426 Reliability

I have been reading a lot of posts about guys replacing their blue bikes for the red bike that will be released in October. They say they want to switch to a bike with better reliability...even though the new red bike isn't tried and tested.

A number of guys think that the new CRF450 is going to be much more reliable than the Yammie. I guess I'm not sure and I'll tell you why.

Back in the '82 (sixth grade) my first four-popper was a DR125 the most reliable bike ever produced on this planet (sorry XR fans but it is true, crappy bike but very reliable). As a matter of fact, the bike still runs and my nephew rides it.

In '84 I switched to an XR200R, '85 an XR250R, and in '86 I had (3)Yamaha TT350's. Both XRs died in the early 90's due to over-use (the bikes had 30-40k miles on them). Two TT's died in mid 90's and my remaining old TT finally gave it up last week with similar mileage on it (I'm a farmer in case you are wondering and these bikes transport hired help all over the farm to irrigate).

All the bikes had monthly oil changes (which isn't too much considering the mileage put on them per month) and air filter cleanings.

I guess my point is that the TT's were just as reliable as the XR's in my opinion. How can we say that a new Honda is going to be more reliable when history doesn't really back it up?

The main problem with the YZ426 is that it is a 4 stroker that cranks nearly 50hp. If you want the power, you must be willing to deal with sudden engine problems.

Ultimately, I'm happy with a blue bike until I see something that is proven better. Just my opinion guys.

Mark Knight


I agree with Knight Rider 100%!!! I also Owned a 86' TT350. It was the most reliable bike I've ever seen. I jumped the hell out of it. 15' was nothing uncommon. I destroyed my self because the suspension couldn't hang. I landed on top of my fathers dun buggy with it and destroyed the buggy frame but the bike rolled away with a little dent in the frame. I once ran it out of oil and the stupid thing still ran another weekend at the desert before we noticed. Opps, rings and it was good to go. As for the YZ400/426 Knight Rider hit it right on the head with the fact that it's a high performance motor. It's not supposed to last for ever and it has to be maintained IE tinkered with to keep performing as a high performance motor.



When in doubt, GAS IT!

What are you, YELLOW?

IMO few people truly understand machinery of any type as well as the average farmer does, they make their living depending on it and often do most (sometimes all) maintenance and repairs themselves, on site (can’t really throw that 30 ton JD in the truck and take it into town), so they ought to know what is what. I believe this is borne out in KnightRiders post.



00 YZ426F

01 TT-R125L (my son's)

91 CR125

83 YZ490

74 Hodaka Super Combat(gone but not forgotten!)

Hate to be the proverbial wrench in the spokes guys, but we're talking 15 years of development from those examples. What has changed? How about Honda building Formula 1 engines that kick ass. How about my brothers Honda Accord that has 250K on it and it's still not burning any oil. How about my Dad's weedwacker that will double as a lawnmower if you feel enticed to do so. How about Honda standing behind my '87 CR 125 and giving me a whole new engine after it failed a top end bearing. Yea, 6 months out of warranty nonetheless. How about Yamaha telling me to take a hike after I lost 4th gear on my 426 last year, after owning for just 2 months. Not kosker, not even funny. I am buying a new CRF450R for two reasons. One, I believe Honda has more experience in 4 stroke motor technology than Yamaha and I am loyal to a company that takes care of me (the paying customer) when all hell breaks loose in my motor. Yes, we are talking about motorcycles that have 50hp and that are pushing the reliability limits, so certain failures will happen due to pure statistical analysis. But, when **** does brake, I want a company that is interested in how and why and not just the bottom line.

If I was playing Roulette, I'm betting on Red boys and girls. All of you antying up for the new Yamaha 450, you'll have your share of new changes that will keep your nerves wondering for the first several months as well.

Anything that is mechanical can break for any reason at any time. The only thing we can do is to perform regular service and hope for the best.


I believe I read somewhere that Yamaha builds motors for Toyota, or did. And we all know the quality of Toyotas, right. My point is that Yamaha has done many things other than just building dirtbikes as well. Honda builds nice stuff, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that as far as high performance 4 stroke motors go, Yamaha builds the best now, and still will when the Honda comes out. The Yamaha will probably have more HP over a broader range than the Honda as well, whether Yamaha goes to the 450 or not. Just my prediction...we'll see.

One thing is certain right now, the 426 puts out the most HP relative to engine size of any comparable bike. With that, they also put the rest of the package together pretty nicely.

I probably am biased as I have not had a single problem with my '00 426 in the 18 months that I've had it.

Just some thoughts.

I agree that Honda makes a more bullet-proof bike but you have to look at the technology, the XR's are still air cooled. I've owned 15 bikes in my life and the latest is this 426 and so far it's one of may favorites. I suppose that makes me baby it mechanically a bit more which is probably why I haven't had much trouble with it. I've owned 2 XR's and an XL and never did anything to them but change the oil. Kinda like a Murray lawn mower, just use them 'til their dead. But every time I get this 426 on a track it's worth all the extra effort...

