Yamaha WR450F coming soon

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Details have been released of the 2019 Yamaha WR450F and there are lots of new features aimed at making the bike as adaptable as possible.

The engine is all-new, as is the YZ450F-based bilateral beam frame, but the most interesting feature is adaptable engine mapping you can control from your phone.

If you add the race kit, you can use a free smartphone app to change the bike’s engine mapping to suit the specific track and conditions you are riding. The Yamaha Power Tuner app also logs race data and monitors a range of other parameters such as engine run time and service scheduling.

Engine mapping can be altered using a smartphone app with the race kit

Even without the race kit, a button on the bike’s handlebars allows you to switch between two different riding modes on the move so the engine’s power delivery can be adapted to changing conditions.

Yamaha have also given the WR450F a new MX-GP inspired reverse cylinder head engine to optimise mass centralisation. Using the full 450cc capacity for the first time, the new WR promises to be faster and more powerful than its predecessor.

The engine is also mean to be tougher than before, allowing it to run harder for longer. To enable riders to do that, the fuel tank has also been enlarged to 7.9 litres. The extra volume has been added low down, towards the centre of the bike which further aids mass centralisation.

Yamaha WR450F model history

  • September 2011: Yamaha WR450F announced
  • January 2012: WR450F revealed
  • June 2017: Limited edition Yamaha WR450F EnduroGP breaks cover
  • September 2017: WR450F updated with new engine mapping and suspension settings, plus an additional side cover and new graphics to go with the blue wheel rims

First ride: 2016 Yamaha WR450F review 

First published January 2016 by Jon Bentman

2016 Yamaha WR450F jumping

Yamaha are at pains to explain that the 2016 WR450F isn’t simply a competition machine, it’s one specifically aimed at advanced riders. That is to say, for advanced, expert and professional competitors – beginners need not apply.

The reasoning is apparent as soon as you get onboard the latest WR – it’s one big blue bruiser. The engine and chassis are virtually identical to Yamaha’s fearsome YZ450F world-championship winning crosser. And unlike previous WRs, it’s not been softened-off, it is as angry and aggressive as you can expect an open class racer to be. It will do slow – we practised riding it around a tight, first-gear-only extreme test and it was capable – but where this bike is truly at home is in the wide open.

And that, coincidentally, is how it likes its throttle to be positioned: wide-open, preferably in top (fifth) gear. This hardcore character also relates back to Yamaha’s briefing. They don’t define the new WR as an enduro, instead it’s an ‘enduro-rally machine’ – and we’d have to say given the launch ride experience there’s a 40:60 split on that duality. The chassis and the suspension, which remain stiff and harsh at half-speed, have clearly been optimised for seriously fast operation, such as the desert and mountain pistes you typically see in the Dakar Rally.

At the launch venue near Almeria on the south coast of Spain, as part of a 150-mile off-road route, we rode wide dried-up river beds for mile after mile. Riding on soft shingle, dodging rocks and sudden undercuts and banks, the WR could sustain a high-speed attack indefinitely. When ditches or holes presented themselves at short notice, as directed by our Dakar-racing guide, you simply dialed in even more throttle, pulled back on the bars and let the WR take the hit.

And it took it. Lesser machines could impact, recoil and cartwheel into oblivion in such circumstances. But this is why the new WR is brutal, because it’s designed to live and succeed in an equally brutal world. As an enduro bike this new WR will be a handful. As a rally bike – well, just add long-range tanks, GPS and a roadbook. Your podium awaits.

New Yamaha WR450F specs

  • Price: £7899
  • Engine: 449cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC single four-stroke
  • Power: No official data
  • Torque: No official data
  • Weight: 123kg (with oil and fuel)
  • Seat height: 825mm
  • Chassis: Aluminium, semi-double cradle