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Yamaha WR450F Long Term Test Bike: Update #1 | Back End | Bike Reviews | Features

It’s big, it’s blue and it’s new. The reverse-head Yamaha WR450F, which was launched last year with a 60th anniversary yellow option, has finally landed in ADB’s garage for an extended beating.

The last time ADB had a WR450F on its long-term fleet was in 2010/2011. Since then the big Yammi has undergone huge changes, so we thought it was time to get our hands on one.

I’ve always ridden small-bore enduro bikes. My saddle history reads: Gas Gas EC200, KTM 200EXC, KTM 250EXC then the Husaberg FE350 ADB had back in 2013. Up until then, the ‘Berg was the biggest berm-buster I’d taken care of and I became a big fan. After ADB got the WR450F, Editor Mitch Lees threw the keys in my direction and said “go nuts”.

Over the two months since the machine landed we’ve put 20 hours on the thing. The power Yamaha has squeezed from the 450cc engine is more than enough and that’s not just my opinion.

It’s widely regarded as one of the more aggressive engines in the 450cc enduro market. Power isn’t an issue and I won’t be chasing more. In fact, I want to try and water-down the delivery to make it more manageable in singey.

Tech Editor Mat Boyd is a gun with the Power Tuner, which Yamaha was kind enough to supply with the WR450F and, over the next 12 months, we’ll be putting in some hours finding the best tunes and relaying the results back to you guys.

The Power Tuner is a great idea. It works on bikes across the Yamaha motocross and enduro range so mates can share maps and help tune each other’s bikes. At $389 it’s small money for such a trick tool – especially if you split the cost among mates.

In addition to the tuner, Yamaha has supplied us with a heavier flywheel. This gives the engine more inertia and keeps it turning over at low speeds, plus it will smooth the power delivery. We are looking forward to this engine modification so stay tuned for a ride report in an upcoming issue.

Stripping weight also is a goal. It’s a heavy bike, there is no denying that. At 123kg with 7.5 litres of fuel you notice it’s weight in the slow technical stuff more than anywhere and this is the type of riding we like to do, so we’ll be looking for ways to save weight.

The cockpit is well set up for most riders but my 195cm needs a little more room so I’ll be looking for a handlebar with less rake and a little extra height, but not enough to ruin how the bike steers.

It’s very stable at high speed, as we discovered at the North Star Trailride. I didn’t experience any head-shake or nervous feelings in the high-speed sections and the suspension felt well sprung for me. However, the more I ride the WR450F in the type of terrain we like to ride I can see that I would benefit from some suspension work.

Until then, I’ll just keep putting hours on the big bike and keep you all informed with every change we make.

Digital Editor Olly Malone

Published ADB #446 November 2016