So Cal Desert Set-up

What is the best tire and suspension set-up for a 00 WR400 for racing in the Southern California Desert? I just finished a H&H and found the suspension harsh and the rear tire squirely. In fact at one time I thought I had a flat tire. Right now all settings are stock. I am 6' tall and weigh 230lbs.

Great Forum!

I look foward to your thoughts and suggestions.


Proud Member of Racers Under the Son ( District 37 Desert

98.5 Dodge 2500 24v Cummins 4x4

00 Yamaha WR400

99 Yamaha PW80

99 Terry Fifth Wheel


Was there lots of rocks? I would expect the WR to be plenty plush for the dez. I actually ran the clickers in on my YZ (which is valved stiffer than a WR) a bit to keep the forks up in their stroke in the sand whoops, it actually made them feel plusher. This didn’t help in the rocks, it seems to deflect a lot.

You’re a pretty big guy, maybe the harshness resulted from forks hanging down in their stroke. So far my suspension is stock but it seems a lot of guys here like MX Tech for suspension revalves, especially for off-road stuff. The owner (Jeremy W.) moderates the suspension forum at Dirt Rider, he seems to answer questions posted there pretty consistently.

I run either a Dunlop 752 or 739 Desert A/T, both in 120/90-19 (I have a YZ), the latter is good in rocks, it is nearly flat-proof, where the 752 tends to chunk knobs off on the hard stuff but is better overall in the sand. The A/T is also quite a bit heavier (price you pay for being stronger) but wears longer regardless. Maybe the bigger size (120 vs. 110) is all you need to get rid of that squirrelly feeling.

The biggest improvement, tire wise, in the sand for me was definitely the 756 front. Better than the 752 I used to love and of course WAY better than the stocker, I forget what model that thing was, I replaced it right away, sidewalls were too stiff for the sand.

I’m 6’, 175 lb.s and a good amateur class off-roader (or an average expert class, it depends on the race :) )

Hope this helps!


Thanks for the reply. There were lots of rocks and tons of sand throw in. Funny things was that the bike did not deflect too bad when I was going a bit faster. It was when I was going at a more moderate speed that the suspension seemed harsh. I am comparing it against my brothers DRZ. I would rather have the rock solid feel of my WR than the cush of the DRZ. I was just wondering if it could be made better. I don't jump so I was trying to stay away from Super Cross/Motocross valving companies. I did think that new springs on both ends would keep me out of the mid-stroke valving. I will try giving that a try.

I ran 739 Desert A/T's on my DR350 and liked them a lot. Would the 756 work well in the rear? What difference besides the sidewall strenght is there between the 739 that comes on the bike and the Desert A/T's? Can I get the 120 in a 18 inch rim?

Thanks again.



Proud Member of Racers Under the Son ( District 37 Desert

98.5 Dodge 2500 24v Cummins 4x4

00 Yamaha WR400

99 Yamaha PW80

99 Terry Fifth Wheel

[This message has been edited by Desertbob (edited 10-26-2000).]

My ride is a '00 WR with bone stock suspension, a DSP header and pipe, snorkel removed, 10oz flywheel weight, Scott's triple clamp (just the crown) and ProTapers (I'm still saving for a stabilizer). Tire wise, I've really been happy with Dunlop's 756's front and rear.

For a dez set-up I run a 15 tooth countershaft sprocket. For me this was a MAJOR improvement for the great wide open, but before the flywheel weight was installed it was not a good thing in the hills/rocks/tight nasty stuff. I also run the forks all the way out.

If I decide to go to the mountains, I just pop the stock 14 tooth countershaft sprocket on, raise the forks about 10mm, and hit the trail.

FYI: I am 6'-0" and 165 pounds soaking wet. The stock suspension so far has been spot-on in the woods and soft in the dez. I think I'll start messing with the clickers this Sunday…


Actually I wish I had an 18” rear because there is a much wider selection of larger tires for that rim size. I’d love to try a 756 too, but I haven’t seen one in a 120/90-19. There isn’t a 120/100-18 on their website but it may be a bit outdated (the 739 A/T isn’t listed at all).

The 752 is listed in larger sizes.

I think the 739 Desert A/T replaced the 695 Desert A/T. I have compared the tread side by side to my worn-out stocker and it is similar but not exact. Maybe it is a hybrid pattern based on both the 695 A/T and ‘normal’ 739; the 695 I had on my since sold KX 500 was similar in tread to the original tire on my YZF (739). I’m guessing it is a harder rubber compound than the stocker as well.

People regularly vilify the 739’s effectiveness in sand which makes you wonder why Dunlop chose a similar tread for the Desert A/T but all the “desert” courses I’ve raced on were more gravel in the sand washes and hard packed w/ rocks elsewhere. The rocks are really hard on the softer 752, but it does work better in deep, soft sand (I’m betting the 756 is pretty similar).

I’ve never ridden a WR but I know my YZ’s suspension (esp. the forks) feels better the harder you hammer on it.

You should try the link in my post above, I bet you can get some good advice on which spring rate you should try.

I don’t think MX Tech is a motocross-only cookie-cutter type of suspension company at all, that is why they are so popular with “normal” guys like we have here at Thumpertalk. Hot shot motocrossers apparently don’t surf the internet :)

[This message has been edited by Hick (edited 10-26-2000).]

Hey Bob, it was great to finally meet you,I wish we could have gone on a trail ride during motolympics, too many distractions though. I had my 99wr and my friend Larry had his 2000wr,(his bike is PLUSH, 5th gear pinned through the whoops and no tail swap with stock suspension) and we could have switched bikes and compared and made adjustments accordingly. Mud Hills is coming up on Nov. 11th, I will gladly spend time with you helping you set your bike up there if you can make it. Don't take your bike to a suspension shop until you've tried adjusting your compression and rebound clickers first. .



So Cal Erik

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Desertbob, I too ride and race in the Desert in So. Cal. and as far as my tire selection I like only one tire and that is the IRC M5B 130/80-18. I have tried alot of others and in my opinion nothing offers better traction than this tire, it wears really well also, the only problem is that this tire isnt too versatile. I wouldnt suggest you run this tire on a hardpacked track but in the soft stuff you cant go wrong... Have fun, Dan

Hi Erik:

It was great to finally meet you as well. I won't be at Mud Hills due to the fact I am riding Nov. 4-7 and then the Thanksgiving weekend. Was Larry's suspension settings stock and how much does he weigh? I am beginning to think that I need to up my springs based on my tonnage. :)

Right now everthing is set at stock. Should I go with more or less compression and/or rebound for the Desert as a starting point? I mostly ride in Johnson Valley when racing. So you know the area - Sand, Rocks, Big Hills and lots and lots of whoops.



[This message has been edited by Desertbob (edited 10-27-2000).]

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