2004 Yamaha YZ450F

I really don't know how I ended up with this bike- it just followed me home!  You can read part of the story on the KTM page (bottom), but  basically I had a KDX200, KX125, and KTM200sx, all of which needed a little work and were 2-4-10 year old bikes.  I needed to reduce clutter and maintenance and decided to sell the KDX, and then sell either the KX or KTM and roll the $$$ into the remaining bike.  I couldn't decide which one to sell and made a post on DirtRider.net in which I asked for advice- "Keep the KX, or keep the KTM?"   I ended that post with "I don't want new and I don't want a 4-stroke".  I might as well added "...and I don't want blue."  A Yamaha YZ450F was about the farthest thing from my mind.  A 250 two-stroke, maybe.  Then I dropped by my local Yamaha dealer, Hester's Yamaha/Kawasaki, to see what was going on, and there on the floor were two brand-new, left-over 2004 YZ450F's.  I checked the price, did some quick mental calculations, and figured that if I sold all 3 of my current bikes I could afford a new one!  John Hester and I got to talking and the deal just keep getting better and better.  I left, went home, and started seriously researching the YZ450F.  I was especially concerned about reliability since when a big 4-stroke goes "pow", it costs a lot of $$$.  Inside of a week, thanks mostly to ThumperTalk, I decided that if any 450F was reliable, it was the Yamaha.  I posted my KTM on KTMTalk, the KX125 on posters around town, and ended up selling BOTH of them w/in 12 h. of each other!  Keep in mind that I'd been advertising the KX for about 3 months!  I really would have been fine keeping one or the other, but with a buyer in hand, I let 'em both go.  Now I was w/in $1000 of the YZ450F and I still had the KDX200 (which I'd been trying to sell all summer).  A new bike was definitely on the horizon now, but I still had questions: YZ250F, YZ250, or YZ450F?  I met John at the track on Sunday afternoon and rode both his 250F and 450F.  The 450F was fun.  So, on Tues, I took the KDX to Hester's and picked up the YZ450F.  On Friday, John called and told me he's sold the KDX!  For my asking price!  I not only had the YZ paid off, but had $300 left-over.  Amazing!  Thank you, Lord! 

Another funny thing about this bike is that John had it hanging from the ceiling with a dummy "rider" on it for 2 years.  2004 is the year Chad Reed won the AMA Supercross Series ('cause Ricky Charmichael wasn't racing that year, most likely!), thus the number "1" on the plate.  Anyway, every time I went into the store, I'd hassle John about the YZ hanging from the ceiling and how ironic is it that it turned out to be mine?!  Of course, after bringing it home, I had to go back to DirtRider.net and point out the irony of the whole situation.  Then I asked John to go ahead and hang an '07 from the ceiling and I'll buy it below cost in a couple of years.  He didn't bite.


There it is- a brand-new YZ450F with maybe 2 hrs on it.  I immediately put an hour meter on it, ordered 2 Twin Air filters, ProTaper Charmichael bend bars, and a new Regina O-ring chain.  Later on, I found some Works Performance radiator and frame guards on ebay and added those.  I also added a gripper seat and cut a "step" in the front of the seat which lowered  the seat height about 1" and really helps short lil' ol' me [more on this at bottom of page].


Pictures taken from a video from the Raton track.  I learned a lot from this video and have made some corrections to my riding style.  For instance, I noticed that when coming into a corner, that I slide my butt up on the seat, but let my upper body go upright instead of keeping it bent over the bars.  Looking at the video, I noticed how "old school" I looked- I looked like Jim Pomeroy or Brad Lackey and not McGrath, Carmichael, etc.  My upper body is too upright, my head is too far from the bars, my elbows are down, and so on.  I started working on posture and on relaxing my hands on the bars, to the point where I'd deliberately open my hands in a corner and on straights and keep a very loose "circular" grip on the bars.  I also zip-tied a piece of stiff old fuel hose to the front number plate to put my chin where it oughta be.  While riding, I tried to keep my helmet chin-guard touching this hose at all times.  It did help a lot and I think my form is a lot better now- I certainly feel better on the bike.  YouTube video of me riding this bike.

Above:  These are some graphics I bought on Ebay from "Doxo Racing".  I used these on my KTM200sx and they were okay.  On the YZ, though, they were awful.  They fell off, literally fell off, almost immediately after this picture was taken.  I tried sticking them to the garage door and the next day they were laying on the floor.  Terrible graphics.  Plus the baby blue just doesn't look good on the YZ, IMHO.

Above:  After that failed experiment, I got some OEM style graphics.  They stuck great and looked good.  I ran the black number plates for awhile and then finally removed them just before I sold the bike.

I made a few small modifications to this bike while I had it.  I ran an FMF Q2 pipe which I didn't initially like as it bogged off idle and didn't run clean until about 1/2 throttle.  My dealer suggested dropping the needle 1 clip so I dropped it 2 clips.  After that, I almost preferred the Q2 to the stock pipe!  It was smoother, smaller, and definitely quieter.   I also tried a dB Dawg insert in the stock pipe.  That also made a dramatic change in noise and the bike ran very well it in, again with the stock needled dropped 2.  It also made the bike much harder to start.  I settled on the Q2 and was happy.  The second modification I made was a Dubach Racing flywheel weight.  I got the medium weight and let me tell you- I should have done that the day I bought the bike.  It made it so much smoother and tractable it was unbelievable.  It stalled much less and would typically carry a gear higher into a corner easily.  For instance, stock, 3rd gear wanted to stall in some corners. With the Dubach flywheel, I never stalled it again.  Clutching out of a corner was also much more effective.  The engine just carried more momentum.  This was a definite improvement to the stock bike.  Last thing I did was ditch my "step" seat (shown above) and put a full gripper SDG seat on it (seen in the Doxo picture).  Even though I appreciated the little extra lower height of the stepper, the full height seat let me slide up on the tank a lot better and the SDG's full grip really made a big difference.

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