Newbie and a 05 WR450F as a daily driver build.

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by UselessOnABike, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. UselessOnABike

    UselessOnABike Chris McCartney

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    For work I ride 30 minutes each way on the highway, so the factory fuel tank needed refuelling every 2 days roughly. After about 1 week of doing that I was fed-up of looking at petrol pumps and pulled the trigger on the huge Acerbis tank. Here in Australia we have Safari tanks too, but I didn't fancy a white tank on my bike and Safari don't make the blue for our bikes anymore (or not for the big tanks anyway). To mount a rally fairing I will need to have a tab welded onto my frame (just in front of where the steering bearings are), but my friend is a welder and he would do it for a couple of beers. I've seen people making the Nav tower from HDPE plastic (cutting board material) so I will probably do that and spray it black. I found a local company which does custom MX graphics (including Safari tanks etc) but they are closed due to a family tragedy and I'm not sure when they reopen, I might get a couple of sheets of A3 paper and make up a template for tank graphics for the big Acerbis. Along with the KTM 640 Adventure headlight cowl and some custom graphics, I think I could make a nice Dakar style adventure bike. Considering designing some Gauloises theme graphics like the old Yamaha Dakar bikes from the 90s....
    #41
  2. UselessOnABike

    UselessOnABike Chris McCartney

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    Here's some from the weekend antics. This place is called Goldsborough Valley and it's in Far North Queensland, one hour south of Cairns. My friend brought his brand new Royal Enfield Himalayan. It's never even been revved above 4000rpm yet and it goes in for it's first service tomorrow. My bike seen much more abuse than his did at the weekend, however he managed to cross the steep drop-off which threw me and the bike into that ditch. I think the lower centre of gravity on the Himalayan helped him in this occasion.

    IMG20201018122033.jpg IMG20201018122839.jpg IMG20201018123816.jpg IMG20201018130114.jpg IMG20201018130241.jpg IMG20201018131224.jpg IMG20201018132558.jpg IMG20201018133432.jpg

    IMG20201018140531.jpg

    The pic above was while trying to get the bike down that bank. Nothing was broken except my dignity. I did wake up feeling a little bashed up on monday though.

    Those of you with a keen eye will spot the similar plates on both our bikes (considering the age difference of the bikes). Here in Queensland the rules are a bit odd, the bike (or car) is given a new plate for each owner when they go to pay their registration (road tax) fees. My bike and Mark's bike were registered 2 weeks from eachother.
    #42
  3. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 49 years Supporter

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    Exploring Queensland is exotic to this North American!

    The blue 25-liter (6.6 gallon) Acerbis tank is a big one! Creates a knees-out sitting posture and the handling affects the added mass of fuel are likely quite noticeable when the tank is fuller (tank and fuel when full is about +19kg). The added fuel is contained more forward and low, which is good. The wings on the Acerbis tanks are usually quite strong so they act like engine and leg guards.

    There's no substitute for range!
    #43
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  4. UselessOnABike

    UselessOnABike Chris McCartney

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    Queensland is still exotic to me too, I've been away from home (Ireland) for 6 years but only lived in Queensland for the past 11 months. Still lots that I haven't seen! It's a HUGE state. Queensland state is bigger than some countries. Ireland could fit inside Queensland multiple times. I enjoy the Acerbis tank, when it's full it actually makes the bike more stable (and less wheelie-prone - which is good for me because I'm still an inexperienced rider and this is a powerful bike). Also noticed the Acerbis tank is useful in the rain too because it keeps your legs a bit drier by blocking rain. I absolutely love this bike, but I honestly think it needs a rebuild before Christmas. I might go all-out and do the Athena 478cc piston kit and re-jet the carb. It's been suggested to do a YZ450F camshaft swap, but I'm not sure on the durability of YZ450F motors for long rides. I've heard the aggressive cam also makes them idle very hot, and in tropical Australia I'm not sure if that's a good idea.
    #44
  5. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 49 years Supporter

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    Cool. Glad you are loving discovery of Queensland. The US is similarly huge, so full exploration is beyond the capabilities of one human life.

    A rebuild period also sounds exciting. Some people get obsessed with MORE POWER / noise, but I - speaking from a high-skill perspective - find more power silly on a bike that is already quite powerful.

