Photo Credit: Alex Photo
Yamaha has launched its 2018 off road line-up to include two new WR four-stroke models – the WR250F EnduroGP and WR450F EnduroGP.
There are no major updates for Yamaha’s WR250 and 450Fs in 2018, instead the two standard WR models will be joined in the line-up by a WR250F EnduroGP and WR450F EnduroGP complete with Acerbis handguards, different graphics, an Akrapovic muffler and improved mapping to suit the new exhaust.
At the 2018 launch Ottobiano, near Milan, Italy the big difference is the Yamaha developed mapping with the Akrapovic muffler – it feels sweeter than standard on both 450 and 250 models. Low rpm and small throttle movements feel precise and clean, which makes the throttle feel more accurate than the standard bike and it revs better too.
These aren’t huge changes, we know, but if you’re looking for a new bike this year it makes pretty good economic sense. The RRP isn’t set yet officially but the estimate isn’t much more than the standard WR which’ll mean the Akrapovic comes in cheaper than if you bought it independently.
Yamaha’s model launch was chiefly for the 2018 YZ450F which has undergone a full programme of development: a new frame and geometry, bodywork shape, tank size, seat and suspension.
The engine has had a lot of work including higher lift cams, new piston, revised air intake, Mikuni throttle body, revised clutch and a starter motor. A big change also is updated mapping software with greater range for tuning your bike and works via an App on your smartphone.
The wireless Power Tuner App lets you make changes to the throttle opening, rpm and adjust mapping to suit you personally, riding conditions or use one of the factory supplied maps. The new App is dead easy to use, simple like you expect from a smartphone App and affecting significant changes to the engine delivery. It gets a thumbs up from us.
It’s a shame we won’t see the WR450F updated the same yet but Yamaha say it still must undergo homologation and further testing yet. Enduro models are usually one step behind the motocross bikes sadly but for all you XC boys and girls out there the 2018 YZ450F needs a look.
Outsiders Yamaha riders Jamie McCanney and Loic Larrieu, as well as team boss Marc Bourgeois were also on the launch in Italy. Both Larrieu and McCanney pumped out plenty of laps on the new MX bikes and it was “big smiles” from Larrieu indicating he wanted the 2018 upgrades now on his WR.
We also got a ride on a peachy GYTR kitted YZ250F, which was arguably the sweetest bike on the launch. Yamaha do a great range of factory developed kit parts for their bikes and this GYTR 250F showed how that race team R&D can work for us mortals: more power through the revs from the Yamaha kit part engine made it feel more like a 300 than a 250. It’s worth looking at through your official Yamaha dealer if you can afford it.
Jon PearsonEnduro21 tester of things