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2012 WR450F is a handful in tight single...

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I've gone back and forth between the two strokes and four strokes for the last few years, and I absolutely LOVE the power this bike puts to the ground everywhere in dual sporting. Saturday I did about 135 miles with friends and had an absolute blast. I decided to take my new (10 hours on the bike) WR450F instead of my WR250Z two stroke, and I am having a heck of a time on the tight single. I should note that most of my four stroke tight single experience is on my WR250R that I had, a combination of higher RPM power, higher weight, and bad suspension. 

The 450F is pretty nimble, and the suspension is hands down better than my 1996 two stroke, but the grunt is just too much when it gets sloppy. I tried going down a tooth in the front to tame it a bit and that helped, but I'm still struggling. 

I feel like I'm either screaming first or lugging second barely off idle, and even the tiniest bit of throttle gets me into trouble, causing me to either loft the front, go too fast, or overshoot my line and eat trees (which I did immediately on the first hint of single that day). 

I used to be able to keep up with my friends on their Beta 300's and KTM 250 two strokes, but I'm struggling now and find myself lagging behind. I can easily catch up on straight aways, but it's a bit discouraging. 

I can't afford to drop money on a Rekluse, so I'm trying to figure out if there's anything else I can do to make her a bit more manageable on the tight single without having power loss when I'm in deep sugar sand, climbing hills, etc.

Would a G2 throttle tamer be something that would help? I'm concerned in going to lose the immediate grunt and ability to loft the front that I love everywhere else except on the tight single. 

Any suggestions on what to do?

Bike is pretty much stock with the exception of the throttle stop removed, competition ECU, and FMF powercore 4. 

 

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I imagine all of this is done via the ECU and GYTR tuner?

I got the competition ECU to clean up the backfiring immediately after installing the FMF, but I don't have the GYTR tuner to change anything. It hasn't backfired once now with the competition ECU. It's a shame there's no engine mapping buttons to change on the fly, but if it's just an ECU change, now I see why they have those available. 

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going to shorter gearing is not the way to tame a motor that has too much in the woods.   it's actually makes it worse.  get better with your clutch, don't try to fix a bike that is not broken. 

Edited by DRS

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9 hours ago, malignity said:

I imagine all of this is done via the ECU and GYTR tuner?

I got the competition ECU to clean up the backfiring immediately after installing the FMF, but I don't have the GYTR tuner to change anything. It hasn't backfired once now with the competition ECU. It's a shame there's no engine mapping buttons to change on the fly, but if it's just an ECU change, now I see why they have those available. 

Yes. Several threads in this forum on the subject.

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A friend of mine on the other side of the state has a GYTR tuner that he's going to mail me to play with, and was going to load up 9 different maps of my choice on it.

Does anyone make an aftermarket mapping switch for these bikes to change it on the fly? I know such things exist on other bikes, but I'm not sure if it's possible to switch maps with this particular one. 

 

 

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Ha ha... too funny.  I turned my WR450F into a great singletrack bike.

Regear to 12/52, even if you think you don't need to.   Nothing worse than being in tight technical terrain with a big 4 stroke that is barely idling.  Makes 2nd and 3rd gears really sweet too.

Put in YZ shock (revalved) and linkage.

Put on a 22mm triple clamp.   Makes a huge difference in how it turns.

Magura hydraulic clutch.

Take off everything that you don't need.

I have most of the parts listed above.   PM me if you are interested.

 

 

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2 hours ago, MidlifeCrisisGuy said:

Ha ha... too funny.  I turned my WR450F into a great singletrack bike.

Regear to 12/52, even if you think you don't need to.   Nothing worse than being in tight technical terrain with a big 4 stroke that is barely idling.  Makes 2nd and 3rd gears really sweet too.

Put in YZ shock (revalved) and linkage.

Put on a 22mm triple clamp.   Makes a huge difference in how it turns.

Magura hydraulic clutch.

Take off everything that you don't need.

