Yamaha has released details of the all new WR450F at the Australian MotoGP. The new model has been developed by Australian and NZ riders including former Grand Prix ace and Yamaha race team Manager Josh Coppins. Aimed at enduro racers, long distance rally riders and recreational riders, the new model WR450F looks set to build on its popularity down under.
2016 WR450F model overview
- All-new enduro model benefits from the latest Yamaha technologies
- Aggressive and modern YZ450F-inspired reverse fed design concept
- Compact, mass centralised design
- Linear torque
- KYB suspension with enduro settings
Linear torque with deep reserves of power
Like the YZ-F models and the recently launched WR250F, the completely new WR450F engine features a reverse cylinder head with a front facing air intake and rear-exiting exhaust. As with the YZ-F models and the WR250F, the new WR450F’s compact engine layout – together with the underseat fuel tank and snaking exhaust pipe – contributes significantly towards mass centralisation.
New 44mm throttle body with revised fuel injection settings
For easy engine starting and strong performance, the WR450F is equipped with an all new fuel injection. The 44mm throttle body is 2mm larger than the design fitted on the current WR450F, and a revised spray angle and improved throttle valve opening contribute towards the WR450F’s good balance of high power/high speed performance.
Newly designed electric starter
A new auto-decompressor system cuts in when the electric start is activated for easy starting, and the air supply to the engine can be increased by 40% for cold starting.
Optional Yamaha Power Tuner
The Yamaha Power Tuner is a compact and easy to use electronic device that enables WR450F riders to adjust the engine’s power characteristics at the trackside to suit prevailing conditions.
Wide-ratio 5-speed transmission and light enduro clutch
Compared to the previous WR450F, the new model runs with higher 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears, while 1st and 5th remain the same.
To complement its wide-ratio transmission this bike features an all-new enduro clutch that’s designed to handle the long and hard days experienced in a typical event.
Compact size with centralised mass
The configuration of the new rearwards slanting engine has enabled Yamaha’s designers to construct a compact new chassis that capitalises on the handling performance gains offered by the engine’s more centralised mass.
KYB® Air-Oil-Separate (AOS) front forks with dedicated enduro settings
By keeping the air and oil in separate chambers, these high-tech forks help to prevent cavitation for more stable damping performance and predictable handling characteristics.
The 2016 WR450F uses the same forks as its motocross counterpart, but to ensure smoother low speed operation – combined with the ability to absorb harsh bumps – the WR-F model runs with dedicated enduro settings.
Large diameter 270mm front disc brake
Like the latest 2016 YZ-F models, the all-new WR450F is equipped with a 270mm diameter front disc brake.
18-inch rear wheel and enduro tyres
Featuring black rims, the WR450F’’s 18-inch rear wheel and 21-inch front wheel are equipped with Metzeler 6 Days Extreme tyres, and the enduro equipment also includes a lightweight engine guard, frame-mounted side stand, sealed chain and 22mm rear axle.
Slim bodywork and durable in-mould graphics
The WR450F’s body features a long, flat seat and a slim front section, enabling the rider to maintain high levels of control when braking, accelerating and cornering. The 4-position adjustable handlebars enable the rider to select the right setup to suit their style and physical size, and the recessed fuel cap allows the seat to be extended further forwards, allowing even greater freedom of movement.
Lighting and instruments
The WR450F is equipped with a full lighting kit, and a high output ACM. The lightweight digital instruments include a multi-function display with an enduro computer that keeps the rider informed about their progress and distance covered.
Fully ADR compliant
The Australian model is supplied with ADR compliance for road registration.
Colour options, price and availability
The WR450F is available in Racing Blue at the same RRP as the 2015 WR450F at $12,999. And – unique to AUS/NZ market – is also available in 60th Anniversary Yellow at $13,199. Both colours will be available from Jan 2016 and customers are urged to place their orders at their local Yamaha dealer now to secure one of these desirable new models.
