Buying a WR450F. 2006, 2009 or 2011 Which year and does it matter??
Posted August 24, 2011 - 08:13 AM
I've been lurking for some time and I'm faced with a decision.
I'm currently riding a 2006 YZ450F and I love it.
I ride 90% in fast trails, 5% in tight technical woods and 5% on a track here in northern Michigan. Everything is great and I've got it dialed in except.... I can't hardly kick start the thing. Sure, it's fine in the garage and starts right up cold and hot but on the side of the trail with my arms and legs on fire leaning on a tree I just can't get it running sometimes.
So, I'm drawn to the magical estart button of the WR, but which WR is right for me? I can get a pretty good price on a used 2006 or new 2009 and 2011 models.
It seems there were some pretty big changes between 06 and later (i.e. AL frame) which should make it closer to the YZ experience I already know I like. But, the 06 is less than half the cost of new.
I can buy the 2006, uncork it and still come out much cheaper than a new stock unit. OR I can buy the new unit, uncork it, and be 2.5X more expensive but have a new unit with 0 hours and the latest improvements.
No, I haven't found any good deals on used 07+ WR's and I want to pick it up cash yesterday.
So, my question is for those who have owned or ridden these machines. Are the improvements from 2007 and on noticeable? Am I going to get the 2006 and be really disappointed coming from a AL framed YZ450F? Am I being silly, and is saving $3-$4K the smart move? Part of me is thinking the 'fun' factor of the 2006 is going to be pretty darn close. I have the money, but that doesn't mean I should spend it.
I also ride my YZ450F pretty hard and my friends tell me they have to work at keeping up with me so I'm not going to be happy with a slug. If I could buy a YZ450F with nothing but estart I would!!!!
Posted August 24, 2011 - 09:11 AM
Some on this site prefer the feel of the steel frame.
A stock WR will probably feel slow compared to the YZF. Same basic engine but tamer cams, corked up exhaust, substantially heavier.
The YZF has better forks, and WR owners often upgrade to them. The WR comes with soft fork springs.
Posted August 24, 2011 - 12:52 PM
Pick the one that's in the best combination of condition / low price.
Posted August 24, 2011 - 01:45 PM
I tried a 06 very briefly and it felt better, tried a 08 AL frame and it felt a LOT better.
The funny thing is that the posted weights of all 3 bikes are almost the same.
I can understand the difference between the 04 and 08 with the new frame, and the newer style slim tank made a world of difference, but have to admit I'm puzzled why my 04 felt very top heavy compared to the 06. Anyone know if they changed anything between 04 and 06?
Of course, this is MY opinion, you have seen others prefer the steel frames. Even though I think the AL frames feel more nimble to me, I am not sure if it is enough for me to put up with the hassle of working on the AL frame bikes that I have heard about.
You WILL be disappointed performance wise with a WR over the YZF, even with the free mods, but a set of Hot Cam's (so you don't risk messing up the estart compared to going YZF cams), and a full race exhaust and you'll be back in the ballpark power wise. Add a big bore when it's time for a top end to the cam's and it's LOT's of fun!
Posted August 24, 2011 - 08:06 PM
Posted August 25, 2011 - 05:30 AM
Pre-2007 motors, frames, and suspension are not as good.
Motors rev free-er, have the better FCR carb, and better castings and fit.
Suspension is night and day better (forks).
Aluminum frame looks better, but is very ridged, and access to the carb is impossible without shock removal.
Plastics and body work are better looking, and last longer (less whiting).
The '07 and later have a narrower, lighter feel, with the motor being tilted back 2 degrees more, and that is the biggest difference in my opinion.
Posted August 25, 2011 - 08:11 AM
The biggest thing for me was the 0 hours. The more I thought about it the more it was worth having something that is going to run for some time without any major repairs. I can rebuild a top end, but I don't want to. At least right now
Now with actual owners and riders backing up what my instincts tell me about newer models having substantial improvements it makes the choice clearer. Comments like
seal the deal. It's one thing to read a change list, and another to have riders comment on noticeable improvements in actual riding. My gut tells me this model is past due for a complete redesign but I guess that just gives me something to want next year. Make that two years so they can work out the bugs and I can just
Pre-2007 motors, frames, and suspension are not as good.
