body position suddenly played a bigger role in making or breaking a corner.

As the weight and CG of the bike went down, the weight of the rider became a larger contributor to the performance of the overall ‘package’.

The last 4-stroke I rode (2006 YZ450F) was a remarkable bike. It INHALED long straights, and was very predictable in corners. BUT…

…it felt like there was a six-pack sitting on the tank. (Those of you who have transported ‘refreshments’ on your bikes in this fashion know exactly what I am talking about.)

The F was relaxed, almost languid, in how it responded to rider input. Very well mannered, but with a corresponding loss of ‘friskiness’.

IMHO, many of the positives mentioned about 4-stroke dirt bikes (stability, tracking, etc) can be attributed to the engine itself. The 4-stroke’s greater weight, gyroscopic forces, and higher center of gravity do a lot to aid stability and holding a line. The frames are designed to capitalize on these traits, so the front end rake can be made steeper to improve turning, without inducing headshake.

(I don't think simply dropping a 2-stroke motor into a frame designed for a 4-stroke motor would result in a ‘best-of-both-worlds’ motorcycle. It may create just the opposite.)

I don't like revving the s#!t out of an engine, so I prefer bigger motors that can pull from the bottom of the revs.

250F vs 250 2t? Advantage 2t.

On a jump-filled track I would prefer a 450 4-stroke. On a flat, tight track I'd choose a 250 2-stroke.

250F vs 250 2t? Advantage 2t.

I’m not a strong guy, so I like a bike with light weight and a low CG.

250F vs 250 2t? Advantage 2t.

The newer 4-strokes have received much more development and refinement than the 2-strokes.

250F vs 250 2t? Advantage 250F.

I enjoy the 4-stroke bikes, but I love my 2-stroke.

“Different strokes…”, as they say. :thumbsup:

Edited by CaptDan
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As a long-time fan of 4-strokes (30+ years) it took me a while to adapt to my first 2-stroke in 1996. I was thrilled with the flick-ability, but humbled by the constant vigilance needed to keep the bike tracking straight. Squeezing the tank with my knees was no longer an option – it became an imperative. Changes in body position suddenly played a bigger role in making or breaking a corner.

As the weight and CG of the bike went down, the weight of the rider became a larger contributor to the performance of the overall ‘package’.

The last 4-stroke I rode (2006 YZ450F) was a remarkable bike. It INHALED long straights, and was very predictable in corners. BUT…

…it felt like there was a six-pack sitting on the tank. (Those of you who have transported ‘refreshments’ on your bikes in this fashion know exactly what I am talking about.)

The F was relaxed, almost languid, in how it responded to rider input. Very well mannered, but with a corresponding loss of ‘friskiness’.

IMHO, many of the positives mentioned about 4-stroke dirt bikes (stability, tracking, etc) can be attributed to the engine itself. The 4-stroke’s greater weight, gyroscopic forces, and higher center of gravity do a lot to aid stability and holding a line. The frames are designed to capitalize on these traits, so the front end rake can be made steeper to improve turning, without inducing headshake.

(I don't think simply dropping a 2-stroke motor into a frame designed for a 4-stroke motor would result in a ‘best-of-both-worlds’ motorcycle. It may create just the opposite.)

I don't like revving the s#!t out of an engine, so I prefer bigger motors that can pull from the bottom of the revs.

250F vs 250 2t? Advantage 2t.

On a jump-filled track I would prefer a 450 4-stroke. On a flat, tight track I'd choose a 250 2-stroke.

250F vs 250 2t? Advantage 2t.

I’m not a strong guy, so I like a bike with light weight and a low CG.

250F vs 250 2t? Advantage 2t.

I enjoy the 4-stroke bikes, but I love my 2-stroke.

“Different strokes…”, as they say. :lol:

Very good explination, exact feeling I have about defferences between the two! Just in ALOT better words than I would have put down.:thumbsup::ride:

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The 250f is very sure footed and compliant, the 2t is very nervous and edgy

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You cant apply all the straight line stability of the new 4 strokes to the engines. Most of it has to do with the frames they are in now. Ride an 04 CR250 and ride an 04 CRF250R, both of them will feel very similar except for the fact that the 4 stroke falls into corners and kind of turns on its own where as you have to turn the 2 stroke. The guy who did that RM250AF conversion also noted this.

4 strokes being top heavy with their motor designs tend to fall into the corners easier which makes getting into the rut easier but heavier to lift back up right upon exit. 2 strokes are the opposite the make you turn them so its a little more work to get them into the rut but exit they stand up really fast and go

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Great input from all!

