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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Best Craigslist Ad Ever? 2000 Yamaha WR400F – $1200 (Southeast Portland)


I’ve read a lot of motorcycle writings, fiction and non fiction, from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to Hell’s Angels. I’ve read many memorable reviews of motorcycles — my favorites are by John P. Burns — but this humble (okay, maybe not so humble) Craigslist ad I saw on the Portland, Oregon Craigslist got my attention.

Enthusiast Alex Hagmüller says he “grew up in a small town in Cordova, Alaska  riding motorcycles that were too big for me from a young age, most notably a1981 Suzuki RM465 at the age of 15. I now live in Portland, Oregon with my lovely wife and a poodle named Pirate, with a stable of too many motorcycles for my small garage. Ride Hard, Die Free!”

Hagmüller is, judging by the description of his bike, a rider’s rider. He will do anything, anywhere, anytime on a motorcycle. Frankly, I can’t believe the poor thing isn’t being sold at an estate sale.

Breathless bluster and crazed description aside, what this ad conveys is one man’s love of his motorcycle, and a clear-eyed, if manic, love of the sport. And it makes me want to use my rent money to buy a 14-year-old WR400 and beat the crap out of it. Just because I can.

We’ve reposted the ad here (with Hagmüller’s permission) so it won’t get lost down the Craigslist memory hole, as epic ads like this need preservation.

I’ve left Hagmüller’s spelling and syntax in place (except for obscuring the potty-mouth words, as MD is a family publication) in interest of historical preservation.



For sale is a 2000 Yamaha WR400F.

One owner. Ridden all over the place. No title. It’s a dirtbike.

It has participated in Ice Racing, Motocross, Super Moto,, TT’s, Flat Track, and GNCC’s. It has been ridden in Glamis, Pismo, Ocotillio Wells, Coos Bay, Florence, Sand Lakes, Single Track of Blue Ridge in Vancouver BC Canada, all over Alaska’s outback, through rivers, on top of glaciers and frozen lakes and rivers, up and down mountain sides, through city streets, golf courses, and gravel pits, has had multiple impacts at high speed (one at 95mph) resulting in rider concussions and general mayhem, jumped off steel ramps, natural dirt doubles, Dirt Hips, Sand of all types, boulders, concrete drops, and generally ridden quite hard for the last 13 years.

Estimated to have done over 10,000 fifth gear wheelies on pavement. The type that result in the front wheel slowly rolling to a stop, then going backwards from the wind. Then leaving 747 style marks on the pavement while white smoking the tire to glory from touching down at 80+mph. Apparently you can wear out 5th gear on a motorcycle. A few times. In fact, art has been created in it’s wheelying honor because it has spent most of it’s life on the back wheel. It has spent thousands of hours attempting to recreate the abilities of Chris Carr, Ty Davis, Seth Enslow, and Geoff Aaron. Possibly 2 minutes of this entire time could be said to have achieved a fraction of those abilities. Most notably Seth Enslow. Of those abilities, the eating shit part tends to stick out.

The engine has been rebuilt 4 times, the center cases replaced once due to a crack resulting from the chain snapping off on a landing off a steel ramp on a 60 foot gap, radiators replaced twice due to frontal impacts during a bout with another racer during one of the above mentioned races, multiple fender and side panel replacements, some due to being run over by other racers, most notably during ice racing which is exceedingly scary by the way, some due to wheelying over backwards, or cat scratching and high siding whilst sideways at high speed on numerous surfaces, multiple handgaurd replacements, a few piston and ring replacements, one crankshaft replacement, multiple timing chain replacements,fifth gear replaced 3 times with new shifting forks, 2 clutch replacements, one was due to fragmentation of the aluminum plates, resulting in an engine rebuild, one valve set replacement with re-cutt valve seats, tons and tons of oil filter and oil changes and air cleaner changes, always using high quality oils, either Bel Ray or Maxima.

In it’s current configuration it has a 2001 YZ426 connecting rod, piston and cylinder. It now displaces 426 CC’s.

It is running the stock exhaust with the baffle removed, but available if you need stealth mode by replacing the spark arrestor.

Front tire is in really good shape, back tire can work for a while.

IMS high capacity gas tank with a YZ 426 seat.

YZ 450 Radiators.

Stock cams in stock WR configuration, as I have found this to be the best setup for really really smooth long predictable showstopping wheelies.

Change it to the YZ timing and remove the grey wire from the CDI box and get more peak power and more snap at the loss of the most brilliantly delivered power known to man.

