More information is emerging regarding Honda’s 2001 4-stroke motocross bike. The “YZ400/426 killer” is virtually production-ready, but additional testing will be made before the machine is introduced to the public. It is believed that Honda originally planned a 400cc machine, but, like Cannondale, is re-thinking displacement in light of Yamaha’s increase in the displacement of the YZ400 to 426cc for 2000.
As we recently reported, in response to Yamaha, Cannondale upped the displacement of their production machine to 432cc. Obviously, manufacturers will be inclined to have a slightly higher displacement than Yamaha to gain an edge on the sales floor (to avoid customer thoughts like “why should I buy a 400, when a 426 costs the same”).
Apparently, Honda is pleased with their development of the bike, and expect it to be hands-down better than the YZ426. Let’s keep in mind, however, that Yamaha does not tend to rest on it’s laurels. For example, Yamaha significantly revised it’s stunning R1 sportbike just two years after it’s introduction in order to meet the challenge of Honda’s CBR929RR.
Will Yamaha also have a substantially revised YZ426 next year? We’re not sure, but you can expect at least minor tweaking to the existing YZ426, and, perhaps a substantially new bike in 2002.
The 4-stroke motocross battle has heated up substantially this year with the introduction of new products from KTM, Husaberg, and Cannondale. With Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki undoubtedly close behind, the world of motocross may well be dominated by 4-strokes within two years, at least at the amateur level. What a change this will be from just three years ago, before Yamaha introduced it’s revolutionary YZ400.