Take your two stroke engine out and stuff it into your 250F chassis. Problem solved.

While I don't agree that it is a complete solution, this is why I started the thread. I'm pretty seriously considering this option for a spring/summer project.

CaptDan, you're explaination is exactly what I've felt (and seems to be the consensus).

The only thing I'll add is that the two stroke (at least my 2002) seems to hold a line better on the flat inside line despite the more abrupt power delivery. It may be that my chassis setup is really good, but I can kill the four strokes in flat turns. Their extra weight and higher CG seems to push the front tire out of flat turns and off cambers where my 2T squats the tire and hooks in. The 4T absolutely turns smoother in the ruts and berms though.

I would like to try a swap into a newer F chasis, but with about three sets of engine mounts, low as possible, high as possible, and middle ground.

I've also thought about milling a set of billet cases that move the rotating centers around a bit.

what are your thoughts?

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Like Capt. Dan is saying the difference in the handling is attributed to the 250f engine. Here's why- A 4-stroke is a front wheel turning bike. The power characteristics caused from engine braking and the every-other power pulse apply more weight and momentum onto the front wheel. This is why the F's have more steering reponse and a more planted, hooked-up feel to them. The 2-strokes on the other hand have snappy power that constantly is lifting the front wheel off the ground. Ever slightly drag your front brakes entering and railing a rut on your 2-stroke? Well guess what? Your bike will turn better. Why? Because you shifted momentum and weight onto the front wheel, just like what happens on a 4-stroke everytime you chop the throttle. In addition to that, a bike with a lower output almost always handles better. And guess what? A 250f puts out about 10 hp less. Thats huge. And how that power is delivered makes a difference also. And you guessed it, a 4-stroke puts out smoother power. Alot smoother, over a much longer rpm range. So add this all up - 4- stroke are front wheel turning bikes, less power, and smoother power. What do you get. Better handling, easier to ride bike, but not becuase of the chassis. Its the engine.

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Ever slightly drag your front brakes entering and railing a rut on your 2-stroke?

Yes, damn near every rutted corner I ride through. I use the rear brake on left handers sometimes, and down choppy hills with the throttle still on.

I understand this about the engine weight and gyro inertia as well as the "Big Hit" traction that four strokes produce.

The 2T is a steer with the rear wheel riding style. The 4T is as you said a more steer with your front wheel style.

I'm just trying to determine if it is worth installing a 2T engine in a 250F chasis with a slightly raised crank centerline. I think this would add some of the stability of the 4T giving a middle ground handling feel while retaining the fun factor of the 2T.

I have a full suite of fabrication tools including Tig welder, CNC Mill, etc, so the project won't really cost any more than whatever I can get a blown up 250F for.

Anyone ever ride one of the Service Honda 250s or the service Kawasaki 250? how do they handle vs their 2T and 4T equivalent?

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I really don't know how a 250f could feel like a better handler than a 250t other than the YZ250 being a very "neutral" handling bike, as in it doesn't do anything bad but doesn't do anything great either. I have a bit of time on a 2006 CRF250 while my RM250 was blown up and the only good thing I can say about it was that it was easy to ride. It still felt top heavy but very well planted. Same deal with my 06 CRF450. Planted, easy to ride, powerful. Going back to a KX250 I marvel at its ability to take any line without any effort and plenty of power (comparable to the 450). It was also super stable in choppy 4th or 5th gear straights. Basically handled just as good as the 250f but felt even lighter with all of the good qualities of the 250f to boot. I would argue the CRF250 is a much better handling bike than the YZ250f and if the YZ250 truly handles that bad, well, you might wanna look at some other brands... or throw a YZ250 motor into a CR250 chassis or something. A 250f is a joke if you can ride a 250t fairly well.

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I really don't know how a 250f could feel like a better handler than a 250t other than the YZ250 being a very "neutral" handling bike, as in it doesn't do anything bad but doesn't do anything great either. I have a bit of time on a 2006 CRF250 while my RM250 was blown up and the only good thing I can say about it was that it was easy to ride. It still felt top heavy but very well planted. Same deal with my 06 CRF450. Planted, easy to ride, powerful. Going back to a KX250 I marvel at its ability to take any line without any effort and plenty of power (comparable to the 450). It was also super stable in choppy 4th or 5th gear straights. Basically handled just as good as the 250f but felt even lighter with all of the good qualities of the 250f to boot. I would argue the CRF250 is a much better handling bike than the YZ250f and if the YZ250 truly handles that bad, well, you might wanna look at some other brands... or throw a YZ250 motor into a CR250 chassis or something. A 250f is a joke if you can ride a 250t fairly well.

