Has Yamaha dropped the ball ?

I'm a Yamaha rider (DT360, IT490) from way back so I'm trying to write this objectively.

Is Yamaha now playing catchup with the WR range ? I ask this as I have just returned from a two day organised bush ride for street legal/road registered dirt bikes. Of the 100 or so bikes there, around half would have been KTMs or Husabergs. A sizeable number were XR400's. There was one other WR426F that I saw. The reasons that I know most KTM riders give for riding orange are - electric start, enduro ready, offset handlebar mounts with Magura bars, road registerable, a larger model range and enduro racing reputation. This is even after being considerably more expensive than the WRs. When the WRs came out they were a real attempt at serious enduro machines. Now the YZF's are among the leaders on the MX track but the WR's seem to be left behind. Quite a few riders said to me "Gees mate, you must be hanging for the e-start WR450. When does it come out ?" This means that Yamaha is now a follower, not a leader.

If I was buying an enduro bike now I would go for the Husaberg FE501e.


I wouldn't buy a Husaberg, I think the company is in trouble.

I rode my buddies KTM520 MXC and just like all the KTM's I've ridden and owned in the past, the thing feels weird. I'll never buy another one because parts are expensive and hard to get. His bike wasn't any lighter than mine but it did have e-start. The other thing that sucks is it only holds a quart of oil and has 4 filters you have to change. Mine's so easy to start that I don't really mind anyway.

I hated Yamaha's for years because most of them have not been very reliable. I had a YZ80, 2 RZ350's, Radian, and PW50 and Vmax that I still own. I've had problems with all of these bikes and I have to say that the WR426 is a vast improvement.

Anyway, I think I'll keep my WR for a while. It's damn fast and I like being able to get parts easily.


one of my mates has a 501, he is selling it because it spends more time in the shop than in the bush and not small things eather, major engine problems, this last time, the straw that broke the cammels back, he's had to waight five weeks for a new camshaft and rockers, the funny thig is i've never seen him flog the guts out of it, rest assured the wr450 will be the best bike on the market, i beleive we will be receiving it in march 2003.

I'd call any of the full size WR's a serious off-road mount.

We've arrived at the point of product equality in new motorcycles. I believe thats why Yamaha came out with the E-button and a little more displacement.

By the time you get either of those other bikes out the door your in for $8000 +or-. If you spent the same on your WR you'd have everything except a hydraulic clutch and some coin left over.

I've got nothing against those bikes except what I've read, and that is reliability issues. I've read the same things about the Honda CRF450R's.

I've ridden and liked KTM 400's, 520's, and DRZ400E's.

I've ridden XR400's and found them lacking in power to any of the above.

I've been dusted in the forest by my Bro on a six year old XR250 with nothing more than a pipe, some minor carb work, and a two tooth larger rear sprocket.

That didn't mean that the age old XR was a better Enduro mount, rather it was because that bike is in it's element in tight woods. He can ride the motocross track on his bike but would rather ride one of my WR's. That proves to me that mine is a better crossover ride.

I've tried to get him to score a WR250F and he just laughs and asks why.

All of these new bikes are way more capable than anything I grew up riding.

Just my .02

The yamahas are the leaders as far as 4 stroke goes, yes they have been slow with e start but if you look the pumpkin needs to be a 520/525 to compete with a 426.

If you want a nice smooth 4 stroke that does everything well buy a ktm 400/450 if you want a hardcore point and squirt race machine buy the yamaha.

KTM still makes the best two strokes by far but they still lack slightly in the four stroke arena.

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