WR450 vs WR426

I am getting ready to purchase a WR 450, but I just read in REV magazine that the 450 feels "...like a long-legged and heavier open class four-stroke machine". It goes on to say that "the hadling is a bit slower and not quite as sharp as compared to last year's WR426F."

Has anyone who has ridden both the 02 and 03 got an opinion? The local dealer has an 02 426 in stock. Should I consider this bike instead of the more expensive 03 450? Are the starting problems with the 426 that bad? I am ready to buy... I need to decide soon!


Jim Bo. Had a 98'WR400 (4yrs), 02'WR426 (1yr) and now an 03'WR450. If you want to ride WR's, I gotta tell you the 03'WR450 is as good as it gets for Yamaha four smokes. Once you get the jetting dialed in, starting is not an issue. Just a hint, the first day out I stalled the 03'WR450 (it can happen !) on the off camber side of a tall sand wash. On the 98' and the 02' this would have had a pucker factor of 10. Now, clutch in, I hit the "magic button" and bada bing, I tourqued my way out of what was in the past a bad situation. 02' WR426 ? Forget about it Joey ! As far as handling, raise the forks 10mm and it turns like a YZ80.

Jim Bo,

I always felt my 02 WR426 pushed in the corners. My first ride on my new WR450 was a night and day difference from the 426. I can lay this sucker over in a corner and rail. I love it! Don't believe everything you read in a magazine; they're usually slanted in one manufacturer's direction or another. Just my opinion.

I've yet to ride a WR450. Someday soon I will. As far as the 02' WR426 goes. I LOVE IT!! I raised the fork tubes 2mm to get rid of the push in the corner. The bike runs great and handles excellent for my riding style. It may differ for others though. As far as stalling, I'm used to riding two strokes so I hardly ever stall the WR. :D Just my $5 worth..................db :)

I had a 2001 426 , everybody seems to be on the same page.the 426 is a very nice bike but the 450 has so much more to offer.e-button,flatter seat,more power (not that I needed more power) .overall the 450 is a better bike ! I have no regreats at all and have over 250 miles with no problems.it runs great!!!


The WR450 corners very very well for a 262Lb. bike with a 39" seat height. This is no YZ250 (My last bike) that has a lower center of gravity and weighed 40 lbs less. Steering is good with the stock fork postion but you can raise the fork in the clamps by 10 mm to get it to respond quicker.

10mm??!! How does this affect your straight line stability? I went with 2mm on my 02' WR.

the 03 has different geometry than the 02 and 2 mm is hard to feel for me. It also depend on your springs and sag settings. I have a scotts damper and 10mm with my heavier front springs works fine (very quick). Dont be afraid to experiment. Take your wrench out and make some adjustments on one day of riding and you will find what works for you.

Jim bo,

I wouldn't even worry about it. I have an 01 426 and railing corners isn't an issue. You just have to be in good riding posture and position on the bike. Anyway, my point it this, whatever you get you will get used to it and making it rip won't be an issue. 10%bike-90%rider. I wouldn't put too much weight into magazine articles here. The 450 is a good purchase. Get it!


My adjustments are fine right where they are at. I was just wondering why you went to 10mm? That's quite a bit of change. WIth the damper you will hardly feel the problems you have. It's kind of like a temporary fix to a problem that still exists. Just my $5 worth. Do you have the rake and trail measurements for both the WR426 and the WR450? The two are almost identicle as they are now. The WR being bigger by a hair in all dimensions. They both use the same tires and suspension as well. Thanks..............db :)

BTW, As *mike68* mentioned, it's 90% rider and 10% bike.

Well, I've got to say that my 02 wr426 has gone from a so-so bike to a blast - YZ exhaust, 03 YZ 450 cam, clarke tank and seat. I also have an 03 250F that was my favorite - not so now - the 02 WR is now so good that I actually ride it more. So if any of you are out there thinking of getting a good used or leftover 01 or 02 at a good price and you are mechanically inclined - go for it! Allow about $500-700 for mods - you may come out way ahead. And starting is a breeze with the 03 cam. You don't need no stink'n starter! :)


The guys over on the YZ forum run up to 15mm fork raise. Restricted by the fork tube hitting the bar or wheel bottoming out on the frame front end. I am stable in straight lines because I like to stay on the gas. I have not topped out the bike yet, so it might be an issue at that point. :)

I'm running with the forks raised 12mm. I did it more for the fact that I'm very vertically challenged. By the way, it does rail in the corners with this change and I don't feel a loss in stability but I'm on the gas as well.

I'd still consider a WR426 if there was a significant price difference. There is no way I'd sell mine right now to get a WR450 for the upgrades they've done. The only way it would be worth it for me is if the weight dropped 10-15 lbs. The new tank doesn't work for me off road so I'd need a larger tank ASAP. :)

Yep, buy a 426. Mine is for sale as I have 450. Yep, I do not need no stinkin' starter. But is is a nice luxury! TT is getting to be so whiney that I could puke. let's all get over our, mine is better than yours and get on to real subjects. Yes, if you do not need the latest and greatest, by all means find a good used one. There is nothing wrong with them as a whole. The WR 450 is a great bike as well, the woodruff key deal is getting all blown out of proportion. Yes it has been a serious problem for a couple people and minor for a few more the other 90% have had no problems. If you are into pogo sticks go get a KTM! --Mike

I think i need a beer...or 2

I just got my WR 450 last month. I have pretty much ridden it non-stop and I would disagree with Rev magazine. I read the article as well and found what they said did not have much merit. (Besides I don't know if I trust a magazine that is $5.00 and you don't get a whole lot of reading material) When I went to pick up my bike they had a 426 on the floor and I stopped for half a second and thought hey I could save some money if I bought the 426. I stayed with the 450 and it was a good move. The only thing I don't like about it is the e-button popped out one the second ride. I have not replaced it yet because a new one is 40 bucks and I think it easier to start with the kick starter. You can probably tell I am cheap and I think I got great deal on this bike. (retail)

The 450 is the way to go for sure! :)

Check your PM's.

Yo Moab. My button popped out on the first day. Replace it with a stop switch off a newer Yamaha ATV ($10). All the button does is close a circuit and the standard Yamaha ATV stop switch is made to last a lifetime. In fact, it plugs right in to the stock female plug behind the headlight. Plus, with two kill switches, thieves can't find the start button. Who ever said they were smart.

I have both bikes, I can't say anything bad about the WR426, great bike,very reliable,good suspension and great motor. The WR450 is all that and more, it's lighter (and feels like it) has more power and has an E-start for a bigger market of riders. I can honestly say that I was one of those guys that said "if you can't start you shouldn't be riding it" but forget all that crap :), you get use to the the button really fast, it's so nice to have when you're on a tight, off camber, rocky section and stall the bike, all you have to do is push the button. Again, I don't have to have it but man, it's damn nice. For years I've seen just about every member of TT (and every magazine) complain about the tank and seat width, Yamaha finally addressed this issue with all new ergos and some of you still complain, now it's too small. The auto-decompression is probably the best thing on the bike. Kick starting the WR426 for me was a no brainer, find TDC and go. The WR450 is just about idiot proof when it comes to kick starting, no drill just kick. I only have three rides and one race on the new bike and I havn't had the woodruff problem that a few others have had, my torque was good from the factory and had it checked twice, so far so good...

Either bike will work for most of us. I'm having a better time on the 450..


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