There’s a reason you may see a high number of used 450cc four-stroke motocross bikes for sale with low hours on them. Why is that? Do they have a common problem that is prone to failure? Usually not, but the nut attached to the handlebar occasionally does….
If you’ve ridden the big 750s and 800 motorcycles back in the 60s and 70s, you’ll know that technology has come a long way in just half a century. Well, guys that rode them back when they were young and the bikes were fresh don’t always realize this when their inner “teen” years come back and they want a dirt bike. When looking at the selection of bikes, they see that the biggest is “only” 450cc (not including dual-sport). Thinking back to their super bikes back in the day that were twice the size, weight, and not nearly as powerful per cubic inch of engine displacement, they thought they could easily hop on a 450F and man-handle it. Well, that’s when things go wrong…
Motocross bikes have changed in almost every way from 35 years ago. They are lighter, stronger, more powerful per cubic-inch, betting handling and suspension, and easier to get into trouble with. The sheer torque of a 450cc motocross bike will make a grown man require a new pair of whitey-tighties. Being able to wheelie at almost any given RPM and gear, it will toss you right on your bum before you can say “Watch this!”. “Ripping your arms off” is no longer a figure-of-speech.
So, why am I writing this to you? Well, it’s basically a forewarning to you if you’re considering buying a 450cc motocross weapon. If you are fairly new to the bike scene, or have been off them for years, do not take them for granted. Start on a less-powerful and cheaper bike. Then, skill-permitting, you can move up in displacement. I would definitely suggest a smaller bike if you’re going to Start Motocross Racing. A 125cc 2-stroke is plenty for 99% of novice riders. A 250F (four-stroke) can also be good if you are a die-hard four-stroke rider). If you disagree, check out my post, “So You Think You Know How To Ride A Motocross Bike…“.
I’m not here to scare people. I’m just here to inform you that the more power you have under your butt, the more likely you can get into trouble. With that said, whether you’re on an XR100 or a Kx450F, have fun, and ride safe!