Not Lovin my WR450.....


25 replies to this topic
  • thedktor

Posted October 06, 2008 - 02:41 AM

#1

.
Here's the problem. A year ago I had two bikes, a KTM-525 and XR-650. Both pretty cool bikes, and both very capable, in different ways, on different terrain.

Time came to have just one bike, and the decision made to go for a WR450 earlier this year, a new 2006 model. Reason for going Yamaha was for Japanese robustness and reliability, but something more manageable than the a 650.

Now, the Yamaha has the power to thrill like the other bikes, and it is certainly a lot easier to control the engine in the tighter stuff than the 650, and feels a lot more stable and plush over the bumps and fast stuff than the 525 ever did.

All good then you might think. But, no, all is not well.

The Yamaha just feels so heavy and tall. The 525 is physically not dissimilar in size to a WR250, the XR650 has a seat height substantially lower than the WR, as does the KTM

Check the specs:

KTM Seat height: 925 mm (36.4 inches)

WR Seat height: 990 mm (39.0 inches)

KTM Ground clearance: 380 mm (15.0 inches)

WR Ground clearance: 370 mm (14.6 inches)

I think this speaks volumes, and gives an obvious problem when considering lowering the seat height by whatever means. Lopping 2 inches off the rear would bring the seat down, but ground clearance would be poor as would the handling as you cant drop the forks more than, what 10mm or so?

I'm not that short at 5' 10" but have dropped this bike at slow speed more than any other bike I've owned cos its too top heavy and tall.

So, what should I do ???

Thanks for any suggestions....

- Steve

  • drtbk4ever

Posted October 06, 2008 - 10:12 AM

#2

Hit the gym.

  • drtbk4ever

Posted October 06, 2008 - 10:23 AM

#3

Hit the gym.


OK, that was a bit of a smartass response. No question the WR's seat height is one of the tallest.

There are many things you can do to adjust the ride height.

If you are truly having major issues, the first thing I would look at is to modify your seat, maybe you can gain a bit of advantage there. Modding the suspension to suit your height and riding style will likely yield a significant bang for your buck. I wouldn't sweat losing a bit of ground clearance. If your suspension is set up properly it shouldn't be an issue. In other words, more isn't always better.

  • Dube2

Posted October 06, 2008 - 12:20 PM

#4

240lbs, only 5' 8" and a 30" inseem. I can't tell you how many times my bike fell out from under me on an easy turn. The front tire just slides out and I'm on the ground faster than you can say OMG! Second handle bar, fourth set of grips, second set of hand guards, and second clutch handle. I just hate that part of all this.

I've thought of doing the Yama-Link but some rides I've had lately will just trash the link. Next is to have the seat modified for my inseem, but will look like poop. Maybe another spring and adjust the stock one. The WR is definently difficult with the top heavy part. My 08 darn sure isn't the same. Handles better because of the al frame.

I love the look of my bikes to much to lower the seat. I was in a bad sistuation a few weeks back in Devils Hole and slipped on a rock after getting unballanced and put my foot out for ballance. Green moss on river rock. Went down and nearly sub-marined my bike.

All this due to the WR being so tall and me being so short. OK...... So maybe my skills need some work too. At least my heart is in it.

All-in-all, you have the best bike pound for pound and buck for horse power.

  • KennyMc

Posted October 06, 2008 - 12:53 PM

#5

240lbs, only 5' 8" and a 30" inseem. I can't tell you how many times my bike fell out from under me on an easy turn. The front tire just slides out and I'm on the ground faster than you can say OMG! Second handle bar, fourth set of grips, second set of hand guards, and second clutch handle. I just hate that part of all this.

I've thought of doing the Yama-Link but some rides I've had lately will just trash the link. Next is to have the seat modified for my inseem, but will look like poop. Maybe another spring and adjust the stock one. The WR is definently difficult with the top heavy part. My 08 darn sure isn't the same. Handles better because of the al frame.

I love the look of my bikes to much to lower the seat. I was in a bad sistuation a few weeks back in Devils Hole and slipped on a rock afer getting unballanced and put my foot out for ballance. Green moss on river rock. Went down and nearly sub-marined my bike.

All this due to the WR being so tall and me being so short. OK...... So maybe my skills need some work too. At least my heart is in it.