WR450F technical highlights
- YZ450F-based 450cc liquid-cooled DOHC, fuel-injected 4-valve engine
- Revolutionary reverse cylinder head with front facing intake
- Engine power is fully adjustable with optional Yamaha Power Tuner
- Wide ratio 5-speed transmission with light enduro clutch
- Efficient cooling by enduro radiator with cooling fan
- Top mounted, quickly removable air filter
- YZF based alu bilateral-beam frame with optimised rigidity balance
- Latest KYB® air-oil separation (AOS) type front forks
- Link-type Monocross suspension
- Main switch-free electric starter
- Instrument panel featuring enduro computer, fuel warning and more
- Metzeler 6 Days Extreme tyres
|2016 WR450F specifications
|Single cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves
|Bore x stroke
|97.0 mm x 60.8 mm
|12.5 : 1
|Wet, Multiple Disc
|Electric and kick
|Constant Mesh, 5-speed
|Semi double cradle
|Front suspension system
|Rear suspension system
|Swingarm, (link suspension)
|Hydraulic single disc, Ø 270 mm
|Hydraulic single disc, Ø 245 mm
|Minimum ground clearance
|Wet weight (including full oil and 7.5 litres of fuel)
|Fuel tank capacity
|Oil tank capacity
|Colours and RRP inc GST
|Team Yamaha Blue: $12,99960th Anniversary Yellow: $13,199
|Three months, parts only
In celebration of the new Yamaha WR450F we thought we should take a little trip down memory lane to rediscover the bikes rich history…
THE LIFE OF THE WR450F
It arrived in 1998 amidst the fanfare that greeted the YZ400F and together they changed the bike world. Up until that point the idea of a big bore four-stroke being considered alongside, let alone mixing it with the two-strokes of the day, was ridiculous. In the bush the KDX, IT, XR, TE and EXC were dominant and the smell of pre-mix was all pervading.
Along came the WR400F and the world was turned on its head. It was fast, it turned and it didn’t look or feel like the XRs or TTs of the day. This was literally the shape of things to come.
From that day on the WR450F has become one of the most loved and biggest selling enduro bikes of all time. Australians love the WR-F and we’d thought it a good idea to have a look back at the evolution of the WR450F from birth through all the major updates to today’s fuel injected offering.
And so it begins. The WR400F turned heads and won fans as soon as it touched the trails. Its motocross brother was busy doing the same. Honda had no idea this was coming and the great rivalry swung Yamaha’s way.
- Light and compact 399cc DOHC liquid-cooled single cylinder 4-stroke
- Stronger, wider power band than many 250 2-strokes
- 5-valve cylinder head with magnesium cover
- Low-friction short-skirt piston
- Hard-wearing ceramic composite plated cylinder
- Wide-ratio 5-speed transmission
- Dry sump lubrication reduces engine width
- Lightweight single shaft balancer
- High capacity generator
- Magnesium left and right side engine covers
- Kick starter with manual decompressor
- 250-class geometry and dimensions
- YZ250Z-based front and rear suspension systems
- High rigidity semi double cradle frame with integral oil tank
- 18 inch rear wheel
- 12 litre fuel tank with reserve tap
You want more? You got it. To answer criticism that the 400 lacked power Yamaha responded with the WR426F and it had built an animal. The 426 is a legendary machine that’s still the subject of many campfire stories – most of them end with “And then I hit a tree…”
- Increased displacement
- Performance increase
- Titanium valves
- Revised ignition
- Revised carburettor settings
- Lower friction crankshaft
- Revised front brake system
- Lighter rear swing arm
- Modified suspension setting
- New shape seat
- 8 litre fuel tank
OK, so the 426 was a bit crazy right? Yamaha then went and rethought the whole thing and gave us the final solid iteration of the bike that we’d love and live with for another 10 years. The 450 was milder and it spread the power over a greater range with tons of torque.
This bike won fans and sales fast. Honda still had no answer and the WR450F reigned supreme.