    I'd put money into suspension or other things like a better seat. The 2005's suspension valving is out of date and harsh. With a smart re valve the suspension can be taken up to date and even better than from the factory. A link again on that:

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/race...al-valving-brilliance-yz450f-example.1465169/
    #45
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  6. Engenia

    Engenia Adventurer

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    Canberra, Australia
    I have a Husky TR650 that I bought in Canberra specifically for a ride up to the tip of Cape York. I had never owned a dual sport bike before so it was a baptism of fire. We did the trip and learnt a lot about how I should have done it. I now have YZF425 forks on it. They transformed the bike!
    One thing I learnt to appreciate with the TR was its ability to pass road trains. In a few years time the road north of Weipa will be fully paved, but 6 years ago there was only sealed sections a couple of km long separated by 10 or 20 km of gravel. When we caught road trains we had to sit a couple of kms behind to avoid choking on the dust. On the dirt you are stuck on their speed, but when a sign pops up warning of bitumen ahead it's time to brave the dust and get a little closer. You can't pass until the truck is off the gravel, but when that time comes you've got 2 km to pass (less actually, because you need to clear the dust first), which means wide open throttle for most of it. Even then, we barely made it past before the bitumen ran out, often reaching 160 kph before hitting the picks, then the dirt. A DRZ400 would have been a better bike to deal with the sand on the Old Telegraph Track, but it would never have been able to dispatch Road Trains on the gravel.
    I've since thought that a WR450F would be the perfect dual sport bike. 30 kg lighter than the TR650 and plenty of power, but is it enough?

    Chris, (anyone with a WR450F) what is your experience with road trains on the dirt?
    Do you think it would keep up with a TR650 in that situation?
    Is it capable of 160 kph? Anything less is probably not enough.
    #46
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  7. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 49 years Supporter

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    Wow... passing road trains at 160 kph (99 mph)! How utterly exotic! Many a USA and European reader may not know what Australian road trains are. Big, longer-than-usual commercial trucks that go WFO in the Australian outback with a maybe a roo, buck, boomer, Jack, old man, doe, flyer, Jill, or Joey pasted on the front grill:eekers

    The TR650 uses the Rotax 5-speed tuned more toward the higher rpms in the Husqy than its predecessor in the BMW F650. My wife has the latter with 47/17=2.76 final drive for more relaxed cruising (stock is 47/16=2.9). I rode a TR650 and almost bought it, but the more hopped up tuning and quirky FI of that particular bike (it would stall in 1st gear coming to a stop) made me pass. The Husqvarna uses the same final drive gearing as BMW, and if you are able to do 160 kph, I suspect the same primary ratio as well.

    The issue with the more off road oriented big singles (430s and up) is lower total gear ratio to match the off-road bias. Unless you gear those up substantially, 160 kph produces an rpm past the torque and horsepower peaks and the rev limiters may kick in. The Yamaha WR is a 5 speed like the Rotax in the F650. Fortunately the spread is wide so it ends up like some 6-speed bikes, like the Beta 430/480/500, and has a wider spread than others, if memory serves, like the KTM 450/500 EXCs.

    Since I'm half a century an off road guy, I consider my KLR 685 to be a big road bike. I was able to morph such a machine into that role with a number of mods, one of which was taller final drive ratio. In some configurations like 99.5-percentile tall. One transcontinental configuration had 41/17=2.41 final drive. That was tall enough to be able to shift down into 4th gear at 70 mph to overtake vehicles going up mountain passes, and I could push against the wind on flat ground and do around 105 mph (170 kph) with the more mildly tuned motor with stock pipe.

    The tallest gearing I have run so far on my more off road street legal motorcycle, a Beta 390 is 50/15=3.33 (the bike comes with 50/13 or 50/15, and I bought and have used 12 and 14-tooth front sprockets as well).

    I'd have to fit a smaller rear sprocket to go taller, as 15 is the maximum that will fit the front. With the 50 rear sprocket there little way the 390 will push 100 mph as the primary ratio of the 350/390 is geared down more than with the 430/480/500. On the bigger Betas I have no doubt 100 mph cruising would be possible with gearing changes, but wow, it would be an intense and likely foolish experience to pass a truck at that speed!

