WR250R vs CRF450L

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Sikorsky, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. Sikorsky

    Sikorsky The Man.

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    After doing searches (on here and the www) and reading individual reviews, I'm looking for some input on here.

    I'm looking for an off-road explorer bike yet something that will do highway sections as well. I've been street only for 3 yrs but have recently moved to an area with phenomenal off road areas and easy access to a couple of BRD routes.

    My last dirty type bikes over the years were a plated XR650R and a 990 Adv. Great machines but honestly, just too heavy and too much punch for my skillset to use successfully off-road. I know KTM's are tres cool, Betas super sexy and Husky's as cool as the KTM's ..... but they aren't what I'm interested in right now. As for plating a dirt-only bike, that is now completely verboten in BC. As the title suggests, the WR250R and CRF450L are what I've narrowed my options to.

    Lightness and Japanese reliability are my #1 requirements. I do 95% of my riding solo, so breakdowns are something I'm trying to avoid. Even more so, the inevitable return of the bike to what seems to be it's natural position (on it's side with me underneath it), a weight in the 300 lb range makes it easier to avoid becoming grizzly snax. I stand a fighting chance of getting out of underneath it at least.

    Like most riders, I am looking at a larger tank and possibly a rally style fairing. Engine mods would be limited to a pipe/filter/ECU. Of course, that is always the plan ...... next thing you know you are shopping for custom built wheelsets and Dakar quality suspension upgrades.

    The riding I am looking at is exploring logging roads, single track and hydro line, absolutely nothing that would be considered fast or competitive. Some of these will require highway stages that could be up to 200 km in length with posted speeds not exceeding 100 km/hr.

    So that long winded intro has led us here ........ your thoughts and opinions. Tell me about maintenance, reliability, useability, highway driving, dirt road plonking, hitting doubles and tabletops, hill climbing ....... whatever you you want.
    #1
  2. mylsmkj

    mylsmkj Long timer

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    You're looking at the 2 best bikes for what you're talking about, I just think if you can deal with the extra cost then the CRF450L is exactly the ike you've described and is what you want. It's just better at everything than the WR250R. If 10k isn't in the cards a WR250R will do everything you listed just fine and is the second best option. You're a winner with either choice.
    Japanese reliability is true, Honda and Yamaha make great bikes but Beta and KTM are super reliable too, equal to those other 2 companies. Not the bikes you're looking for in this case but the internet lore isn't true.
    #2
  3. justlookin

    justlookin Been here awhile Supporter

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    Only thing that caught my eye was you are considering engine mods. I have a WRR that I bought new and now has 60000 miles on it sitting unloved in the garage.I went 500KTM and didn’t look back, but that is not my point. I spent a pile of money trying to give the WRR what it needs most - power- big bore, stroker crank, power commander and a whole bunch more crap that I have forgotten. Dyno runs did get it to 30 barely and although it did make the bike much better, I think today I would buy the Red one which already has 30 horses and I am sure better suspension and add a larger tank (which they both need) and ride. By the way the KTM has over 20000 trouble free miles on it now
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  4. DaveInSt.Augustine

    DaveInSt.Augustine Been here awhile

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    I’ve had 2 WR250R and currently ride a CRF450L, I’d rather have the CRF450L. It’s worth the extra money for me, the power, the suspension, etc. I only live 30/40 miles from where I ride, the 450L is great for what I do. I don’t particularly like riding the bike above 60 MPH on pavement, the WR is a bit better at higher speed pavement. The 450L is superior in every way off road/ trail.

    The Honda has been built proof, I’ve seen people out there with 11,000 miles on the 450L hard riding and no issues or excessive maintenance. I heard Jimmy Lewis say the maintenance intervals are written by Lawyers for the competition based street legal enduros out there.
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  5. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    The WRR is a solid traveling and exploring motor. It's best as a back roads exploring bike or loaded with camping gear traveling bike. Don't buy it expecting it to be also a great focused dirt bike. It will come up short. It all about keeping the rpms high to make any power.

    If you can afford the extra $ on the 450 L, I'd say go for it. Those extra 200cc do make a difference.
    #5
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  6. ripping r

    ripping r Lost

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    Well i have had a lot of bikes. last few. ktm 690,xr650l, africa twin and lots more. all in hopes of finding the unicorn. got rid of my africa twin for the wrr. and i could not be happier! i have found that all that POWER is just not need. i am out to have fun not raceing or out to prove anything. pick what ever one makes you happy. for me the wrr is my unicorn.

    and not all of us like the ktm mine was the biggest pos i ever owned!!
    #6
  7. plumber mike

    plumber mike Highdive Deepened

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    I think the WR is a nice upgrade to the other 250 class bikes....and is probably the best KLR replacement ever made. But if I was going to double my budget, I’d add back in the euro stuff in to see how it stacked up with the 450L. I’ve not ridden a 450L, but other 450 class bikes I have ridden are not even in the same league as a WR250R. The WR250R is like a Maytag washing machine. No excitement but it gets the job done even when things are very dirty. I’d assume the 450L has more fun factor. I’d hope so. The question then becomes, is it worth it to you? I am not riding hard enough to justify the extra dollars. The WR does everything I ask of it.

    May I ask why the DRZ didn’t make the list?
    #7
  8. Sikorsky

    Sikorsky The Man.

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    I love the DRZ. It's a proven bike with a great record. It isn't completely off my page, I was just trying to avoid too many choices for for this post.