I have most of the parts listed above.   PM me if you are interested.

 

 

I would not do any of that.

IMHO:

Gearing? 13/51 is 6mph in first gear. You slip  the clutch for lower speeds. You DO NOT  want to be slower than that in 1st gear, because the power delivery will be much more abrupt, and getting traction will be more difficult. You want to learn how to modulate the clutch for more or less power, and more or less traction. Gearing cannot do this. Your hand should be modulating the clutch the entire time you are in first gear, or you should upshift so you can modulate in the next gear. Riding by using extra-low gearing will make you learn really bad riding technique that is hard to un-learn.

YZ shock? There is no difference between a WR and a YZ shock accept for 7mm of travel and valving. You don't need more travel, you need better travel. A front and rear re-srping and re-valve of the stock suspension will give you the best non-factory suspension available. There is a difference between a YZ fork and the WR fork, but again, for trail riding, it's not the issue. You don't need more precision and less flex, you just need better valving.

22mm clamp? Yes it will turn lighter, but it will also give you much more front wheel feedback, which might be confusing,  unless you use a steering damper (which is really not optional anyway). 

Hydralic clutch?  The stock clutch is the best clutch currently made. Adding hydralics will widen  the engagement point, and make it more vauge. Unless you have physical strength issues, which you can usually overcome in 90 days of proper exercise, it is a waste of time, and it will leave you stranded if it fails.

Taking things off?  I don't understand this. 

Sorry, but MLCG likes to make his opinion a fact, but it's just a lot of spinning in circles around unimportant issues.

 

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Gearing? 13/51 is 6mph in first gear.

Not on my WR450F.   12/52 is 6.6MPH at idle.   Most 300 strokes run 6MPH at idle.  I set the idle speed with the programmer, so it should be correct.

Quote

You slip  the clutch for lower speeds. You DO NOT  want to be slower than that in 1st gear, because the power delivery will be much more abrupt, and getting traction will be more difficult.

This is a myth.  Lower gearing doesn't make the power delivery more abrupt.  The most abrupt power delivery is right off of idle.  If you gear it down you'll spend less time there.  And even if you are at idle, it smoothens it out.   You never want the engine on a big thumper running at idle in 1st if you can help it.  Gearing down makes a huge difference.

I also run a 12 tooth sprocket on my YZ250FX and YZ450FX.  Works great in tight single track.

Quote

You want to learn how to modulate the clutch for more or less power, and more or less traction. Gearing cannot do this. Your hand should be modulating the clutch the entire time you are in first gear, or you should upshift so you can modulate in the next gear.

Agreed.

Quote

Riding by using extra-low gearing will make you learn really bad riding technique that is hard to un-learn.

This is a myth.  I still modulate my clutch all the time, even with the new gearing.  I'm so good at it with the Magura that people think I've got a Rekluse.

Quote

YZ shock? There is no difference between a WR and a YZ shock accept for 7mm of travel and valving. You don't need more travel, you need better travel.

7mm of travel on the shock + YZ linkage is  10.8" travel for the WR versus 12.5" for the YZ setup.  Doesn't sound like much, right ?

But take away 100mm (4") for sag and you have 6.8" of usable travel for the WR and 8.5" for the YZ setup.  And about the last 2 inches is on the rubber bumper.   So usable non bumper travel is 4.8" for the WR and 6.5" for the YZ setup.   Now start going over 6" logs and tell me which setup kicks more.

The YZ linkage is also more progressive from fully extended to fully compressed.  Makes it easier to set the shock up for handling small trail trash and big jumps.

The compression adjuster piston is different in the YZ shock too.   But you can drill out a WR compression adjuster piston to make it flow more.

Quote

22mm clamp? Yes it will turn lighter, but it will also give you much more front wheel feedback, which might be confusing,  unless you use a steering damper (which is really not optional anyway).

The FXs come with 22mm triple clamps.  'nuff said.

Quote

Hydralic clutch?  The stock clutch is the best clutch currently made. Adding hydralics will widen  the engagement point, and make it more vauge.