The original throttle stop was removed in the five minutes it took to get from the showroom floor to the pickup.


Suspension is setup to chew 3 foot whoops at 90 mph with a 190 lb or so rider.

Headlight works still, running a 100 watt halogen H4, although a little scary for use in technical terrain at high speeds at night.

Runs and starts always. ALWAYS.

This is about the most reliable machine on planet earth that I have ever come across.

Throughout my 13 year campaign of trying to destroy the Mighty Yamaha WR400F, and while succeeding in some ways, I am still baffled that I have done only a SINGLE valve adjustment in it’s whole history. I believe this to be in part by Yamaha’s solid original design, and in part due to religiously keeping clean oil and air in the beast. Try and say that about a modern Honda CRF 450 variety motorcycle.

So why would you want this? Honestly, I have no idea. But here are some thoughts on it.

Some say it is old, outdated, outclassed. I believe the same of the people who say that about this motorcycle. It has great, predictable, never ending power, incredibly tunable suspension, unbelievable reliability, fantastic range, and weighs as much as 12 Portland grade hipsters.

It requires a starting drill. It is part of the religion you receive when purchasing this motorcycle. It goes something like this:

This is an excerpt from book one of four hundred and fifty two of “Owning this Damn Motorcycle”.

I hope you like to read.

1) When it is cold, you twist the throttle 3 times. EXACTLY THREE TIMES. NO F$%K AROUND!!!

2) Pull out the choke knob. The hidden black one. NOT The red one.

3) Roll the engine over with the kickstarter slowly till it’s at top dead center. You will know because it will take 17 portland hipsters to move it further.

3) Pull in the decompressor. The little anodized blue lever. NEXT to the clutch. Now that we are on the subject of decompressors, use this thing only when it is NOT running. Some people think it is a good kill switch. That to me is my switch to kill someone who is that incompetent.

4) Let the kickstarter rise all the way back up, move the lever an inch. ONE INCH. NO F*** ROUND.

5) Release the decompressor. Say a little prayer. Let the kickstarter come all the way back up again. Set your foot on the mother. Say two more prayers. Maybe three for good measure.

6) Clinch Your teeth.

7) Are you wearing sandals or motorcycle boots?

8) Kick with vengence. Like you f&*kin mean it. Like you were giving a curbie to a zombie on the walking dead. Like THAT.

9) TA DA! The beast is now alive. Warm it up. Remove the choke. Let her come back to an idle. Don’t rev it wildly. Just let it settle. Turn it off. Check the oil. Adjust as required. Do the whole thing again.

10) Ride.

11) If it is hot, flooded from stupidity, either from a fall or raping the throttle while it isn’t running (can you say, accelerator pump?), pull the hot start button. the red one. the Accessible one. Then do the drill again. Make sure you say at least 12 prayers and think of 15 Portland hipsters jumping on a kickstarter all at the same time.

What it comes with:

The manual. Very used.

A nice aluminum YZ 426 exhaust, should you like that sort of thing, and the headpipe.

A box of miscellaneous engine parts. Gaskets, pistons, cylinders, crankshaft, engine case parts, wheel bearings, sprockets, inner tubes, some plastic.

The stock gas tank. Not sure why but I still have it.

A ramp. It’s kind of lame, but it is a ramp.

A stand.

Various lubricants for maintenance.

An flag mount for the dunes. (sorry, no more paddle, 9 of the 10 paddles were gone anyways)

A certificate of manliness/womanliness/unicliness/humanliness/whateverliness floats your boat.If you can start this motorcycle one, and if you can ride this motorcycle two, your deserve some kind of damn certificate.

A printed copy of this craigslist ad.

A bill of sale on parchment written in the best calligraphy.

Basically, this bike has truthfully had the snot beaten out of it, but has also had a lot of love, time and money poured into it. This bike will do it all, it’s real limitation is the rider.

Gabe Ets-Hokin is the Editor of City Bike magazine, and a frequent freelance contributor to



  1. Bob Athey says:

    Great AD, and that’s the way you are supposed to ride’em and take care of them. Great job of describing a bike thats filled someone with so much joy. The Yami deserves that. Reminds me of my 71′ 175 Enduro, my first bike.