I'm going to pick it up and ride it stock for the weekend. Now, I'm 99% sure that Monday morning I'm going to be ordering up a full exhaust, throttle stop and some jets. I'll have to play with the grey wire, if it really makes that big of a change I might put it on a switch for muddy days. I do like riding during summer storms
I'll probably end up with a AP for the carb too from what everyone else says. Since I'm a 280# rider I'll probably have to modify the suspension a tad but that's normal for me. No one makes things for us big guys out of the box. Speaking of boxes, can't forget the air box mods.
I think I'll leave the cams for now and see what I can do without modifying any internals.
Thanks again for the advise!
Posted August 25, 2011 - 01:07 PM
"does it matter??" ultimately - no. Personally I prefer the feel of a steel frame over aluminum and picked an 06. But if all pre-07 WR's disappeared tonight in a Yamaha Rapture I'd be just as happy on a 07+.
Pick the one that's in the best combination of condition / low price.
Posted August 25, 2011 - 01:29 PM
I almost want to throw some mud at it, she's just too clean!!
Posted August 25, 2011 - 02:03 PM
Posted August 25, 2011 - 02:11 PM
Just a word of caution on your new motorcycle. if you are going to ride it out of the box stock, you will be disappointed. All of the mods that you seem to be aware of really do need to be incorporated into the motorcycle to make it perform well. They aren't hard to do, they just take time and patience. You will have to rework the suspension, it just is not designed for your weight.
Yeah, I don't expect to run my normal pace but I can either load it up and ride this weekend or park it until next week. I think I'll ride
I'm really glad I spent some time in this forum though. Otherwise, I would have bought it and not realized that wr450!=yz450 and been very upset. I still bought one, but I'm coming into this with the expectation that I will have to modify it to get the performance I'm looking for.
If Yamaha made a YZ with estart option I would have bought it without a second thought. But, I guess that's what makes a YZ a YZ, most power with least weight.
Edited by RSanders, August 25, 2011 - 02:31 PM.
Posted August 25, 2011 - 04:34 PM
Posted August 26, 2011 - 08:04 AM
If I won the lottery, I'd bolt up a WR bottom end to a YZX50F and be quite happy. Maybe it's as simple as the reverse really? Just add a YZ cylinder, head, and carb to the WR-F!
OTOH, I know a guy wih a KLX450R. He had carb jetted by pro. Bike is known for weak e-starts. Bike kicks easily with 2/3 stroke. Could be the ticket (jetting).
Posted August 26, 2011 - 10:36 AM
First off I called race tech for suspension. New springs and valves all around, plus 'the book' and oil level tool. Just over 800 bucks, but stock at 280# I sink the suspension to the floor LOL This is probably #1 on the importance list, I don't care how fast the motor is if I can't ride it.
Next I ordered up some additional accessories. Some are for power, others for the trail.
Scary Fast Power Now Valve
R & D Racing Power Bowl 2
FMF Jet Kit
No Toil Super-Flo Air Filter Kit
No Toil Air Box Washing Cover
FMF Factory-4.1 Silencer With SS Mid-Pipe
FMF Megabomb Header Pipe
Ricochet Offroad Skid Plate
Tusk D-Flex Handguards/Spoilers Blue/White
Primary Drive Front Sprocket 12 Tooth
Scary Fast Power Now Plus Valve
'yzf' throttle stop
Tusk Universal On/Off Switch (grey wire mod)
This should wake it up a bit. Somehow I hurt my wrist last night though, so I may end up skipping this weekend. If I do ride it stock I will post the results.
Posted August 29, 2011 - 10:45 AM
Make sure to give us a ride impression after the weekend, I'm curious as to what you are going to think of it compared to a YZF.
Since you ask..
