Because the off-road and enduro bike markets are heating up, bike producers are frequently seeking to get their justifiable share of the gross sales pie. Most do that effectively by taking their greatest, hottest motocross bike and including the options wanted to make them aggressive in a number of different classes.
Yamaha launched its all-new 2019 WR450F hoping to draw clients on the lookout for a extremely aggressive enduro bike. The YZ450F was all-new in 2018, and the YZ450FX was utterly up to date with the brand new engine and chassis for 2019. Yamaha stored the 2019 WR450F beneath wraps for a while earlier than its introduction to the world.
By now you might be in all probability conversant in the latest-generation YZ450F engine, and it’s the identical one which’s getting used within the WR450F. Naturally, the “WR” comes with a wide-ratio, five-speed transmission that’s truly the identical because the one used within the YZ450FX. Compared to the motocross mannequin, it’s as you’d count on. First gear could be very low for single-track situations resembling tight woods. Second gear is between the YZ450F’s first and second gear. Third gear is only a contact decrease than the YZ450F. Fourth is sort of the identical and fifth is way taller.
With Yamaha having such a very good 450 engine, the broader gaps within the transmission are usually not all that noticeable. First gear was good for low speeds whereas driving by means of further tight sections and taking part in in some greater rocks, however not so low that you just needed to instantly shift up as quickly as you bought previous half throttle. Second was very helpful in slower sections, however tall sufficient that you could possibly let it rev out a good bit. Third gear was nearly good. As soon as you bought rolling, you could possibly click on into third and experience from about 5 mph to 30 mph with none must shift or use the clutch. Fourth may carry you up into some larger speeds—what could be about as quick as you would wish to go for enduro driving. Fifth is the afterburner gear. In the event you wanted to get someplace in a rush, it will get you there shortly.
The ultimate drive gearing of 13/50 appeared to suit the transmission and energy fairly effectively. You’ll solely take into account presumably going to taller gearing if many of the driving you probably did was at larger speeds, point-to-point, or on two-track roads.
We might say the “WR” is also used within the description of the engine’s powerband. The bike comes with a number of EPA necessities that cut back the engine’s total and peak horsepower. Nevertheless, there may be nonetheless loads of energy to get wherever you need to go. It might be stated this slight discount in energy makes the bike simpler and extra enjoyable to experience over longer distances. Yamaha achieved this by tuning the consumption and exhaust system, together with gas and ignition maps, to supply usable, race enduro energy down low with a very good quantity of high-rpm energy and over-rev.
The clutch lever is straightforward to tug and doesn’t have any fade. Even in sluggish rocks and repeated tight turns with important clutch abuse, the clutch remained constant. Yamaha achieved this with a barely completely different mixture of standard and extremely heat-resistant friction plates that eradicate the judder spring.
The earlier WR450F chassis was good, nevertheless it didn’t have the very same options of the YZ450F. For 2019, Yamaha gave the WR the entire similar newest and best options of the YZ450F. Along with the all-new chassis, the WR450F has probably the most present KYB Pace Delicate System (SSS) coil spring fork and KYB shock that come on the YZ450F. The one distinction is the enduro-specific valving and spring charges.
The suspension is an excellent place to begin and, with some changes, may presumably work very effectively for a variety of talent ranges and rider sizes. Whereas I did really feel prefer it was a tad mushy for a few of our extra open trails on the West Coast, I didn’t expertise any excessive bottoming. Within the lower-speed and rocky sections, the fork labored effectively, providing sufficient suggestions that I may really feel the bottom and rocks however didn’t need to deflect off issues.
One other good thing about the up to date fork is the brand new fork lugs. They provide a extra exact steering really feel and permit the WR to make use of the 22mm entrance axle that has been used on the YZ450F since 2014. Persevering with with the entrance wheel, the brand new speedo drive makes use of an inductive-type pace sensor, eliminating the previous cable drive-type. The brand new, extra compact headlight cowl is barely decrease and nearer to the fork leading to somewhat lighter steering really feel. The WR450F additionally has up to date brake line routing. Tucked neatly beneath the rear fender is an LED taillight. This can be a taillight solely; it doesn’t have a brake gentle characteristic.
The distinctive Yamaha chassis design with the reverse cylinder head configuration strikes the airbox to the entrance, which permits the gas tank to be beneath the seat. This has a number of advantages to an enduro bike that usually comes with a bigger gasoline tank. The two.2-gallon tank is totally hid beneath the seat, which doesn’t create any adjustments to the rider cockpit space. Moreover, with its comparatively low location, there may be much less of a change in dealing with when going from a full tank to empty.
The skid plate/engine guard has been up to date to supply higher safety across the water pump and radiator hoses. The brand new form of the guard additionally matches nearer to the body serving to to scale back the buildup of mud and particles between the engine and guard. Naturally, it comes with a number of different options you’d count on to return on an enduro bike resembling an 18-inch rear wheel, O-ring chain, metal rear sprocket, kickstand, and a mechanical muffler with a spark arrestor.
The cockpit and ergos are trademark Yamaha. The brakes are robust but progressive, and the clutch appears bulletproof. The Dunlop MX3S tires are excessive on efficiency however low on sturdiness. As for this take a look at rider, I’ll take the efficiency over the sturdiness on a regular basis.
Using this bike is lots of enjoyable. It has good energy for its supposed use and is basically solely restricted by the rider’s skill to regulate the bike. With the wide-ratio gearbox, I assumed there would have been extra of a niche between gears, however if you’re shifting someplace within the regular rpm vary, the engine simply retains on pulling.
Compared to the 2018 WR450F, the 2019 mannequin is a extra steady and planted-feeling bike. It is rather comfy shifting alongside in medium, third gear, or larger trails. Turning it requires somewhat extra rider enter, and focusing to remain far ahead over the bike actually helps. With extra time and a few extra testing, a taller seat, or presumably shifting the bar ahead could be a few of the ideas that may assist for tight, single-track driving.
If I had been out there for one among Yamaha’s off-road fashions and had to decide on between the YZ450FX and WR450F, I must actually resolve what options I needed most. The headlight, taillight, radiator fan, EPA spark arrestor-equipped muffler, and enduro laptop are good add-ons that don’t come on the FX. Nevertheless, the FX has a extra highly effective engine bundle and barely higher inventory suspension settings. I might say with a couple of efficiency upgrades, like an aftermarket muffler paired with the obtainable GYTR ECU that’s programmable by means of the CCU Bluetooth adaptor through Yamaha’s Energy Tuner app, the engine may virtually equal the YZ450FX. With some personalization to the suspension, I could have the most effective of each worlds.
450cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
Aluminum bilateral beam
KYB Pace Delicate System (SSS) coil-spring fork adjustable for compression and rebound damping; 12.2-in. journey
KYB shock adjustable for spring preload, high-/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping; 12.5-in. journey
Nissin 2-piston caliper, 270mm disc
Nissin 1-piston caliper, 245mm disc
262 lb. moist