What Did You WR Guys do to Dirtbike Mag. ?

Man , just read the new Dirtbike Mag. and boy it was not kind on it's 03 WR 450 review !! You guys been dating Dirtbikes little sister or what?!? :) I know the WR is blue but it aint all bad - you know it can't help what color it is - it was born that way :D. I gota say it's pretty funny after ALL these years of bitching about that BULBUS gas tank that they now are bitching that the new tank doesn't hold enough gas. :D FYI I rode one and liked it. :D :D :D


Kinda funny. Yamaha must not have bought enough ad space. I am anxious to read it. Motocross action seems to like it. Thats ok. It is better than last years, what more can you ask. ---Mike

I've read the article, and then I read it again. I didn't think it was bad or negative at all as a whole.

Think about it this way: Most of the comments were very favorable, and most of the less than totally favorable comments concerned the weight and small tank. Well, for almost three years now KTM has been selling an e-start four stroke w/ less heft and a bigger tank. You can't deny the (well deserved) popularity of the RFS lineup, including within the Dirt Bike staff. Also, the EXC/MXC bikes are good right off the showroom floor. The WR needs help. We should consider that maybe it needs more help than the testers are willing to provide. Personally I am supremely confident that I could easily make a new WR 450 go like heck, but maybe when they test these things for the mags they don't quite get 'er done. Out of the crate, a stock KTM 450 will flat-out smoke a stock WR 450. Losing the throttle stop and exhaust insert makes it even, but you still have other issues that prevent you from getting the most out of the motor (snorkel, jetting & cam timing, mostly).

I've had a subscription to Dirt Bike for a long time now, and followed the magazine avidly well before that, and as far as I'm concerned there is nothing at all about their recent review of the WR450 that is overly biased, contrived, or surprising.

If Yamaha had a 450 E/M XC in their crosshairs when they decided how to deliver the WR we would all be happier I think, but the fact is that the WR, as delivered with all of its weirdness, has more potential IMO than an amazingly good KTM RFS lineup. I think it is a better bike despite itself.

The KTMs are downright main-stream compared to all the weird stuff on the WR. Who knows what Yamaha is thinking?

Well put. Now, if KTM would get a linkage they would have the market cornered. How is it that Yamaha corks up the WR to the point that it takes half a day just to get it right? KTM does not have to meet the same EPA (or whatever) standards? The gas tank in my opinion is about the perfect size for enduros and hare scrambles. Yes, bigger would be nice for trail riding but that is about it. I do think the should fully prep the bike before comaring it to the KTM. The KYB suspension is so much more tuneable that several fast guys got off KTM and went Yamaha. This is not a debate between KTM and Yamaha, but at least they are being compared now. The WR is much better than last year, it is just a shame that it does not come race ready as the KTM does. The Yamaha seems to make a better racer if you are willing to work for it. ----Mike

The weight reduction, or lack of, is what got me. I think it is a great bike, and the happy button will be great, but nothing to trade my 400 in for. Yes, 400. :)

400? You have not wore it out yet? You aint ridin'!!! :):D :D There was a lot of weight reduction. You have to remember the e start and it is still a little lighter. -----Mike

I ride a 400, too. The 450 looks awsome and I'd love to have one, but my 400 still halls my fat a$$ around just fine...and there's no problems with it, either. Hard to pay that much more money for a bike when the one in the garage still impresses me.

Nothing wrong with a 400 or 426. I ride enough that I get a new bike every 2-3 years. After spending $2500 replacing parts and rebuilding the motor in my 426, I decided I shoud have just got a new one. Now I will lose my but selling it. maybe I will keep it :) There really is not that much difference. It does feel like a different bike. ---Mike

The thing that puzzles me is why does Yamaha cork up the WR to meet EPA and it gets a CA Red sticker, but KTM does not cork up the 450 and it gets a CA Green sticker???

Did Yamaha not bribe the correct CA Government official??


Editors feel like they gotta bitch or their not doing their job. I didn't agree with most of the complaints. Felt the issues raised were more a matter of personal preference. I bought an IMS 4.0 gal tank for my XR650 and felt it actually enhanced the rider's position as I could get up on the tank and squeeze with the legs. I will eventually get a bigger tank for the WR, but it is ok for now.

I look at Dirt Bike Mag like this: If all you have is a hammer, then the whole world is your nail. Nothing is ever good enough. I've had a 98' WR400 (4 years) and an 02' WR426 (1 year). This new WR450 is everthing I would have done to each bike if money was no object, and even then I could not have fabricated everthing. If you like WR's, then this bike is as good as it gets, for now.


That's what we've been asking for several years, and no one seems to have any answer other than yours. Government agencies just create standards that can only be met by large infusions of cash, whether to the agency itself or to a third party.

As for industry magazines, they should be strictly for entertainment purposes. Unfortunately, they view themselves as the regulators of the industry. They receive advertising dollars from the very manufacturers whose products they are testing. As a result, their opinions have to be taken with a grain of salt. Their motives are not always pure, as much as they'd like to think so. And if their only complaints are personal preference issues, they shouldn't be portrayed as a fault in the product.

These bikes are all so good now that none of them should be getting a bad review unless they exhibit some reliability issues. The KTMs are good, but they also need setting up. News flash: THEY ARE NOT RACE READY OUT OF THE CRATE, ANY MORE THAN A WR.


It is my understanding that manufactures "self certify" sound emissions to the EPA. The test is a wide-open throttle, 50-foot test, and the level of acceptable sound is somewhere between 80-82 dbA. I understand that some of the Japanese companies have tested the KTM 450 and don't find the same complies with the standard.

I guess this type of testing may be a good future article for some magazine types.


I will have to disagree with you there. I have not done so, but I'm sure I could race a KTM right out of the crate. I've ridden a few right out of the crate, and the jetting is pretty close on the bikes I've ridden, they have good grips etc and a good chain. With the six speed tranny the gearing will work for most anything, especially the EXC, they hold enough fuel, especially the MXC.

All they need is a damper, hand guards and a skid plate. Softer seat foam would be nice.

OTOH the WR barely runs out of the crate. I'm not going to race a WR with the exhaust corked and only 1/2 throttle with the longer stop. So I would say that qualifies as being less race ready than a KTM, and I'm a bit surprised that you would not agree.

Give me WR 450 and a few hours to work on it and I'd probably rather race it than a KTM 450, otherwise I'm probably better off on a 125.

Just my two pennies.


I don't believe I'd race either one out of the crate.

If I were to race a KTM, I would change shock damping characteristics to get rid of the mid-stroke harshness, adjust damping both ends, change the tires, the tubes, the grips, the bars, the levers, the jetting, the odo/computer thingy, and possibly add a steering damper, skid plate, and hand guards just as you would.

On a WR, I'd trade the custom shock damping work for removal of airbox lid, throttle stop, stock muff, and cam timing. Cost is about a wash.

Seems pretty even to me.

After riding with Danny Lorenze and his buddy Derek (who has a DRZ), I'd even race a properly set up DRZ. And I'm not much of a Suzook fan. But they work pretty good, too.

These things are all so close, that it only takes a few hundred dollars to get them really prepped.

For my money, these are all excellent enduro bikes, and decent desert sleds. If I were seriously racing desert, though, I'd have to have a KX500 or XR650.

Too bad with your 2 cents and mine, we can't even buy a cup of coffee.


Too bad with your 2 cents and mine, we can't even buy a cup of coffee.

True, but we could uncork/unstop/uncover a WR for even less. :)

So I wouldn't complain if I had to race a WR. That would be just fine and dandy as far as I'm concerned. :D

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