Rethinking my choice in the WR; need a bit of advice please

92 replies to this topic
  • kincade

Posted August 11, 2005 - 12:24 PM


Hi all, I'm hoping for a bit of advice here, and I realize that this is the WR forums, but a lot of guys here ride other makes too. I'm terribly frustrated at the moment, and I could really use some help.

First, a bit of background...I do a lot of mixed riding; dunes several times a year, moab a few times a year, some singletrack, some light trail/fireroad. I need a bike with a bit of power for sand/etc, but that will be ok in other areas too. I'm 5'8" with a 29" inseam.

I though I had found the perfect bike in the WR; YZ cam modded, grey wire, JD kit, Scotts stabilizer, protapers, opened up airbox, Q2 w/ powerbomb, etc.

But I'm having a few significant problems with this bike.

First; I drop it; ALL the damn time! In moab several times I put my foot down in nothing but air and ended up dropping it. It's 1/2 because the bike is so top heavy, and 1/2 because it's so tall. If it gets beyond a certain angle (which happens at times because my legs are so short) it's going down, no questions asked. And if it stalls, there really isn't much selection in where I'm going to plant my foot.

Monday at American Fork canyon we were doing a tight singletrack, and I literally had to ask for my buddies help getting the bike out of a few sections because I couldn't get back on the bike to ride it out. :D And another time, I damn near dropped the bike off the edge of a 200' cliff because I couldn't touch the ground anywhere, and it stalled. REALLY scared me.

Second; it just feels really heavy and tall to me (which it is). I'm not a big guy, but I feel like a kid riding his daddie's bike sometimes. On the real steep sections of the singletrack saturday, there was no option but to ride it (wasn't even near walkable). By the end of a section I'd be hanging on for dear life by the handlebars, feet dangling in the air. Uuuugh. And thank Yamaha for the estart! There is NO way I could have gotten on it and kickstarted it in many of those sections.

So; I guess the problem is that the bike is big, and I am not. It's tall and top heavy.

So, do I deal with it? Sag is set correctly and the suspension is probably not perfect, but shouldn't be too far off. Can't really make it lighter; it's a pig, and that's what the bike is. Can't lower it without totally screwing up the geometry of the suspensions.

Or, do I sell it and get a KTM of which I know nothing about (2" shorter seat height; 36.4 vs the 38.5 of the 04 WR). And then sell all my extra parts (extra front and rear wheels w/ sand tires), filters, a complete jet kit (dang near EVERY jet for the WR), etc? It'd be a huge hit financially, and I"d have to buy everything again. From what I read the reliablity on the KTM is a question mark and it seems to be better w/ the WR; maintenance seems to be worse on the KTM too.

Sigh. I dunno; can anyone give me their opinions?

  • TBone_Boston

Posted August 11, 2005 - 12:59 PM


I almost bought an EXC and the seat height didn't appear to be that much different from the WR even though the spec sheet says it is. (FYI I also have a 29 inch inseam). I could be wrong.

Still, I wonder if the 2 inches would even dramatically reduce the issue at hand. I'd hate to make the swap to find out it didn't even solve the problem. You could consider a 250? They are a bit lighter so easier to save on a lay over.

Or (and I'm not advocating this and mean no disrespect) if the height of the bike is making it uncomfortable/dangerous to ride you could think about a playbike like the ttr230. I sat on one and was flat foot.... I know they lack suspension and power etc but it beats falling off a cliff.

  • stealman

Posted August 11, 2005 - 01:12 PM


There is a lowering link available for the Yamaha now.

