The battle for EPA-legal off-road supremacy continues, as the 2021 Yamaha WR450F gets both motor and chassis updates this year. Tuned for high-performance with low emission (sound and fumes), the WR450F is re-invigorated to do battle with the latest iteration of the Honda CRF450X. It’s time to dive into the updates.
The 2021 Yamaha WR450F gets a new cylinder head. Inside the head, you will find steeper valve angles and cam profiles that are more aggressive. Atop the new cylinder head is a new smaller, lighter magnesium valve cover.
The cylinder has updates inside. A new piston bumps up the compression to 13.0:1, and it gets low friction rings. There’s also a larger connector for the header.
Yamaha did not forget the bottom end. There is a longer connecting rod for 2021.
More air was needed to feed the new top end, and Yamaha provides it. There’s a new air filter with increased flow, along with the breather system enjoying improved efficiency.
Predictably, the EFI system gets reworked to cooperate with the other motor changes.
The frame on the 2021 Yamaha WR450F gets new flex characteristics. Although it’s not an all-new frame, Yamaha engineers have adjusted the frame’s flex in a variety of ways. The thickness of the lateral beams, engine cradle, motor mounts, top triple-clamp, and front axle have all be adjusted. According to a Yamaha spokesman, the modifications “give riders the ultimate combination of precise cornering performance, traction, and bump stability.”
With revised frame flex comes new suspension settings. Damping rates on the 2021 Yamaha WR450F’s outstanding KYB suspension units have been altered to maximize the value of the frame changes.
More power and better handling require improved braking, and the 2021 Yamaha WR450F gets it. The front caliper receives a boost in rigidity, along with new brake pads. The disc is designed to dissipate heat more quickly, keeping braking action consistent when riding hard.
The electrical system has been made more compact.
There’s a new dash, with a higher-contrast LCD that’s easier to read. For 2021, the meter also has a real-time fuel-consumption readout.
All those changes result in an MSRP that is just $100 higher than last year. The 2021 Yamaha WR450F is scheduled to arrive in dealers this month with a $9799 price tag.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!