2008 2009 YZ450 Better than WR450 for Trails ?

I've been riding a 2006 WR450 (steel frame) for two years. I had the suspension resprung and revalved twice (RT gold valves). I ride 90% singletrack trails in LA, some of it very tight for short distances but most of it is 2nd & 3rd gear speed on the WR (15 - 20 mph). 4 - 5 times a year, we ride fast open quad trails with deep sand.

The things I like about the WR450 are:

---Suspension is soft enough to soak up the roots and not deflect.

---Electric start (but I don't mind kicking because it takes only 1 - 2 kicks)

---Doesn't stall very often

---Bullet proof motor. Low maintenance on valves.

---Low 1st gear is nice when you need it and 2nd is perfect in the thickets most of the time.

---Great hill climber in any terrain, lots of traction

---Power is just right for tight woods

Thinks I don't like:

---Very heavy. I've add a TI shock spring and removed the lights and it is still a pig - 273 lbs wet with all the typical enduro protection. You really feel it the whoops and jumps and it is tuff to move around when stuck.

---Poor handling & slow steering. Takes a lot of concentration, and I have to ride way over the bars to make it turn. If I raise the forks just a tad it gets unstable in the whoops. Suspension is also to blame

---Forks use up most of the travel in fast sections. Higher oil level or more compression only make it harsh and deflect.

---Power is a little soft when the trails open up but the bike is stock. Would be an easy fix.

I can ride the WR at B-level pace but it wears me out quickly. No intentions of racing again. I'm looking at a 2008 or 2009 YZ450F as a do-all bike to replace the WR. I hear that these bikes are soft on power delivery and have a plush suspension compared to most other MX bikes. Sounds like a good match for woods.

My questions are:

1. Is a Rekluse Pro a necessity, a hinderance or just a personal preference in tight woods?

2. Would the DRD exhaust make the 450 harder or easier to ride in tight woods. More hit or less?

3. Would the YZ450 be a bad switch from the WR? If so, why?

4. Does the YZ turn quicker than the WR?

Can't ride 2-strokes anymore because the vibes.

I'm looking at 3 used YZ450's.

Bike A is completely set up for woods - Rekluse Pro, flywheel wt, steering dampner, 52T sprocket, and full protection. 50 hours on engine. Has DRD exhaust. Sprung for heavier rider but revalved for woods.

Bike B is completely stock with low hours and in excellent shape.

Bike C is immaculate, maybe 10-hrs and has full TItanium DRD exhaust and revalved/sprung for 150# (I'm 165)

Edited by Navaho6

The biggest drawback for any MX bike for woods riding is the transmission. The close ratio box makes it difficult to be as versatile as the WR. First gear will be too tall for tight single track and fifth will be too short for the open riding. You can gear one way or the other, but it will make the other end of the spectrum worse. If you only rode tight stuff or only open stuff then you could make it work well with changing the gearing. If you ride a wide range then it's gong to be tough. I had a YZ450 for woods duties and sold it to get the WR. Much better for the riding I do. Biggest complaint is the weight, but the gearing, electric start, suspension, 18" rear and lights make it worth it.

I rarely get above 45 mph on the WR. We don't have any open terrain in LA. It is all woods. If I keep the WR and get a YZ, the WR might get converted to dual sport trail machine.

The YZF will hit harder with the DRD pipe, but it will still be smooth and manageable once you get used to the bike. The power increase is in the lower mid range (~5000) where it's pretty useful, and the pipe won't make the bike snappy or difficult like an '03.

But the flywheel is smaller than your gas cap, and the engine doesn't take to running slowly nearly as well as the WR. That combined with the aforementioned tall first gear makes it something you'll need to adapt to in the slow going. You can fix both of these with a Rekluse, although I still recommend the use of an off-road weighted flywheel to improve the engine performance at low speeds. With the Rekluse set up right, you can get away with all kinds of crap without investing so much concentration in controlling the clutch.