  • hotthrottle613

Posted August 11, 2005 - 01:18 PM


I have both a TTR230 and a WR450F. I'm 5'10 with a 32" inseam. I too have trouble occassionally with the top-heaviness of the 450, but the 230 just lacks a lot of the things that the big bike has. I sacrifice a little stress in favor of the 450. The 230 definitely has power and is easy to ride, but I moved up after about a month. Fortunately my son has learned to ride and is outgrowing his ttr125 and wants to use the 230. Knowing the white-knuckle feeling you often experience, I also think you might consider the wr250, but if you want to be really comfortable, the ttr230 will certainly get you there and back. And, it has no kick start, e-button only! Best of luck! :D

  • jwriott

Posted August 11, 2005 - 01:55 PM


5'7" with a 29" inseam. Switched to a KTM 300 EXC because of weight and seat height. It's way easier for me now and these things move. My buddies with the KTM thumpers have not had problems with reliability unless you are the type guy who doesn't do regular maintenance.

  • kincade

Posted August 11, 2005 - 02:06 PM


TBone; thanks for the input. The KTM dealer closest to me just went out of business, so it would be a bit longer drive to check one of them out. I guess I should go sit on one, but I haven't the slightest clue where I could actually RIDE one to see if it would make a difference. I considered a 250, but the 450 is still barely adequate in the sand; I can't imagine riding a 250 in the sand at all.

Stealman; I read about the lowerink link here http://www.thumperta...t=lowering link and it didn't sound too positive. Having it saying 'trail riding only' doesn't instill much confidence in the product for me. What if it breaks? I keep reading that it screws up the suspension geometry too, just like putting in too much sag..

Hotthrottle; I just don't tihnk the ttr would get me the power and handling I am used to w/ the WR; I doubt if the WR250 would have enough power for what I like to do.

I guess I could always consider (gasp) a 2smoke... It would be lighter, but I'm not sure about the height.

I also considered the Rekluse, but I hate to keep adding bandaids (expensive ones) and then STILL have the same problems. I've dumped at least $1k into the bike in mods in the last few months, and it depresses me to think that it still isn't what I want.

  • Matty05

Posted August 11, 2005 - 02:40 PM


A suspension tuner can lower your bike professionally, AKA supermoto style.

  • e_dogg

Posted August 11, 2005 - 02:52 PM


The '05 WR250's are right about the same height, if not a hair taller, than the 450's. But it carries its weight much lower than my '04 WR450. I haven't ridden one, but sitting on it felt really nice.

My buddy's got a CR250F that's much lower than my WR450...I think the CRF250X is about the same height as the CR250F. Maybe that's worth looking into....

  • ISBB

Posted August 11, 2005 - 03:09 PM


5'11 30" inseam... i have no problems on my wr... :D

  • kincade

Posted August 11, 2005 - 03:26 PM


Matty; lowering the bike would lose my ground clearance by that much though, wouldn't it? Any idea what that costs?

Edogg; I checked out the CRF's online, but their specs say the height of the seat is dang near what ours is already! Plus the valve problems scare me to death; after doing my valves on teh WR, I sure as heck don't want to do THAT every 5-10 hours. Uuugh, that was a PITA.

ISBB; thanks. I am having problems, I wish I knew why!

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  • jbrooks26

Posted August 11, 2005 - 03:49 PM


If it were me, I would forget about the 250 option. Please remember that they race in the 125 class and to tell the truth, I would rather ride a 2 stroke 125 than a 4 stroke 250. Just my personal preference.

It sounds to me like the main problem you have is dumping it because it is too top heavy for you to hold when it stalls, or when you just lose your balance. I too am not very tall, 5/7, 190lbs. I ride the 02 WR426 and at first I had trouble with the weight too. However, I have found that when I get in trouble usually more throttle gets me right back on track. If you are totally disappointed, I would look at the Honda CRF450 or CRF450X. I have ridden the CRF450 and really like it. I have several friends that have been riding them since 02, and none of them have had any valve trouble at all. I know they are much easier to ride, they feel much lighter(although I don't know the specs), and I think they are head over heals above the WR in the power category. In fact, if I can't get the throttle response on my WR where I want it I will be seriously considering a change to the Honda. Just my two cents, hope this helps.


