Well after a twelve year break from riding dirt bikes my best friend from high school talked me into doing some dual sport rides with him. Obviously I would need a bike to do this so he and I started shopping around for some bikes to do these with the needed requirements of 1: Be a large bore four stroke. 2: Be somewhat easy to make road legal enough for our needs. 3: Be reliable, have decent suspension, brakes, comfort… This became a short list made up of Honda crf450x (wasn’t sold on reliability and never been a Honda guy), KTM's all were either too expensive for my budget or completely worn out, Husky’s, same issues as KTM. So this left the WR 450 Yamaha, it meet all the criteria and I knew the Yamaha engine was pretty good reliability wise and make decent power so that was the winner plus I didn’t hate the idea of e-start. So it was going to be my second Japanese enduro bike (first was a 1988 KDX 200). My last six bikes had all been KTM two strokes but I had raced a Husaberg for a season in 1996 plus a few races on a KTM LC4 600 way back when. After a few weeks of watching Craig’s List and EBay we found a barely used 2003 WR450 for sale close by and in my budget. It started and sounded fine and a quick look inside the air boot showed it hadn’t sucked any dirt in so I paid for it and brought it home. I had been lurking on here reading all I could about the bikes, as FCR carbs were new ground for me, plus having never ridden more than a few laps on an YZ, learning all the quirks of Yamahas and how to fix them. I can’t say enough for all the info I got from reading the pinned posts on here, so I made a game plan to fix some issues and tune the bike to be as good as possible. I broke it down into stages; stage one being the most important critical repairs and mods. Stage one: Starter idle gear, jetting, road legal stuff, handlebars, free mods, water pump seals, suspension service with heavier springs. As my luck would have it the 2003 had a poorly designed starter idle gear that could shear the woodruff key off the flywheel so to avoid that I retrofitted the 2004 parts to fix this issue, it was easy but the most expensive part of the job. I had to do some digging to find some good advice on jetting and settled on a NCVS needle (3rd clip), 45 pj, 165 mj and 50lj. I also bought a jet or two on each side of this and a NFLR needle. Stay tuned for more info on how it works but seems to be a good starting place, I also replaced the orings and seals that looked dry or were rotted plus added a KTM Acc pump spring (cheapest HD spring out there),adjustable air screw and adjusted the accelerator pump, carb done I hope. I got a wiring harness, rear break switch, break/tail light extension, YZ rear fender, mirror and horn that will get me road legal here in Indiana. I replaced the bent OE steel bars with a set of Protapers with adapters on the stock mounts while at it I put new grips and a set of big bar adapters for the handguards. I removed the gray wire for the ignition and removed the snorkel from the air box, cut two holes into the right side of the air box along with removing the backfire screen and adding a Twin-Air treated filter to take place of the screen. I pulled the stock pea shooter and replaced it with a GYRT insert. The YZ throttle stop had already been installed. I had to change the water pump seals as it was leaking when I got it, it’s a great design with a weep hole and easy to change, that should get it to where it will run as good as possible I hope. Oh I also put a manual decompression block off in the head to replace the wimpy stock plug. While doing all this I pulled the suspension and sent it off for stiffer springs and fresh seals (rear shock was leaking and had never been serviced). While I was at it I packed all the linkage and steering bearings with fresh grease. Guess I can also include that fresh engine oil, filter, coolant with Redline water wetter and brake fluid were also changed. Whew I’d forgotten how much work a dirt bike was, but I’ve had a blast working on it! Stage two: New battery, new tires, CR style front brake line, and new graphics. Stay tuned!