Nope, it actually makes it more on/off.  Way more precise and you never have to adjust it.   Make sure you use a 9.5mm master cylinder if you get one.  Lightens the pull by about 30% over stock, enough to use 2 fingers.   Adjust the clutch lever so that you can use your pinky and ring fingers to hold the grip while your index and middle finger pull the clutch.  The clutch should disengage without crushing the fingers holding onto the bar. 

Most of the trials and hard enduro riders set their clutches up with way.

Quote

Unless you have physical strength issues, which you can usually overcome in 90 days of proper exercise, it is a waste of time, and it will leave you stranded if it fails.

I used Maguras on my WR and both FXs.  Never once had an issue.  A lot of European bikes use hydraulic clutches.  The brakes on most dirt bikes are hydraulic too.

 

Edited by MidlifeCrisisGuy
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Looks like different strokes for different folks.

Would I gear my bike higher or lower for the woods after 50 years of riding? Naw.

Do I use my clutch? Yep I have worn out many clutch cables.

Does the bike need different suspension? Nope not the 12+. 

Edited by stevethe
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A Little story on clutch use.  I took my younger boy for a bit of a difficult ride in the Forrest. Toward the end of the ride after having to hit a couple of steep uphill rooted trails he got real tired. Then he stopped sliding and using the clutch as he was taught on trails. He could hardly ride the bike stalling it over and over until I told him he better start using the clutch again. As soon as he did he was fine. So clutch use is a mandatory. However my opinion of Using a Rekluse clutch is they should only be used for newer riders. You should be able to use your clutch way better than they perform. 

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A 12 tooth front sprocket is $20 and takes 20 minutes to install.  You probably need to adjust your chain tension anyway.  If you don't like it take it off.  It is the best change you can make to a big 4t dirt bike for riding tight conditions.

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20 minutes ago, MidlifeCrisisGuy said:

A 12 tooth front sprocket is $20 and takes 20 minutes to install.  You probably need to adjust your chain tension anyway.  If you don't like it take it off.  It is the best change you can make to a big 4t dirt bike for riding tight conditions.

CRF450X here, stock gearing, 13/51, following a trials bike in slow woods with Old Growth swordferns so large they'll rip you off the footpegs. My first gear is low. All actual trail bikes should do this. :thumbsup:

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I didn't do any math but a 12-52 on a WR450 is very low geared. That could be as much as making second gear into first gear and making first gear pretty useless. 

The stock 13-50 gearing works pretty well everwhere. If one was going to change the gearing I would recommend 13-52. 

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I had stock gearing on the bike, and keep in mind, I dual sport this bike; primarily 30-40mph two track. I've got 27 years experience riding, but I wouldn't say I'm an A class rider or anything. I push the envelope when I ride with friends, but pretty much putz alone. I'm 245lbs with a cheese burger in my hand, large build. My bike cruised comfortably in stock gearing at about 56 on short pavement stretches, and with the 14t, increased to 63. I can push it to 70 if I want, but it sounds like it's revving a bit too high for prolonged use. My friend has the identical bike and setup and is much lighter (180) and reports pushing his in stock gearing to 92. I can't see my fat ass getting anywhere near that.

 

That being said, I love the bike, but my initial thought when I rode it was "holy chit, I can't keep the front end down on this thing." On paper, my 1996 Yamaha WR250Z likely has more horsepower with the Lectron carb, gnarly pipe, and all of the other goodies, but it most certainly doesn't deliver like it does. I figured going up a tooth will give me a bit more roadability, as well as tame down the front end, and so far it does. I can still slip the clutch and gun a third gear wheelie if I wanted, but will be unlikely to pass a car and do an accidental 5th gear wheelie at 72mph, which is what I did the first day I got it. 

