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The top-selling Yamaha WR450F is lighter, lower and more compact for 2024. Here’s what two-time AORC E3 champ Geoff Braico reckons...

There’s a new 2024 Yamaha WR450F in town and AMCN sent two-time AORC E3 champ Geoff Braico to see if it lives up to Yamaha’s claims that it’s the ‘master of all trades’. Here is his verdict:

Based on Yamaha’s latest YZ450F platform, the Japanese company is claiming the new WR450F is slimmer, lighter and lower, while the 2024 engine is said to be more tractable with longer and stronger pulling power.

The reverse-facing engine remains at the helm of the Yamaha WR450F but a lot of focus has been put on reducing weight and lowering the centre of gravity. The engine has had a significant refresh, including larger 39mm-diameter intake valves, a new piston, crankshaft and balancer, while the model has adopted a dry sump for 2024.

Engine is a full 1.5kg lighter than the previous model as well as having upgraded internals and a dry sump

A lot of the engine components have been lightened, contributing to the fact that the 2024 engine is a full 1.5kg lighter than the outgoing one.

Improvements have also been made to the five-speed transmission, which now features wider-ratio gears more suited to enduro duties, while the cable-operated clutch is lighter and more compact – again for more feel and less weight.

There’s a new ECU, aimed at making the WR more useable and rider friendly than its harder-edged YZ brother. The free Yamaha Power Tuner app is also there if you need it, benefitting from the recent updates it received as part of the YZ’s refresh (see sidebar), and the new muffler is shorter – again, good for centralising the mass – and it finishes off the overall look of the bike nicely in my opinion.

Robust and foldable levers and ’pegs

The chassis is carried over from the new YZ450 and is 15mm lower at the steering head than the previous model. The new fuel tank sits lower in the frame, as does the pump inside the tank. Like the engine, all is manufactured to be more compact.

Compared to the YZ, the WR’s seat height is 10mm lower thanks to 10mm less suspension travel at each end (more on that shortly), while the seat itself has had some comfort tweaks. The overall width of the bike is now 50mm less than the outgoing WR thanks to more integrated plastics, which not only allow for better movement for the rider, but are also said to improve airflow to the radiators for improved cooling.

As well as less travel, for 2024 the 48mm KYB SSS fork gains tool-less adjustment – meaning you don’t need to get off the bike to tweak the compression settings, although Yamaha says the fork’s base setting has been tailored to better suit the WR’s design brief. The less travel (there’s still 300mm) might seem counterintuitive on an enduro machine, but it all works towards that goal of lowering the centre of gravity, meaning the bike can get through a corner quicker and more predictably, while having more intuitive low-speed manoeuvrability.

Cable-operated clutch now has a lighter action

Like the fork, the KYB rear shock gets updated dampings settings specific to the bike’s genre, with 306mm of available travel.

Jumping on the bike, I could immediately feel that it was more compact and comfortable. While the new engine still feels every bit the big 450cc thumper, it’s super friendly. Happy to be revved and ridden aggressively, it’s also more than happy to chug along at slower speeds. The adjustability via the app is a great feature really allowing you to tailor the bike to your exact needs, abilities or riding conditions.

As I’ve come to expect on Yamaha enduro bikes, the suspension package is fantastic, offering a great compromise for the WR’s design brief. It’s plush and confidence inspiring, meaning there’s plenty of feel as it soaks up the terrain, yet its speed-sensitive damping means it’s firm enough that you can hit things at a decent clip and it won’t spit you off.

Brakes passed the test on a hectic Aussie launch

With a new wet weight of just 117kg, the single 270mm front and 240mm rear disc brakes are well and truly up to the job of pulling the WR450 up, and there’s more than enough feel at the lever too.

All up, I was really impressed with the new 2024 Yamaha WR450. Yamaha has produced a bike that’s just easy and enjoyable to ride. It has a lot of power but is very useable. The improved app makes it even easier to tailor it to your needs.

For me, the KYB suspension is the standout. Between it and the overall lower and more compact package, more riders will now be able to hop on this bike and ride with confidence.

PROS: More compact and confidence inspiring than ever thanks to well considered changes that didn’t prioritise performance output. 
It’s only available in an all-blue option, which is a bit bland and $18k is a lot of money to throw on a chook chaser.


Capacity 450cc
Type Reverse-fed single-cylinder, DOHC, four valves
Bore & stroke 97mm x 60.8mm
Compression ratio 13.0:1
Cooling Liquid
Fueling EFI
Transmission Five-speed
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Final drive Chain

Power Not given
Torque Not given
Top speed Not measured
Fuel consumption Not measured

Type Yamaha
Rider aids Power Tuner app
Rider modes Customisable
Frame material Aluminium
Frame type Bilateral beam
Rake 27°
Trail 121mm
Wheelbase 1470mm

Type KYB
Front: 48mm, USD fork, fully adjustable, 300mm travel
Rear: Monoshock, fully adjustable, 306mm travel

Wheels Wire-spoked alloy
Front: 21 x 2.0 Rear: 18 x 3.0
Tyres Dunlop Geomax EN91
Front: 90/90-21
Rear: 140/80-18

Front: Single 270mm disc, twin-piston caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc, single-piston caliper

Weight 117kg (wet, claimed)
Seat height 955mm
Width 825mm
Height 1265mm
Length 2170mm
Ground clearance 330mm
Fuel capacity 7.4L

Servicing First:
Warranty Three months, parts only

From $17,999 (plus on-road costs)
Colour options Team Yamaha Blue