WR400 Not what I expected ??

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#1
Just thought I would run this by a few 4stroke-a-philes and WR/YZ riders ........
I bought a WR400 (1999) about 3 months ago and I have ridden it maybe 12 days or 500 miles or so. My first impression of this bike was great, Fantasitc motor, compliant suspension, well made, low maintenance, easy to work on, really a very nice motorcycle. At the track it is fairy competent, riding in the desert is great (geared a little low), but I mostly ride in to mountains here in Colorado and have begun to race Enduro (RMEC).
I ride this bike really well until the terrain gets difficult, then this bike would be easier to carry than ride. I'm talkin' mountain single track with off camber switch backs, roots, trees, and lots o' rocks. I cannot keep the bike on the trail ! It doesn't have any balance to it and requires a tremendous amount of strength to keep it from bouncing into to trees.
I am really disappointed in the way this bike handles. I bought it to use to race the enduro circuit on, but I can't ride it fast over terrain. I still have my 250 KTM that is a breeze on this type of stuff. Faster you go better it works....

So my question is .....Am I just not man enough for this bike? Is this just the way they are? Did I not spend the time to set it up correctly (I is for the most part stock) ? I have really only changed the tires and adjusted the clickers. I really want to like this bike I just can't ride it.
I am about to sell them both and buy a new KTM.

any opinions welcome.
 
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#2
I noticed when I got my WR 400 I was haveing a very hard time with it going slow. When I learned to keep my feet on the pegs and use the power we got along great! It just wanted me to use the power and suspension to work the knarly stuff. The only time I have trouble is riding with mega slow people in real tight slipery rocky fallen tree trails. I have to stop, get some space and make sure I am on the pegs and in position for an obsicale. Taking your feet off the pegs and putting them down and trying to push the bike around with your legs just puts your center of gravity off and below the bikes, so its gonna go where it wants to and not nessecarly where you are or want to :) .

I recomend getting the suspension dialed in soft for tight rocky trails. Then its up to you to put your faith in the bikes suspension, power, and traction.

BTW, I am in south East Pa and love the trails. This bike gets more nimble every time I ride it. The more confident I am in the bike, the better I ride and the better it works, that in turn makes me more confident and so on :) .
Good luck.
If the bike feels to fast with the clutch out in 1st gear in rocky stuff, gear it down, you cant use the power to work the bike with the clutch in :) .
 
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#3
Do a search for WR mods in these forums or try thumpertalk.com, most people that ride these machines realize that the ergos are just a touch to high in stock trim. A few pepole I know swapped out the stock tank and seats with the regular YZ items to get a better handle on the bike and its higher center of gravity. Make sure you look into getting an enduro bend handlebar, this will help alot as well....just my two bits of copper.
 

weimedog

Damn Yankees
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#4
Going from a setup 2-stroke to an unfamiliar four stroke is a big change. That Yamaha will never feel the same as that KTM. Throttle response, engine braking, chassis, weight, location of that weight is ALL way different.

My bet is the power characteristics will be the first hurdle. Chassis setup next.
I also ride a big fourstroke in the single track. Took me quite a while to get used to the more abrupt delivery/trailing trottle transition. After developing a more quiet hand it was worth the learning curve as there are things the four stroke does better than the old two strokes I have owned. Things like going a gear higher than I would on a two stroke...let that four stroke chug in the tight stuff. I had to slow down to speed up in a sense.

Give that Yamaha a chance. Look at the positives and see if adjustment is possible before giving up on it.:)

Don't waste money on after market mods until you actually commit to learning that fourstroke beast. I love the guys who start by modifying the bike....got to modify the rider sometimes before working on the bike.:p

It may be that you just don't like four strokes! Nothing wrong with that...that's why those new KTM's are being built. Just give that Yamaha a honest chance first. Don't try to compare it with the past.
 
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#5
It doesn't have any balance to it
No bike has balance - that's the challenge of riding them - they're the only popular motor vehicle which requires a skilled pilot to keep from falling over!

