OK, so I finally got my bike put together and here is what I noticed.
We went out to the high desert/hills with some single track and fire roads. Some of it was rocky, some was sandy and a lot of whoops on the fire road flats.
Here is what I am comparing
2t=1997 rm250-runs perfect, new top end, jetting, pipe and silencer
4t=2005 crf450-Scotts damper, all the works connection bracing, Allied triple clamps (top and bottom), Pro taper bars.
Obviously I think the 4t is heavier. It is actually easier to put up on the stand (maybe the back end is lighter?) but it feels heavier when riding (i'd be curious to know actual weights).
So, I went from a 2t to a modern 4t with a Scotts damper. In some ways the damper was a life saver, especially when in sand, when jumping whoops or when the front wheel is jumping offf rocks.
I did notice that I think I was able to go faster much easier on the sandy whoops. This may be due to a few things: 4t torque, Scotts, Suspension (forks feel MUCH better, no more wrist breakers like on my RM) and the wieght to keep you straight? Also on the whoops on the RM I HAD to keep the front wheel off the ground all the time or I would get bucked or something, on the CRF, I was fast either by keeping the front wheel off the ground OR just letting the front suspension
do the work (I think this is mostly a result of the superior front suspension
I think the much improved suspension
helped me to also jump the occasional whoop or doubles easier. For some reason I felt like I was almost able to get some air on every little bump just by preloading the suspension
, give a little gas and unload the bike. I sort of felt like I was on my full suspension mountain bike at times, for some reason my RM wouldn't do that.
Climbing was generally easier, but the bike does feel heavier and harder to manipulate when a lot of steering/avoiding large rocks is necessary. I think that sometimes It was harder to climb (or ride as fast in the single track stuff) because the bike is heavier, AND the Scotts damper was making it a bit harder to turn (had it set up on 2 full turns at first, which was great for whoops, but NOT for single track, so then I dialed it down to 1 turn. It was better, but still not as good as my RM). So on the RM I was able to turn very quickly and throw the bike around, but on the CRF, I had to predict where I was gonna go a little further ahead (is this because of the Scotts?)
Climbing was also a bit easier because I could "lug" it up slower, technical, rocky hills, BUT for some reason after being on a 2t, I had the feeling that since there is a lot down low on the 4t, it (powerband) will keep climbing, but it really doesn't, the power kind of flattens out.
I did find myself going a bit to fast a few times, in different conditions.
Later in the day, I was learning to pull in the clutch when going down techincal hills (due to the engine breaking).
The brakes also work MUCH better (like my buddies 05 YZ250). I kept locking up the rear brakes going down hills, is there any way to give it more modulation or less touchy (I hate it too touchy)??
In some ways it was harder to ride and more fatiguing: Heavier bike, heavier steering (Scotts) and wt higher up in the chasis.
In some ways the RM is more fatiguing: Have to always keep in pinned and wound up, also the suspension wasn't as good, so I had to be much more careful.
In some ways the CRF was easier to ride: Up slower hills, when riding high speeds long distances, sandy whoops.
In some ways the RM was easier to ride: Single track, rocky fire roads where making very quick turns is important.
btw, the CRF seat seems a lot more level and easier for me to get on and off, but the wt makes it harder for me to lean over and start, or balance/hold it up when I stalled it up a technical uphill.