Any of the “big 4” could build a great multi-surface motorcycle, but alas they never
quite seem to get there. Too little fuel, too much weight (especially up front), poor
suspension, and treacherous off-road handling, among other things, keeps most of
them on the street. Back in 2009 I bought a new Yamaha WR250R which was lighter
than any other big 4 so-called dual purpose bike, but alas I didn’t keep it long. The
peanut size gas tank, premium fuel, second rate suspension, and insufficient power
finally got to me and I sold a very clean (detailed by Kenny “M” Meredith) WR250R to
the first caller.
Fast forward and the other day I stopped by Motoworld of El Cajon near my home to
see what was cooking in the dirt world. James Wisnewski, their dirt bike sales specialist
mentioned KTM, but I told him I didn’t like their ”make it fast and powerful and don’t
worry how long the engine lasts” engineering philosophy or White-Power suspension ( I
prefer Ohlins first or Kayaba second).
I told James I wanted the same thing I had preferred when I bought my WR250R, a
street legal sub-300 pound WR450R. I continued, “And please give me top quality
suspension, a wider more comfortable seat and enough (regular) gas capacity to get
from my house to Ensenada, Mexico via Tecate, La Rumarosa, Laguna Hanson and
Ojos Negros” (approximately 165 miles).
Mr Wisznicwski motioned me over to a 2012 WR450F and said, “let me show you a
couple of things”. First he pointed at the side stand bracket which had two tapped
holes ready to accommodate a side-stand stop switch mandated by D.O.T. Second,
James said, “look behind the fairing at the instrument bracket, it’s oversize and could
accommodate a larger street instrument pod.”
Come on Yamaha, give us the rest of the WR450R. I know we’re pretty wacky over
here in the empire when it comes to motorcycles, but I think you’d be pleasantly
surprised at the numbers sold if you made one available.