I find this quite funny actually. A 250F isn't a joke and I know that. Believe me I can ride both quite well actually.

A CRF doesn't handle any better then the newer YZ250F's either, and I have ridden 05, 08 and 09 CRF250s not to mention just about every other 250F, 450, 125 and 250 2T.

The YZ is a great bike, but certainly needs more refining. Look at any new KTM and see how small their engines are. The YZ could stand to loose a few pounds. Also, the new 09 style swingarm seemed to help the 4 strokes greatly, why won't it help the 2 strokes?

What it comes down to is the fact that the 2 stroke is older technology compared to the 4 stroke. Is the YZ250 a great bike? Yes. However, its been the same since 06 and others have since surpassed it.

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I find this quite funny actually. A 250F isn't a joke and I know that. Believe me I can ride both quite well actually.

A CRF doesn't handle any better then the newer YZ250F's either, and I have ridden 05, 08 and 09 CRF250s not to mention just about every other 250F, 450, 125 and 250 2T.

The YZ is a great bike, but certainly needs more refining. Look at any new KTM and see how small their engines are. The YZ could stand to loose a few pounds. Also, the new 09 style swingarm seemed to help the 4 strokes greatly, why won't it help the 2 strokes?

What it comes down to is the fact that the 2 stroke is older technology compared to the 4 stroke. Is the YZ250 a great bike? Yes. However, its been the same since 06 and others have since surpassed it.

I agree with everything in bold you said. The YZ is an EXCELLENT bike for how much Yamaha has ignored it. It needs some updating:thumbsup:

But with that said let me tell you why a 250f is a joke. I ride with some very fast intermediate level riders at my local track. They all ride tricked out CRF250s, YZF250s etc, and I have no problem keeping up with most of them for a few laps (it helps that they ride 3-4 times a week while I can barely ride 2x). The 250t is a big advantage. There isn't a place where they can outrun me. As long as I'm on my game, in the right gear, and stick in the ruts I'm gonna be right there with them. I know from switching bikes that I'm not near as fast on the 250f. These kids won't ride a 250t because A.) Honda doesn't make new 250 or B.) the power is intimidating. If these kids could grow a pair they would be killing it on 2-strokes. Oh well.

I don't think the yz250f handled near as well as the crf but I guess its just a difference of opinions. :thumbsup:

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I agree with everything in bold you said. The YZ is an EXCELLENT bike for how much Yamaha has ignored it. It needs some updating:thumbsup:

But with that said let me tell you why a 250f is a joke. I ride with some very fast intermediate level riders at my local track. They all ride tricked out CRF250s, YZF250s etc, and I have no problem keeping up with most of them for a few laps (it helps that they ride 3-4 times a week while I can barely ride 2x). The 250t is a big advantage. There isn't a place where they can outrun me. As long as I'm on my game, in the right gear, and stick in the ruts I'm gonna be right there with them. I know from switching bikes that I'm not near as fast on the 250f. These kids won't ride a 250t because A.) Honda doesn't make new 250 or B.) the power is intimidating. If these kids could grow a pair they would be killing it on 2-strokes. Oh well.

I don't think the yz250f handled near as well as the crf but I guess its just a difference of opinions. :thumbsup:

I agree for the most part. I do feel that the YZ250 could be a force to be reckoned with, but...its more tiring to ride. I personally don't think it is the power, but it needs more rider input and I just make more mistakes on the bike costing me time.

It also depends on the track, part of the reason I ride and race both is because some tracks just suit the bike better.

But, for the most part, even though the 250F lacks about 8 HP, I can throw down equal lap times on the 250F. If I had the money, I would mod my 250F and I doubt I would even think about getting on the smoker if I had a 40+ HP 250F.

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I agree with everything in bold you said. The YZ is an EXCELLENT bike for how much Yamaha has ignored it. It needs some updating:thumbsup:

But with that said let me tell you why a 250f is a joke. I ride with some very fast intermediate level riders at my local track. They all ride tricked out CRF250s, YZF250s etc, and I have no problem keeping up with most of them for a few laps (it helps that they ride 3-4 times a week while I can barely ride 2x). The 250t is a big advantage. There isn't a place where they can outrun me. As long as I'm on my game, in the right gear, and stick in the ruts I'm gonna be right there with them. I know from switching bikes that I'm not near as fast on the 250f. These kids won't ride a 250t because A.) Honda doesn't make new 250 or B.) the power is intimidating. If these kids could grow a pair they would be killing it on 2-strokes. Oh well.

