YZ 400 Verses 426; all educated opinions welcome

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#1
I am on the market for a used YZ 400 or 426. I have not been on a bike in about 5 years...last bike was a KX500. I want to give some mx racing a try and feel the 500's are just too much for the mx tracks of today being so supercross influenced. So I figured the YZ 400 or 426 would be a good choice becuase the 4 stroke power is so forgiving. My question to anyone who has knowlege of these 2 is: What is the difference besides the cc's. Recomendations and suggestions are much appretiated. :think
 
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#2
I own an 01'yz 426, have ridden numerous 400's, there is a difference but the rider can make the biggest difference. There are lots of good deals on used 4xx's out there, both would suit your purpose great. If going 400, go for the 99' it had the tweaks and updates after the first year model and is solid, as for the 426's, the 01' has had very few quirks. The bikes are powerful, fast and forgiving..fun factor is high. Good luck
 
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#3
There really isn't a bad model year out there. In general terms, each new model for the YZF has been an improvement over the prior year. (I had a 98 400 and currently have a 00 426.)

The 426 obviously has a few more horsepower and quicker response. The handling is also better as they tightened up the steering geometry in 00. Each year, they have improved the suspension, made reliability improvements and slightly decreased the weight (though not by much). However, all test reviews have generally praised each model year as being very reliable and having good suspension. Keep in mind that each model year has typically been rated as one of the best MX bikes for that given year.

I would set a price target and determine the latest model year that fits within that price range. Then try and find a bike of that vintage that is in good condition.

Others may disagree, but I would avoid any 400 models that have been bumped up to a higher displacement.
 

Zoomer

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#4
I have a 400, and just got off thumps 400 (420) tweaked by Eric and RR.
What a bike, for just 17cc and a 426 rod kit, the ultimate bike. not even close to the stock 400. Mine is stock, and never did a thing to it, and still runs good.
comes down to price/condition.
 

Thump

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#6
Originally posted by spt23dc
Why avoid models which have been bumped up to larger bore?:think
Some think they make the bike less durable...:think In the case for the 400 going up to 417 it is not a huge jump in displacement and generally are very reliable. At DW01 Billywho blew up 2 420's so one might think that they are suspect but that is simply not so....BTW he also blew up a power washer, a z50, Patman's chair, the dogs water bowl, his tent, TTRGuys truck, the list goes on...

Billy's bike busted the clutch basket (not the fault of the 420 kit) and he blew my already leaking head gasket (also not the fault of the 420 kit) Aside from the additional 17cc's you gain a tighter squish clearance which cures the low end bog associated with the 400's and allows quicker reving.

The difference between the 400 and the 426 is noticable out of corners for sure, the difference between the 400 and the BB 420 kit is night and day. I am obviously a huge fan of the 400/420 kit, not taking anything away from a 426 but if I was buying used I would look for a 400 bone stock, get used to it and if you need more power go to the 420 kit by Eric and Rich.
 

SFO

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#7
Buying a USED dirtbike...

It is always 50/50 that you get hosed buying a used dirtbike.
The "F's" are great bikes that wear out like any other.
The minutea of percieved quality vs. year is negligable.
Buying a used bike is dicey, but the cr-"F" is making newer YZ-"F's" cheaper.
I have seen 426's for under 4k and 400's for low 3's.
Hammered vs. pampered is a more relevant gauge, I believe.
THEN YOU CAN UNLEASH THE GORE/ROHRICH TORRENT!
 
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#8
I made the comment re: avoiding bored-out 400's. I realize that many readers enjoy making such modifications and that is fine. No offense intended.

However, based on your original question, it seems that you're looking to re-enter the sport, buy a used YZF and want to know if there are any particular model years to avoid / seek. Based on that, I would try and find a good condition bike that fits within the average price range for the newest model year you can afford.

SFO is right, the YZF market is softening. (I would quickly sell you my 00 426 for $4K.) Given that, I wouldn't put alot of value in trying to "save" some money by buying a bored-out 400 to get a 426-equivalent. High risk that the modifications are not up to snuff. A shade-tree mechanic may place alot of value on his work quality, but as a potential buyer, I value the factory R&D / work alot higher.
 
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#9
doing my research

I found and excellent condition YZ400 and was just about to lay down the cash. The night before the purchase, I was online doing all the research
I could find. First was I talked to Eric Gorr and he said get the 426...a 400 will need over $1000. in parts compared to the 426. Then on thumper talk I read how it is not all that uncommon for the 400s connecting rod to break. So IM saying to myself ok...definately 426. Then I read how the 426 gas tanks are cracking pretty regularly due to thinner walls. Now IM starting to think I should go back to my old standard a CR500 (I never had a problem with a Honda)! I love the thought of owning one of these 4 strokes but all the problems IM hearing about..I have never owned a Yamaha, but I am wondering if their reliability and crfaftsmanship is up to par...(I tried to e mail Yamaha directly from their home site many times, and they never even acknowlege recieving my mail...I have read other trying to get customer service and they come up empty too....seems Yamaha does not care much about their customers)......any suggestions or comments cause now IM confused as to what is legitimate gripes and BS.
 
