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04WR450F

WR With A Mind Of It's Own In Sand

13 posts in this topic

I know my bike is OLD and antiquated, but I'm not going to buy a new one.  Yesterday we were riding in some deep sand and I have to fight my bike to keep it pointed where I want to go.  We all switched and rode each other's bikes and everyone said mine was very hard to ride. Is there something I can do, setting wise to help it?  My son's '06 YZ450 sits a lot lower than mine in the back, and his was way more stable than mine. 

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I know my bike is OLD and antiquated, but I'm not going to buy a new one. Yesterday we were riding in some deep sand and I have to fight my bike to keep it pointed where I want to go. We all switched and rode each other's bikes and everyone said mine was very hard to ride. Is there something I can do, setting wise to help it? My son's '06 YZ450 sits a lot lower than mine in the back, and his was way more stable than mine.

Basically you want rear as low as you can and front as high as you can. Keeps the front end light.

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WR's are crappy in deep sand.  Having a steering stabilizer helps.  Raising the front fork tubes up a little helps.  Keeping your speed up helps. Sitting back on the bike and letting front wheel float helps.  All these things help, but you still need to hang on and go with the flow of the sand.  Good luck....

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WR's are crappy in deep sand.  Having a steering stabilizer helps.  Raising the front fork tubes up a little helps.  Keeping your speed up helps. Sitting back on the bike and letting front wheel float helps.  All these things help, but you still need to hang on and go with the flow of the sand.  Good luck....

Saying WR's handle crappy in sand is not exactly true.  They are relatively heavy bikes and heavy bikes in general do not handle the best in sand.  A YZ will always feel better just because it's lighter and still has good power.   I personally think my WR handles great in sand, but I'm in sand a lot and do some things to my advantage.

 

As stated above, adjust a little more sag in the back end.  If your bike calls for 95-100mm of sag, try 105mm and go from there.  The tops of the forks should be flush in upper clamp to extend the wheelbase a smidge and also effectively give the front end a little more rake in combination with having the rear sit a little lower.  If you think your fork springs might be a little soft for you on the hard pack, this will cause even more problems in the sand so a stiffer fork is helpful.  A little more compression in the fork and a little less in the rear might help as well.  As noted, keeping your weight back helps a lot.  Front ends don't wash out very easily in sand so no real concerns there.

 

My son is 14 and on a full sized bike now (KDX200) and although he has learned a lot about riding in the sand, he still struggles with it at times.  I try to tell people that power is your friend in sand and brakes the enemy.  If you are getting squirrely you need to drop the hammer to get back up on a plane and things become much easier.  Sometimes twisting that throttle hard seems to fly in the face of what you really want to do, but it does make all the difference in the world.  Think of it like water skiing, you really can't water ski going 5mph.  You will look and feel just like you do on a bike in sand going 5mph.  Sand is really no different than water, it moves underneath you and you need to be planing on top of it to have any sort of control.  Because of it's weight alone, a YZ is like water skiing on a wide ski compared to a WR, which feels like a much narrower ski and tends to sink in more.  I find myself in narrow (really narrow) twisty washes sometimes and the only way I can deal with it is to hit the throttle hard in the straighter sections, stay off the brakes in the turns (sand is a natural brake anyway), and carry as much momentum through the turns as possible using a combination of heavy on and off throttle almost like your blipping the throttle while you ride through the turn.  I actually like riding my big heavy WR through sand far better than my son's light KDX.  Even though his bike is easier to keep on top of the sand, the WR is like an overpowered jet boat in the sand and can plane much quicker.

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Saying WR's handle crappy in sand is not exactly true. They are relatively heavy bikes and heavy bikes in general do not handle the best in sand. A YZ will always feel better just because it's lighter and still has good power. I personally think my WR handles great in sand, but I'm in sand a lot and do some things to my advantage.

As stated above, adjust a little more sag in the back end. If your bike calls for 95-100mm of sag, try 105mm and go from there. The tops of the forks should be flush in upper clamp to extend the wheelbase a smidge and also effectively give the front end a little more rake in combination with having the rear sit a little lower. If you think your fork springs might be a little soft for you on the hard pack, this will cause even more problems in the sand so a stiffer fork is helpful. A little more compression in the fork and a little less in the rear might help as well. As noted, keeping your weight back helps a lot. Front ends don't wash out very easily in sand so no real concerns there.

My son is 14 and on a full sized bike now (KDX200) and although he has learned a lot about riding in the sand, he still struggles with it at times. I try to tell people that power is your friend in sand and brakes the enemy. If you are getting squirrely you need to drop the hammer to get back up on a plane and things become much easier. Sometimes twisting that throttle hard seems to fly in the face of what you really want to do, but it does make all the difference in the world. Think of it like water skiing, you really can't water ski going 5mph. You will look and feel just like you do on a bike in sand going 5mph. Sand is really no different than water, it moves underneath you and you need to be planing on top of it to have any sort of control. Because of it's weight alone, a YZ is like water skiing on a wide ski compared to a WR, which feels like a much narrower ski and tends to sink in more. I find myself in narrow (really narrow) twisty washes sometimes and the only way I can deal with it is to hit the throttle hard in the straighter sections, stay off the brakes in the turns (sand is a natural brake anyway), and carry as much momentum through the turns as possible using a combination of heavy on and off throttle almost like your blipping the throttle while you ride through the turn. I actually like riding my big heavy WR through sand far better than my son's light KDX. Even though his bike is easier to keep on top of the sand, the WR is like an overpowered jet boat in the sand and can plane much quicker.

Great advise but as far as rear sag I would go WAY past that if u will be riding only the sand.

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I can only base my opinion on the bikes I ride. My 500 EXC is better in the sand and my CR250 is a lot better in the sand than any of them. The DRZ 400 I used to ride was far worst in the sand than the WR 450.

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Soft suspension (stock) and a heavy bike, in the sand makes the bike considerably more difficult to control.

 

Go faster, stand up, and tighten down the steering damper.

+1 to standing up.  The bike will move around still, but your body will be in much better control.  Don't worry about being too precise in your steering either, you literally have to go with the flow in a lot of respects.  I feel like rather than me trying to force the bike exactly where to go, it's more of a "suggestion" and the bike kind of has a say in the matter too lol. I get my way, but I don't worry about hitting every rut or groove that I wanted. 

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I know I am way late on thanking you guys for the input.  I stand up a lot while riding and stay on the throttle in the sand.  I rode some other bikes from our group that day and they were MUCH easier to control.  So, I sold my WR and bought my son's 06 YZ.  Problem solved! 

 

Outerlimits,  great posts!

 

I have no idea why this is all underlined.  Kooky.

Edited by 04WR450F

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I know my bike is OLD and antiquated, but I'm not going to buy a new one.  Yesterday we were riding in some deep sand and I have to fight my bike to keep it pointed where I want to go.  We all switched and rode each other's bikes and everyone said mine was very hard to ride. Is there something I can do, setting wise to help it?  My son's '06 YZ450 sits a lot lower than mine in the back, and his was way more stable than mine. 

 

WR suspension is WAAAAY too soft stock for good control, in any condition, on any terrain.

 

Especially sand.

 

Get a steering damper

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It doesn't have to. Increase your sag a little, turn those compression clickers in 5 or 6 clicks above normal, and stay on the gas.

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