Trading Up to a WR -- Liabilities?


30 replies to this topic
  • mrgem

Posted January 13, 2014 - 09:33 AM

#1

I am a "senior" rider (in my 60s, but pretty fit), but am fairly competent at riding briskly offroad. I've been riding on and off road since Lyndon Johnson was president. I've also owned all kinds of dirt and DS bikes -- including a 65 Ducati Mountaineer, and several 2-stroke YZs, I am also shorter/smaller (5'9" with a 30.5-inch inseam and 165 lbs) than most of the young(er) guys I ride with.

 

For many years, I've been (barely) keeping up with my friends' WRs, CFRXs, EXCs, TEs, and KLXs on the rocky technical trails around here. I have have more or less decided, that I'm punishing myself unecessarily by riding my trusty (but VERY heavy -- 320 lbs wet -- not counting the tools and other stuff strapped on to the bike) DR-Z400 over terrain and at speeds that the bike -- as good as it is -- was never intended to be ridden. 

 

It is not uncommon for me to get halfway through a steep boulder field, fall over or stall and hope my buddies miss me and come back to help me get the bike back up and going, although I can usually do it myself with a little grunting and cussing. Nevertheless, I believe that a lighter bike will make me more competitive. It looks like a WR will save me at least 40 lbs - maybe more.

 

So...I've been looking at WR250Fs, but have not found one that really checks all my boxes -- so my search has now turned to the  450s -- that seem to be more plentiful. Money IS an object, so my search has concentrated on older WRs -- most of them 2005-2006s. But I have located a 2003 for sale that is priced right. But the bike has some obvious liabilities. First and foremost, the bike has been sitting for several years. It won't start. My suspicion is that the carb is in need of a rebuild, but it could be something worse. It also has an aftermarket exhaust -- from which the owner has removed the spark arrestor. So that's worrisome, since quiet riding is important to me.

 

I've also found the bike, with a 39-inch saddle height, to be tall and somewhat ponderous -- just as my DR-Z was, prior to the installation of a short seat, lowering links, and dropped fork tubes.

 

So my question to you guys is this: What else should I be looking for on this bike? I know all the normal stuff like compression, chain/sprocket wear and loose/worn out assemblies. The bike appears to be pretty good in all thouse respects. But short of pulling off the carb and cleaning it out, I doubt I can make this thing run quickly and easily. So I will be taking a huge risk by buying it without hearing it run and shift gears.

 

I read the list of first-gen 450 shortcomings in the FAQ thread and various other forums and there seems to be a real dichotomy on whether these bikes can be lowered without serious penalty. I ran into the same sort of disagreement when I went to lower my DR-Z. Several people told me that it would ruin the handling of the bike. This turned out NOT to be the case. I can keep up with any stock DRZ across whoops, rocks, and through turns. In fact, the bike turns better than it did stock. The only liability so far has been the rear suspension bottoms over big dips occasionally. I'm still playing with the preload and compression dampening on the rear spring to get the right balance.

 

So my thinking is that I can do pretty much the same on the WR and get the seat height down below 37 inches.  I'll add a Yamalink, shave the seat foam, and drop the forks. 

 

What do you guys think? Are the 2003s to be avoided? Can I ever make the bike comfortable for a Munchkin?

 

TIA for your responses.



  • woods-rider

Posted January 13, 2014 - 10:01 AM

#2

If you can't ride the bike before you buy it assume the worst and make your offer accordingly. The seller should understand, and if it's really only a clogged carb then he should want to take the time to clean it out to make more $$$.



  • Navaho6

Posted January 13, 2014 - 10:14 AM

#3

I am the same weight and inseam as you.  I have an '06 (for sale) and I have a new '13.  The '06 is probably the same seat height as the '06.  The '06 is easy to manage but the '13 is a little tall, even taller than the '13 YZ450.

 

On the '03 - The pilot circuit is probably gummed up.  Inspect and clean the carb.  Replace the pilot jet, and clean out the tiny hole above the pilot jet.  You can do this rather quickly by rotating the carb and removing the float bowl but it would be better to remove the cables and pull the carb out.  These bikes are really durable.

 

What part of CO are you in?  I have a friend over there that sells used bikes and he likes Yamaha's.



  • mrgem

Posted January 13, 2014 - 10:44 AM

#4

"I am the same weight and inseam as you.  I have an '06 (for sale) and I have a new '13.  The '06 is probably the same seat height as the '06.  The '06 is easy to manage but the '13 is a little tall, even taller than the '13 YZ450.

 

On the '03 - The pilot circuit is probably gummed up.  Inspect and clean the carb.  Replace the pilot jet, and clean out the tiny hole above the pilot jet.  You can do this rather quickly by rotating the carb and removing the float bowl but it would be better to remove the cables and pull the carb out.  These bikes are really durable.

 

What part of CO are you in?  I have a friend over there that sells used bikes and he likes Yamaha's."

