Another Newbie Here With Questions....'03 WR450

I am picking up an '03 WR450this Saturday. The motor was replaced and has around 1000 miles on it. He took the starter off because of the woodruff key issue and it is a late build. (what ever that means) I have a few questions. Any advice would be a great help.

1. I plan to ride this bike to an from work, 38miles each way. It is stop and go traffic with no more than 2 miles of non-stop riding. Speed about 55mph. Could I do this without worry of problems?

2. What kind of maintenance would prolong the life of this bike.

3. What is the "Woodruff Key Issue" and did his mod help the problem?

4.I heard about an oil issue with these motors. Could you please give me details?

5. How often should I replace the piston and ring as preventitive maintenance?

6. Can you give me some detailed things to check when I look at it?

I want to be sure this is a good buy. I am doing this to save some money on fuel and don't want to pour money into this bike and defeat the purpose of buying it. Thanks again


Oh, I forgot to add. I am planning on putting LED turn signals on it. Will they work with the stator? It currently has a headlight and tail light.

Hey, I'll try to answer those question. If I got it correctly, you'll be riding the bike on pavement, 80 miles a day. You'll get really uncomfortable on that bike because it isnt designed to be ridden in that way. Gearbox could be damaged on pavement, gear ratios are designed for trail riding so you'll be riding on higher rpm on pavement. You'll have to get some decent street tires aswell. plus maintenance is more than you'd want from a commuting bike. IMHO, what you're looking for is Suzie DRZ400 or WR250X. but, if you still want to get it, than here it goes:

2. Factory manual says 600 miles between oil changes but most of guys here agree that even after 300 miles oil is pretty much degraded and needs to be replaced. Nothing except of this, its yammie :thumbsup:

3. Woodruff key issue affects 03 wr450-s when the starter was added first, backfire when cranking the motor could create enough torque to shear the flywheel key, there are some updated components that you can throw in and use the starter again, but it will cost you some bucks, there is a thread out there about the conversion, try search button if interested.

4. No issues at all, just frequent changes(hey, it's a race bike!) and thats all. 2 holes to drain the oil, 1 hole to fill, thats all.

5. 200 hours on motor is a good point to think about a top end job. But still, never heard of motor blowing because of missed piston/rings maintenance.

6. Check rear chock for leaks, oil signs on bottom bumper. Also check for smooth operation of rear suspension as the bearing could have seized because of lack of greasing. Check for play in wheel bearings and steering head bearing. Try to get info from the owner about how often has he changed the oil.

Based on your criteria, this is not the bike for you. Can I ask why you are looking at an off-road only bike you will have to pay to make street legal when your description talks about a 76 mile road trip everyday in stop and go traffic?

If you are planning to use something as a dirt bike on weekends I'd suggest a DRZ400s as it has a fan for the radiator and is an adequate dirt bike. Otherwise if you are tall enough an XR650L got me to and from 17 miles one way in Minneapolis traffic for 2 years. Also, a UJM is a MUCH better commuter than anything you are talking about and will not be as likely to get stolen. At work there I a guy who has a 750 Yamaha triple for $600 that is high on my list for a possible gas saver. Oil changes and general maint alone on any off-road only bike will negate the gas savings your looking for.

All the other questions were answered already or just do a search and you'll find em. No true dual sport will be comfy for your saddle time without some work. Give us some more info and maybe we can understand more why the WR is being considered. Trust me, as easy as the WR is to kick. The last thing you want to do in traffic after work is kickstart a bike or get home and change oil once a week to fall within the 300-500 mile range.


Edited by miweber929

Wow thanks for all the info. I really want to get a "supermoto" because I had raced dirtbikes for years and I really feel comfortable on them. So that said, it looks like a drz. Keep the info commingle ;-)

Any supermoto will not be a good choice for a long distance as the seats are horrible. Imagine riding your motocrosser and never getting up, unless your ass is 6" across the 5" seat will not be a great place to sit. I am telling you from experience! Like I said, that distance a UJM will be a better choice, my 35 miles a day way about enough.



Wouldn't be my first choice for what you want it for....

besides the DRZ, I'd also look at XR650L's, and the KLR 650's

Edited by CanadianWR450
my spelling sucks

my advice would be to stop watching marat kankadze videos on youtube..

Those 650 BMW's are pretty sweet too....MUCH more road friendly then the XR-L or KLR even, but offroad, is pretty much limited to dirt roads...used to be called "Dakar's" not sure what they are called now though

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