Tight Woods Handling?

Hello from Alpharetta, Ga. I'm looking for ways to improve tight woods handling on my 99WR400. As you all probably know, it's a beast in the tight stuff and on the days I trail ride at slow speed with the kids.

I went out and bought a Suzuki DRZ400 because it handled so much better in the tight stuff and didn't stall at very slow speeds. The front end feels lighter and it has a steeper fork angle. Even has an electric start. BUT, I found out the hard way (hit the ground hard!)that at any speed over rough stuff, the Suzuki front end is unstable (scary). I missed my blue stable beast.

Any suggestions on how to make the beast better in the tight stuff? Flywheel weight? gearing? suspension mods? etc. Have you been happy with your mods.


Mike M.

Mike, we ride very tight stuff here in Northern California. My 00WR400 does great with the following mods.

1) 12 oz flywheel weight

2) YZ timing. Not needed for the really tight stuff.

3) lower your primary drive sprocket 1 tooth from 14 to 13.

4) move the rear wheel up as close to the mud flap as you can without hitting it to shorten wheelbase.

5) raise front forks up in the clamp 5 to 8 mm.

6) make sure your tire pressure front and rear are not too high.

7) I keep my suspension pretty soft for the tight stuff. That seems to work better for me.

That should be a good start. Try doing all this stuff and let us know how it works for you. Good luck, P :)

[ November 10, 2001: Message edited by: PMAUST ]

Hey Mike,

I live in Woodstock and work in Roswell. Where do you ride?

Pmaust has some good points. Numbers 4,5,6 and 7 should help significantly. Also you need to have the rear sag set correctly otherwise all the other adjsutments may not do much.

What tires are you using?


Do you have the YZ seat & tank or the stock WR??? All of the suggestions above are excellent! I found that big stock tank is horrible for trail riding and cornering in general. I was dumping my bike right & left in really stupid situations and I just wrote it off as "new bike" syndrome. Man, when I switched the seat/tank it was like a whole new, smaller bike, way more flickable.


Raise the fork tubes in the T-clamps and make sure you're using a tire for your terrain. I installed the IMS seat/tank on my '99 WR when I first bought it - needed a taller seat anyways - thinking that it would magically transform the bike. Raising the fork tubes and changing to a Dunlop 756 front tire made a much bigger improvement IMO. If the seat/tank still bothers you then replace them.

I also run a 12oz flywheel and it definitely helps in the slow stuff.


Don't forget about the preload on the rear spring. More preload will make the back of the bike higher and help turning. I run around 90mm of sag.

Two more thoughts--

--Correct tire and pressure. Personally, I thought the 756's didn't last very well. They felt GREAT compared to stock 739's, but I've since been sold on the Michelin S12. Soft/emdium terrain.

-- Correct ergonomics. Are you tall? If so, tall seat foam and tall bars (or risers) will most likely position you more naturally when riding/standing. I couldn't get my elbows out for turns with the low stock bar position.

Thanks to everyone for the advice!! Very helpful. I'm new to this forum and it exceeded expectations.

This advice should be part of the "Technical" section in a concise format like PMaust wrote.

MX Tuner - I ride with a local group of late 30 somethings to 50 somethings. For a quick weekday ride we go to friend's land on Dorris Road in Alpharetta. Other times we usually go to North Georgia Mtns. to ORV areas or to a friend's place in Cleveland (up 400). He has permission from his neighbors to ride on a few thousand acres. We also participate in Southeastern Dual Sport Rides. Come join us sometime - I'll write to you offline.

Several in our group, just re-discovered dirtbiking after 18 or 20 years off. We are now hopelessly hooked and spend valuable work time doing things like this - writing on a web site about dirtbiking. This summer, we joined in on an annual ride in Crested Butte, Co. for a week. Was one of the most unbelievable outdoor experiences ever! We rode 120 miles+ a day. You western guys have it made with the vast terrain.

Thanks all and good riding!


Hey Mike,

I live between Duluth and Alpharetta, ride some dualsport on my WR ( GARTRA Chattahoochee DS), spend a week in CO in the summer on my WR, ocassionally ride an enduro, etc...