 

Thanks for both responses.

 

The reason the owner has not pulled the carb is that he is "Not mechanical."  He seems like a nice guy and I tend to take him at his word, although being "Not Technical" may invalidate his assessment of the bike -- especially its general mechanical condition. He tells me that a local dealer will clean and adjust the carb for around 80 bucks, but this sounds a little low to me. I can certainly clean a carb myself, but were I to buy it, I'd probably give it to a shop to change the exhaust back to stock and re-jet accordingly.

 

In any case, I don't wanna pull the guy's bike apart in his yard. 

 

I live in the mountains in the northern part of the state.  I've looked at a number of dealers' bikes from Cheyenne down to Pueblo and there are some nice used bikes -- but they are generally overpriced for January. I understand the profit reality, but having managed M/C dealerships in my youth, I can tell you that price makes a different when it's 20 degrees outside.

 

The prices the dealers want typically would work in May or June, but not this time of year. For example -- I am currently selling my old KDX200 (a GREAT little 2-smoke) for about 300 less than I'd want to get in the summer...

 

Just out of curiosity, how much are you selling the 06 for -- and why the upgrade to the newer WR? My neighbor has an 07 (we bought VERY cheaply a couple of winters ago) and he loves it. In fact, that bike was my inspiration for looking for a WR. Are the new bikes that much better? Several dealerships had new leftover bikes (12s) at steep discounts here. Should I just suck up the cost and buy new?

 

 

 



  • mrgem

Posted January 13, 2014 - 10:49 AM

#5

If you can't ride the bike before you buy it assume the worst and make your offer accordingly. The seller should understand, and if it's really only a clogged carb then he should want to take the time to clean it out to make more $$$.

Great advice. Thanks!



  • mebgardner

Posted January 13, 2014 - 11:28 AM

#6

If you can't ride the bike before you buy it assume the worst and make your offer accordingly. The seller should understand, and if it's really only a clogged carb then he should want to take the time to clean it out to make more $$$.

 

+1



  • mebgardner

Posted January 13, 2014 - 11:38 AM

#7

I've just done the same route as you a couple weeks ago.

 

I'm a little younger, not much, but decided to leave the DRZ400 behind for basically the same reasons.

 

I bought a leftover '13, which is almost identical to a '12.

 

My opinion is, you're in the right neighborhood :)

 

These WR450's are *very* exciting to ride "spirited", and it seems you can still enjoy that.  Tho, for *me*, I also did it to be able to extend my riding years on a "lighter" cycle ("lighter" being open to intepretation around these forums...)  Keep going to whatever fitness center you enjoy, and keep working at *that*, too.

 

The '12 and later are Fuel Injected, and there is a learning curve with manipulating the FI mapping to suit your riding style. It's an ongoing discussion within this forum, and far from being sorted out.

 

Truth be told, I've sunk about another $2500 in mods to make this the cycle I want to own. Half of that was a Scotts Stabilizer and a Baja Designs "street legal" kit. Most the rest of it is additional protection peices, and performance related peices (an FMF pipe), and FI programming tools.


Edited by mebgardner, January 13, 2014 - 11:43 AM.


  • Krannie McKranface

Posted January 13, 2014 - 01:04 PM

#8

There are no drawbacks going from a DRZ400 to a WR450F.



  • mrgem

Posted January 13, 2014 - 05:10 PM

#9

There are no drawbacks going from a DRZ400 to a WR450F.

LOL

 

There is no doubt that any WR is a more modern and better performing bike than a DR-Z. The Suzki's are basically state of the art for about 1995. That acknowledged, DR-Zs are incredibly stout motorcycles. Despite the missed shifts, bad crashes and hard landings, mine (I own 2 of them) have proven to be the reliability champ of my group on the trails when those red, blue, and orange bikes fail. 

 

Just the same, the WRs impress me as being the most bike for the least money in their class and that is why I am shopping for one. So I get your point.



  • flyandride

Posted January 13, 2014 - 06:37 PM

#10

I've ridden a friends DRZ 400 and it felt heavy but I did't know it weighed that much.  He bought it new and parked it after 80 miles because of the weight.  

The first generation WRs are easier to work on.  The carb can be taken off easily or rotated to change jets.  The aluminum frame crowds the head.  The valve cover is a bitch to get on and off.  Wanna take the carb off?  Pull off the seat and unbolt the subframe and swing it out of the way.  You can't rotate the carb like the first generation.   Just some things to consider.  



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  • Navaho6

Posted January 13, 2014 - 07:24 PM

#11

mrgem,

 

I am trying to get $2200 for my '06.  Might have to go lower.  http://www.advrider....ighlight=wr450f

 

I went with the 2013 WR because I owned a 2009 and rode a 2012 before deciding.  Buying the '13 was an easy decision because of the suspension upgrade and potential.  The FI also works like a dream. 

