Pondering II: 2016 WR450F (new) v. Old CRF450X - First Impressions

I've been thinking about this for a while, see my 'Pondering' thread a couple weeks back.  Maybe some infor here to help the next person considering the same change.  

 

I finally located a new 2016 Model WR450F and bought it, based in small part on favorable reviews here (thanks again!), the fact that it's a big evolutionary jump in technology over the Honda, high confidence in Yamaha, but mostly a simple case of gotta-have-it-it's-time-for-a-change.   I tried, but there was no possibility for a test ride on the Yamaha around here.  Meantime I read everything available pro and con.

 

I know I'm always curious about prices:  $9140 OTD, cash, including the Competition Kit ECU and throttle screw upgrades, not yet installed.  It was the only new WR450F within 250 miles of my home.

 

I'm a sr. citizen in the deep south and own a little land.  My riding is 50% geared-up trail banging - mix of trail types, open dirt areas, sand, woods, and including ATV mudded up stuff. It’s the South.   No desert, sad to say - it looks like fun.  Well, it's all fun.  I'm pure amateur and nowhere near the skill of anyone reading this.  Still, I suspect anyone who doesn't love dirt bikes of serious mental defect. I do like to jump (small ones.)   Anyway, the other 50% I just hop on and knock around the fields and woods wearing whatever I have on. But ALWAYS a helmet glasses and gloves.  Technically I probably don't belong on this class of bike.  But I love the power, and it's not available in anything else.  

 

So, the comparison is between an absolutely box-stock brand new 2016 WR450F and a slightly worked over (jetting mostly), 2005 CRF450X I've had for a few couple years, excellent condition. 

 

I've truly love my X.   Easy to start and ride, very fast, reliable, tractable, strong, comfortable and forgiving.  The only downside for me is handling which can be top heavy and less-than-nimble.  The desert guys say it's absolutely the top of the heap and I believe it.

 

WR450F:   PROS:

 

Riding / Handling.  A pure revelation, truly no comparison – so light and nimble and quick.  Strange thing is on paper they weigh the same that's hard to believe having ridden both.  Krannie said it feels 50lbs lighter than the X, I thought he was exaggerating.  He was not.  Jumpable (the X not so much), unbelieveable!

 

Suspension.  A little stiff but I haven’t done any adjusting yet.  As part of the the great handling it inspires high confidence.  If anything the bike oversteers a little for me.  That may be workoutable.

 

Size.  I haven’t compared measurements but it looks and feels much smaller, as well as lighter.

 

Tires.  They’re fine for the riding I do.  Faster guys, and there are many, may see it differently.

 

Power – I shouldn’t comment yet because mine is still corked.  And I DO MEAN CORKED.  No power - far less power than an old tired 250.  Yamaha did it to comply with the BS, still hard to believe how much they had to choke it.  Unanimous agreement that with simple ECU / throttle stop mods and drilling the peashooter from the exhaust, it will just scream.  Cannot wait to get it going right!

 

It’s pretty!

 

CONS:  (Mostly very minor)

 

Yamaha Owners Service Manual:  this is marginal, and a big sad surprise.  Writer had English as a 3rd language.  Poorly written, organized and formatted, imo.  It does have the information needed, mostly, but you have to hunt it.  No index!  And I still don’t know, for example, if the ECU reacts to an coolant overheat condition.  It book says there is an engine temp sensor, but not what it does, maybe I just haven’t found it yet.  Very poor compared to the Honda.

 

No dipstick?  Gotta just about lay on the ground to see the oil level.  C’mon, guys.

 

Only ONE QUART of oil for both the engine trans, half the X..  Really doesn’t seem enough for such a HiPo engine/trans, especially one that runs as hot as this one.  But Yamaha should know.  More a worry than a con.

 

No coolant overflow tank.  As with the I’m not sure this matters, but I was used to it on the CRF450X, it’s kind of reassuring

 

Gotta remove the skid plate to change the oil.  Please..

 

Near impossible finding Neurtral with the engine running.  OK, just shut it off and Neutral is easy.

 

The bike actually sits higher than the 450X, this probably isn’t fair comparing a box stock bike to one that’s been adjusted and broken in.  No big deal. 