    The 2005 WR I have experience with came geared 46/15=3.1 and had already a Rekluse Z-Start Pro auto clutch. We found it just a touch tall for lofting the front end in 1st gear so we changed it to 50/15=3.3. I'm not sure what the top speed was or is now because we've had no reason to go that fast. It will be below 100 mph almost certainly.

    Recently on the KLR 685 I did 700 km fully loaded for camping, including fuel. The bike was 216kg and with me on it our total was 306kg. About 25% of that was in New Mexico USA mountain terrain with long runs of which this was the modest stuff (steeper than it looks in the photo):
    IMG_20200903_132008.jpg

    Geared at 40/16=2.5 (the from-factory gearing is 53/15=2.9), I had no issue in 1st gear and was surprised to find that I could easily maintain a travel rate that had the clutch fully hooked up. I found I could get away with 40/17=2.4 on the majority less difficult terrain and then be able to cruise 130-140 kph in the big open with a more relaxed engine. BUT, this bike is now re purposed for regional exploration, not long-distance riding, so the 40/16 shall likely remain my compromise gearing. Cruising at 120, at 75 mph finds the engine hovering near a fairly relaxed 5,000 rpm.

    The KLR is somewhat a big bike to me. What is possible with the more off road-type bikes? With custom setup, a lot! But doing 160 kph, essentially WFO in the big open on one:yikes? Not my chosen cup of tea.
    #47
  8. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Encouragement award recipient. tEAM iDIOT.

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    So... how did you find the heat?

    I lived most of my life in Townsville but been in Brisbane for about 9 years, I went to visit my parents in Townsville for Christmas a few years ago and almost died from the heat and humidity and swore I would never go back there in summer again. Must have been pleasant for someone from Ireland...
    #48
  9. Engenia

    Engenia Adventurer

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    It was a tad scary, but bear in mind, it was paved at that point. It was also the only way to pass these monsters - a semi-trailer plus two trailers. 10 metres off the bitumen onto the gravel raised impenetrable dust.
    Mine never suffered the stalling issue once hot. I know others that did. If you rode it like a two stroke there was never an issue. BMW fixed the problem, after a few years of complaints.
    When I tackle something a little more adventurous, I swap the front sprocket from 16 to 15. But when the going gets really tough (like Mt Pinnibar, Victoria) I cry 'uncle' and wait for the more talented on lighter bikes to return). It was my Mt Pinnibar experience that started the search for a lighter adventure bike. So far that's pointed to the WR450F or, surprisingly perhaps, the 1985 XR600.
    Adventure.bike.comparo.png
    Hence my great interest in the experience of others with Adventurizing a WR450F. 122 kg unmodified and a power to weight ratio 221 W/kg with me on board REALLY appeals.
    I think it needs a bigger tank (maybe not 25 litres), triple the oil tank volume, and maybe a second map for the EFI, for distance riding. 300 km range would be a minimum.
    #49
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  10. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 49 years Supporter

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    Very intrigued at what a 2020-ish WR450F would feel like. I sure like the 2005 after the modifications I made. I'm really happy with my 2019 Beta 390, which feels lighter and spunkier than the 2005 WR (and is a 6-speed).

    Doing it all over again, today I can say that I'd've strongly considered a street legalized US version 2019 WR450F, because I've owned a lot of Japanese machines a like their refinement and solidity. I wrote off the CRF450L because it is heavy. In general I wasn't a big fan of 450s because I found them so powerful. The Beta 430 was an option until I rode one. Nice bike but yeeha! Scaled dog! More power than I desired. The 2005 WR is fairly mellow, and I like that. Not sure how much scalded dog is in the later models. The fact that they are programmable helps, as I really don't favor a lot of raw, abrupt power as that violates the soul of a trials rider :-)

    Good luck on your choice!
    #50
  11. Engenia

    Engenia Adventurer

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    From the stats, the WR450F makes similar power to the TR650 - 40 odd kW - and that hasn't changed from 2003 to 2019, so I'm guessing it has enough to keep up with the TR when passing a road train, if geared right. But that's guessing, and I don't really want to do a whole lot of work to find it can't.