 

I was not impressed with the 2009 WR and actually preferred my 2006 over it.  I thought that the '09 was squirrely and the '06 more stable.  The suspension was plush and forgiving in the rocky, rooted sections but lacking at high speed.   The '13 is a little harsh on the small bumps at stock settings but the clickers are very effective at changing that.  You really can feel the difference +/- one click.  At higher speeds, the SSS forks do their job well and give you the confidence to charge through rough areas with more speed.



  • Krannie McKranface

Posted January 13, 2014 - 07:42 PM

#12

LOL

 

There is no doubt that any WR is a more modern and better performing bike than a DR-Z. The Suzki's are basically state of the art for about 1995. That acknowledged, DR-Zs are incredibly stout motorcycles. Despite the missed shifts, bad crashes and hard landings, mine (I own 2 of them) have proven to be the reliability champ of my group on the trails when those red, blue, and orange bikes fail. 

 

Just the same, the WRs impress me as being the most bike for the least money in their class and that is why I am shopping for one. So I get your point.

 

There is no better all around dirtbike than the WR450.

I would buy another 2006 if I could find a clean one.

If you get aggressive you do need to upgrade the suspension, as the stock stuff is about as good as the DRZ, if not worse.



  • KennyMc

Posted January 13, 2014 - 10:50 PM

#13

 

If you get aggressive you do need to upgrade the suspension, as the stock stuff is about as good as the DRZ, if not worse.

I couldn't agree more :thumbsup:   Going to the '06 YZ forks was the best decision so far on my bike.  After multiple attempts at working the stock forks, the first attempt with these has been successful :applause:



  • ToAd21

Posted January 14, 2014 - 04:33 AM

#14

i keep hearing '06 wr450.. is this the sweet spot?



  • Krannie McKranface

Posted January 14, 2014 - 06:12 AM

#15

i keep hearing '06 wr450.. is this the sweet spot?

 

The 2007 and later bikes have and updated motor which does run a bit better, has better oil distribution, and is less 'clunky' feeling when operating.

But, they don't really handle any better and aren't any faster, so the smoother steel frame and easier access to the carb is still nice.



  • beezer

Posted January 14, 2014 - 06:41 AM

#16

Lowered bikes handle like schit.

 

The 03's had a problem with breaking flywheel keys usually at the worst possible time in the worst possible place.

They also were very tall bikes.

 

I had a bunch of WR450's and my favorite was the aluminum WRs, 07 and later.  I still have my 08 and won't sell it.

They are lower and handle better than the steel WRs.

 

The stock suspension is a lot better than a DRZ, as you get faster you can have a shim shuffler valve it for you.

 

If you change the oil a lot and keep the air filter clean the WR will run forever.



  • ToAd21

Posted January 14, 2014 - 07:12 AM

#17

I must admit i was drawn to the '07 plus as i seen a few guys who had wr's with alloy frames and crfs had polished them to shiny nice chrome look at to me that looks sooo good! the disadvantage of the carb being harder to excess doesnt bother me as the more work and time it takes the more time im away from the missus *joking obviously ;D*

 

I will just have to see whats on the market when i go looking, here in the UK theres alot of '04s to '06s around and a few '12s and '13s! So my aim is '07 up if the price is right but will settle for a '06! 



  • mrgem

Posted January 14, 2014 - 07:54 AM

#18

mrgem,

 

I am trying to get $2200 for my '06.  Might have to go lower.  http://www.advrider....ighlight=wr450f

 

I went with the 2013 WR because I owned a 2009 and rode a 2012 before deciding.  Buying the '13 was an easy decision because of the suspension upgrade and potential.  The FI also works like a dream. 

 

I was not impressed with the 2009 WR and actually preferred my 2006 over it.  I thought that the '09 was squirrely and the '06 more stable.  The suspension was plush and forgiving in the rocky, rooted sections but lacking at high speed.   The '13 is a little harsh on the small bumps at stock settings but the clickers are very effective at changing that.  You really can feel the difference +/- one click.  At higher speeds, the SSS forks do their job well and give you the confidence to charge through rough areas with more speed.

 

Navaho6: Thanks for providing the info! Appears to be a VERY nice bike, and at 22, priced very competitively -- considering that it is the dead of winter in much of the country. You and I may have to talk if this deal on the 03 doesn't work out.



  • KennyMc

Posted January 14, 2014 - 09:15 AM

#19

As far as carb access, yes, the aluminum frame bikes seem to have the frame built around the motor.  That being said, I followed the recommendations of the JDJetting kit for my type of riding.  168 main, 48 pilot, red needle on the 4th clip, adjustable air/fuel mixture screw and a couple other things.  I did this before I even rode the bike.  That was back in '07.  I never touched the jetting again until my recent top end job.   So for me, the carb access hasn't been an issue :thumbsup:



  • titanium0002

Posted January 14, 2014 - 10:17 AM

#20

What amount would you be willing to pay for 2005 WR450 with lots of goodies and street legal?






 
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