– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

KTM, Cannondale to challenge updated YZ426

Let’s face it. Yamaha can hear their footsteps. Cannondale, Honda, KTM and others. They’re coming, and they’re packing all new, serious off road four-stroke machines.

The KTM prototypes are already winning motocross races and enduros in Europe. The Cannondale entry has more trickness than any machine seen to date (including electric start, reversed cylinder, air intake in the head stock, cassette transmission and electronic fuel injection). The Honda is still an unknown, but don’t expect anything less than an excellent, highly competitive four-stroker.

Yamaha got the jump on them all with the YZ 400F in 1998. Still selling like hot cakes, Yamaha significantly revised the big YZ for the year 2000 in anticipation of all the new competition waiting just around the corner. The new YZ 426F is, obviously graced with a larger motor. With a 3mm larger bore (same stroke), the 426 cc Yamaha should be even faster and smoother than the already legendary 400.

Other updates include a change in the gear ratios for 1st and 2nd gear, lighter weight (courtesy of an aluminum subframe and lighter fork) and other detail changes described on this Yamaha page.

The one glaring omission from the year 2000 bike is electric start. Cannondale has it, and rumors indicate KTM’s will have it also. A light weight efficient electric start system which will be the envy of any four-stroke rider who has to occasionally kick his beast to life. Expect Yamaha to succumb to market pressures and have this feature next year in the 2001 model. Meanwhile, if you must have electric start (and it might be worth waiting for it), the Cannondale will be here soon, and the new KTM’s should be here by the end of the year.