That said, there are many people (myself included) who started on two strokes or wimpy low-powered machines, and had to re-learn basic turning procedures once we purchased a bike with torque.

An engine with torque will definitely make a bike "stand up" in corners if the throttle is applied. This can be used to your advantage once you get it sorted out - but until you do - it's a fight to the finish and the bike always wins!
 
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wayneo426

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#6
DualSportr-right on!

Thats excellent advice DualSportr. No bike with heaps of torque wants to lay down into corners. It wants you to gas it hard. These bikes love straight line gunning.
Its just a matter of time before you get used to how the bike should feel. I have to admit, my WR was not dialed in suspension wise until after a few rides, and even then, Ive had to go back to different setups for different conditions. The worse for me is sand. I never seem to feel very comfortable there, but I attribute that to the weight.
 

MWEISSEN

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#7
Reoundel,
I've got a '99 WR and know what you're talking about. In tight stuff, my old XR would have run circles around the WR. A couple things that I've done that help tremendously:
1. Get a different tank and seat. A YZ tank works the best if you can live with the shortened range because it drops the top-heaviness a little bit. Otherwise an Acerbis, IMS or Clarke tank will give you range and still work better than stock.
2. The stock pipe is heavy and affects low-end power transition. I use a YZ pipe with a BMP disk kit. It works well and was really inexpensive (find a YZ owner with an aftermarket pipe and you're in business).
3. I put Scotts Performace -5mm offset triple clamps on, and that also really helped tight turning.
4. Suspension settings for the environment are critical for this bike to be effective. Fortunately is does react well to changes. I run mine pretty stiff for everything but what you described, then I'll back both ends out 2-4 clicks.

If you haven't cut the "gray wire" under the tank yet, you've really gotta try it. The midrange response really improves.
 
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#8
my WR was not dialed in suspension wise until after a few rides, even then, Ive had to go back to different setups for different conditions.
Yea, I've always had to soften my suspension after I've installed a stroker or big bore kit so the bike will "settle in" to corners better. It's really counter-intuitive, and I wouldn't have thought of it myself - another rider made me try it.
 

NVR FNSH

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#9
I just put a D756 on the front and raised the fork tubes .5" in the clamps - night and day difference. I can actually turn now. Not sure if it was the tire (had the stock 739) or raising the forks but it turns a heck of a lot better now.

Brian
 

wayneo426

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#10
Forks-

Brian,
I'll bet the forks being raised has a lot to do with why it turns now.....Thats my next move!
 

MWEISSEN

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#11
The raised forks would help, but I saw a huge difference in both our WR400 and YZ250F with new D756's. Michelin's S-12 works better for me on the WR, as it seems to plow less in deep loose sand than the 756 did.
 
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#12
Go back to what works

IMO, if your riding tight single track here in Colorado then I would suggest going with your option of selling both and getting a new KTM. :cool: If it worked before then why not get another?:think Everyone knows these are the ultimate bike for Colorado single track riding.:p
 
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#13
On the next Colorado enduro, say Montrose (Dry Creek) see how many 4-strokes there are. That will answer all your questions. I wouldnt even consider one of those boat ancors in the tight stuff, let alone the bs starting probs. The new cr450 may have a chance if it really is only 12 lbs heavier than the cr250, and if you can start it hot. The ktm 4 strokes may be another choice, I just dont like ktms.

Torque smorque, once you learn to carry momentum on a 2 stroke thru rocks and knarly stuff you wont have any probs.
 

wayneo426

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#14
Originally posted by reynome
I wouldnt even consider one of those boat ancors in the tight stuff, let alone the bs starting probs. The ktm 4 strokes may be another choice, I just dont like ktms.
Torque smorque, once you learn to carry momentum on a 2 stroke thru rocks and knarly stuff you wont have any probs.
Ahh, ignorance is bliss.....
 

MWEISSEN

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#15
Originally posted by reynome

Torque smorque, once you learn to carry momentum on a 2 stroke thru rocks and knarly stuff you wont have any probs.
Cool, a new technical term to compare the difference between 2-smokes and diesel pigs! "Torque smorque" I love it!:confused: