Calling WR450 experts: My SM project and different model year 450s......

Hi, All,


I started on a dual-sport/SM project. Idea was I wanted an SM bike with a set of 17" supermoto wheels so I could mess around town, or put the dirt wheels on take the bike dual-sporting, etc. I didn't want a lot of maintenance, and wanted it relaible because I might wind up out in the middle of nowhere. So I bought a Suzuki DRZ400-- but I'm disappointed in the performance. Now considering replacing it with a WR450. My question is a multi-part question:


1. The FI bikes began in 2009, I think? Are there really solid advantages to the FI? I am not a super fast rider and am not going to be able to put to use just a few more hp. FI would appeal to me if it leads to less problems and maintenance and easier starting, but my mechanic is more comfortable with carbureted bikes.


2. The used bikes i am seeing go all the way from 2004 through 2008. Is there any significant difference in the different model years from 2004 up through when they brought in the FI? In other words, given low miles and good condition, does it matter what year I get from 2004 or so through 2009?


3. Is the WR450 twitchy/scary cruising on highway? The DRZ feels fine to me at these speeds, but the WR probably has quicker steering, I would think.......


4. Is the gearbox wide-enough  ratio to accommodate all the way from trail-riding to cruising the highway (to get to work or a play spot) at 70 mph?


5. Does the engine have low-end and mid-range grunt or does it prefer high-end revs?





Edited by k9dr

1. 2003-2006 steel frame

   2007-2011 alloy frame

   2012-2015 new allow frame with FI and SSS suspension

  2016 - ?      new allow frame with reverse head, FI, and much more


2. 2007 -2011 are the best bargin. You don't need FI.


3. No


4. Yes, but only 5 speed, so you have to gear it up for highway. Waaaay up. 15/45


5. Low-to mid power unless you do the mods (pinned posts). The motor is bulletproof, so you can take as wild as you want with YZ parts or ported head, pipe, etc, and it will still be very reliable

I have an 03 WR450, set up as a supermoto. It'll get a bit of a wobble going at 70 and that feels like it's spinning it pretty fast too. I have 14/40 gearing on it, so even with 17s 1st gear is pretty tall. Will it do 80? Sure, but it isn't pleasant and will move around some. I've played with tire pressure, that isn't the problem. Steering head bearings are good. My forks/shock are off an 05 YZ250F, but sag is reasonable and it had the same issues with stock suspension (had apparently been resprung though). 


If I could reasonably get a license plate for a newer one, and not expect it to get pulled, I'd absolutely go that route.

Thankyou, Gentlemen.........I appreciate your help......


Happily, I live in TX where you can about street-license a two-stroke motocross bike if you want to!



The 07-11 WR450's make great supermoto bikes as do the others.

The fuel injection 11-15 WR's looked to make less top end HP and had some starting issues.

The 16's are the newest generation and have worked out lots of HP and exhibit easy starting.

They must be geared high to do 70+ on the highway.

You shouldn't notice to much squirrelling around until you get near 100 mph especially with stock triple clamps.

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