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Old 24-02-2012
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Keg Keg is offline
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2012 WR450F review

Before getting to Coffs Harbour for the 2012 WR450F launch I had already decided what the new model was going to be like. I decided it was going to feel heavy, I decided the flat power curve of Fuel Injection would make it a little more boring to ride than last years carby model. But my biggest fear was that I would not be able to put the bike through it's paces as I have not owned a 4 stroke in 7 years.

Boris from Detour Tours had planned a two day ride, stopping at a pub in Dorrigo overnight. A dozen or so media & Yamaha people headed out from The Big Banana Motel at Coffs Harbour through the bush to his place somewhere inland for morning tea. He has an impressive setup with rider accommodation and workshop. Also a great grass track loop, enduro loop and a fantastic rain forest loop only meters from scones with jam and cream.

The Yammie Tech guys were setting up suspension for each rider at Chateau Boris. They had set all the bikes with 90mm rider sag for an average weighted rider - giving the bike 20mm static sag as a base setting. Even though the manual says 100mm rider sag, which would get the bike closer to the traditional 25mm-35mm, they felt the 100mm sag sat the bike too low.

On approaching me to re-set my sag, I waved the spanner spinners away. Trying to get the 90mm rider sag would see the bike top out to zero under my triple digit weight. That would make traction an issue on hill climbs and slippery stuff. Considering how much clay they mentioned we had to ride, I just backed off the rebound a couple of clicks on the shock, pushed the forks through a little to help balance and all was good. At 12 clicks out the rear rebound was a little slow, but 14 was much better. The new twin chamber fork felt really good and I did not touch a clicker on them all weekend.

A quick spin around the slightly wet grass track with the 'sand' map in the EFI was great fun. The new bar position (10mm closer to the rider) really shined in the steering department here. Back to the Techs to try a different map. I then proceeded to try 6 out of the 8 pre-set maps in the tuner, including the 'Aussie' which was developed by the local Yammie guys - I wonder if they do a Capricciosa? The tuner is dead easy to use, plug it in, turn the bike on, select a map (or create your own) click ok and you are done in under a minute. It is the same tuner as the YZ450F too. I settled on the softest, laziest map (also known as the soft-c0ck) knowing the conditions were going to get worse.

We all headed into serious single track leech country; made of clay, set in a rain forest type gully of creeks, rocks and mud. I felt much more at home riding in this single track trying to chase the ADB guys - Adam and Stephan, around a 2 minute loop. To my surprise I wasn't losing much ground to them and I started to gel with the bike. The WR flicked through the trees surprisingly well. I kept imagining this WR450F was going to be a Tank, but it wan't even a Jeep. Steve McQueen would have got over that wire fence if he was on one of these.

The difference from the WR's agricultural fork setup of 2006-2011 to this new twin chamber YZF style unit is chalk and cheese. You can plow through eroded rocky gullies and the bike seems stable. Maybe the reported 125kgs helps. It doesn't dive or get twitchy, it just works. Of course it feels a little firmer than an open chamber fork, but I only wore thin gloves and no liners like I normally use and after the 2 days my hands were softer than the accountants hands at a lanolin factory. The seat must be made out of that high tech revolutionary material called - seat foam, as there was no monkey butt either. Remember when seat foam was put in seats?

The rest of the days ride melted into a blur of grins, power slides and roost as we headed to Dorrigo. The clay was fun and I would get off the riding line, out in the leaf litter to push the bike till the front wanted to let go. It was easily recovered and this confident firm front end was very different to my usual light two stroke front ends I ride. I did miss the ability to bounce the bike across the track with a bit of knees and a blip of the throttle though. Some decent rain on the road into Dorrigo was the only bad part of the day, but the clothes dryer got a hiding at the pub as we all sat around and had a few ales.

Over a beer or two we talked about the bike and the riding. Some of the riders struggled with the clay, especially the ones in the dryer states but when asked why I seemed to like it, I just told them it was cause I am heavy and the tyres bit in the ground better.

That night I also got to use the greatest dirtbike cliche/expression since 'drops through the stroke'. Some one was complaining about wet feet and I mentioned on every ride I fill my boots to the top with water after putting them on. Looking at a several confused faces, I explained it helps with 'mass centralization' of the bike.

The return trip the next day was a little shorter with a few more rocky hill climbs, with only one punctured tyre (sweep riders tubliss wheel) slowing us down. I had time to look over the bike and noticed they have two lines on the throttle housing to indicate how far to turn the throttle if it doesn't start hot. A tried it a few times and it worked well.

It is clear that Yamaha did not take into account the competition when building this unit. They just wanted to build a better WR. They wanted better suspension, lower, shorter and more functional to ride - and that is what the built. The decomp works a lot better and the starter only hesitated twice at top dead centre. I just lifted my finger and hit the starter again and away she went. The new starter clutch is beefed up and is easier and cheaper to fix if it does get a hard time.

