2003 Yamaha WR450F vs YZ450F

Ken Hutchison | April 4, 2003
2003 Yamaha WR450F - Wallpaper

Enduro vs. Motocrosser:
Which bike is right for you?

 Not too long ago, a heated debate nearly laid waste to the professional relationship between two MCUSA staffers on the way home from the Yamaha WR450F press introduction.

While the deep-seated, dirt-head mullet mentality of yours truly contended the more powerful YZ450F would be a more desirable dirt bike, the primarily asphalt-oriented Kevin Duke surmised the tamer powerband, electric starting and lights would be the mount of choice off the racetrack.

That discussion led to this test, an exploration on the on the following topic: Why would a consumer be willing to pay for the enduro WR over a hard-core track weapon like the YZ450F or CRF450R that retail for $100 less? Our mission from that point was to find out just how good the WR is in its domain and whether the YZ would be able to hang under those same conditions.

The tale of the tape reveals many similarities between the two thumpers. Both bikes are wrapped in Yamaha racing blue bodywork and feature an all-new tubular steel frame, inverted 46mm Kayaba forks, a DOHC 5-valve 449cc liquid cooled powerplant and, most importantly, an automatic decompression system that dramatically reduces the starting concerns that beleaguered their predecessors. From there the bikes take divergent paths.

On one side we have an extremely light, no-holds-barred unadulterated thrashing machine anointed with the difficult task of dethroning the Honda CRF as the open-class 4-stroke MX king. No unnecessary gimmicks are found the YZ450F. It is a pure-bred race-ready tool with a slim, 1.8-gallon tank, track-biased suspension and wicked power delivery that is just as content on the ground as it is in the air.

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.