New Bikes

Yamaha reveals 2019 WR450F

The latest dirt bike from the Japanese manufacturer promises to be the ultimate enduro machine

YAMAHA has pulled the wraps from its latest all-out enduro motorcycle, the 2019 WR450F, which promises to be more powerful and agile than its predecessors thanks to a new engine and lightweight frame.

The launch coincides with the 20-year anniversary of Yamaha 4-stroke enduro production, which has been characterised by rock-solid stability, reliability and high-speed performance. And the bikes have proven themselves in race series across the world, including the FIM Enduro World Championship, in which Löic Larrieu took the 2017 ISDE title, and of course the Dakar, with Yamaha riders consistently placing among the top 10.

The WR-F features advanced engine and chassis technology derived from the MXGP-winning YZ450F – the brand’s most powerful motocross machine. The high torque 450cc, 4-valve reverse cylinder head engine features a rearward slanting cylinder to ensure ideal mass centralisation. In this guise the engine benefits from the addition of an enduro-specific intake and exhaust systems, fuel injection and ignition advance maps. Yamaha claim this unit will produce ‘a broad and linear spread of useable power’ with ‘a wider band of pulling power and smoother throttle control for technical sections’.

A durable new clutch features a heat-resistant friction plate and a new design to make the lever much lighter. The wide-ratio 5-speed gearbox boasts modified internals that provides strong performance at both high and low off road speeds. The engine also benefits from an a new airbox that enables tool-free filter changes. The new filter promises reduced air flow resistance, increased reliability, and increased dust-filtering capability.

For those wishing to further adjust this new unit, on board WiFi will allow riders to connect their smartphone via the new Yamaha Tuner app and tune the new WR450F to suit different tracks and changing weather. To access this function however, riders will have to purchase the optional race kit. The app will allow instant fuelling and ignition timing changes and the ability to record race log information and monitor a range of data including maintenance and system diagnosis, engine run time and more.

And for power delivery adjustments mid-race, there’s a handlebar-mounted dual engine map switch with a choice of two engine maps.

This engine is suspended in an all-new aluminium bilateral beam frame – again derived from the YZ450F – which is lighter and slimmer than before, promising improved agility and traction through twisty, rocky and technical terrain. The new frame features a revised head pipe position, straight tank rail, larger absorption zone and an enlarged rear arm bracket. There’s also a new larger and lighter skid plate designed to protect this frame, the design of which aims to prevent mud and stones accumulating in any cavities and adding extra weight.

Meanwhile, the KYB air-oil-separate upside-down forks feature uprated internals with longer high-rate springs, while the rear shock’s 11.5mm diameter coil spring is 350g lighter and has a higher fatigue strength than the current model's. Both set-ups are based on the YZ450F unit with enduro specific settings.

And as for aesthetics, Yamaha has gone for slimmer, more compact bodywork that looks and feels more like a 250. The seat is both lower and narrower – up front it is 2cm narrower than its predecessor, while the middle and rear is lower than before, allowing better movement around the bike and more control.

Finally, while Yamaha has made the rest of the bike smaller, the fuel tank on the 2019 WR450F is larger than its predecessor, at 7.9-litres. To achieve this, the manufacturer extended the plastic resin tank's lower section towards the centre of the bike, not only increasing capacity but also improving mass centralisation.

The new race spec bike will be non-EU4 homologated, and so cannot be used on public roads It will be available at Yamaha dealers from next month.

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