 

I've got no problems with the clutch. In fact, I hate hydraulic clutches. I've had two Katooms, and I hated the clutch in both of them. I can't count how many times I accidentally stalled; as it seems (to me at least) that the hydraulic clutches are either active or not active, and nowhere in between. On my two strokes, I feather my clutch at half, a quarter, etc, and the longer pull gives me a lot more feel to where I need to be. I do find though that I tend to clutch less on a four stroke than a two stroke though for whatever reason.

I just need to get the snarkyness out of the bottom end. The bike clearly loves to rev, and I love that about it. It reminds me of my old WR250R with double the power, 30lbs less, and better suspension. At idle, it's like a tiger pacing back and forth sizing up it's prey, waiting to strike. You guys know exactly what I'm talking about I'm sure. I love the power it has, and I do want good power when I need it, but I need to get the front end to just chill a bit. My first section of single track, I was about 100 yards in, shifted to second, grabbed a handful, and proceeded to double whoop on the rear tire only, and overshoot my turn directly into a bunch of trees since there was no front end touching the ground to steer.  

It was pretty humorous honestly, but it kind of messed with my head and momentum the rest of the day on single.

My buddy sent me his GYTR tuner with a few maps on it. I'll send it back to him once I change it to the settings I like.

 

I was going to either try the muddy/slippery/hard pack map (I think they are all the same map) or vlxjim's map. I'm not sure which is "better" per say.

 

Only mods done to the bike are throttle stop removal, FMF powercore 4, and competition ECU at all 0's. Nothing else. Suspension is probably even at stock settings. I don't know what the best stock setup is for a fat guy, and it's better than my other bike, so I can't dinked with it much yet.

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I did some ECU mapping over the weekend...

 

I tried vlxjim's map as follows:

3 4 4              0 0 0

3 5 3             -2 -1 0

3 4 3             -2 -2 0

 

I then tried what I thought was the muddy conditions map for the WR450F. It turned out to be the muddy conditions map for the YZ250F. I had a bit of popping once when I chopped the throttle, but I really liked the controllable low end this gave. Also, I think BOTH maps are a bit too rich on the low end, because I can smell unburned fuel from the exhaust when the bike is idling (Maybe my CO level is too high? I don't have the tools to change it). Both seem really good though overall.

The map I used is

5 5 0              0 0 0

5 7 1             0 -5  0

5 7 2            -3 -4 0

 

I was pretty impressed with the above map. The low end was super controllable, and there was a ton of torque in mid range. I didn't test a lot of high range throttling. I'd like to take this map and build on it, or take vlxjim's map and perhaps retard the ignition a bit more. I really don't know what I'm doing here, and kind of working blind as to how this all works. The links explaining how it works in the WR Mapping thread are broken, so I'm just kinda guessing.

What I'm looking for is low end controllability with very little hit, good mid range and good high range for dual sporting on pavement. The current map makes the bike feel a lot more like my WR250R but with a lot more punch in the mid and higher range. I can't loft the front end right off the throttle like I could before, and it takes me about halfway through the throttle to do so. That's exactly what I want. 

 

Any suggestions on where to go from here? Maybe advance the timing some on 3/4 throttle for high speed dual sporting and make the bike a bit leaner overall?

 

Edited by malignity

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That's kind of what I was thinking too, is seeing if further retarding the settings will help dumb it down some.

I'm not super familiar with how all of this works; I know reducing or increasing the timing changes when the fuel detonates, and leaner conditons mean a glowing pipe and more jerky throttle off idle, but I have no idea how changing timing (or even adding fuel other than right off idle to get rid of the jerky throttle) translates on paper. 

If I advance the timing, I imagine that means my engine would rev faster in that RPM range, and if i retard it, i imagine that means it doesn't rev as fast and provides more torque?

Is it possible to have it retarded in some areas, and advanced in others? I've yet to see a map with both. It seems like advancing it would be good for high speed high rev travel, such as a few miles of pavement, whereas, retarding would be better in tight single. 

 

Again, I don't know exactly how this translates to paper, and am kind of learning on the fly and may be completely off. 

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