Some of you may have been following my recent verbal hand-wringing thread on whether or not I should buy a first-gen WRF450. Well, after getting advice from some of you (THANKS!), I took the plunge and bought a low-hours 2003, that had not been registered since 2011. As I said in the other thread -- it clearly had some problems from sitting all that time. I need your help in making the best decisions on how to proceed with this bike in order to get enough confidence in it to sell my tried and true (but portly) 2008 DR-Z400.
This is how I see my worklist:
1) Get the bike to start and run well -- This is gonna take a thorough cleaning and rebuild of the carb. Since I got the bike to start using ether, I'm fairly confident that the bike simply has a gummed up carb.
2) Lower the bike -- I am only 5'9" and cannot even come close to flat-footing this bike. This makes the bike difficult to ride in rough technical sections which are common here in the Rockies. I know that some of you believe that I'll be screwing up the bike's handling by lowering it -- but my DRZ experience with a lowered bike tells me I'm better off with a bike that is 1-2 inches lower than stock. Also, one of my riding buddies has an 05 WR that he's lowered by adding bar risers so the fork tubes can be dropped. He's also taken some of the preload off the rear shock to give it more sag. He's about 1/2 inch taller than I am (and about the same weight) and he likes the lowered bike. I've ridden his bike and it seems to work just fine for me as well. If dropping the suspension a bit still doesn't work, I'll cut the seat foam modestly and see what that does. If that doesn't work, I'll go the Yamalink route. Expensive, but effective, according to the reports I've read. As a last resort, I'll send the suspension components out to a chassis expert to have them customized -- although that will completely blow the entire concept of a low-dollar replacement for my DR-Z. All comments on this subject are welcome.
3) Make sure the bike doesn't have the "woodruff key shearing" problem some 03s have had. Understand there are improved parts and although the original owner never had any problems with his starter, I don't want to tempt fate. I'll buy the parts and do the upgrade.
4) Make the bike reasonably quiet. Non-bikers don't like loud bikes and I don't wanna give the anti-OHV folks (of whom there are plenty around here) any ammunition to hasten shutting down my favorite trails. The guy I bought the bike from had the dealer install an FMF "Titanium 4" muffler (no longer available from FMF) and a "Power Bomb" stainless Head/intermediate pipe. He confessed to me that he pulled the spark arrestor/end cap from the FMF in order to gain power and now he cannot locate the part. I know these exhaust components are quite expensive and are lighter as well as power enhancing. As I see it -- I have 2 choices -- either quiet down (and restore the arrestor on) the FMF or go back to a stock exhaust. He gave me the stock tailpipe + muffler, but he could not find the stock head pipe. How do you all suggest I make the bike quieter? It was jetted by the selling dealer for the aftermarket exhaust. And anything that saves weight is a good thing -- as I see it . But I don't want it too loud. Your ideas?
5) Install an effective radiator guard. There's a reason they call these mountains the Rockies and even a modest fall in the rocks will trash your radiator. Devol makes a guard, but my Suzuki experience with Devol guards has been less than satisfactory. Suggestions?
6) Go riding and enjoy thebenefits of riding a bike that is 45-lbs lighter than my old Suzuki "Pig of Iron."
Finally, I have one more question about carrying a tool kit on the WRF. I noticed that the bike doesn't have a full rear subframe. How do you all carry tools and spares? I am doubting that I can mount a tool bag on a rear fender without any support.
TIA for your help!