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Talk me out of a 450

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Here is the deal; I want to start racing some local hare scrambles and I am stuck between sacrificing the ease of riding a 450 4t or going for the lighter but harder to ride (for me at least) 250 2t. I am 16 and a high school athlete so I keep in good shape, I just don't know if I could take a 450 for a whole hare scramble, I don't really know what to expect since I have never raced.

I had been riding a 2006 yz 250 for about a year, has the FWW and good suspension and all the good stuff for a 2 stroke woods bike (besides a rekluse) and I was OK on it. I was fast but just not as fast I would like.

Last month I go out on a limb and get a 2006 Rmz 450, completely stock. I tore up the woods. I was riding faster on that than I ever was on any bike. I have a great time riding it, the only complaints I have is that is is heavy and wears me out quicker the occasional unreliable 4t hot start. I also just sold this bike. I bought it to flip not expecting to like it as much as I did.

So here are my current options:

A. Ride the yz 250 and get the rekluse and just get better on a 2t.

B. Get another 45o (yz450f most likely), have less of a challenge getting better but risk wearing out quicker.

C. Get a KTM 300 exc and have the best of both worlds. My father rode one for a while and I feel like that could be a good option.

A 250f is not an option for me either. I rode a 2007 yz250f for a year before the 250 2t and I just wasn't a huge fan, can't explain why really, just wasn't.

Sorry for the massive first post and thanks in advance for the help

Long time lurker,

Stump

Edited by StumpMX

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If it was my choice, I'd go with the KTM 300. I've been drooling over one of those for a while. That said, I like my YZ250F for woods, and I'll probably like it more once I get the 290 put on it and maybe a WR gearbox...

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Were you really faster on the 450? Only the clock can tell the truth - the 450 can fire you out of anything, and will feel faster because you are not used to it. Which is of course fun, but is it faster? Does going faster where the 450 gets the chance to use it muscles, and nursing it through everything else, make it faster overall?

And if it wears you out faster, you'll be slower in the end.

I say that if you are used to 2-strokes, you are faster on them too. If a 450 was the magic answer to going faster everywhere then everyone would be riding them. Hell, even in the WEC E2 class, the fastest bike this year was not a 450. It wasn't even KTM new 350. It was the Husky 310...

Just something for you to think about :smirk:

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I bought a Crf 450 and loved it on the trails, on the track everywhere I really liked it.

Then I raced it in a a few harescrambles...and I changed my mind. Tim Linder said it best- "Riding a 450 is like riding a school bus through the woods."

I sold my fully set up 450 and bought a 300xcw. My 300 is quicker, 70lbs lighter, and starts easier than my 450.

If you are going to race, I'd recommend the 250 if you are < 180 lbs and the 300 if you are a bigger guy like myself. If you are just going to trail ride and go to the occasional track day you'd be fine with any bike but now I'd still prefer my 300

Edited by STICKtime

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People using 450's for woods cracks me up.

A 250F or 250 smoker is plenty. I never rode one, but a KTM 200 seems like it would bridge the power gap and still have a light chassis. I've rode many trails on my 250 smoker and it's waaay more power than I ever need out there.

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Having just done half a season on a 450, which was my first race season ever here's a few things that might help you.

1. No matter how good you are, you're going to learn more about your physical fitness and riding skill in a few races than you will in years of riding with your buddies. Essentially, right now is not the best time to make your mind up. Ride a few races so that YOU know what to expect. What others tell you is how they feel, not how you are going to feel.

2. You're going to beat up your bike more in a race than you ever have, riding with your buddies. 4T rebuilds are expensive, 2T are cheaper.

3. Look at why bike makers went to 450 4T's. Arguably, they're made for firing the bike out of a big man made dirt berm and off a kicker to fly 60 feet over some triple. Not that 2 strokes are made for only off road racing, but they didn't evolve specifically for motocross the way 4T's did. I NEVER used anywhere NEAR all the power my bike had. I was 2nd and 3rd gear every race for the entire race. That's a lot of weight and wear and tear for using a small percentage of the bike.

4. To tie it all together... Racing is expensive. Ride what you have because you're going to tear the bike up. Both externally and internally. And until you get a feel for the kind of races that the clubs in your area put on (and you can only get this by racing them) just ride to finish. By the time summer comes around, you'll know what you really want.

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Thank you for all the input guys, always good to get all helpful posts! I think I am going to get adjusted back onto my good ol' yz250 and go have some fun, I am sure I will think myself when the next rebuild rolls around. :smirk:

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Get a KTM or GasGas 300. if you ride one...you wont be even on here asking about 450's...ive tried 450's in tight woods and it just beat me up. My YZ250 just didnt have enough low end, and wasnt that smooth. a bit hard to handle sometimes. I just got a GasGas300...wow...just lugs like a 450, has YZ250 top end...and is smooth as silk everywhere between. And while its a bit heavier than my yz250 was...its feels lighter and turns quicker. I also have ridden the KTM's they are great as well. but the GasGas just felt a lot better for me. Id really look into any color 300 2 stroke, i race mine in local harescrambles and you wont see me on anything else from now on...

