How good is the WR 450?

I'm thinking about getting a enduro bike. been a yamaha fan forever currently racing and riding a 2013 yz 250. I want a four stroke to ride back roads and trails so I'm leaning towards the WR. The mags say their good but not KTM good. I would like to know your guys opion.i know they will run better if you uncork them, I also heard the electric starter is kind of weak, is this true? Another question I have is can you make it street legal? Any advice he great, thanks.

It handles better than a KTM, but is heavier and feels heavier

It has much much better suspension over the KTM; both need upgrading to match your weight and riding style

It will last years longer than the KTM, and the motor is practically unbreakable

It is easier to modify the power (ECU programming) and has a much wider range of power options. The KTM power is very soft, and peaks up at very high rpms (10k).


The KTM is made with an impressive list of expensive parts, but in my opinion, the parts do not add up to the whole.

Don't think the electric start is weak on the F.I. models, it needs to be re-mapped.


Read the sticky on supermoto junkie website for plating. Also depends on where you live. Do a Google search.


The dependability of the Wr's is great also the cost is less expensive.

Having both bikes and KTM500EXC and a WR450F... Even though my WR450 is ten years older, I find they are both fine bikes. True there are some electrical issues with the WR Starter Motor, but I think they improved them over the years. Pound for pound the KTM is better. However, Cost for Cost the WR is more economical. My WR is just that. I use it for high desert wide open riding. It is very durable and the suspension is plush one you get the setting correct. Power wise the KTM is superior and it has a lot more versatility and it is more comfortable to ride.

I am planning on making my WR Street legal, so I can have my son ride it and keep the father son thing going for a few more years.

The only problem with the WR is the weight but there are things you can take off and replace.  In stock trim it is ridiculously heavy.  It will not feel as light as a KTM unless you strip it of a lot of things, including the electric starter and starter gears.  Regardless, I'd rather have the WR over the KTM 450 because the Yamaha is a lot more stable and the suspension is better.  WR motor is better too.  Just my opinion.

I wouldn't call the starter motor weak.  I think that if they were building a 450 street bike they probably would have put a bigger starter motor on it as weight would be less of a concern.  Mine works fine and I seldom kick start it.  You can make a WR450F street legal, depending on where you are.  I did it to mine but laws differ state to state.  You're north of the border, I don't know how it works there.  

When i was in the market for a new 450 harescramble bike, i rode the KTM 350XC-W, 450XC-W and very tentatively the WR450. Coming off of a KTM, i thought the only hard choice was going to be between the 350 and 450 KTM's, but after coaxing by my local dealer, i tried out the WR and was quite surprised. The bike feels similar to the KTM, but i found i could get away with more with the clickers set up for my preferences. The only thing i didn't like is that the weight could bite you if you got out of shape or off balance. 


After being jerked around by the KTM dealer and a good deal from the Yamaha dealer, i figured why not give it a try. I'm just a decent B rider so it's wasn't make or break. I figured i'd get it tuned up and ride it for a few years and if i found i really didn't like it, i'd sell it.


After getting the suspension set up and all the normal stuff done (ECU, pipe mainly) i really started to enjoy the bike more and more. 


Good points for me:

  1. Does not feel as heavy as it actually is at speed
  2. great suspension after you set it up
  3. easily tune-able power with the comp ECU
  4. handles the technical stuff with ease 
  5. very dependable

Bad points:

  1. Front end sometimes will surprise you
  2. clutch fades on longer/harder races (i put in the Rekluse and haven't had issues since)
  3. does not like to start in gear (Replacing battery with anti-gravity battery with more turning amps seemed to fix that issue)
  4. It is not ready to race upon purchase
  5. With stock pipe i couldn't hear the bike with others around me (i'm fairly deaf after working a flight deck)
  6. very small OEM black  tank. They should go to a natural 3 gallon tank.

I have an 08 wr450 ais removed with gytr kit so it also has the yz throttle stop and jet kit,and my riding budy has a 2010 exc535 or whatever they called it that year its a 500.

Suprisingly my wr will eat him up in a drag race, the stroked out 500 engine is a lot different than a 450 motorcrosser that the wr is based on. That being said the ktm climbs hills like mad. No clutch needed just twist the throttle more and there is more there, really cool feeling.

I thought riding them back to back the 500 felt much heavier in steering feel

I wont comment on suspension im a big guy so i crush anything i throw a leg over.

Tha ktm brakes are amazing!

WR seat is a pain in the ass!

I am completely unimpressed with the ktm starter. I would say with stock batteries the wr starter is slightly better, but my buddy got a lifepo battery and it works much better.

My opinions from what ive seen...

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