 

Intake noise.  To me it sounds like there’s a small lawn mower exhaust pipe on the seat in front of me connected to the throttle.  This was well documented and no surprise, slightly aggravating.

 

I wish they had added a tach / speedometer / temp gauge to the computer.  Would have been cheap to do and very nice to have.  I’ll add a Vapor.

 

And the big one – this bike gets HOT, and that’s in its detuned choked and restricted.  That exhaust pipe encircling the engine turns it into a blast furnace.  Legs and feet (left especially) get so hot that I cannot ride the motorcycle for more than a few minutes without full gear or other effective heat shielding on my legs and feet.  On the CRF450X you can ride in shorts and flip flops if you are dumb enough, without burning.  I looked hard before I bought the bike and saw no mention of this, so I was surprised.  NOT BLAMING YAMAHA.  It is a barely de-tuned race machine, and I should have found a way to test ride.  But I do wonder how the dual sport guys riding this bike, and others like me who don’t necessarily gear up every ride, manage it without roasting.  If any aftermarket maker ever manages a straight out the rear pipe/muffler I’ll be first in line.  Probably a pipe dream (sorry!).

 

You don't need a catch bottle with a fan.

Adjust your clutch cable with ever so little slack. I find neutral.

Intake honk cut open the air intake further back to double the size and the funny honk goes into a growl.

Humm wear protective gear. No excuses.

Dipsticks are for girls

Gotta change it so often, if you are checking the level you should probably be changing it anyway since it runs LESS than a quart

 

Overflow tanks are great if the bike is set up to run to hot anyway...you can cool it way down by andding +3 across the board in the FI fueling levels.

Most of the heat is from the wraparound exhaust, which makes it feel much hotter. Never notice it when geared up to ride...

 

Intake noise can be damped down about 10 db with Dynamat.   You should wear earplugs anyway.

 

You don't have to remove the skid plate more than once, if you make a 2.25" hole in the plate at just the right place and use and open ended wrench.

 

I have no problem finding neutral 70% of the time. It's a race clutch, so performance comes first.

 

--------

 

The suspension takes 15+ hours to loosen up.....and I'm only at 8 hours and I can feel the difference each ride.

Edited by KRANNIE

I meant a dipstick as used to check the oil level in a crankcase.  If you ever find a southern chick with one of those in her hand I'd like to see her.  Probably from a distance.  Meantime I still wish Yamaha had included one. 

 

Same with the overflow.  Maybe not needed but every other vehicle I've owned in the last many years, fan or not, had one, seems there must be a reason.

 

My book says one quart dry oil capacity, 0.73qt for oil/filter change.  Not much.  HOW OFTEN do you guys change it?  My book says every 1200 miles (after break-in) for non-competition, so roughly every 30-50 HOURS depending on average speed!  No way.  Book also says every 600 mi. for competition.  These numbers are not comforting.

 

I'll find a way to manage the heat problem, seems only me that has it.  But there may be others less than purists like me who ride geared up part of the time, and just jump on the bike to knock around the back 40 the rest of the time.  I'll cobble up something easy that works.  Meantime I'll keep dreaming for a straight out the rear pipe, it looks like there may be room.  I had the same thought about a richer mapping and plan to try it when I get the ECU & tuner.

 

ECU upgrade is delayed, dealer says first week of Sept.  Grrrr...  TT Vapour ordered.

 

Suspension and finding N both getting better with breakin, clutch still won't disengage completely but that's expected.  Overall love the bike.

 

ETA - Just noticed the other oil thread.  Yup. My book also makes a point that any excess oil must be drained off using the capscrew/washer provided. "to the last drop".

Edited by gbw

Oil + filter change every 2 to 4 rides depending on dust and distance

While i don't discount that the wraparound pipe adds heat, I would guess the biggest driver of that is a too lean restricted motor.  They will run extremely hot if they are too lean.  When you richen up the fuel mapping with the competition ECU and tuner it should bring temps down.

 

Older model of WR450F motor has been ultra reliable with about 1.1l crankcase and clutch capacity.  Is the new 2016 drain/refill volume really 0.73 qt?  Typical change interval for most people is 10-15 hours of offroad riding.