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Having just done half a season on a 450, which was my first race season ever here's a few things that might help you.

1. No matter how good you are, you're going to learn more about your physical fitness and riding skill in a few races than you will in years of riding with your buddies. Essentially, right now is not the best time to make your mind up. Ride a few races so that YOU know what to expect. What others tell you is how they feel, not how you are going to feel.

2. You're going to beat up your bike more in a race than you ever have, riding with your buddies. 4T rebuilds are expensive, 2T are cheaper.

3. Look at why bike makers went to 450 4T's. Arguably, they're made for firing the bike out of a big man made dirt berm and off a kicker to fly 60 feet over some triple. Not that 2 strokes are made for only off road racing, but they didn't evolve specifically for motocross the way 4T's did. I NEVER used anywhere NEAR all the power my bike had. I was 2nd and 3rd gear every race for the entire race. That's a lot of weight and wear and tear for using a small percentage of the bike.

4. To tie it all together... Racing is expensive. Ride what you have because you're going to tear the bike up. Both externally and internally. And until you get a feel for the kind of races that the clubs in your area put on (and you can only get this by racing them) just ride to finish. By the time summer comes around, you'll know what you really want.

hey mike hows the dirt up there in reno, im guessing thats where you live. Are you riding a 2 stroke? Down here we got this concrete hard packed dirt

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I Must say i am a bit spoilt as i have a 07yz250 smoker and as of a week ago i bought a 10 kato 300exc, I took both bikes out this week end and love them both.

The yz is a really nice aggressive bike with a light front end (lighter than the Kato) Corners so easily and the precise power delivery rocks when your looking at a tree

The Kato's power is clean and very uasable , Just eats the hill climbs with ease, and the extra gear changes the world when you really give the 450's a run for their money ..

The yz in the sand dunes is ok,450's rock and the 300 is awesome even thou i didnt get the chance to really work it over.

I had 3 450's and for me found them far too heavy as i am not as young as i once was , i dont know why but i can take that yz and flog it and without a doubt keep up with the 450's everywhere except the sand dunes and this is why i wanted a kato 300

Also i need a road registered bike for a couple of safaris we are about to do. Electric start is a fantastic addition but only when your stuck somewhere say up a steep hill .

I love the yz and as of this moment not sold on the 300. but i must admit once i get the feel for it i am sure it will be loaded a few more times a year

Regards dazza

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i think a 450 is too much for you. i also rode a 450 with 15 years, but then i changed to 125 2 stroke. more fun and its harder to ride fast with it, if you want to get real fast, take a 250 4stroke or 125 2 stroke...

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Dazza, my father is jealous of you! He is trying to get his hands on an e-start 300, great bikes for sure.

And goonrider, the 125 may be fun on the track, but in the woods it wouldn't have near the power to haul me around for a 2 hours race.

The Eric Gorr kit is an option in the future, but for now I want to use the 250 to it's full potential before going bigger.

Finally, Zach, that video is irrelevant. I know the maintenance record on both 4t and 2t seeing as I have owned and ridden both for quite some time (250 4t though).

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The 450 will be fine in the bush, its you that will be the problem. If you can ride enough and keep in good enough shape the 450 will be fun. The nice thing about 250 2t, 250 4t and 125s is that you can get away without having to train as hard to keep you conditioning up. I ride/race a 250 2t because of that reason. I might go a week or two without throwing a leg over the bike and then show up at a race. I might be a little winded at first but nothing compared to a 450.

My brother figured that out, he told me if you can ride 3 or more days a week a 450 is awesome to ride/race. If your going to get less days in then it can be too much.

If you can afford it, the 300 is awesome. I have a KTM 250xc, it doesnt produce the bottom-end of the 300 but is such a smooth motor thats just awesome to ride/race. They just dont wear you out that quick because they produce such a mellow powerband

Edited by Pumpkin450sxf

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hey mike hows the dirt up there in reno, im guessing thats where you live. Are you riding a 2 stroke? Down here we got this concrete hard packed dirt

Dirt in Reno is spectacular right now. Some places it's even still wet. Never seen moisture stick around so long up here. We've been out as often as possible and the race season is starting in a week. Gonna be a great year :smirk:

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Getting actual lap times would be good to see if you really are faster or you just feel faster. If your HS's are layed out anything like ours here in NC I'd be hard pressed to believe you are faster on the 450. There just are not that many places that the extra power is effectively utilized. Bermed turn into a 60 foot double is something else though and thats where the big 450 shines and what it was designed to do. The 300 is great middle ground for hare scrambles in my book. I've never ridden a 450 for any large amount of time in the woods but did spend some time on a modded 400 before switching to the 300. I'd never go back.

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go look up how much a piston, valves, camshaft, timing chain, new head, and tappets cost. That should do the trick and make you hate the idea of actual ownership of a 4 stroke. i could not live with the worry of blowing up a $1800 top end.

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