Hitting the grass track and into the small trail loop to kick things off, I naturally felt right at home with the WR450F layout, it felt the same as the YZ450 I have been riding all year, the power came on in a pretty similar way that I have my own bike set up, with good roll-on power, though a little more mellow, which turned out to be quite nice.
Though only having 10kms on the odometer, the front fork felt plush compared to what I was used to, not soft, but compared to my YZ front fork that is still in stock form, the WRF did not have the harsh feeling in the first part of the stroke that my YZ had and instantly had me thinking I'll have to get this setting into my bike when I get home.
While most things were feeling good, I was struggling in one very major area; I was struggling to get the front end to hold its line through a turn.
At first, I thought it was just myself struggling with the off camber flat turns, but I was struggling on both the off camber turns as well as a couple of level turns that had started to create some small ruts, the type of turn I usually love.
I persisted for a little longer, focusing on my technique, but knew in the back of my mind that was not this issue but was sure if I headed over Darren, Yamahaâ€™s go to set up master, and checked the ride sag, It would be well out of whack.
And out of whack, it was, my 104kg frame had the rear end sitting well down, with the sag sitting at 120. With more than just a couple of turns of the rear spring, we were at 104 and right on the money of where the bike is designed to be at.
Rolling back out onto the grass track and into the first turn, it is evident that the correct sag height was all that I needed to have this bike turning and handling the way I expected it to.
I went from struggling in every turn to hitting any line I wanted to in any corner, so it was time to spend some time cutting laps and getting a good feel for this bike.
The motor in this bike again was very much what I was expecting and hoping for. My YZ450F has a little to much get up and go for me most of the time, when you are not riding week in week out which has been the case for me this year, jumping back on a 450 after a few weeks off certainly gets the heart rate up quickly. Even with taming the beast with the power tuner the YZ has more than enough for me.
With the WRF having the same motor, though, with a different ECU and an exhaust that also helps tame the power, I found the motor with the stock map in place to have a tremendous roll-on power delivery, that would still let you light up the rear wheel if I needed to steer with the back end, but not enough to have myself feeling out of control.
Curious to see how much of a difference the Blue Button would make to the way the power would roll on with the second, less aggressive standard map in play, I picked out a couple of corners and spent a good 30 minutes hitting the same turns changing between map one and two. The two maps were the identical stock map, but with the blue button lit, the bike in the second map had the natural power reduction tuned into the ECU.
At first, I was not sure how much of a difference it was making, but the more I kept hitting the same turn, trying to find a perfect line through the corner with a deep sandy exit, the more I could feel the difference between the two settings.
The first setting would allow the bike to rev harder from the moment you hit the throttle; I could get the rear wheel to spin up just enough and come around in the sand with the bike squaring itself up just nicely.
In the second setting, opening the throttle at the same point, the bike will still accelerate, but the rear wheel would tract a lot better.
Now in this instance in this particular corner having the bike track better actually did not feel as good or put the bike where I wanted it, but that was not really the point of what I was trying to look for, what it showed was there was a definite difference between the two maps, and while this situation was not one where the reduction in power of the first quarter of a turn on the throttle was particularly useful, in a situation where you were riding in loamy or tacky conditions and then hit some slick clay or the weather turned to crap, and things got slippery, with the simple click of a button while on the move, you could adjust the way the power was delivered to suit the conditions and it would make a noticeable difference.