 

Never had a coolant overflow tank on my fuel injected '10 Husaberg FE450 and it worried me at first, but added a fan and boilover was never a problem.  I do like to take a quick glance at an overflow tank to ensure I have coolant, but will just have to pop radiator cap to ensure it is still full.  I thought I read the Yamaha GYTR fan kit is something like $69 for the '16 model which is dirt cheap.  So if it were me, I would just add one and forget about the overflow tank.

While i don't discount that the wraparound pipe adds heat, I would guess the biggest driver of that is a too lean restricted motor.  They will run extremely hot if they are too lean.  When you richen up the fuel mapping with the competition ECU and tuner it should bring temps down.

 

Older model of WR450F motor has been ultra reliable with about 1.1l crankcase and clutch capacity.  Is the new 2016 drain/refill volume really 0.73 qt?  Typical change interval for most people is 10-15 hours of offroad riding.

 

Never had a coolant overflow tank on my fuel injected '10 Husaberg FE450 and it worried me at first, but added a fan and boilover was never a problem.  I do like to take a quick glance at an overflow tank to ensure I have coolant, but will just have to pop radiator cap to ensure it is still full.  I thought I read the Yamaha GYTR fan kit is something like $69 for the '16 model which is dirt cheap.  So if it were me, I would just add one and forget about the overflow tank.

 

They are not lean, they are restricted. That is why it runs hot. If you derestrict it without remapping it, then it will be lean.

The bike is delivered on the leaner side of Stoichiometric settings, like most bikes, about 15:1. They start better this way.

Get closer to 12:1 and you have more power, but it will start harder and use much more fuel.

new vs. old is always about what you came off of. IMO what you came off of is not a bad bike at all. 

 

I came off a 99 KX250 to a 13 CRF450X and really like the transition whereas the difference in transition for you may not be as evident as what I see. 

The exhaust head pipe wraps around the cylinder and cylinder head for a reason:

To have adequate length of the exhaust pipe to attain the desired power characteristics.

The first "reverse-engined" Yamaha dirt bike, the 2010 YZ450F, had the exhaust head pipe exiting the rear and not wrapping around the cylinder and cylinder head, but instead used a "tornado" shape to the exhaust pipe to get the needed length.

 

Myself, I've owned more than one bike where riders wearing plain ol' street clothes mentioned heat from the engine, exhaust pipe, and radiator(s).

It's like going out in the rain without something covering you up - you are gonna' feel it.

 

It's three bolts for the skid plate.

C'mon.

You want goofy with skid plates?

On my 2016 KTM 200 XC-W, the plastic skid plate (which works well) requires that only one quarter-turn Dzus fastener be turned to remove it, but then you realize the exhaust pipe must also be removed to actually get the skid plate off the bike.

 

I used to ride a 2009 CRF450X, and I felt that was a great bike which I rode in the Connecticut woods, of all places.

Excellent stability and a very good, firm-feeling suspension that liked to go fast over rough ground.

I still have the 2005 CRF450X that I like so much and think now I may keep it too. Near mint condition and I probably value it higher than any realistic sale price I'd realize. They are very different bikes and I like them both.

I've come to agree about the skid plate, easy on and off and it allows a chance to clean out crud easily.

I still wonder how the DS folk deal with the WR heat - I'm skeptical about them gearing up for every street ride, but who knows, maybe they do.

I'm aware of course of the reason for the wrap around header. But I'd trade out a little power to lose it. I wonder if that 2010 YZ pipe would fit? Probably not, drat it all.

I still have the 2005 CRF450X that I like so much and think now I may keep it too. Near mint condition and I probably value it higher than any realistic sale price I'd realize. They are very different bikes and I like them both.

I've come to agree about the skid plate, easy on and off and it allows a chance to clean out crud easily.

I still wonder how the DS folk deal with the WR heat - I'm skeptical about them gearing up for every street ride, but who knows, maybe they do.

I'm aware of course of the reason for the wrap around header. But I'd trade out a little power to lose it. I wonder if that 2010 YZ pipe would fit? Probably not, drat it all.

 

 

Dude, if you think you know when you are going to fall and when to fully suit up, then you should quit your job and play the lotto.

Gracious. I said nothing of the sort. I did say I'm skeptical, and, based on what I see on the streets, as well as many of the photos posted in this forum, I remain so.

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