All-in-all, you have the best bike pound for pound and buck for horse power.



Still waiting for those pictures:smirk: That was a good ride (except the falling and stuff).:lame:

  • Dube2

Posted October 06, 2008 - 01:12 PM

#6

Still waiting for those pictures:smirk: That was a good ride (except the falling and stuff).:lame:


Hey Ken, LOL....... That was the ride of the year for me. Maybe the best ever. I still laugh about that every day. My bike is trashed. Tel 9L to post-em. Or maybe just e-mail them to us. He didn't get as many pics on that ride as usual. Proly cuz I was on the ground trying to pick up my bike all day long.

Hey, at least I made Purgatory:ride: LOL

How is your rasberry patch on your back healling?

Hope all is well......

Dube2

  • YamaLink

Posted October 06, 2008 - 01:33 PM

#7

You can drop the forks considerably more than 10mm with the rear sag properly set. We've had riders drop their forks upwards of 18mm without any excessive oversteer or headshake for THEIR terrain and riding style (usually super super tight stuff without anything over 3rd gear). But 6 to 12mm seems to be the usual.

I would recommend taking a look at the CRF450X but I feel it has the same "weight" sensation as the WR at all speeds and conditions.

What is your weight with gear on?


.
Here's the problem. A year ago I had two bikes, a KTM-525 and XR-650. Both pretty cool bikes, and both very capable, in different ways, on different terrain.

Time came to have just one bike, and the decision made to go for a WR450 earlier this year, a new 2006 model. Reason for going Yamaha was for Japanese robustness and reliability, but something more manageable than the a 650.

Now, the Yamaha has the power to thrill like the other bikes, and it is certainly a lot easier to control the engine in the tighter stuff than the 650, and feels a lot more stable and plush over the bumps and fast stuff than the 525 ever did.

All good then you might think. But, no, all is not well.

The Yamaha just feels so heavy and tall. The 525 is physically not dissimilar in size to a WR250, the XR650 has a seat height substantially lower than the WR, as does the KTM

Check the specs:

KTM Seat height: 925 mm (36.4 inches)

WR Seat height: 990 mm (39.0 inches)

KTM Ground clearance: 380 mm (15.0 inches)

WR Ground clearance: 370 mm (14.6 inches)

I think this speaks volumes, and gives an obvious problem when considering lowering the seat height by whatever means. Lopping 2 inches off the rear would bring the seat down, but ground clearance would be poor as would the handling as you cant drop the forks more than, what 10mm or so?

I'm not that short at 5' 10" but have dropped this bike at slow speed more than any other bike I've owned cos its too top heavy and tall.

So, what should I do ???

Thanks for any suggestions....

- Steve



  • YamaLink

Posted October 06, 2008 - 01:42 PM

#8

I'm confident the YamaLink could handle anything from a durability standpoint. CNC'd from US-sourced aluminum. If you mean it would not be the ideal setup with the stock spring then you are correct.

I presume you are not riding a stock spring? The YamaLink's increased leverage ratio will most definitely NOT be the ticket for a heavier rider unless a heavier spring is used; if you have a heavier spring appropriate for your weight (with gear) and are not a ditch basher/triple jumping fiend, then a YamaLink will not only lower the rear up to 1.75 inches at full factory sag, but it will make the bike more plush and increase rear wheel traction and give a lower center of gravity. But I'll be the first to admit it's not for everyone.

Most aftermarket links offering over 1 inch of lowering or performance are usually not recommended for BIG jumpers, riders who don't want to set sag or dial in their suspension or those who need a heavier spring to begin with but slap on a link only to find their riding situation worse.

Recently we outfitted a 275 pound rider using a YamaLink; he is, of course, correctly sprung for his weight and riding style. Turning in the high speed compression up to 1/8 turn and going in on rebound 2 clicks gave him not only a lower rear end but more confidence in the tight, nasty stuff where a lower CG would help his confidence. His forks were raised about 8mm after some fine tuning.


[quote name='Dube2']240lbs, only 5' 8" and a 30" inseem. I can't tell you how many times my bike fell out from under me on an easy turn. The front tire just slides out and I'm on the ground faster than you can say OMG! Second handle bar, fourth set of grips, second set of hand guards, and second clutch handle. I just hate that part of all this.

