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ENDURO LAUNCH | 2024 YAMAHA WR450F | Bike Reviews

All the changes to the all-new 2024 Yamaha WR450F certainly make a difference. We put it through its paces to see if it's easier to ride.

It’s been a few years since an all-new 2024 Yamaha WR450F has hit the trails and I was fortunate enough to receive an invite to the Australian 2024 Yamaha WR450F launch up in the hills of Stroud in NSW mid north coast. It’s also been maybe three years since I have thrown a leg over the WR450F platform, so I was chomping at the bit to get out there and see what this new machine was all about.

Now, if you are a die-hard Yamaha fan, you would have probably known that the new WR was coming because Yamaha unveiled the new YZ450F in 2023 and Yamaha have used the YZ450F as their base. Over the last decade or so, we have seen that when the YZ450F gets an overhaul, generally in the year that follows, the WR gets those updates too. That is because Yamaha have taken a little bit of a different and unique approach to the offroad side of motorcycles where they heavily rely on the YZ platform as the base, and they then customize and adjust the motor and chassis to suit the more mellow WR side of life.

Now, when I say WR side of life, I mean that they soften the bike’s handling and make the motor more suitable and useable for riding amongst the trees. There is obviously more to it than that, but you get the general gist of it right? After all, I highly doubt that anyone could hop on a stock YZ450F and trailride comfortably for a whole day, those things are a beast!


Short answer, almost everything! Yamaha have gone over this bike with a fine-tooth comb, and they have really focused on getting the bike to be lighter, faster and more manageable for the rider. The motor itself is all new and has a whole host of new parts including larger 39mm-diameter intake valves, a new piston, conrod, big end, revised bearings and much more. A lot of the components inside the motor are manufactured lighter than in previous years as well so they’ve shaved valuable kilos there too.

There is also a new and improved transmission which features a wider ratio gearbox specific for enduro riding and the clutch itself is lighter and more compact to give the rider a better and smoother feel. The clutch remains a cable however there is an option to throw a hydraulic kit on there as a GYTR aftermarket purchase.

Yamaha have also updated the ECU for the all-new 2024 Yamaha WR450F, and it offers a more useable and rider friendly experience than its YZ brother. The tuning of the engine on the WR is softer and easier to handle and they’ve specifically focused on ensuring that there is loads of tractability on offer at low speeds. The Yamaha Power Tuner app is also there if you need it and has been simplified so that the rider can customize the feel of the bike. If you want more power, program it in, or if you want less, you can do that too, the range is impressive.

Lastly, as motor as the motor goes, it looks like Yamaha have finally nailed the exhaust system on this bike and it doesn’t look like a big and bulky bolt on part. The new muffler especially looks exactly like the YZ muffler and is shorter and it finishes off the look of the bike nicely. All up, the new motor is smaller, more compact, produces more power and even better it’s almost 1.5kg lighter than the previous WR450F powerplant.

Next, we have the chassis updates for 2024 and like the motor, there’s a fair bit to unpack. The bilateral beam aluminium frame is the same frame as the new YZ450F and is 15mm lower at the head tube than the previous model. Yamaha claims this improves the centre of gravity and offers a better feel for the rider. The frame has received a few WR specific tweaks to account for a more forgiving ride as well.

The new fuel tank sits lower in the frame as does the pump inside the tank and like the motor, is all manufactured to be more compact. Seat height has changed as well with the WR being 10mm lower than the YZ. The seat itself is manufactured lower with rounded edges which helps with rider comfort and really makes life easy if you’re out trailriding and you get stuck on a hill.

The whole feel of the bike has been significantly improved with the new frame and the bike no longer feels wide. Yamaha have reduced the width by an impressive 50mm, and the new plastics are more integrated into each other which results in a smoother surface with less edges allowing better rider movement around the bike. All WR’s come with a chunky bashplate to protect all the necessary areas and Yamaha seem to have done a nice job just cleaning up and focusing on the fit and finish of this bike. It definitely looks lighter and slimmer than previous models.

Finally, at the helm of the handling department, we have the trusty 48mm KYB SSS fork and KYB shock. Yamaha’s suspension has always been a super reliable and very confidence inspiring package and for 2024, they have given the KYB units a WR specific setting which is softer and plusher and more useable than the YZ brother. They’ve also added some knobs on top of the forks for tool free adjustment to the compression out on the trail.

All up, Yamaha claim that the bike is the “master of all trades” machine, and they are extremely proud to show this new weapon off. Lighter, lower, slimmer and more tractable is what they’re being saying so you can bet I was extra keen to get out on the track and have a ride!


As we arrived at the launch location, we were met with a lovely deluge of rain that made the property very wet. However, in true offroad fashion, the show must go on! I was allocated my 2024 Yamaha WR450F2024 Yamaha WR450F and after rolling the stock bars back, tweaking the levers and setting my sag, I was on my way to play in the slop.

I found a few drier spots to play around on with some logs and rocks and immediately I noticed that the bike was a lot nimbler and more playful in the slow stuff. The WR’s in the past have been known to stall or flame out and when the bike was cold, it still did the same thing but as soon as the bike warmed up, I never had the issue again.