    Can anyone tell me from experience?
    #51
  12. UselessOnABike

    UselessOnABike Chris McCartney

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    I did 2 years in Darwin (Oct 2013- Oct 2015) so Cairns is hot, but doesn't even come close to the sweating I did in Darwin those years, and I was a concreter up there outdoors everyday. Now I'm an Engineering Student (part time) and a part time barman in a beach bar. So it's a lot more pleasant now than it was in Darwin back then lol.
    #52
  13. UselessOnABike

    UselessOnABike Chris McCartney

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    I was actually speaking to a retired road train driver a few days ago, and I asked him where all the road trains are (because I haven't seen any here in Cairns/FNQ), and he said up here in Cairns the only road trains are single trailer/carriage and that after Townsville (or Brisbane - I can't remember which city he said) most of them head north west and go towards Darwin, and most of the road-trains aren't required up here. I maxed out the WR450F at 140km/h at night (on a windy night) with tail bags (probably slowed me down). I found a huge abandoned 32km tarmac road this week (it's called Quaids Road - further north past Cairns), so the next time I'm up there (lots of 4wd tracks to mess around on) I'll try to max out the speedo on tarmac and see what it does without luggage. I don't think 160 is possible with my current gearing (16t/50t) but I reckon it's possible on 16t/48t. It's a powerful bike, but I reckon the power is made in acceleration and the smaller engine than a TR650 means a lower top-end. Honestly, I reckon it's quicker accelerating than bigger 650 singles (DR650 and KLR etc) and might give a TR650 a decent race, but to sit at 160 it will definately be trying harder than the bigger bikes. Even with the huge tank on mine, I reckon it's still pretty aggressive and very nimble (fully fuelled it's still roughly 150kg) and when the tank is below 10 litres it accidentally lifts the front wheel many times. I can't compare it to a TR650 as I don't have experience of that bike, but the WR450F is based on a YZ450F, and runs a milder tune, but they are a very powerful bike (especially after the factory restrictions are removed). Early in week a BMW F800GS tried to outrun me at the traffic lights and I kept up until between 60 and 70 km/h lol.
    #53
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  14. North ride

    North ride Long timer

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    I have a 2008 WR450 stock gearing and derestricted flat out on a road speedo indicates 162 kph. Speedo may not be accurate have been meaning to gps check it for kicks. I ride it as a dirt bike so top speed doesn't really matter to me.
    #54
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  15. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Encouragement award recipient. tEAM iDIOT.

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    As I was writing that I was thinking the only way you wouldn't find Cairns hot if you lived in Darwin first, but decided no one would be mad enough to go from Ireland to Darwin, well I guess you proved me wrong.:lol3
    #55
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  16. UselessOnABike

    UselessOnABike Chris McCartney

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    I actually found a surprising amount of Irish in the construction industry up there, which is strange because it's the complete opposite of Ireland's climate....although the drinking lifestyle is pretty much identical lol.
    #56
  17. JDUBinCO

    JDUBinCO Q-bald

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    my 2004 WR450f will do 82 mph bouncing off the rev limiter (13/50 gearing). I'll bet it could get to 160KPH with correct gearing, a long run, and tucked, but its asking a lot from the motor.

    A couple of thoughts to for you owners out there: I got mine used and in need of some love. It idled OKish and was a hard starter, even with a new Lithium battery. Checking valve clearance seemed a little odd because the TDC mark didn't line up perfectly. Finally after starting getting harder and messing around with jetting way too much I bit the bullet and put in a new timing chain, suspecting it could be the cause of the hard starts. It immediately started NO PROBLEM and was no longer cold blooded.

    I also wired the accelerator pump (o-ring mod) to take the delay out of the accelerator pump squirt. This makes the bike 2-stroke like in throttle response. Other riders who ride smaller trail 4 strokes call is "Scary". I love it but it will bite you when you're tired and get a little lazy in throttle control.

    My bike will start faster than an unlocked KTM500 and pulls harder off the line but the KTM will blow me away in top end power - like no comparison. Overall I think it is a great bike! I'd love to get the newest gen WR450f or yx450fx as my next bike.

    I also put some rubber construction flashing on the top of the skid plate and it reduced noise quite a bit. The aluminum skid plate gets pretty loud vibrations that reflect back at the rider.
    #57
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