I've thought of doing the Yama-Link but some rides I've had lately will just trash the link. QUOTE]

  • simica

Posted October 06, 2008 - 09:24 PM

#9

Hey thedktor, if the measurements you gave are correct (seat and ground height), the sitting to standing transition on the KTM has got to be brutal, even for a guy 5'10". I'm 6'3" and that would be murder on my knees and legs as I transition alot. I'm all for adjusting the bike to make it more comfortable for you, but work on your riding style and body position (eyes where you want to go, weight forward, head over bars, etc.), and maybe you will not be dropping the bike so much. Sorry for preaching, I don't know your riding experience. Still a good choice on buying the WR. Good luck.

  • mikeythefokker

Posted October 06, 2008 - 09:35 PM

#10

Most of the newer 450's are going to be fairly similar with their weight distribution. I had this problem with my bike when I first got it, but I've learned to stand up a lot more(pretty much all of the time) and to stay on the throttle a lot more too. When you crack the throttle, the bike will want to stay up for you better. Running a trials tire makes it a lot easier to stand up more, but trials tires aren't all that great in wet and muddy conditions, and I have a feeling that might make it kind of useless for you in the U.K.

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  • thedktor

Posted October 06, 2008 - 11:41 PM

#11

To respond to some of the questions.

I would say I am a very experienced rider, of many years. For example in 13,000km of XR650 ownership I only dropped it once and that mileage included several enduros and days at MX tracks!

My only "problem" is that I'm Mr Slim: 11-stone, 155lbs. But the point is that the WR feels substantially more top heavy than my old 525, and I would suggest that anyone who doesn't accept that obviously hasn't ridden a KTM!

But that's by-the-by, I have the WR now and I am interested in ideas and experiences to make it that bit easier to ride. I feel I have no option but to lower the rear, but want to be able to lower the front by at least the same as, again, comparing to the KTM the WR is quite slow steering and needs sharpening up a little.

I'm not into big jumps so thats in my favour, but, from experience, lots of ground clearance is essential in the UK as conditions are frequently deeply rutted, enough for even a tall bike to drag its pegs.

- Steve

  • Just_a_trail_rider

Posted October 07, 2008 - 12:07 AM

#12

I have an 05 wr450. I'm 5-9, about 200 without gear, with a 31 inch inseam . After three years of feeling that my bike was too top heavy, I finally found the right suspension guy to fix the problem.

Now it only feels heavy when I drop it. But I stand up more, especially when I think I shouldn't stand up. I can go faster and stay upright when I do that. I have never tipped over when standing, even when I wasn't moving fast.

I am almost $2500 into the suspension on this bike. the first guy gave me springs. The second guy gave me springs and lowered the bike 2 inches. That helped a lot in the really technical sections. But I couldn't dial in the rear suspension correctly. The bike geometry and rear spring was all wrong. I was fine in the technical sections but it sucked everywhere else.

So I had it brought back to stock height, revalved front and rear, dropped the forks a bit, and shaved the seat a little over an inch. Now the top heaviness is almost gone.

If you are tipping over, stand up and go just a little faster. Forward momentum makes the bike stand up tall.

  • Dube2

Posted October 07, 2008 - 12:09 PM

#13

[quote name='YamaLink']I'm confident the YamaLink could handle anything from a durability standpoint. CNC'd from US-sourced aluminum. If you mean it would not be the ideal setup with the stock spring then you are correct.

I presume you are not riding a stock spring? The YamaLink's increased leverage ratio will most definitely NOT be the ticket for a heavier rider unless a heavier spring is used; if you have a heavier spring appropriate for your weight (with gear) and are not a ditch basher/triple jumping fiend, then a YamaLink will not only lower the rear up to 1.75 inches at full factory sag, but it will make the bike more plush and increase rear wheel traction and give a lower center of gravity. But I'll be the first to admit it's not for everyone.

Most aftermarket links offering over 1 inch of lowering or performance are usually not recommended for BIG jumpers, riders who don't want to set sag or dial in their suspension or those who need a heavier spring to begin with but slap on a link only to find their riding situation worse.

Recently we outfitted a 275 pound rider using a YamaLink; he is, of course, correctly sprung for his weight and riding style. Turning in the high speed compression up to 1/8 turn and going in on rebound 2 clicks gave him not only a lower rear end but more confidence in the tight, nasty stuff where a lower CG would help his confidence. His forks were raised about 8mm after some fine tuning.