I don't think the yz250f handled near as well as the crf but I guess its just a difference of opinions. :thumbsup:

i'm willing to bet alot of this has to do with rider talent and they're weight, i know from my experiance that i can't ride a 250 two stroke nearly as fast as i can a 250F, my riding style has been described to me as "loose", "wreckless" and "out of control" by some of the guy's i ride with and my theory is that because i'm alot lighter then anyone else i ride with (by a good 30 pounds) that i simply can't hold the bike to it's line like they can, i've jsut gotten used to letting the bike get all outashape and just holing on till it pull's itself back into line, and when ridden on the ragged edge i find bigger bikes, both 250 2t and 450's bite like dogs with rabies, from what i remember your a bigger guy (last i read in the suzuki 2t forum you were around 220ish pounds?) which is what i think makes a 250 two stroke work so much better for you then it does for alot of other guy's (myself included)

also to the OP, if your feeling the 06 YZ 250 is feeling "dead" in the suspension/handling, then it's probably time for new suspension bushes, seals and oil.

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I agree for the most part. I do feel that the YZ250 could be a force to be reckoned with, but...its more tiring to ride. I personally don't think it is the power, but it needs more rider input and I just make more mistakes on the bike costing me time.

It also depends on the track, part of the reason I ride and race both is because some tracks just suit the bike better.

But, for the most part, even though the 250F lacks about 8 HP, I can throw down equal lap times on the 250F. If I had the money, I would mod my 250F and I doubt I would even think about getting on the smoker if I had a 40+ HP 250F.

LOL why don't you just sell your YZ and do it? Sounds like your not too happy with it. More rider input??? Wow I find it hard to believe the YZ250 would be like you say it is.

Here's an idea, how about instead of putting a grand or 2 into the 09 to get 40hp why don't you spend a couple hundred and smooth out the powerband on the YZ? I totally agree with you the power can tire you out. I didn't realize how peaky my KX was until I spent a day on an 05 CR250. The thing had no hit, slow as hell but smooth. I realized that if I could smooth out my KX a tiny bit it would be better into a long moto. The last race I did was a 450 intermediate race (only guy on a 2-stroke) and after being in 2nd till the last lap I died and the power just beat the hell out of me and my buddy who was in 3rd way way behind on a 450 just motored by me and there was nothing I could do. For the next race I can either buy a 450 again or just do some more conditioning.

The point is if your skilled and conditioned enough to wring the 250t out more of the time your gonna leave any 250f rider in the dust, unless he's way way faster than you anyway. Why buy a more expensive bike? I find that even if I make mistakes I can still make it up in the straightaways, coming into corners hotter etc. I don't ride a YZ nor do have the brand bias some on here have. Buy a bike that works the best for you, even if its not blue... Just because a YZ250 shows its age doesn't mean an RM, KX, or KTM will to the same degree.

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i'm willing to bet alot of this has to do with rider talent and they're weight, i know from my experiance that i can't ride a 250 two stroke nearly as fast as i can a 250F, my riding style has been described to me as "loose", "wreckless" and "out of control" by some of the guy's i ride with and my theory is that because i'm alot lighter then anyone else i ride with (by a good 30 pounds) that i simply can't hold the bike to it's line like they can, i've jsut gotten used to letting the bike get all outashape and just holing on till it pull's itself back into line, and when ridden on the ragged edge i find bigger bikes, both 250 2t and 450's bite like dogs with rabies, from what i remember your a bigger guy (last i read in the suzuki 2t forum you were around 220ish pounds?) which is what i think makes a 250 two stroke work so much better for you then it does for alot of other guy's (myself included)

also to the OP, if your feeling the 06 YZ 250 is feeling "dead" in the suspension/handling, then it's probably time for new suspension bushes, seals and oil.

Haha yeah I'm down to 210 now. I think it kinda evens out though maybe. One kid has to be a buck forty and I was 220. Thats an 80 lb difference. He's lighter but less power and I'm much heavier and on a more powerful bike.

A light kid like you on a 50hp lightweight 250 has got to be scary lol. Although I disagree about the 450, I think they're easy to ride, a puppy dog haha.

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