Where the Euro bike builders put a cable tie, Yamaha put a steel bracket. Where the Euros get a speedo wire & magnet, Yamaha get a drive, thick cable and more brackets. Where the Euros blue tack a side stand on the bike, just to get it out the dealership, Yamaha have built a stand you can use while sitting on the bike. Sure this shows up on the scales but you won't see a broken handle bar clamp, busted side stand or bent triple clamps on these bikes when they are six months old, or 10 years old. They are built to last and built to be ridden, not worked on all day.

I could imagine guys throwing a long range tank and a screen on the new WR450F's and adventure riding them just as easily as seeing them stripped down to be ridden in single track. I bet Ballards have already stripped a bike of it's starter, battery and most brackets for racing.

The enduro kit that comes free with the bike has hand guards, sprockets and a heap of stuff. Keep the 14T handy if you want to cruise over 90klms p/hr. But the EFI donk will pull it easy. Just get the dealer to set it up during the PD as there is a fair bit of time in getting the rear tail bracket, etc off.

I sort of expected to dislike the 2012 WR450F for the reasons I mentioned at the start of this review, but riding it was just great fun. I could see myself riding an A4DE on one of these, not changing the tyres, probably not even changing the oil either. Just change an air filter each night and go off to bed. Yamaha riders will love these new model, they have definitely have made a better WR. It is almost like your grandfathers axe. Since the YZ400F in 1998, it keeps getting changed while staying the same. However redesigning the frame and getting a bit more high tech with EFI, maybe we should think of it now as you Grandfathers chainsaw.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg YMA_2012_WR450F_001.jpg (87.4 KB, 216 views)
File Type: jpg YMA_2012_WR450F_167-1.jpg (67.3 KB, 201 views)
File Type: jpg YMA_2012_WR450F_007.jpg (92.2 KB, 205 views)
File Type: jpg YMA_2012_WR450F_251-1.jpg (193.7 KB, 212 views)
File Type: jpg YMA_2012_WR450F_378-1.jpg (174.4 KB, 196 views)
File Type: jpg YMA_2012_WR450F_371-1.jpg (102.8 KB, 211 views)
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Last edited by Keg; 02-03-2012 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 02-03-2012
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2012
ROBKTM ROBKTM is online now
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A week ago this was posted
I have a couple of mates waiting not very patiently for their pre-ordered WR,s.
Stability and comfort in a dirt bike.
Who wants that.
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Old 02-03-2012
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nice review..........so you were obviously aware of the starting weight before you started but it doesn't seem that you felt the weight of this bike at all.

Could you notice the porkyness of the bike at all? i am sure if you were picking it up from the side of a hill you would notice but I am more interested if you could really notice it in general riding.
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Old 02-03-2012
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CoopzTheHondaMan CoopzTheHondaMan is offline
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how did you manage to hide this from us all for a week!


Gonna trade the gasser on one?
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Old 02-03-2012
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"Where the Euro's put a cable tie, Yamaha puts a steel bracket. "
Pretty much sums it up really.. Steel brackets might be a tiny bit heavier, but they last FOREVER. That being said, I personally prefer cables ties because are cheap, light and they last long enough for my needs...

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Old 02-03-2012
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Blulu Blulu is offline
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Nice report Keg, love the comment on mass centralization, and the cappricciosa setting, classic stuff.
Ive ridden a 2009 450 with sss forks, they are very different, soft low speed and harshish high speed, but it depends on where you ride as to what you like.
Glad you had fun on it, thats all that really matters at the end of the day.
Espeacially if you never have to pick it up.
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What a f***ing fun bike! So easy to steer on and off the power, it felt amazingly light for a bike its capacity

It's almost criminal how easy it handled the tight stuff, it was light years beyond what I could get away with on my 2010 YZ450, and you could steer it with the power like a pro whether going fast or slow. Seriously impressive.

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Old 02-03-2012
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I thought McQueen did make it over the fence????
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Old 03-03-2012
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Originally Posted by ROBKTM View Post
A week ago this was posted
Its amazing what you can do to thread dates when you have full access to the forum

Did you have to lift it over any logs or pick it up off the ground on steep, rutted hill climbs? How did it feel?

Sounds like the perfect dual sport trail riders bike I'm yet to break a aluminum sidestand or speedo wire/magnet.... but have broken a yammi speedo cable that hangs out waiting to get snagged. I might recommend to Boeing that they start building their jet's out of steal, seams like the go
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Old 03-03-2012
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Markwr400426 Markwr400426 is offline
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That was a good review Keg. They're just the same WR with a few modern refinements. They'll still be the most reliable bikes in their class, and still hold their own reasonably well in the riding department. They're not the latest "blade", but they won't cost anywhere near the amount it costs to maintain the latest "blade". They'll sell a stack of them.
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Last edited by Markwr400426; 03-03-2012 at 06:39 AM.
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