Newbee... Too much bike ??

Friend of mine is selling a 1999 YZ400 and purchaing a new 2001 YZ426.

I've talked to a couple of people one says I'll kill myself on it, one says I'll grow into it.

My girlfriend and I are new to motocross and want to ride on trails and the track. Is this a good bike for me ? or should I be looking at an aircooled ZR ?


the answer is in the question. don't buy the YZ.

the bike is awsome, it's incredible, it goes like snot, it is a RACING machine.

are you a racer?

leave the races to the aces.


taffy, I heartily disagree!!! Eric, I am 34 years old and my 2000 426 is my first MX bike. I rode a Z 50 and trail 70 when I was a kid then didn't ride for 20+ years. A year ago I bought an XR 200 - my first bike with a clutch. After a few months I decided to get something I could take to the track, not even knowing if I had the ability to ride a real track. At first I thought it might be too much bike but I got used to it quickly. I am now racing the 250 beginner class. First race I was dead last, second race I was 17th out of 25 (2 weeks ago). I am loving it! I wouldn't buy any other bike! You don't have to be "the man" to buy a 426, although it might help your ego to think so!

I think the 426 would be a good bike for you I think as long as you use your head and dont try to clear "the big triple" at the track and "stay within your limitations" I think you'll do fine! The 426 is easier to handle than a 250 2 stroke in most situations! It's better to buy a bike with a little to much so that you can grow into it, than to buy a bike that is not capable of going as fast as you want to go (that is unless you like buying bikes a lot) ! Just my 2 cents



I get my kicks on a 2001' YZ426!

Friendswood, TX

I doubt you could find a better "racer" to cut your teeth on than a yz400. Unless you only ride trails the yz400/426 is the way to go. The 400 is even the better choice for a beginner in my opinion. Ease into it and you'll be fine.

My .02


motoman ,tried that on my ktm 250 at 2weeks old. I can spell chiropracter now....

Hey Eric!

Welcome! My name is Randy and I too am a recent new comer to the MX world. My first bike was the 2000 year YZ426. I heard too, that the bike would kill me, and I'd grow into it...

The is a monster! It'll throw you if you're not familiar with riding techniques. Lets just say I've learned 75% hard way, 20% easy way, and 5% for Blessing! She's fast, and loves to corner. I've found that the bike puts the power to the ground hard, sometimes too hard. Interpret that as diggin' to China! I cannot tell you how it does the table tops, and doubles, cause I'm still learning how to do jumps.

The biggest factor I feel is going to be your riding skills, and the ability to read the bike, its mannerisms and its reactions to different terrains.

<marquee> Respect this machine! My marquee isn't YZ426 Kicks for nothing! :)</marquee>

I can definitely say I've enjoyed the YZ, when she's worked. I've got a lot of issues with mine mechanically and I'm engaged with Yamaha. I say this not to turn you off, or scare you, but to be honest and upfront. This bike is not for the mechanically timid, i.e., its maintenance hungry.

I don't know if Yamaha has gotten the quirks outta the 2001 model year. I'm still hearing a lot of grumblings, and I've been finding out that the 2000's are flying back to Yamaha broken down left and right. I wish you all the best with the 2001!

Take care!

God Bless!


The thing about 4-strokes is that the power isn't explosive. You simply twist your right wrist if you want more...especially with this machine. If you take some time to get used to the bike and add throttle gradually, you'll get there quickly. Thumpa is my racing buddy and he has advanced very quickly. He first crawled, then walked, and now he's running. I can actually SEE his improvement over a short period. This bike will allow you to advance quickly.

I'll have to go along with Boit on this one - the 426 has plenty of smooth power and seems to mentor the rider. Some of the (other slow) guys I use to bang bars with are falling further behind each race, and the 426 has a lot to do with it (no, I don't work for Yamaha or Motocross Action). Of course, even a slight improvement on a motocross track can make a big difference in your results. Possibly, the reason some people learn more quickly on this bike is because it's such a blast to ride.

The 426 also makes a good trail bike, although first gear is a bit tall for real tight, snotty conditions.

Well, after all that blab, I'll probably finish last in the next race. :)

Hi there,

I was out of the MX circuit for about twelve years until last summer when a friend of mine got himself a 426.

After taking it for a spin round the local track I was in love.....

Sure, this bike is awsome, but it is the nicest ride ever.

As long as Your brain is connected and You are not thinking with Your right hand it is a smooth pleasure.

I say.....GO FOR IT, You will not regret it!

I think what taffy meant is that unless you are agressive or expirienced or both, you may benefit from something less radical. i know people who started racing on a kx500 as their 1st bike, so just be smart and RESPECT this machine, or you will regret it. there are "easier" trail bikes out there, but this is by far the best for wheelies and racing.


Unless the 426 is radically different than the 400, it is a terrible trail bike for a beginner. It stalls easy, even with a weight. The suspension needs serious work for trail riding and needs to be geared down a lot. Many riders get frustrated trying to start the bike after a fall. It is a heavy bike to pick up and push around. You really have to love thumpers and live with some of its problems to ride the yzf. That being said, it is probably the most fun bike I have ever ridden. It has massive hp and hooks up well in any terrain. Most people fall in love with the adrenaline rush that comes with twisting the throttle. I did. I don't race mx, but think the yzf makes a great mxer for a more experienced rider. I am sure that I am in the minority here for not wholeheartedly praising the yzf, but there are much better bikes for trail riding than this one. Look at the KTM's and try riding a variety of bikes before making your decision. Good luck.