I will agree, the XR's have been a Cash Cow for Honda for so many years, there was no reason for them to change them. Why retool when we're selling thousands of the same models we have right now. Even with the development of the 450's, Yamaha and Honda will make all their money with TTR's, XR's, Fourwheelers, and cruiser street bikes. Do you know how much margin they have on those street cruisers? It's huge compared to a dirt bike. Regardless, the real winner here is us, the general public. We get to see the sport develop in areas that haven't been touched before. Hi-perf four strokes that will our stomachs to the moon and back.

I do have to disagree that Yamaha is on top in four stroke technology though. You must realize that Honda has many secret weapons that they will only bring to the marketplace when needed. Honda is a four stroke motor company and that's their specialty. They put some serious technology into Indy and Formula 1, of which I don't recall Yamaha enter into. My personal opinion, the servo valve technology or hydralic valve technology (no drive train or cam's needed) will eventually make it's way into the four stroke motors of motocross. With that, future motors in my opinion will be very different from what we use today. Ultimately, more power out of a smaller package.

Whether or not Yamaha or Honda produces the most HP, it's the usability of the package, not "Let's rip their arms off with 65hp."

The 426's power and package is very usable and I hope the same fate for Honda. Knowing them, I have confidence that the mystery bike won't let us down.

Originally posted by daveyg:

Hate to be the proverbial wrench in the spokes guys, but we're talking 15 years of development from those examples. What has changed?

With Honda, not much has changed in their four-strokes. The XR650 is a little different than the old 600 but the XR250 today is nearly the same as the XR250 of ten years ago. Honda had the world by the tail in the 80's and became complacent while Yamaha really has been the innovation king since the mid-90's by having the most competitive bikes on the track.

I, for one, am hoping that Honda does make a rad 4stroke but what I am saying is that it probably will not have improved reliability over the '01 426...

Honda has it's gremlins just like everyone else. Remember early '90's CR's? Broken swingarms were common. Late '90's CR's blew cranks so often they were recalled. Run a piston too long in any bike and it will grenade. I had to replace 3rd gear in my '74 Elsinore every several races! I like Hondas, but I've had just as many problems with them as any other brand. Oh yeah, then there's that horrible frame and suspension they have had since '97. I sold my '97 CR250 because of those problems. I'm sorry, but Yamaha has the best handling MX bike on the market right now, and the 426 has more power than I know what to do with. If I sell my YZ250F, it will be to buy a '02 YZ450F!


I agree with you - Honda builds a great machine. Their 4 stokes are awesome - my lawn mower starts on the first pull everytime. Oh wait, it's got a Kawasaki in it. :) And yes, they've built some incredible race cars. But to say that no one else has is a little quick. Have you ever seen a Ford LeMans car? Real funny looking car with these big wings - those Ford motors are built by Ford, designed by Yamaha. A Ford Taurus SHO makes 230hp - not too shabby for a 4dr sedan. My aunt has one - pop open her hood and what does it say - it says Ford - keep looking and you'll find the tuning fork logo. Now onto Superbikes - just when everyone thought they'd catch the awesome R1, Yamaha unleashes the incredible R6. Jet Skies, Jet Boats, Snomobiles - the list keeps going. My boat has a Yamaha 225hp outboard - it rips.

They all build incredible products. Kawie, Zuk, Red or Blue.

Oh yeah, my brothers 2000 Honda Civic V-Tec -18k miles total. That's 5k on the first motor and 13k on the 2nd one. It's just luck of the draw.

I hope you don't take offense - I am not trying to piss anybody off. I'm just expressing an opinion. And beleive me - I agree that Honda builds an incredible machine, no matter what they build. I just don't see them as a leader. I see them as always copying - granted they usually improve on designs. They couldn't beat Ducati, so they built their own V-Twin. They couldn't beat BMW, so they changed the logo and created Acura. I beleive I also saw a Honda jet ski prototype in a magazine somewhere. Go figure!

[This message has been edited by Odie (edited 05-24-2001).]


No offense taken. I knew Yamaha had built some motors for Ford and the SHO motor is fast indeed. Yea, they build some great marine motors as well. I think every one of the big guys finds a place where they shine as far as motors go. Kawie motors are no slouch, but I'm still wondering what the heck Suzuki is doing. Seems like they are stuck in the 80's. Just my opinion of course. Yes, Decoster is doing a great job for them, but they have to reinvent the wheel instead of just bolting parts onto their existing one.

Everyone either bleeds blue, green, red,yellow, orange, or ? who knows what else is out there. I'm biased because I've always had good luck with Honda, even when I had bad luck with Honda. They took care of me when things broke. I would suspect that they would do the same for that Civic that lost two motors. That's called Warranty, unless your brother put every aftermarket item known to man on it. Unfortunately, a 30day warranty on a motocross bike isn't much good. Most people don't ride their bikes but 5 or 6 times in the first month anyway. Most motor mishaps can develop over time and that's a good reason to wait and get a model that has been in production for several months. :-)

Odie, ford dropped the SHO because the 24 valve 4 cam ford motor is faster, take it from a ford mech. for the last 30 yrs who has owned a 96 sho and a 00 3.0L. The SHO was under powered for the money and the most expensive to repair. You don't want to compare an SHO sled to a 426. Ford realized they made a mistake and dropped the yamaha over complicated, under powered engine. My .02 cents mike

I thought (like the Vette ZR-1) Yamaha was contracted to only ASSEMBLE these motors. The design and material were all Ford, Chev. etc.. Am I wrong?

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