Bike Tests 24 Feb 2012

First Ride: 2012 Yamaha WR450F tests Yamaha’s brand new off-road weapon at the Aussie launch.

Yamaha launched the 2012 model WR450F with the Detour team in Coffs Harbour this week, marking the first time that the Australian media have been able to get our hands on the bike on home soil.

With a chassis largely based off the YZ250F motocross model and a selection of upgrades including the addition of fuel injection to the ultra reliable five-valve engine, couldn’t wait to bring you our first impressions of the model.

While the complete Launch Test will be pieced together and published next week, this initial First Ride test provides an initial review on the 2012 Yamaha WR450F.

First things first, the chassis is incredibly forgiving. Featuring the same bilateral beam aluminium frame that the YZ250F has, it understandable benefits from the same on-point steering that we’re big fans of on its motocross-specific ‘cousin’.

Yamaha launched the 2012 WR450F in Coffs Harbour this week. was there.

The suspension is also based on that found of the YZ250F, albeit with off-road settings, which provides a very forgiving set-up out on the trail whether you’re on single track, fire trails or special test grass tracks.

It is a relatively tall bike, but still lower, shorter and generally smaller than its predecessor, but as soon as you’re up and running it creates a reasonably compact ergonomic set-up. Once my sag was set to 90mm and the forks pushed through the triple clamp 5mm, I was good to go.

As far as the engine goes, it is so usable and really favours climbing. Third gear will chug up just about anything, while second gear has all the grunt you’d be hoping for as you boost over logs, etc.

Our 2012 Yamaha WR450F test bikes that we had supplied were complete with the Off-Road Kit (more on that in the complete report), and Yamaha had the Power Tuner to adjust EFI on the fly (available for $400).

The 2012 Yamaha WR450F has a brand new look, benefiting from a host of revisions.

While the fuel injection/mapping adjustments aren’t quite as noticeable as what we found on the YZ450F, they are still very impressive and easily completed at the push of a button. Yamaha also made it very clear that this isn’t just a feature that’s designed for racers.

You’re looking at around 125km to a tank of fuel, which is more than enough with a few solid hours on the trail. Fuel injection makes the bike more responsive than ever, as well as providing greater fuel efficiency. Needless to say, we’re big fans.

It was a solid two days on the trail thanks to Boris, Luke and the team at Yamaha Detour in Coffs Harbour, as we rode to Dorigo Pub and return despite massive amounts of rain in the region. The area provides some of NSW’s greatest trail riding.

That’s our initial impressions for now, but be sure to stay tuned next week for the complete Launch Test. We have a feeling that the 2012 Yamaha WR450F is going to be a game-changer in the Japanese off-road ranks.

In the meantime, check out this selection of images from the launch (click here to view).