First Look: 2019 Yamaha WR450F
It was only a matter of time until the very popular Yamaha WR450F got the overhaul its motocross cousin the YZ450F received in the last two years. And boy is it worth the wait! It features the slimmer-feeling ergos, updated frame and new bodywork off the motocross machines, plus an enduro-specific engine, suspension, and exhaust package.
Here’s the official news on the exciting new WR from Yamaha Australia …
The 2019 WR450F celebrates 20 years of Yamaha four-stroke enduro production with a complete redesign based on the YZ450F for stronger power, improved chassis and suspension, broader versatility and lighter handling.
In the two decades since the first WR-F four-stroke arrived on the enduro scene, it has established a reputation for build quality, reliability, a stable chassis and great ‘out the box’ suspension. Based on its motocross sibling the YZ450F – which went through big development changes for 2018 – the new WR450F is the Yamaha enduro bike we’ve been waiting for.
2019 WR450F Key Features:
- All-new 450cc engine
- Optional race kit with CCU enables Power Tuner app
- New handlebar mounted switch adjusts engine mode
- New YZ450F-based lightweight bilateral beam frame
- Revised KYB suspension for stable and smooth ride
- Slim, mass-centralised 7.9 litre fuel tank
- New light, slim and sharp body and headlight design
- Tough new skidplate and new speed sensor
- New radiator shrouds and easy-access air filter box design
- Durable new clutch, five-speed wide-ratio gearbox
- New narrow, lower and more accessible seat
- Tough new wear-resistant in-mould graphics
New smartphone tuning with the Power Tuner app
As with the YZ450F and YZ250F models, the WR450F gets the smartphone-friendly Power Tuner App. Using WiFi you can tune the new WR450F to suit different tracks and changing weather conditions using a smartphone in association with the Communication Control Unit that is available in the optional race kit. The new Power Tuner app gives every WR450F rider the ability to make instant fuelling and ignition timing changes and upload/share data for the ultimate in track-side tuning.
The free Yamaha Power Tuner app also allows owners to record race log information and monitor a range of data such as maintenance and system diagnosis, engine run time and more.
Since its original launch in 1998, the WR-F’s engine has grown from 400cc to 426cc, and the latest generation reverse cylinder head engine displaces a full 450cc. The new 2019 model has been further developed from the latest YZ450F platform – an “apex predator” motocross bike they say that blends mind bending power with absolute control. We tested it last year and can report it was a step forward in terms of rider confidence and handling.
Stronger 450cc reverse-head engine
The new WR450F is equipped with a characteristic Yamaha reverse cylinder head engine. Developed from the MXGP-winning YZ450F motocross bike, the WR engine has enduro-specific intake and exhaust systems, fuel injection and ignition advance maps to suit.
Yamaha says the new high torque 450cc, four-valve engine produces “a broad and linear spread of useable power. With an excellent feeling of traction, the WR450F delivers harder- hitting performance for winning times on enduro special tests.
A wider band of pulling power is promised with a smoother throttle connection for technical sections, and these enhanced characteristics – together with the lighter and slimmer feeling chassis – enabling the WR450F rider to maintain a faster pace throughout the day.
Adjustable engine mode switch
A handlebar-mounted dual engine map switch sits next to the clutch lever for engine power delivery characteristics changes while riding. This switch allows the rider to select one of two engine maps on the fly at the press of a button.
Together with the new engine’s wider spread of torque, this engine mode switch underlines the new WR450F’s versatility and adaptability, making it an ideal enduro bike for racers as well as leisure riders.
Sharper handling aluminium bilateral beam frame
Developed from the 2018 YZ450F, the all-new aluminium bilateral beam frame is slimmer and lighter for a more agile feel. The new frame design includes a revised head pipe position, straight tank rail, larger absorption zone and an enlarged rear arm bracket which contribute to the improved agility, precision and traction.
Front & rear suspension
The WR450F KYB suspension set-up is well-known for its abilities straight out the box. Featuring new internals with longer high-rate springs, the air-oil-separate upside-down front forks provide stable damping characteristics over all types of terrain. Flex-resistant outer tubes contribute to a secure feeling of ground contact.
This front suspension system is widely acknowledged as being one of the best available on a production dirt bike and responding well during the transition between the compression and rebound strokes and generally coping better with rigors of off-road riding.
The rear shock absorber is also based on the YZ450F unit and, like the forks, features enduro model-specific settings. A new 11.5mm diameter coil spring is 350 grams lighter and has a higher fatigue strength than the current model’s – and for cooler running and more stable damping force, the capacity of the shock’s reservoir has been increased by 30cc.
The WR450F is also equipped with more compact radiators which allow narrower and closer-fitting radiator shrouds. The new shrouds also feature wear-resistant in-mould graphics.
Larger 7.9-litre fuel tank
For increased riding time between fuel stops the 2019 WR450F is equipped with a newly designed large-capacity 7.9-litre plastic resin fuel tank featuring a compact fuel pump. The increased fuel capacity has been achieved by extending the fuel tank’s lower section towards the centre of the bike – a move that improves mass centralisation.
Lighter, slimmer, sharper bodywork & headlight design
Yamaha claims current WR450F riders will appreciate how much this bike has changed for 2019. A new frame has enabled Yamaha’s designers to fit much slimmer bodywork that looks and feels more like a 250, making this one of the most compact 450 enduro bikes. Again, if it matches the feeling of the YZ450F we tested last year than this change will be noticeable.
Mass centralisation is improved, and the overall impression of lightness and agility is reinforced by the new headlight cowl that sits lower and closer to the rider, giving a sharper race-bred look.
More protective skidplate & new speed sensor
The new model gets a larger and lighter plastic resin skid plate designed to protect the frame, engine, hoses and water pump from deep ruts and flying debris. Its close-fitting frontal area prevents mud and stones from accumulating in any cavities around the crankcases and so reduces additional running weight.
For quicker and easier front wheel removal the new Yamaha enduro is equipped with a new type speed sensor.
Free-flow air filter
For easy maintenance, the WR450F gets an all-new airbox that enables tool-free filter changes. The new filter element gives reduced airflow resistance with increased reliability, and features rubber seals at the centre positioning pin for increased dust-filtering capability.
Lighter, tougher clutch and wide ratio five-speed transmission
The new clutch is claimed to be more durable and equipped with a highly heat-resistant friction plate, plus has a new design to eliminate the judder spring is adopted to give a much lighter pull at the lever for better feel and improved controllability.
The new WR450F also adopts a wide-ratio, five-speed transmission with modified internals that provides strong off-road performance in difficult and technical areas, as well as strong high-speed performance for flat dirt sections. Also, the shapes of the dog gears have been revised.
Lower & narrower seat
A new seat design is slimmer and makes it easier to shift your body weight. As well as being 2cm narrower in the front section, the middle and rear sections of the seat are also lower, enabling you to move backwards or forwards more easily for a higher degree of control when cornering, accelerating or braking.
Watch Yamaha’s Josh Green rip around his local trails in Stroud NSW aboard the new WR450F…
Price & Availability
According to Yamaha Motor Australia, the 2019 Yamaha WR450F will be available in January 2019. The price of this new model is yet to be confirmed, stay tuned…