There is plenty of power on tap and the WR made very light work of the 500mm log we were playing around on. I tried hitting the log in both first and second gear and it had no problem with either. First is quite low so I could almost crawl over the log from a standing start with ease. Even the cable clutch at low speed is super responsive and I spent a good chunk of the morning playing around on the more technical trail sections and I enjoyed it a lot.

I also forgot about the unmistakable droning noise of the intake as the air filter is right under the front of the seat. Anyone who has never ridden a WR will think that their junk might be about to sucked into the motor!

The remainder of the test loop was a brand-new section of grass track that weaved its way in and around the hillside with sections straight up and down as well as off-cambers. It was a good mix of terrain, and it was super slippery and also very soft. The FIM Dunlop tyres certainly had their work cut out for them in these conditions.

Once we out and about on the grass track, the WR comes alive, and the motor is incredibly strong. The WR has been known in the past to be an aggressive motor and for 2024, I’d say that it still leans that way. However, Yamaha have done a great job of making that power more useable and rider friendly. It still revs quick and there’s no shortage of power but just like they promised, it’s more tractable than ever before.

I found myself playing around in the mud with a huge smile and the harder I rode the, the bigger the smile became especially on the big, long up hills. Once you point the WR in a straight line and wind the big girl out, you discover that the motor will pull and pull and pull. It’s a very fun, free revving and lively motor and I like that.

There is a bit of a jump between second and third gear which is only really noticeable on the tighter stuff but if you’re out in the open sections, the gearbox is spot on, and the gear changes are pretty seamless. The midrange grunt of this bike is very impressive and it’s extremely fun to have such a lively motor under you as you feel like you can just flick the clutch and launch over anything.

I played around a little bit with the two different ignition maps that come standard on the bike, and the magic blue button is a cool feature. When the blue button is on, the motor is more tractable, and it was perfect for the slippery and slimy trailride we went on after lunch. The trails were drenched and having that ability to mellow the power out was fantastic, I actually left it on for the remainder of the day.

Overall, the motor is super impressive and there’s no shortage of power. It’s possible that some riders might find it to be a little too aggressive but if that’s the case, then jump on the Power tuner app and give the bike a bit of a detune. For me though, I was more than happy with how the motor felt in stock trim and I really enjoyed the torque and grunt that the bike produced.

As far as the handling of the new 2024 Yamaha WR450F goes, there are no complaints on my end. The bike finally feels slim and it’s very easy to move around on. The rider triangle is comfortable, and the bike is comfortable to sit on. I’ve always had issues with the width of the WR’s in the past as I felt they were unnecessarily wide between the legs but for 2024, that feeling is finally gone.

The KYB fork is brilliant and while it could be a tad firm for newbies to the enduro world, I think it’s awesome. The front end is planted, and it is more than happy to be tipped into ruts and it will gladly follow the lines without any hassle. I never experienced any headshake and even in the slick conditions on the grass track, I found that I could point the bike where I wanted it to go, and the front end remained planted and gave me lots of confidence. The trailride had a bunch of rocky fire roads and slippery logs and I was pleasantly surprised with the traction of the front end through those sketchy sections, and I also didn’t experience any soreness in my hands or anything like that.

Much like the fork, the KYB shock is fantastic too, the drive that it achieves is awesome and like the front end, gave me lots of confidence to push along the trails and grass track. It too has a firmer feel that some people may not like but for me, I was a fan. I definitely prefer to have a bike feel firmer than softer because it gives me more confidence knowing the bike won’t spit me off when something like an unexpected G-out or ditch out on the trail catches me off-guard. There definitely was a few of those moments on the trail ride and I was thanking the KYB suspension a few times for saving my soul.


The whole package on this new WR is a winner for me. Honestly, I have nothing to complain about other than why has it taken so long to build a WR this good? It’s fast as hell yet super rideable and the motor is extremely fun to play around on. The KYB suspension is awesome, and the bike is planted, offers fantastic rider feedback and is very comfortable out on the trail.

The new frame and body work being slimmer and more compact is for sure the last thing in my eyes that was holding the WR back. With the 2024 updates taking that all away, I am confident in saying that the new 2024 Yamaha WR450F is easily the most refined and best version of the WR450 I have ever ridden. Very impressive all around for me and I can see them being even more popular than they already are.

2024 YAMAHA  WR450F


Type                           Four-stroke DOHC, four valves

Displacement            450cc

Bore & Stroke           97mm x 60.8mm

Cooling                      Liquid-cooled

Compression ratio   NA

Fuel metering           EFI

Tank capacity            7.4L

Transmission            Five speed, constant mesh

Clutch                         Wet, cable operated


Wheelbase                1470mm

Seat height                955mm

Ground clearance    380mm

Claimed Weight        117kg (wet)


FRONT                      KYB 48mm telescopic fork, 300mm travel

REAR                         KYB shock (link suspension), 306mm travel


Front                           Hydraulic, 270mm disc

Rear                           Hydraulic, 240mm disc


Handlebar                 NA

Front tyre                   90/90-21 Dunlop Geomax EN91

Rear tyre                   140/80-18 Dunlop Geomax EN91


RRP $17,999.00


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