As far as suspension goes, yes, the YZF suspension as issued is plush...for an MX bike. It's not optimal for the woods, however, although that can be dealt with by revalving and maybe lightening up the springs a step or so.

The YZF will be much more powerful, much more nimble, and a lot easier to maneuver at any speed, but not really that much lighter. My '06 with hand guards, an off-road skidder and an IMS 3.3g tank weighs an even 250 with a half tank. It feels more than 20 pounds lighter underway, I grant you, but it's not that much easier to manipulate when it's stuck, or to pick up off the ground.

You might want to try out an '07 or later WR. The aluminum frame doesn't save a significant amount of weight, but the bike is considerably easier to ride than the steel ones are. You really can work with the WR suspension, too, as far as that goes.

This comparison may help you with the conundrum:


I race desert races with mine for the most part, and I put a high value on the ability of the bike to deal with all kinds of situations at high speeds, but I had to do a lot to get it to where it was as good as it is in the tighter stuff, especially the rocky sections. With the Rekluse, first gear is OK now, but I'd like more gearing at speed, so I'm thinking of dropping the 4th and 5th from a WR into it, which would make it like the old 4 speed plus the higher 5th. Lights are out of the question unless they're a straight battery, constant loss system.

I have thought about trading it off for a WR a number of times, but I haven't. The '12 model WR is very interesting, though.

I think about the same swap sometimes and the biggest thing holding me back is the gear box. The thing that makes me wonder in your situation is you said your WR is "stock" and that that it can be easily fixed. Not sure what you have done to it or what still remains to be done, but a completely uncorked WR with just a slip-on has tons of power. I came off a 650R and never once felt a need for more power and in fact the WR has more instant "zap" than the big XR ever did. I have never ridden a steel framed WR, but a completely opened up bike feels a lot lighter and seems to handle better than one with restrictions still in place.

My YZ is a handful in the woods. The 07 and up WR's handle much better in the woods and can be made to run pretty fast. They just a de-tuned YZ.

I really like my 08 WR. It goes pretty good in the tight stuff and once the terrain opens up it's a blast to ride.

What I mean by "stock" is no aftermarket exhaust or engine mods other that the "free" mods (grey wire, throttle stop, restrictor in muffler all undone). Power is really not an issue.

That's why I was leaning more towards a stock exhaust on the YZ. There is $1000 difference between the stock YZ and the one with the DRD. Only benefit is the latter bike is valved for 150# woods rider. The stock YZ, I assume, would automatically need a revalve unless it is really plush.

The main reason for wanting the YZ is better steering, lighter (30#'s less) and more capable suspension.

Edited by Navaho6

I have owned an 07 WR450 and thought it was a pretty good bike until I rode an 09 YZ450. The YZ was way more nimble and felt like it was 60lbs lighter. I was worried about the tall first gear also. The YZ does have a tall first gear, but with the addition of a Rekluse Pro the tall first gear is NOT an issue. I ride some pretty slow nasty technical single track.

As far as power I felt that in stock form it was boring off the bottom and the addition of a Dr D pipe and an 06 cdi makes the motor just about perfect. It's there when you need it but not overwhelming.

The suspension on the YZ did feel a little harsh on slow square edge stuff but I softened up the front forks all the way on the compression clickers and it's just right for my 180lbs.

I sold my WR and bought an 09 YZ and could not be happier. I don't believe the WR can be on par with the YZ even if you try to make the WR lighter.

Just get the YZ and do the mods thaat I talked about and you will be very happy you did. I have owned many bikes and I feel the 09 YZ is the best bike I have ever owned and ridden hands down.

With that said I have NOT been on a 10 or newer YZ.