Have we met?

Want to go riding sometime?

I have another buddy in Woodstock with a WR.

Send me an email if you need more riding buddies.



I live and ride in the Pacific Northwest. Here is what works for me:

1. Stock gearing

2. Stock timing-WR

3. 01 YZ header and silencer

4. Michelin S-12's

5. Scotts stablizer

6. Forks 6mm up in the triple clamps

7. I also run my race sag at 95mm

Good Luck!

Mr Toyz Do you have a trailer to pull behind your bike for all that stuff!! :) How do you get it between the trees. I'll ride with you any day. I wont have to bring a thing!!! :D

[ November 12, 2001: Message edited by: Jason Williams ]

Mike I have done about the same I run my forks 10mm in the clamps, 10 clicks comp 12 rebound, 95mm air space, and 5wt silkolen, in the rear I changed to a 5.1 or 5.4 from an 5.0, 2.5 wt silkolen, 14 clicks comp and 8 rebound with my rear sag between 95-100mm, and it handled better. I then changed the front springs to eibach's .45 on one side and .46 on the other to achive .45 1/2 along with the pro-action woods valving front and rear, and everything else, kept the same setting's as listed above and it was like a whole new bike, the suspension changes work so well even with that bubble of a wr tank the thing in the woods would turn on a rail, and shallow up sqaure edges roots to rocks, I have also shortened my wheel base like the others said and, remove links and bringing the tire all the way forward, I run Pirellis front mt44 and rear mt32.I also installed the YZ tank seat combo reset my sag and it still handles well, your rear sag is important, so is your front you can go to the pro-action web site and it will tell you how to check your sag front and rear, you can achive alot by having these items dailed in properly, as well as your comp and rebound setting's, before spending money on new suspensions parts and such, but if you need suspension work pro-action can help with the magic of Bart Lucas who is our rep in the Rochester, NY area, and him number is 716-254-0660. I also live on the East coast ride strickly in the tight woods always moist, roots rocks streams the works, I am a AMA promoter and own a hare scrambles track that is 5 miles long, and is super tight, super technical, and all around super butt kicking, rocks, hill climbs creek crossings, jumps, whoops, roots, and some death sections, we desinged this track to be this way so our club could ride it and get faster, and to knock down the speeds in the woods.I weigh 180 lbs and ride around a b class. If any of you guys who read this what to find out more about the event go to www.wnyoa.net and look up the Rapture, and feel free to contact us for more info....Rick


I would Highly recommend contacting MXtuner off line. He has done wonders with my setup. I too am reliving my second childhood, and ride many areas of North Ga. Our group also has mostly guys in their late 30's to well, MXTuner just looks like he's 60, but rides like he's a teenager. Good luck with your setup.

Bonzai :)

MARK.....Kentuck yesterday was great!

Bill, my hair is blonde, not white. I wish I could ride like a teenager. I guess I can... for about 30 feet.

Mike, I'd love to hook up with you sometime.

Greg, who do you know in Woodstock with a WR? I though I was the only one.

We all need to get together, go for a ride and tell some lies. Bill is good at the lying part.

MX Tuner - Sent you a private email thru this system with my contact info - check the "my profile section"

My group is going riding this Friday. You are invited.

Thumpertalk Member "Greg from Atlanta" is joining us - Just met online.

Oh the joys of internet dating - ha!

That Hurts.....That really hurts.....OK....Blond/White..Let's let the camera decide......


He still rides that WR like he's 13.....

Bonzai :)


You are welcome to join us also on Friday for the ride in the mountains. I see you are in Jonesboro. I'm grew up on the Southside - East Point/Fayetteville.

Thanks for the invite...I took yesterday off for Veterans day....I don't think my crew would appreciate me leaving them holding the bag in the middle of a deployment..I think we have a run going on this Saturday to either Kentuck or Houston Valley....

Another Time for sure.....

Bonzai :)

Whoops sorry guys, for that really long signature. I made that as part of a joke a few months back and forgot to uncheck my signature. Believe it or not all those tools fit in one small fanny pack...

Mr Toyz

Damn TOYZ....you got one big ass fanny :)

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now