  2. Rob says:

    great post, and I like this guys style, and he’s absolutely right about old Yammies….my first 4 stroke MX bike was a ’02 YZ426 and it was a great bike. I’ve owned many bikes in my 33 years of riding dirt bikes, but that 426 was the best or all hands down. The previous fav of all time , a ’01 CR480, and it still holds title of my 2nd most favorite 😉 The YZ was ridden hard, raced desert and MX, and no matter how much abuse I dished out, it was reliable, powerful, and fast. It was a blast to take the holeshot against CRF450s when I was riding “only” a 426 🙂

  3. Dave says:

    One minor correction:
    Blue Ridge in Vancouver BC Canada should read:
    Blue Mountain (McNutt) in Vancouver BC Canada

  4. Scott says:

    Never even ridden a dirt bike (I know; save it), but somehow I want to. Really badly. But only if it’s THIS bike.

  5. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    Loled a lot. Thanks for finding this!

  6. Cinderbob says:

    To each his own. This ad is waaayyyyy too long for my liking. I hate shopping, so if ads aren’t short and to-the-point, I move on.

  7. Dusty says:

    Soooo, what is the PRICE DA!

  8. Ed says:

    Reminds me of the “Duct Tapes” series. Ed Hertfelder is the you?

    • xootrx says:

      He was the best. Those articles were priceless. I don’t know if you can still get it, but his articles were once published in a book. Of this isn’t him; his syntax was excellent, as was his ability to make you laugh without using profanity. But this is still a pretty funny piece.

  9. Roadrash1 says:

    A good read. It only leaves me with one question.
    What’s he going to ride to replace it?

  10. TimC says:

    The style reminds me of this: – which is similarly hilarious.

  11. TimC says:

    LOL! “It has great, predictable, never ending power, incredibly tunable suspension, unbelievable reliability, fantastic range, and weighs as much as 12 Portland grade hipsters.”

  12. ElTigre1 says:

    Best Craigslist ad ever? Not a chance.

  13. Gutterslob says:

    Proper jewelry, that!!

  14. chun says:


  15. TC2wheel says:

    I owned a 2001 WR250F, kick-start only just like the WR400F.
    Kick-starting proceeding is just as described, the little 250cc dirt bike was a great ride, just a little porkly in tight trails.

  16. Tom K. says:

    Wow. That ad makes me want to buy a WR400. Only not the one the ad was written for. I want the one with 1500 miles, purchased by some old guy about my age who wanted to re-live some of the fun of his youth by jumping Snake River Canyon, but then realized that was a pipe dream even for Evel, and ended up using it for putting around the fire roads near Laramie, but then parked it because he realized he overestimated his ability to go back in time, and underestimated how badly his knee would hurt when he started it, and you really can’t go home again, anyway. I want THAT one. Cheap.

    Good read, though. BTW, that was no ad, that was an epitaph, and a fine example – I only wish someone would write one that nice for me when the time comes.

    • Kagato says:

      I really want to try some off road riding. Always been a street bike guy, just for economic reasons, rode my Ninja 500 to work all last year, trying to make the 4 wheel critters last as long as possible. Not just for fun do I ride. Scoot must pay for itself somehow.

  17. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    In my opinion, the thing that’s unusual about the ad is the length and that it was written with some grammar and punctuation.
    The typical ad is some form of caveman scribble, u no whut I meen

  18. MotoChris says:

    Gotta laugh at people who list a thousand parts they’ve replaced and a thousand hours of service they’ve done, and then say the bike is “reliable”. But very entertaining ad

    • John A. Kuzmenko says:

      That’s how it is in the dirt bike riding world:
      Harsh terrain ridden too fast with lots of crashes, the chance of ever-present dirt being inhaled through the engine via faulty air filter upkeep, rampant equipment abuse, and the general feeling that these machines are meant to be beat on.

      A genuinely unreliable dirt bike is one that quits regularly in spite of performing routine maintenance.

  19. ben says:

    I had a 2000 WR400F that I purchased new and piled thousands of miles on. It was truly an indestructable machine. Very , very reliable

  20. Dale says:

    OK boys, that one was the best MC Daily of 2013. Hands down the best. Still laughing out loud. Perfect.

    • TimC says:

      Finally, it took this far into the comments to get to what I was going to say! Nitpicking over this or that, really?? This is hilarious. I’ve long liked Gabe Eats-Hyphen’s sense of humor (yes that was my Yelp review for CB) and this is right in that vein – as well as HSTs (Sausage Creature). Bravo.

  21. Artem_T says:

    strange orgasm

  22. Kagato says:

    Wow, that is a tough bike. Kind of Munro-esque. Wonder if Barber’s might not want it

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