[quote name='Dube2']240lbs, only 5' 8" and a 30" inseem. I can't tell you how many times my bike fell out from under me on an easy turn. The front tire just slides out and I'm on the ground faster than you can say OMG! Second handle bar, fourth set of grips, second set of hand guards, and second clutch handle. I just hate that part of all this.

I've thought of doing the Yama-Link but some rides I've had lately will just trash the link. QUOTE][/QUOTE]

I do plan on getting springed for my weight. Still stock on both bikes. I Know, my bad....... Those things cost $$$$$$ As far as the Yamalink, best idea so far because it lowers the center of gravity. I was just worried on the suspension for general riding. Sometimes before you know it, you're 6-feet off the ground and not prepared for the rough landing. I guess maybe the springs for my weight and riding style will be 80% of my problem. I tend to go around the woops and anything that will get me more than 4 feet off the ground.

Like I said, 240bills and w/out gear. My back pack including chest protector weighs aprx 25-30lbs.

  • dazzabb

Posted October 09, 2008 - 05:10 AM

#14

To respond to some of the questions.

I would say I am a very experienced rider, of many years. For example in 13,000km of XR650 ownership I only dropped it once and that mileage included several enduros and days at MX tracks!

But that's by-the-by, I have the WR now and I am interested in ideas and experiences to make it that bit easier to ride. I feel I have no option but to lower the rear, but want to be able to lower the front by at least the same as, again, comparing to the KTM the WR is quite slow steering and needs sharpening up a little.
I'm not into big jumps so thats in my favour, but, from experience, lots of ground clearance is essential in the UK as conditions are frequently deeply rutted, enough for even a tall bike to drag its pegs.

- Steve



Steve,

I sharpened up the steering on my 05 WR with an adjustable rekluse e-axle, basically you can move the front wheel toward the engine for faster steering or away for slower steering and more stability.

It made the bike feel alot lighter as it tipped into corners much more easily when offset closer to the engine.

I also raised the forks 10mm through the yokes and set the rear-end up at 100mm rider sag.

What rider sag are you running on the rear?

  • YamaLink

Posted October 09, 2008 - 05:48 AM

#15

You do not have to lower the front the same amount as the rear because changes to the rake/trail (the front forks being slid up in the clamps) affect the geometry at a different rate than changes to the rear. You can get a balanced ride, one that is not slow to turn or headshaking, by raising your WR forks anywhere from 6mm to 12mm, give or take based on riding style and terrain.

But that's by-the-by, I have the WR now and I am interested in ideas and experiences to make it that bit easier to ride. I feel I have no option but to lower the rear, but want to be able to lower the front by at least the same...
- Steve



  • Jason_R

Posted October 09, 2008 - 04:20 PM

#16

I'm 5'7...is this bike too tall for me? Plan on sumoing it :D

  • AFJ7732W

Posted October 10, 2008 - 12:51 AM

#17

What I can't figure out is how you went 13,000 kms, and only dropped your bike once.

LOL, Man, I fall off all the time. I always thought that was just part of dirtbike riding.

  • drtbk4ever

Posted October 10, 2008 - 07:03 AM

#18

My perspective is it is better to have a high number of small get offs, tip overs etc, rather than save up all that energy and dispense it in one major crash.

  • 06crf_er

Posted October 10, 2008 - 07:37 AM

#19

but will look like poop. I love the look of my bikes to much to lower the seat. I was in a bad sistuation a few weeks back in Devils Hole and slipped on a rock after getting unballanced and put my foot out for ballance. Green moss on river rock. Went down and nearly sub-marined my bike.


I can't imagine this type of thinking. Especially when your personal safety is involved. I understand wanting your shit to look nice but when function is compromised isn't it time to re-evaluate? I've seen some pretty damn nice looking bikes with trimmed seats:excuseme:

  • 06crf_er

Posted October 10, 2008 - 07:37 AM

#20

What I can't figure out is how you went 13,000 kms, and only dropped your bike once.

LOL, Man, I fall off all the time. I always thought that was just part of dirtbike riding.


It is. If you're not laying it down, you're not riding hard enough.




 
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