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#10
Find a YZF4xx that doesn't look excessively crashed, has an owner who likes doing frequent oil changes, hasn't dicked with the carb, hasn't had the engine apart for repairs etc (easy to find) - and your best indication is if it's still on the original tires and maybe even chain - then you KNOW it's hardly been used. Don't worry about the clutch grabbing, it's a simple cheap 2001 plate swap fix. Lots of tanks around used, but no local guys have cracked tanks. Keep you eye open for such a beast and you'll do good. I've been totally trouble free for 2 seasons now on a 2000 426.

On the other hand, if the bike's beaten up it's also probably been power shifted to hell at the red line rpm - ie max engine/tranny wear conditions. There are reports of 2000 4th and 5th gears occasionally cracking. It all boils down to getting a pretty fresh, low use bike. Especially ask about oil changes frequency by the previous owner.
 

will pattison

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#12
i've had 2 400's and currently have a '99 and an '00 426. i put nearly 200 hours of racing time on my first one - a '98 model - and i had absolutely zero rod or crank problems. the bike was the most bulletproof machine i have ever owned. was it trouble free? no. none of them are, and none of the manufacturers stand behind them even when the problem you are having - like a cracked '00 426 gas tank - is their fault. it's just part of the dirt biking condition.

as has been mentioned, the 426 handles better, hits harder, and has better suspension. the carb design is also much cleaner and easier to work on. i have nearly 40 motocross hours on my 426, and i have had zero issues other than the cracked tank - note that i am still running the stock clutch basket.

frankly, many of the problems you read about with these motorcycles are due to riding style or mechanic error. having said that, i should also say that i pound mine heavily and do all my own work. if you search my name on either drn or thumper, you will probably find some reports i've done on teardowns and freak issues i had with the '99 - it did grenade the motor. as to that, however, history shows that i will roast one about every 5 years. it was time.

bottom line: buy one. chose carefully, but buy one for sure. you will love it.

good luck!

wp.
 
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#13
Thanks Will; Dead ENG. Start need info

Will Pattison. Thanks for all of your info. I am always willing to learn and you were very informative. You have made me feel a lot better about purchasing one of these Yamaha 4 strokers.

Dead Eng Start: Where are you located? What is the bikes history? What is your price? E mail me with any info you can supply. My e mail is spt23dc@aol.com Look forward to hearing form you soon.

Any other 400 or 426 owners with some info to spill I would be most interested in hearing what you have to say about your bikes.
 
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#14
spt23dc: I agree with will.

Originally posted by will pattison

bottom line: buy one. chose carefully, but buy one for sure. you will love it.

good luck!

wp.
You hear about the bad stuff 10 times more than the good. I don't actually "own" one, but have ridden my friends every year. ( He has purchased the 400/426 every year). They were good to start with and have improved every year. Personally, I would go with a 426, if you had to compare stock bikes. Better clutch, brakes, throttle response, suspension and power. Not that the 400 was bad in any way - I am just comparing showroom/stock bikes.

I heard next year it is going to be a 450?

I JUST rode the 02' 426 for 5 hot laps and it pulls a little harder off the bottom than the 01', Must be the minor carb changes and ignition mapping. The suspension felt great, but of course, it is not broken in yet. It seemed to run a little leaner and have a hiccup in the bottom end over the 01', but a 1/4 turn out on the air/fuel screw fixed that right up and it really rips. Alot to hang onto compared to my 250F that is for sure! I don't think you can go wrong with a 00' or 01' 426 that has been taken care of.
:)
 
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#15
I have read other trying to get customer service and they come up empty too....seems Yamaha does not care much about their customers
You have to think about how many e-mails this company must get in a day. Just take a look at their website and see how many hits it gets daily - if you received over 25,000 hits a day, and only 5% of those people e-mailed you with a question, how many employees would it take to respond to all the questions?

This is the same reason that you can't call up Honda of America, or Yamaha (or any other major manufacturer). Your local shop is supposed to be "yamaha" or "honda" for all intents and purposes.

Of course, the theory falls flat when you go into your local Yamie shop and the gomer at the counter only rides harleys! The manufacturers really need to get back into the business of educating their dealer networks.

Anyway - back to the topic at hand: Although the 400 and the 426 are very reliable, they are still race-bred engines and require regular maintenance (including new piston, rings, timing chain, etc). For this reason, I'd lean more towards a newer bike, or one with less hours.

The 426's we've set up for our racers in the last year have been easier to ride, and much easier to start than our 400 race bikes of a few years ago.
 
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