WR450 impressions

Well, I have done most of the free mods and took the WR out today for the first time since. My impressions are:


-Electric start really comes in handy. However, easily starts with kickstarter.

-Amazing engine. I can lug it slow in 4th gear, then just a roll of the throttle and HANG ON!! Awesome power for hill climbing. Power is very linear. Like a really big and loud electric motor.

-Easy to ride fast without much effort. Fatigue takes a bit longer to set in. Very comfortable ride.

-Suspension soaks up bumps like they aren't even there. Whoops are easy. It just skips right across the top. Very nice.


-Heavy. While on the trail, you can't feel it. However, when you are in a tight spot, you notice it alot. Trying to get it down a steep hill after a failed climb really sucks. It climbs great, just make sure you get all the way up!

-Washes out in sand. I kept having problems with the front wheel washing out in sand. On hard packed ground, it was killer. Once it hit sand, it sometimes took a life of its own.

-Tall. I am 6' and I think it is tall. I have race sag at about 105mm. It gives the bike a top heavy feel. Really tough trying to mount in a difficult or tight spot.

-Seat is HARD. 'nuff said.

I would like to know if other WR450 owners have similar comments. Also, have you found any solutions to the "cons"?


Hi Jim Bo,

I would rather spend my energy riding than kicking. I stop a lot on trails and like to ride 60 miles plus per ride. I love the E-Start! I raised my forks 10mm in the clamps. Put on Michelin S12s and the bike has completely changed its image in the heavy sand. My favorite place to ride has deep sand and dark dirt & mud trails so the S12s work great in anything soft. The bike is top heavy but it only bothers me in very technical terrain. This dirt bike is the best hill climbing machine I have ever been on! The heavy fly wheel and torque make lugging it up hills in 3rd and dropping to 2nd occasionally childs play. It climbs best when the engine starts clanking at low rpm in gear. The gearbox is fantatastic! Seat is right for my 220lbs. It has softened it quite a bit and the cover is now slightly loose from riding a few hundred miles. I try to stay off the seat as much as possible but my ass seems to like to get on the seat whenever the terrain is flat. I wish the bike had a 3.2 gallon stock tank. I wish it had a 36" seat height without losing the suspension travel or ground clearance.

I don't seem t feel the weight that much. Only when I'm loading it up.

I can't comment on the suspension cause I had mine revalved and new spring, but I can tell you that if its washing out in turns, its probably too stiff. Back off on the compresion a couple clicks. I don't know about the race sag, but I was told by my suspension company to set my free sag to 20mm. I agre with your pros however one con I have is I am a little concerned about the starter gear. It sounds VERY clanky. Other than that I'm totally stoked about it.

Jim Bo. Went to a Renthal Jimmy Button - High Bend bar on the WR450. When you look at the specs it's too tall, too wide, but has a nice bend-back to it. Having that much bar in these wide open spaces helps when it comes to man handling the WR450 through deep sand, muddy clay and the occasional jackalope collision. It also gives me lot's of room for the bark busters and other such dual-sport things I hang off the bar. If you've got wide shoulders, get a wide bar, I'd say.

WR250, race sag is how much the bike sags with you sitting on it. You have to get a friend to help you with it. You put on all your gear also so the bike is then set up for you. This really helps if your not in the target range weight the bike is set up for. It will let the suspension work better and enter conrners much better.

So ....

What is the "ideal" race sag for a WR450??


Most people like 90 - 100 mm sag on the rear. It is rider preference and some like more or less. Experiment and see what you like the best.

Thanks Indy, I was just after some experience from you guys. I have mine set at 95, so may play around and stiffen it up a little more.

what difference does changing the sag make. or what should you notice.

Been doing a lot of reading on this woodruff issue and I am starting to wonder if Yamaha Is just putting a bandaid on this until next year.I am pretty sure they will fix the problem on the 04 .And we will have to buy the new part to assure it doesen't break.Hopefully not.It should be covered by Yamaha we will see.So for now its up to your local dealer mechanic to do a good job .& hope it last.So far dealer is fixing it never did brake on my bike knock on wood.All the stories I read made me worry. It did make some weired noises when starting a few times. I have about 120 miles or so on the motor..Enough negative stuff . Love this bike! Raced it this past weekend in Evansville Raceway P.A.Did a 3rd in plus 30 & 2nd in plus 40 A liitle to soft to hit the big 95 foot triple.Did do the 50 foot tabletop Great up the big hills more control then my buddies YZ450F .A liitle on the tall side in tight turns.Does anyone know if by changing the jetting to the Canadian Spec.will give me more low end looking for that happy medium between the YZ & the Wr Lets keep up ther positive talk.Live to ride Ride to live

I set the race sag at about 97mm (I had to add a good bit of preload to do that) and raised the forks about 10mm. The front end doesn't wash out nearly as bad as it did. However, I do have two complaints:

-at speed, headshake is an issue (it was before raising the forks also)... sometimes it is an issue after a hard landing from a jump.

-the bike is just too damn tall for low speed, technical stuff. I am looking forward to the fix from KOUBA. If anyone has an alternate fix, I'd love to hear about it.

Other than that, I love this bike. I rode a CRF for the first time. It has more "instant" power, but I think the WR's power is more useable. I am crazy about the engine.


My 250 WR cornered terrible in sand also when brand new also. I had to soften up the compression about 4 clicks. You want the front end to compress entering a corner, this gives weight transfer to the front tire, giving it some bite. (but not too much bite, especially in sand or the front end will consistantly tuck under). You will find a good setting between cornering bite and resistance to bottoming. Depends on what you like for ride quality.


Just a tip on preload. Set the prload for an inch without you on it. Get on it a take a measurement. If you have to adjust the preload much you need a different spring. You should have 3.5-4" sag. The springs will make a big difference. These bikes rock when valved correctly. ---Mike

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