  • Blaster21996

Posted August 11, 2005 - 04:30 PM


Why not just take the sag down more, heck, it's not like trail riding is going to push the suspension geometry that far out of wack!

Something else you may want to try, if you are not strong, is go to the gym, when I started riding 5 years ago, after not riding for 20 years, I found out how weak my legs and arms had become, and just how important overall fitness is required for just moderate riding.

Not calling you weak, or insulting you, or anyone else. You just did not mention what your physical shape was.

  • flatnacker

Posted August 11, 2005 - 05:25 PM


True, but I dont think having 40 inch biceps is going to help him reach the ground :D

Dont worry mate, hell Im 6' 1 and had trouble adjusting to the hight of the bike on my forst ride :D so I undestand exactly where you are coming from-it must be hell for sorter guys. Spose I was just lucky though in that as I become more comfortable with the bike I didnt have the problem anymore

  • southernbornWR

Posted August 11, 2005 - 05:31 PM


Linkage lowering kits or shave the seat foam should help out.

  • Joe Reitman

Posted August 11, 2005 - 05:52 PM


lowering the forks and shock,to decrease ride height 2", without need for a new linkage, is relatively straightforward for an experienced suspension tuner. Around here the cost is around $250. Money well spent.

Everything I have read indicates the hp/torque of CRF450X is nominally greater than WR, at best. I figure a bike that will EASILY stand straight up in second gear with a twist of the throttle and no yank on the bars or clutch slap is plenty strong in the woods. Just my .02. :D

You may also wish to check out trials training center. They will help you develop the best possible low speed balance, so you no longer need to dab. Good luck. :D

  • R_Little

Posted August 11, 2005 - 06:44 PM


MX tech lowered my WR 30mm both ends and it feels like a 125!

As long as you don't jump it or hammer sand whoops it works great.

Ask John C in the suspension forum.

Good luck

  • kincade

Posted August 11, 2005 - 07:30 PM


Great info here; you guys are great!

Blaster; I should have mentioned my fitness, you are correct. While I'm not in the shape I was 12 years ago in HS (bench pressing 2x my weight, squatting 4x), I am in decent shape. I hit the gym 4x a week, and other than a small beer belly, I don't think I'm out of shape much.

Also should have mentioned; seat IS shaved, as far as I can shave it without sitting on plastic. In fact, probably too much; after Monday's ride, I'm not feeling too great sitting down. ;-)

Joe; funny you brought that up. I've actually been looking at their site for quite a while; but after factoring in the flight to tennessee, cost of classes, rental car, etc; it's easily a $2000+ trip for me. Wish they were closer.

R little; what did it cost you, if you don't mind me asking?

  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted August 11, 2005 - 08:15 PM


I would recommend returning the timing and jetting to WR specs. Much better low end and less stalling. Won't solve your seat height issue but you won't have to find a place to start it as often.

  • toyota_mdt_tech

Posted August 11, 2005 - 08:33 PM


Lowering link! Every 1/4" at the link in length means about 1" at the seat. If you need, you can have one made from billet AL to meet your needs. I'm 6'0" and the bike seems to be made just for me. :D Agree with Rich in FL about the WR timing. I had a YZ timed WR426F and it would stall much easier. The WR timing is perfect for woods riding. I'd never to YZ timing again.

  • black_n_blue_thumper

Posted August 11, 2005 - 08:54 PM


5'8" and 30" inseam at best here. I had so many of the same issues as you. That damn bike tipped over a million friggen times last summer. The single best thing I did was shave 1.5" inches out of my seat. You may not want to go quite that much, as there is not much foam left, but it works for me. I also raised my forks 10mm in the clamps. This helped me tremendously. As far as the stalling, go to a 13tooth front sproket. UNBELIEVEABLE. The bike just tractors everywhere. These are all tips I got off of here myself. Thank God for the good folks of TT. Hope this helps :D Keep your WR dude, it is an awesome ride.


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