Steel versus Aluminum 450?


10 replies to this topic
  • Yzfracer

Posted January 04, 2011 - 03:59 PM

#1

Is there a noticeable difference in handling between the two frames? I've read some Dirt Rider articles that say the steel frame still fells top heavy? Is this noticeable?

  • 2in2out

Posted January 04, 2011 - 05:18 PM

#2

I found a noticable difference between the two. The AL frame seems more planted and nimble than the steel frame. It is harder to work on, but I like the feel. I appreciate the clean look of the AL also, vs. the rubbed frame.

The steel made me feel like I could ride as hard as possible and not break or bend the frame, but I felt the hits and flexes too.

  • Strattos

Posted January 04, 2011 - 09:51 PM

#3

I agree, the aluminium framed version feels much lighter and easy to handle (I went from an 02 426 to an 08 450), but I reckon it's more to do with geometry than the material.

For a rider of my ability (C-grade enduro) I don't think I'd notice the difference in frame material, but the layout is heaps better. Motor is massively different as well between the aluminium and steel framed models, especially the earlier steel frame models.

  • rob the snail

Posted January 04, 2011 - 10:17 PM

#4

i think the weight is a non issue in regards to steel frame vs ali frame, maybe even steel is lighter, i did say maybe
i think i read it here in the suzuki forums

  • KGSloan

Posted January 05, 2011 - 07:06 AM

#5

Motor is massively different as well between the aluminium and steel framed models, especially the earlier steel frame models.


being new to yamaha's and dirtbikes in general I am surprised by this, from my reading here over the last month I thought the engines remained pretty unchanged from 2003 until now? Have there been performance upgrades? Reliability upgrades?

Just curious, always like tinkering with my bikes and on my v-rod I have many of the new factory "upgrades" in my engine/clutch/transmission from the newer year models in my '05 and it has helped tremendously.

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  • Lennie

Posted January 05, 2011 - 07:15 AM

#6

I prefered the engine in my 04 but my 07 handled better. As others have said I doubt the material change was the reason for better handling, it was the geometry changes. Personally a steel frame one with newer geometry would be my ideal WR. I wont buy another WR unless the frame design changes, the 07 was so annying to work on it was a big factor in why I only kept the bike 6 months.

  • SXP

Posted January 05, 2011 - 07:18 AM

#7

being new to yamaha's and dirtbikes in general I am surprised by this, from my reading here over the last month I thought the engines remained pretty unchanged from 2003 until now? Have there been performance upgrades? Reliability upgrades?

Just curious, always like tinkering with my bikes and on my v-rod I have many of the new factory "upgrades" in my engine/clutch/transmission from the newer year models in my '05 and it has helped tremendously.



I believe he was comparing the 426 steel framed bikes (which he was coming off of) to the 450 steel frame bikes. And yes, the characteristics of the 03-11 450 motors are essentially the same - low end torque, baby!

  • 123BigcoopDawg576

Posted January 05, 2011 - 07:52 AM

#8

To be far, one should compare the 06 steel to the 07+ aluminum frame :excuseme:

Having owned and done just that, IMHO there is no difference aside from looks and one being harder to work on.

Ive ridden, raced, dual sported both set up the same and if I couldnt "see" which bike I was on, I'd never know the difference :busted:

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  • YamaLink

Posted January 05, 2011 - 08:52 AM

#9

I have a local riding buddy who insists on riding steel frame Yamahas. He has the funds to buy whatever he wants, but each year he seeks out like-new steel frame Yamahas and then mods then specifically to his needs. The guy is a AA offroad racer and can hang with the best local intermediate and experts on a mx track. All on a steel frame.

And, yes, he still wears purple and pink riding gear.

  • jcbikes

Posted January 05, 2011 - 03:56 PM

#10

+1 on Steel frames. The newer bikes feel lighter to throw around because of the smaller gas tanks (less weight up high). The older bikes like my 2002wr426 have larger tanks (that I want) and more oil capacity (that I want). Its up to YOU personally what you want in the bike. All are great, just prefer the longevity of steel and the ease to work on. And on my bike, I do not want the electric start with the battery. That is why I purchased what I have and love the bike! Would not swap for a newer model. Just my choice and my opinion of course.

  • JimL

Posted January 13, 2011 - 06:34 AM

#11

I have both an 06 wr450 and a 08 wr450. both with over sized tanks. I think there is a huge difference in handling between the two frames. On the scale there is not much difference, but to me the aluminum frame feels and handles so much lighter and quicker than the steel you'd swear it was 15lbs. less. It's a pleasure to ride and wears me out less. Much more noticable in single track than open riding. I also feel less vibration. It's more of a pain to work on but for me it's worth it. The 06 has more of a surge in power in the midrange than the smoother power delivery of the 08 cam profile, but you can swap cams to tune to your likes and riding style. I'd get 05, or 06, if you want steel frame they handle better than previous models. Any year aluminum will make you grin...




 
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