Letter Of The Week: So Many Choices!

DBT,
OK, now you’ve rode the new 2019 Yamaha YZ450FX and YZ250FX and also the KTM 350 EXC-F. My question–I’m 260 pounds and tall. I have a Yamaha YZ250 but looking for a new bike for single trail, maybe a Hare Scramble fun racing bike. Which one would be a good bike?

I love the light feeling of my two-stroke 250, that is why I’m not really feeling well about a 450. But your comments on the new YZ450FX makes me want to look at it now. I’m also looking at 300 too. On top of that, I would like to have fuel injection because I go from sea level to 6000 feet. My YZ 250 is older (like me) and I have things to tame it down too . So you thoughts would be great appreciated.

Starkey Via YouTube

Starkey,

You are asking for a lot here and spoiled with options. In fact with so many options it is clouding your vision. But the good thing is that you will be happy no matter what direction you go because bikes have become so much better. Your YZ250 is older. Even if it is new, it is still 2005 since that bike has not changed that much.

We don’t have ESP but we can read and guess into things. (And we hope we edited the original letter properly so that the YZ250 was indeed a YZ250 and not a YZ250F?!?) You are a Yamaha guy and those blue bikes have a place in your heart. But some of these Orange ones have something that is shiny and new. Fuel injected two-strokes and 350cc four-strokes are identifying with characteristics you would like your bike to have–things that your current bike is lacking in.

So let’s break it down. If you go four-stroke the YZ450FX will feel significantly heavier than most any two-stroke. But compared to 450cc four-strokes of just a few years ago that weight is much less, in feel. It is a combination of how more power makes a bike feel heavier and the rotational masses in the engine behave, you can’t get past these characteristics, but being a bigger rider certainly helps. Yes it has power and the Yamaha Power Tuner app is one of the best innovations in the last few years, allowing the bike to morph into many duties.

No matter what the YZ250FX will be lacking in power compared to any of the bikes mentioned. But it will feel much lighter and these new fuel injected four-strokes have way more torque and pull than they get credit for. But at 260 pounds, tugging that mass up a hill has a direct effect on performance that typically requires additional displacement. If Yamaha (or GYTR) made a 300cc or 350cc kit for that bike, watch out!)

Here is where the KTM 350EXC-F fits into the mix. The additional displacement adds a little more torque to the mix and KTM has some of the lightest feeling and handling bikes out there. All good, right? Well since this is an emissions and street legal setup, truthfully it makes about the same power levels as a racing 250cc four-stroke like the Yamaha FX. So with this bike you’ll need to spend some time, money and effort to convert it into a race bike. Including the suspension as the PDS is critical on having a proper spring rate for the weight of the rider.

But if we were to wager a bet on the best of all worlds based on your question we would have to say looking at a 300cc two-stroke is the proper option. And since KTM now makes a fuel injected version with TPI, even better. An it is electric start–take that Yamaha two-stroke riders. All at a weight that will have all four-strokes shoving a proverbial finger down their intake–barffff. There is even a white colored version of this mythical KTM 300 XCW but we never get test bikes so they may not exist in our world!

But like we said you really will not by a bad bike, no matter which direction you go. You just may buy the wrong bike for you if you don’t first dig deeper into your needs.

Let us know what you choose on, we are always interested to see how it works out.

JIMMY

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