Edited by Gunner354

I have an 07 YZ450 and a friend has an 09 WR450. We have traded bikes a number of times so here are my thoughts. In the desert no Contest. The YZ is much more fun to ride. It feels way lighter, suspension is much plusher and motor is much more fun to ride. The WR is uncorked and has more low end than my YZ but signs off early. The YZ has more mid and top and revs faster but bottom end power is pretty good. Mine is stock except for a pipe and silencer. I have also ridden in Idaho City in the woods with it and it does pretty well. E start would be nice though. I soften up the forks with a couple of clicks and they work fine. Shock also is fine for me at 180lbs. The tall first gear is the biggest issue in the woods. I dont find the lack of flywheel weight to be that much of a problem. If I rode woods all the time I would gear it down a couple of teeth in the back and try a recluse. The weight difference is huge and very noticable when riding the two bikes. The YZ suspension is much better stock for stock although I am sure a revalve can make the WR work well. Both bikes are very reliable, thats the main reason I went back to Yamaha.

Hope this helps

I have a 09 YZ and my dad has a 07 WR uncorked. They are both very nimble and easy to ride in the tight stuff. Recently sold my KTM 200 i had for a few years. It weighed as much as a 125 and some say it's the best bike there is for tight, technical trails. Going straight to the WR450 and then the YZ, I have no complaints about weight when riding, and I am suprised at how easy both machines are to ride in technical terrain. I think gearing is the biggest difference between these bikes when you're riding...the WR works a little better in the tight stuff, but the YZ is for sure better at everything else and tons of fun. I don't think weight is an issue with either one, they both feel very light for 450's.

How hard are the yz's to start after you've dumped them? Is that the best benefit of the Rekluse (not stalling). Is the Rekluse Pro the best model?

The wr and YZ are not both nimble in tight stuff. The yz feels 60lbs lighter and is just plain nimble as hell. Feels like a much lighter bike. The wr has a more top heavy feeling. I can ride much longer with the yz because it takes little effort.

The YZ is very easy to start with the right jetting. One or two kicks is the norm.

I went through this scenario for years and wish I had bought the YZ years earlier.

Read my previous post again.

The Rekluse Pro is the way to go if you ride single track. This comes straight from Rekluse. The Pro is smoother

So, if I gear the bike 13/52 and add a flywheel weight would it be prone to stalling at slow speeds ?

The bike I'm looking at was used for trail riding (not racing), B-level rider. So how many hours can the YZ go under those conditions before needing top end work? I'm guessing the bike has 100 hours.

Are the '08's hard to shift? '09 received a shift fork upgrade?

Obviously there are many variables to help determine which is "better", but the handful of off-road racers in my group prefer the YZF. They're all A or AA racers and former WRF racers. In fact each still own a WRF and use it for a majority of their riding....but none of their racing currently.

So, if I gear the bike 13/52 and add a flywheel weight would it be prone to stalling at slow speeds ?

The bike I'm looking at was used for trail riding (not racing), B-level rider. So how many hours can the YZ go under those conditions before needing top end work? I'm guessing the bike has 100 hours.

Are the '08's hard to shift? '09 received a shift fork upgrade?

I would not waste money on changing the gearing and flywheel weight. Just install a Rekluse Pro, 06cdi and a pipe. No stalling and just the right amount of power without being overwhelming.

As far as changing piston and longevity. We are just in the process of putting in a new oem top end after nearly 400 hours. It still starts on first or second kick and runs strong. I will post pics and the tolerances of old rings and piston. Yamahas are by far the longest running motocross bikes hands down. They are finally getting recognition for this in the magazines.

Edited by Gunner354

I talked to a friend who races an '09 in harescrambles and enduros. He's knows what I am looking for in a bike, and I trust his opinion because he has ridden many different bikes (he is a dealer). His advice was to get a stock '09, put a flywheel weight and barkbusters on it.. No autoclutch, no exhaust mods. He said that the softer power delivery with the oem muffler is good for our tight trails, and the oem muffler with an turn-down insert is almost as quiet as a stock WR.

Looking for a completely stock '09 in the gulf coast region - LA, TX, AR, MS or AL.

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