First off, I had a great weekend. I took the bike right off the show room and put it on the trail. I had a great time and the bike was fun to ride. I don't regret it and I would do it again even if I couldn't modify the bike.
Now for the little things,
Firing this up and it's really different. It sounds like a lawn mower more than a dirt bike. It does not sound or feel beefy what so ever. I even dumped the clutch and what usually would launch me forward on the YZF caused it to stall
My dealer gave me a free tank of gas, of 87 gas... The first ride was really off. I had a hard time breaking it in and not passing 1/4 to 1/2 throttle. It simply wouldn't go with me on it. Once I ran through it and got 93 in the tank it came to life, sort of.
You really really notice the throttle stop. The throttle just doesn't feel right. I would come out of a corner and roll on the throttle. Then, when it came time to punch it I would find that I'm already full throttle and that was all it had. My usual cornering throttle was now full throttle.
The engine never really revs out and I find myself shifting much earlier and much more often. At first, I was holding the gears waiting for power that never came. You have to short shift it to keep in on the torque cause the power surge never comes.
The engine just can not breath and dies off at mid-range. There is no high rpm and it does not over rev. Seat of the pants it feels like it's out of breath, that it can't get the air in/out fast enough to rev higher. It did not feel like a mechanical limitation (i.e. valve float).
Its much harder to pitch to the side and fling around 180, the tire has too much traction and in most cases I couldn't get it to break free! I can usually lift the front on my YZF in third by rolling on the throttle, the WRF didn't offer to lift anything at any time. As for speed, I hit an indicated 66MPH going down hill. Otherwise, low 60's were about all it would give me.
I almost hesitate talking about the suspension because I'm so much over what weight this machine is designed for. In the soft stuff, it washes and wallows about. In the rocks it feels like a pogo stick.
Surprisingly it was the worst of both, too soft in the sand (compression) and too bouncy in the rocks (rebound). It was like someone put pogo sticks on the front. I didn't bother to adjust any clickers because new springs and valves are on the way. No sense clicking about when your not even in the right ballpark.
The rear was equally bad. Simply sitting on the bike and I'm nearly on the bump stop. The ride was so much lower I kept smacking my heal of my boot on rocks. It rode so much lower I had to change my riding style and how I held my foot out. Cranking the preload up would just have made the rear a pogo stick too as I would be out of adjustable range. I decided to leave it and wait for it's replacement spring.
What made all of this worth it? The estart. The reason I switched up in the first place. I stalled at least half a dozen times over the 130 miles I rode this weekend. Every single time, hot and cold, it fired right up. Every minute was much more enjoyable because I didn't have to deal with a stalled bike in the middle of a sand pit or hill.
When I got tired, I pulled off and took a break. On the YZF I didn't stop until I couldn't ride any more because I didn't want to kick start it again. The YZF I would not ride as often because I just didn't want to bother kicking it. On the YZF I hurt more and had more recovery time because I over exerted every single trip because I didn't want to rest. I probably spent twice as much time actually riding than usual because there was no anxiety about getting it started.
This one simple thing makes all the other downsides worth it. I had more fun and spent much more time riding. When I hit the MX track I'm sure I'll have my YZF (even after the updates to the WRF) and I have no plans to sell it BUT I would guess it will be 5%-10% of my riding in 2012.
Posted August 29, 2011 - 11:50 AM
On a good note, engine wise, do all the free mod's and jet it, and it's a different bike.
If you want to start throwing cam's at it, you will be getting YZF'ish power with a weight restriction, and heavier flywheel (at the cost of what you may LIKE in regards to power delivery for trails/woods though).
Suspension wise, personally, once I got the right springs in mine, it was good enough for my trail riding, but for the "serious folks" it seems like it never works right until you get together with a suspension shop, or install one of their kits.
Posted August 29, 2011 - 12:16 PM
Posted August 29, 2011 - 12:32 PM
If I want more power I ride the kx500:ride:
Posted August 29, 2011 - 12:58 PM
I've ridden uncorked WRFs. I'd rather have the kickstart trouble but be blessed with the YZF power.
Well, I do own both after all