STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY ADAM SPENCE
Spending time on the trails with our newly upgraded suspension package
We’re back again with the 2019 Dirt Action Yamaha WR450F and it can be confirmed that an abundance of fun has been had on the bike since we last checked in! For our first instalment, it was all about getting to know the bike in stock trim following the official world launch of the all-new model at Stroud in New South Wales last December. This time around it’s a little different and we’re starting to mould the bike to suit my preferences, which is always exciting.
As I mentioned in the previous update, the 2019 WR450F was already quite a solid package in stock trim. To be honest, I could have left the bike completely standard and been quite happy, but that’s no fun at all! Right from the moment I rode the bike at the launch, I knew I would prefer to tweak the fork settings slightly to suit my riding style more than anything, so this was my first priority.
To tackle the new suspension setup, we enlisted the help of Sydney-based suspension guru Ken Wheeler from Factory Spec. Ken has a tonne of knowledge and he has been my go-to guy for many years when it comes to my personal bikes, so this choice was a no-brainer.
Being a brand new model, this was the first 2019 WR450F Ken had worked on and it was quite an exciting prospect for us both as we sat down in his workshop to go over exactly what I wanted. So, what did I want? I was chasing additional front-end feel and I’m notorious for running my bikes slightly softer than usual. Ken knew exactly what I needed and went to work stripping it down and making the changes.
Where did we end up in the end? It was a combination of spring changes and valving changes that landed me on my perfect setting. In the rear end we actually left that completely standard and only set the sag to suit my weight and the updated front-end setup. I was always quite happy with the standard shock settings, so I was more than happy to go with Ken’s decision there.
As soon as I hit the trails for the first time with my Factory Spec suspension I knew Ken had nailed it. I now have that front-end feel I wanted and bashing through the trails or hitting the track is even more fun now! I must add that I only weight bike a whopping 75kg, so the good news here is that most guys out there will most likely love the standard setting! If you’re slightly heavier than me, I believe the standard setting will work a treat and you’ll be good to go.
I’m having a tonne of fun on the 2019 WR450F and it’s clear that our Dirt Action test riders did as the bike recently took out our 2019 450cc Enduro Shootout! As I said, it’s a solid package overall and I’m not just saying that – the proof is right there in the shootout results.
That’s all from me for this latest update, but we’ve got more planned in the near future as we prepare to throw on a fresh set of rubber from Metzeler and some Renthal handlebars and grips to improve my comfort levels. We have some fun trail rides planned out and we can’t wait to show you the content we produce from those trips – stay tuned!