    Insurance wise, it's displacement is a plus here in BC. Our cc class goes from 111 cc to 400 cc and then 401 cc to 750 cc. Weight is liveable but the tech is getting long in the tooth. And that lack of a 6th gear is a PITA.
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  9. plumber mike

    plumber mike Highdive Deepened

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    I understand and just went through this late last winter. Came home with a leftover 2018. Lots of used parts available to doll them up, and it will keep up with the smaller bikes.
    A87EE198-3441-439C-B0B6-BBF21AAA575E.jpeg
    #9
  10. EastBoundAndDown

    EastBoundAndDown Ron - 300XC-W DR650 T1050SE

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    If you have to avoid KTM, the undisputed leader in performance and reliability in this category, go 450L. Honda did a nice job with it
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  11. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    get out and ride each of the following:

    WR250R
    CRF 450L
    DRZ400
    CRF 250 Rally

    you will figure out which is for you with a test ride.
    #11
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  12. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    I assumed it was because the DRZ weighs 322 pounds and he wanted to stay under 300.
    #12
  13. plumber mike

    plumber mike Highdive Deepened

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    I don’t notice the extra weight as much as needing another gear.
    Honda has the bike he wants, it’s just a small matter of coughing up double the dollars.
    #13
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  14. JensEskildsen

    JensEskildsen Long timer

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    Try them out, I love my wr250r, but you have to be pretty honest with yourself. Can you live with only 30hp?
    Ive ridden everything from enduro to crosscountry trips. I use it more and more as a lightweight dualsport for long daytrips, or multiday trips favoring small tracks and close to singletracks. I have no problem with a few hours of interstate on a prolonged weekendtrip, to get me closer to the fun stuff fast.

    I've modified my stock suspention myself, added a 3 gallon tank and a seat concept seat. Bike has some slight "power"/rideability-mods with a different exhaustsystem and the intake is opened a bit. Bike is geared a bit lower to shine in the tighter stuff.

    I have a wr450f, dont know how that compares to the 450l, but its a totally different beast. I feel like it would be way overkill to "wear it out" riding big distances without much "challenge" for a lack of better words. The guys i typically ride with is on exc450, ktm 640, ktm 690, husqy 701 ect. The 250 does just fine, but I need to get my speed down to around 35mhp for clutchup wheelies :D
    This is places pretty typical for my multiday rides with luggage. For me, the bike really shines here. But im sure the 450l would aswell.
    You could always get a used wr250r to get you going, and wait for the used 450l's to drop a bit in price

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    #14
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  15. Sikorsky

    Sikorsky The Man.

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    Fast1 ..... I've ridden the DRZ400 (in KLX form) and the WR250. As for the CRF250L, that holds zero interest as the suspension is as soft as Wonder Bread. Test rides in my neck of the woods isn't realky an option, dealers just don't carry that stuff in their inventory.
    #15
  16. Plebeian

    Plebeian Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herder Supporter

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    I have a WR250R and love it. If I was in your shoes, cost was not a big issue, and I had good off road opportunities near by, I would give the 450L a go.
    #16
  17. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    All three bikes you have mentioned are basically, dirt road suspension capable, if even that with overnight gear. IMO, they would all require either minor (springs) or major (shock change/valving) suspension changes to make them into an adequate dirt road bike with camping gear fitted.

    In fact, some don't even like the stock suspension on the Honda 450L.

    Good luck on your decision.
    #17
  18. kawagumby

    kawagumby Long timer Supporter

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    I've owned a KLR650, a DRZ400, and currently own my second WR250R and a Honda CRF450L. IMHO, the WR250R is the most versatile of the two, once you tweak the rear suspension (I installed gold valves front and back on mine). The Honda is very torquey and powerful, but unmodified is more prone to flame-outs and surging - it really needs an aftermarket ECU ($700+) to run right - but once installed the bike is a serious machine. The Honda seat is slightly lower than the Yamaha, but the Yamaha has a built-in lowering option. If you are an aggressive rider, the Honda is much more fun to ride. For touring both paved and unpaved roads and mild single track, the Yamaha is better suited, and you won't be changing rear tires near as often. You can drop about 15 lbs off the Honda by changing the pipe and tossing unnecessary plastics (the foam-filled cover are bogus, they retain moisture that can corrode). I'm running stock gearing with my WR250R and it zips down the hiway just fine, but it is an exceptionally good-running WRR. There are more accessories available for the WRR, and you can get low-mileage used ones at great prices right now.
    Comparing stock suspensions is a no-brainer...the Honda is superb for me at 180 lbs full gear - the best OEM suspension I've ever been on (I've owned two Beta RR-S dual sports and a KTM 350 exc-f dual sport). The stock WRR is downright dangerous for aggressive riding off-road, as Yamaha continues to ignore feedback from riders who get launched off the rear due to insufficient rebound damping (easy fix with gold valves I'm guessing about $350 installed by a shop).
    Both will need aftermarket seats if you have a boney arse like mine.
    I have the WRR setup for daily touring, the CRF is setup for mostly dirt riding - that way each is in it's best element -
    #18
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  19. kawagumby

    kawagumby Long timer Supporter

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    crf450l.JPG wrr.JPG
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  20. FoggRider

    FoggRider Been here awhile

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    I’d say get the blue one because it’s blue :D.

    To me, at least on paper, there isn’t enough there with the 450L to justify the extra cost. Both probably need suspension tweaking. Unless you need the extra snap from the 450, the 250 gets up and goes really well for a 250 dual sport. You can find a clean used one for a lot cheaper. They are built with racking up the miles in mind.

    I’d also try to find a late model plated WR450F if you can find one if for nothing else a comparison.
    #20