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~WR450 handling problems,please help~

10 posts in this topic

Hi, I just bought a nearly brand new 04 WR450. I really like it, but I'm not very happy about how the front tire deflects easier than I think it should. It will deflect easy on rocks and small ruts. Kind of spookey at times. Could it be the stock tire, too much air pressure(I'm running about 12), The forks seem pretty stiff, Could sag have anything to do with it? I'm pretty clueless about set up, and I haven't done a thing to it yet.

It also has a bog just past mid range that's pretty annoying. The guy had it richened up with the jetting. It has an FMF pipe. Could it be something simple like moving the clip one or two positions?

I'm also thinking about going up 2 or 3 teeth on the rear sprocket to help the bottom end. It has good bottom with the stock gearing, but I'm fanatical about bottom end power, and I don't do any real high speed stuff-just tight trails mainly. I know it will make first gear super low, but I don't seem to use it as it is.

I would really, really appreciate anyone's insight with these things. Thank you to everyone who offers their advice. I'll check in often. Thanks again, wayne

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1. Make sure you have the rear sag set according to the manual. Until that's set, all other handling issues are irrelevant.

2. On the front deflecting, are the forks moving too much, or is the entire front of the bike bouncing up?

3. Check to see what needle you have. In Colorado, it seems to be futile trying to dial the jetting in with the stock Yamaha needle. I put a JD jetting kit in mine because I lacked the time to fight the jetting. JD's recommendations were spot on and I haven't touched the jetting since. A friend has an '08 WR-450 with the optional Yamaha jetting kit and he seems to have to bounce between two needle settings depending on the temperature to get rid of a midrange flat spot.

4. There are a handful of times that I wish I had a SLIGHTLY lower first gear, but I've never changed the stock gearing.

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Set your sag : http://www.tootechracing.com/suspension_tips.htm

Set your fork rebound and compression in the middle. Working with one setting, decrease or increase until it feels pretty darn god. Then do the other adjustment. You want to bottom once or twice per ride. If not, you're too stiff.

As for rebound you should notice if it's packing up and not returning to extended travel quick enough, or if it's returning too fast and causing the front end to pogo.

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First - Bleed any excess air out of your forks, there are small machine screws in the top caps of your forks. When you do this listen carefully as you will be able to hear the air bleed off. The forks build up internal pressure over time.

Yamaha front forks have harsh mid valving.... Try backing the compression all the way out in the front and see if that helps. You may also think about a steering stabilizer , they are worth their weight in gold.

Like the others say, the first place to start is with the rear sag. It is amazing how much adjusting the rear spring can make a difference in how the bike behaves.

Remember when tuning your suspension. Only do one change at a time between rides. Changing more than one element makes it nearly impossible to determine if the change was better or worse. Try to pin point which change does what. This will help you understand which adjustments do what.

Jetting - What elevation do you ride in? What size main jet do you have? Where is the clip on the needle? A quick fix would be to check the jetting data base for similar elevations.

Good luck. :bonk:

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As far as your suspension goes it may be worth your while having it set up by an expert. After over 30yrs of riding & adjusting my suspension here and there & never really getting it dialled in because I didn't believe that suspension is a science of it's own, I took my bike to an expert, payed what I thought was excessive at the time but, none of my bikes ever felt like this one which has been set up for my weight.

I now accept that the experts(some I suppose) really know what they're doing.

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First - Yamaha front forks have harsh mid valving.... Try backing the compression all the way out in the front and see if that helps. You may also think about a steering stabilizer , they are worth their weight in gold.

Good luck. :bonk:

I would suggest only going two clicks and test riding after making any suspension adjustments.

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I would suggest only going two clicks and test riding after making any suspension adjustments.

When fine tuning a bike yes, two clicks, maybe three. But in his case, it is know that the compression damping is valved a bit harsh. Before you do anything check how many clicks out the current setting is.

Try clicking the compression all the way out and see if that helps the issue. If it does, put two clicks back in at a time until the front wheel deflection returns, then back it out. You could also just take compression out two clicks at a time and ride it in between like MadDog suggested. To each his own. My guess is that it will still deflect with all the compression turned out.

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Drop the fork tubes 1/4" in the triple clamps (it's all the room you have anyway). It helps the front bite more. I added a sprocket with 2 teeth more in the back and a link in the chain. It does help for singletrak and it allows me to move the axle back further which helps the bike handle better. Yes rear sag is important, but I weigh 230 and the stock spring is for a 180 pound rider.

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Thank you to everyone for the advice. Having the correct sag makes sense. I can see how it could cause the front to push if it's not set right. I didn't have any air bleed out when I loosened the air bleed screws. I think a softer seat is in my future for sure-that thing's a rock!

Thanks for all the input, I appreciate it

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