2016 Yamaha WR450F: ECU Mapping
How to use Yamaha’s Power Tuner to get the most out of your 2016 WR450F in varying conditions, with and without engine mods.
We’ve had a 2016 WR450F in our project bike stable for six months now, but it became apparent right from the get-go that one of this bike’s biggest advantages is the ease with which you can alter its engine character via the Power Tuner tool. Through the embedded video and explanation below, Transmoto’s Andy Wigan offers up an insight into his experience with this new-gen Yamaha, and more specifically, how easily and effectively its ECU mapping can be altered to suit differing terrain, rider preferences and engine mods.
Yamaha’s reverse-mounted, four-valve, fuel-injected YZ450F engine is renowned for its torque and breadth of power, so it’s no surprise the thing has been successfully adapted for off-road use in the all-new 2016 WR450F. However, while the WR450F’s power comes on in a smoother and more progressive way than its motocross cousin, it’s still noticeably punchier than its rivals in the 450cc enduro bike segment. That’s great news in power-sapping sand or on grasstrack with lots of grip, but not so handy when you’re looking for traction in tight, slick and technical conditions.
And here’s where Yamaha’s Power Tuner comes into play. It allows you to vary the power delivery from MX-style explosive to a de-tuned traction curve, or anywhere in between, simply by plugging the Power Tuner in and uploading the relevant pre-programmed map. As a result, I reckon this Power Tuner is the best $400 you can spend on the 2016 WR450F, especially if you’ve already made its power delivery punchier and more responsive by fitting an aftermarket muffler and/or cut the mesh out of the air filter cage to allow the beast to breathe easier. By combining these mods with the tuning capabilities offered by the Power Tuner, the WR450F’s powerplant can easily be dialled to suit a wider range of conditions in a matter of seconds. In other words, it makes the thing much more versatile.
Initially, I leant toward the ‘Competition Map’ that the de-restricted bike generally comes with from your dealer. But when multiple national enduro champ, Chris Hollis, got in my ear about the mellower ‘Traction/Hollis Map’ he’d developed with Yamaha’s technicians, I tried it and haven’t looked back since. Sure, in open terrain where there’s plenty of traction and throttle control is not as critical, I’ll occasionally revert to the Competition Map (or the even feistier ‘Hybrid Map’ or ‘YZ-F Muffler Map’), but for a greater majority of the time, I’ve found that Traction/Hollis Map makes the bike’s power much more user-friendly and manageable. It helps me ride the bike in a smoother and more controlled way that doesn’t fatigue me. And that makes the machine a whole lot more fun to ride for longer.
To improve the engine’s tractability, I did look at the option of fitting GYTR’s Flywheel Weight, which is actually used by Team CDR Yamaha’s riders at selected tracks. But because it costs a cool $435 and takes a lot longer to add and remove from the bike than EFI map uploads do, I decided against it for the time being.
STANDARD (ADR) MAP
In standard trim with all the ADR restrictions in place, the settings for both fuel and ignition are zero across the table. Because bikes were derestricted at the Australian media launch for the bikes, this ‘benchmark’ map was not used.
COMPETITION TRIM MAP
With the ADR restrictors removed (and a larger diameter outlet inserted into the muffler’s end-cap), the ECU needs to be re-mapped accordingly. As the table indicates, the map the YMA technicians developed for the launch uses more fuel at lower revs for added torque and less up top to generate more revs. The ignition settings are advanced across the board to allow the engine to rev.
With richer fuel settings at lower revs, the power comes on less abruptly. It builds its power in a smoother, torquier, more progressive way. Retarding the ignition at all throttle openings through the bottom and mid then acts like traction control.
YZ450F MUFFLER MAP
Riders and racers who like more responsive, punchy power may look to fit a less restrictive YZ450F muffler. As you’d expect, it uses more fuel (except at lower revs to avoid flame-outs) and more ignition advance for most throttle openings and RPMs.
Working with their elite-level racers, Yamaha Australia’s technicians have now developed a ‘Hybrid Map’ for WR450Fs fitted with a free-flowing exhaust. This map is designed to suit Pro-level riders whose bike runs a YZ-F-style GYTR muffler from Yamaha Parts and Accessories, and it uses a combination of fuel and ignition settings from the ‘Traction/Hollis’ and ‘YZ-F Muffler’ maps. The objective? To retain user-friendly, tractable bottom-end power, but still deliver strong, YZ-F-style top-end power.