- All-new lightweight 450cc DOHC liquid-cooled 4-stroke engine
- Compact and lightweight electric starter with kickstarter
- New camshaft with compact automatic decompressor
- Convenient handlebar mounted hot start lever
- Wide ratio 5-speed transmission
- Larger-capacity radiators
- Quick-release airbox with left side cover opening
- 95 x 63.4mm bore and stroke
- New ultra-compact 5-valve cylinder head
- Shorter titanium valves and more compact valve springs
- New design compact cam chain tensioner
- New design lightweight forged piston
- Modified primary driven gear with rubber dampers
- Redesigned crankshaft assembly
- Modified carburettor with optimised settings
- Improved airbox joint design
- Spark plug cap integrated ignition
- New design CDI unit
- Smaller oil pump
- New type oil filter
- New aluminium oil hoses
- New design mass-centralising 10-litre fuel tank
- Fully equipped with front and rear lights
- 18 inch rear wheel
- Steel rear sprocket
- All-new semi-double cradle frame with improved balance and rigidity
- New lightweight square section aluminium subframe
- Radical new ‘wedge’ style tank/seat/radiator air scoops
- 5mm shorter wheelbase
- New shape integral oil tank with relocated filler cap
- Lightweight rear upper engine mounting bracket
- New two-piece resin/aluminium engine protectors
- Lighter engine sidecase guards
- New design lightweight anodised swingarm
- Lighter front caliper with aluminium pistons
- Modified front brake master cylinder
- Lighter rear calliper, calliper bracket, pads and calliper protector
- Integrated rear brake master cylinder and reservoir
- Modified swingarm seal guard
And now we say hello to the aluminium frame and a bike that will remain unchanged in any significant way for years to come. It didn’t change because it sold and it was loved and guys like Chris Hollis showed it could win titles too.
In 2007 it now had competition from Honda who had come into the market with a very good CRF450X. KTM were well established as a force to be reckoned with as well, but this is still the model that you still see the most on the trails and we’ll be seeing them for a long time yet because they worked and they were bullet-proof.
- Carburettor setting changed
- Camshaft profile changed
- CDI setting is changed
- New five speed transmission
- Primary reduction gear ratio is taller
- New dry sump lubrication
- New tungsten balancer shaft
- New Generator assembly (from WR250F)
- New aluminium frame
- Suspension setting modified
- Fork brackets modified
- New high capacity radiator
- New air cleaner box
- New head light cowl and head light assembly
- More comfortable single seat
- Wave type brake disk
- Pro-Taper handlebar
- Wide footrests
- New engine guard
- 8 litre fuel tank
The time had come. The WR450F was looking tired and was far from representative of current technology, with the European brands now holding the mantle as the bikes to measure all others by in the bush. Yamaha responded through the hard work of Yamaha Australia and guys like Geoff Ballard who fought for the model’s survival and pushed its development.
The 2012 WR450F was ensconced once again as the most relevant Japanese enduro offering and the people responded by buying it in bucket loads. It entered a brave new market and it isn’t the obvious choice anymore, but the story of the WR-F is one of toughness and a never-say-die attitude. That’s why so many blokes love it and we can’t wait to see what comes next…we’ve got a feeling Yamaha has something up its sleeve.
- Ultra-reliable liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, 5-valve, 449cc engine
- Wide, controllable powerband and explosive acceleration
- Titanium valves and DOHC construction enable a high rpm range
- The engine has an enduro-specific camshaft profile and 5-speed gearbox
- Fuel injection system
- A higher capacity generator
- A lightweight and compact fuel pump is used
- Slimline and compact frame design from the YZ250F
- Lightweight aluminium construction of the frame
- Excellent rider feedback, allowing the rider to feel what the bike is doing and respond accordingly
- Slimline plastic resin fuel tank is mounted inside the frame beams, with 7.2 litre capacity
- Wheelbase is 1475mm which is 25mm shorter than the previous model
- Suspension settings are tuned for enduro use
- Fuel warning lamp on the dashboard lights up when less than 2 litres are remaining
- Black Excel rims, Pro-Taper handlebar and Wave type front and rear discs express the professional quality of the bike.
Want more articles like this? Subscribe to Dirt Action Magazine.