Riders in search of a fun and practical dirt bike that is not necessarily meant to perform on the track (although it can and it will) have come to the right place. Yamaha may have not revised the WR450F for 2009, but does this bike actually need a revision? After spending a whole day wondering on the trails, we sure know it doesn’t need anything more that gas and a constantly opened throttle.
The four-stroke engine feels in no need for fuel injection as it is incredibly responsive and delivers constant power all through the rpm range. That is just the four-stroke magic of a dirt bike, but there’s plenty more to it. That 450cc, liquid-cooled DOHC; five-titanium valves motor also starts easily, cold or hot, and means serious business either you’re passing through a creek or climb steep hills. It provides impressive low-end grunt without overwhelming the rider. Sure thing though, no rider will start on this bike and the name gives a clue about performance so go easy on the clutch. Furthermore, the five-speed gearbox is forgiving when not running quite in the right gear and shifting is done effortlessly. Even the first gear launches the bike at speeds at which two-stroke engines usually require at least a shift.
Compact and sharply styled, the WR-F feels like it’s built to perform and it doesn’t disappoint at any point. Handling is fairly light and definitely responsive, but not quite like on the quarter-liter version, the WR250F. Yet, our 450 was stable at high speeds and soaked up the riding terrain’s imperfections with ease, providing a smooth and enjoyable ride.
It may not be street legal, but it is fitted with a digital endure computer offering data such as the speed you’re running with, the hour…so that’s very nice for a machine that was born on the motocross track. Plus, WR-F rider isn’t needed to go home before do bygone as there is always that helpful light to spare you of trouble. And so is the braking system which delivers the needed braking performance and more in virtually all riding situations.
Riding on a pair of 21-inch front and 18-inch rear Excel rims supported by Kayaba suspension is good news when the going gets tough. Also, that skidplate is very helpful especially when riding over rocks or jumping obstacles on slippery surfaces. The tires grip on very well and so the bike will inspire confidence at all times, but it never harms being cautious.
Although not featuring the wheel travel of straight off motocross bikes, the Yamaha WR450F (11.8-inch front and 12-inch of travel rear) is adequate for jumping and lands good even if the rider on top of it has a weakness for sweets. Still, I don’t recommend staying nowhere near that seat after a day on those trails, but that applies to all such motorcycles, not just the ones made by Yamaha.
Also to be appreciated at Yamaha is their talent of keeping the MSRP as low as possible even thought production requirements increase. In this case, the price tag will indicate a sum of $7,499, 300 bucks more than for the 2008 model year. This way the bike equals the competition in the price chapter and individualizes with…but you already know it, don’t you?
Having reviewed the bike’s qualities and missing defects we’ll simply prefer saying that it performs a magical attraction from the first time you lay your eyes on it and it has the engine and chassis capabilities backing it up in any situation that the trails might reserve for you. Keeping it low on the price is also a great advantage.
So what could you want more? Share your impressions or doubts with us and we’ll be glad to help you clear everything out.