2003 Yamaha WR450F vs YZ450F Conclusion

Ken Hutchison | April 4, 2003
2003 Yamaha WR450F
It’s true that the WR was meant to roam the earth in search of all things vertical, but it is capable of being jumped silly so get off your chair and down to your Yamaha dealer because they are hard to find!

The WR is a no-brainer for riders who plan to spend their time play-riding in an OHV park, exploring trails or racing scrambles and enduros. For that matter, the WR would be more than adequate for duty as a racer for a seasoned veteran or a fun-racer if he went through the trouble of paring off some excess weight and setting the suspension up for track work. We hit some pretty big jumps on the WR and it was surprising how well it soaked up the landings.

“I would buy this bike in a heartbeat,” says Wallace. “You can take it trail riding on Saturday, then race it on Sunday without changing a thing.”

Anyone who wants WR features along with YZ-type power should drop in a YZ450F exhaust cam and disconnect the secret gray wire on the ECU to close the power gap on the likes of the YZ and CRF.

If you are looking for a bike capable of taking on anything you can throw at it, then the $6399 WR450 is the easy choice. It’s outclassed on the racetrack where a high power-to-weight ratio is a must, and the $6299 YZ450F really shines in that element.

2003 Yamaha WR450F
The WR may not have the arm-wrenching torque of the YZ450F but the bike has a serious motor that is more than capable of getting the job done.

But if you seldom or never enter racetrack competition, the enduro-equipped WR offers more than enough power, several handy and useful features, and that magic red button that makes a rider’s off-road life less of a hassle.

I have to admit I was surprised to come to this conclusion, as I had a long-held philosophy of more power is better. What I found out is this isn’t always true, and the added versatility of a purpose-built enduro bike more than makes up for the extra weight and milder power delivery. The WR is the preferred mount for nearly all off-road conditions. 

Ken Hutchison

Editor |Articles | The ulcers keep piling on for the warden of the MotoUSA asylum. With the inmates running rampant around the globe, Hutch has opted to get in on the madness more these days than in years past and is back in the saddle again.