My story:

I was asking myself this same question last year at this time having never ridden a motorcycle in my life. I will tell you how I handled the situation. First of all, I was not intially interested in motocross, only woods riding. So I looked for a good easy to ride trail bike. I started with a mellow DR350 electric start, it was cheap and very user friendly. It is NOT a motocross bike though. I grew out of this bike in about two months and started looking for something with more power. I test rode a yz400 and I realized that it would kill me in the tight New England woods. So I got an XR400, this is an excellant woods bike. I rode it all last year and loved it, but it is not a motocross bike either, and it is not good for jumping.

Now having ridden for a year and having learned what type of riding I like to do, I have decided that I want a bike that will excel in the tight woods and that I can ride on the motocross track, so I am getting a WR250F.

My advice:

I think the best route is to buy a cheap used bike, that won't hurt you too bad and you won't mind if you dump it. Then once you are more confident with your skills and have a better idea of what you like to ride, then buy a powerful, newer bike.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck and have fun. Keep us posted on your decision...


May want to consider the WR400/426. Off the showroom floor its toned down quite a bit compared to the YZ, but as you get more comfortable you can remove the restrictions (airbox lid, exhaust baffle, throttle stop, change cam timing to YZ) and have a much stronger bike. Also the WR gearing is better suited to trail riding (lower 1st gear, higher fifth).

just my view

i got a yz250 last summer, not having ridden a bike since i left school. i managed on a few motocross and supercross tracks ,, until i flipped it on a set of severe whoops.

[broke bone in back and ripped ligaments in both knees]

the bikes powerband just spat me off.

i sold the bike while i was recovering and got a yz400 and started ridding before i had fully recovered [ still walking with a limp ]

i find the yz400 easier to ride fast both in the woods and on the track,, its less tiring, has smoother power delivery with fewer surprizes. and as of yet ive not had any magor big off's.

it can be a bit of a hand full in tight woods,, if i didnt ride motocross tracks i would buy a Wr400 though simply for the gearing.

and besides,,,,,,the sound they make pulls all the chicks

[well maybe]

Eric, someones comment about ease of riding the thumper is on the money. A friend of mine who used to race 125 expert 20 years ago caught the fever again after I started riding. He took a couple laps on my bike but bought a 125 because of his familiarity with it years ago. After getting on the track twice with the 125 and getting a feel for riding again, he got back on my bike. He brought the 125 back and bought a 2001 426. He commented on how much easier the 426 was to ride even though the 125 was 50 pounds lighter! The thumper just has a very stable feel to it because of the weight and the smoothe power band. I guess it is hard to find a bike suitable for trails and MX, but I think once you get on the MX track you will find that you will be on the trails alot less. By the way, I am neither aggressive nor experienced. I tend to ride very conservatively because I am a dentist and a broken wrist or anything of the sort would put a serious damper on my career. You only have to go as fast as you want to, but it's nice to have all that power at your command when you want to use it.

I forgot to mention, I have my 2000 426 since April of 2000. It is bone stock - stock chain, bars, etc. So far I've had a few oil changes, cleaned the filters, and adjusted the chain once. Still on the same spark plug. Have not had one single problem with the bike. Remember this site is for posting problems with the bikes, so I think the problems you see posted only happen with a small percentage of bikes sold. Just like the newspaper- the bad news makes the headlines, the god news makes it to the last page in small print.

In 99 I replaced my 98 KX250 with a 99 YZ400. I had been racing harescrambles for 1 year on the KX. I had started riding in 96 on a WR 250 before that, so I was not an experienced racer by any means. So I had only been riding 3 years when I got the YZ, and only racing 1 year.

When I first rode the YZ400 I was disappointed. It felt slow compared to the KX. I was confusing throttle response with acceleration, though. The YZ was very easy to ride, you could easily dial in whatever power you wanted. In comparison the KX felt like it had an on-off switch for a throttle. After about a month, my lap times on the YZ were much faster than the KX. I still think that the YZ400 is an easy bike to ride on an MX track. The traction and engine braking and the fewer needed shifts makes beginners go fast-several of my friends who rode it proved that to me. The YZ 400 is much more beginner friendly than a 426. I have an 01 now and I love it (despite my initial fouling problems), but it would have been a handful for me when I was learning.

That said, I don't think a yz400 is a good trail bike, especially for a beginner. I agree with 4banger on this-read his post carefully. I loved mine for HS, but you have to understand that our HS course does not have a tree within 100 yds of it. It is basically a 8 mile MX track. The YZF is an MX bike. If tight trails is going to be your focus, don't buy it. If you just want to put along with your wife (assuming she is not Steffy Bau or equivalent) every now and then, it would be OK. If you are going to focus on MX, and you know the basics, you will like the YZ400.

Am in similar situation. Started on CT70, then TM75, YZ80 and raced junior 125 for a summer in '81. Just bought a used '99 400 in November and am building it back up. It felt good to be back on a bike after a decade or so of mountain biking. Even though I love the workout and the health benefits of cycling I have always missed the adrenalin of MX. The thought of a 4 stroke always appealed to be but was turned off by the XR's for moto. I rode the beast briefly ( and it promplty blew my ball cap off my head )before bringing it downstairs for the tear-down and found the bike to be ridable though heavy at slow speeds but not as intimidating as I expected. As everyone said above if you ride within your ability and keep in mind that you need to go to work on Monday you should be fine. Do it for fun and for yourself, not to impress chicks ( in your case your chick )or your buds. Beware the eyes of the valley! :) ( skiers' talk )

[This message has been edited by Hugh LePage (edited 01-19-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Hugh LePage (edited 01-19-2001).]

Originally posted by Hugh LePage:

[This message has been edited by Hugh LePage (edited 01-19-2001).]

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