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Of course I will be a little biased to the ktm 690 smc but you really can't beat it for a super fun powerful supermoto daily driver. Service intervals are a piece of cake. You can get them for a decent price. Just look. Of course it will be more expensive than a wr450 or drz400 ect but Ill vouch for it. Easy to work on and maintain and I ride mine on the highway back roads ect every day. 21,000 miles and still ripping all day every day. Will run 80mph all day on highway too.
 

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I have done a lot of research about this, and nobody has touched base on the gearbox issues. This bike is designed to be ridden off-road. The gearbox is designed to be lightweight. There is no slippage on the road and it takes quite a toll on the gearbox. Everything that's have read and heard has deterred me from getting a wr450f as I intended on using if for road use. I am just taking advice from the many many ppl that I have heard have all sorts of recurring gearbox failures.
I've commuted daily on a WR450 for years without anything more than oil changes and chain adjusts.

There was a 5th gear shift fork issue on the 426 that was corrected a loooong time ago. I don't know what you've heard, but I'd beg to differ.

Designed to be ridden off road? Yamaha sure seems to disagree:

 

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I have done a lot of research about this, and nobody has touched base on the gearbox issues. This bike is designed to be ridden off-road. The gearbox is designed to be lightweight. There is no slippage on the road and it takes quite a toll on the gearbox. Everything that's have read and heard has deterred me from getting a wr450f as I intended on using if for road use. I am just taking advice from the many many ppl that I have heard have all sorts of recurring gearbox failures.
As someone who has personally experienced fifth gear failure (one of the few on teh Internets, as far as I can find) due to the dogs rounding off: Yes... Sort of. I had at LEAST a couple hundred hours (probably over 300) and who knows how many miles on my WR450F, just in my hands as the third owner, at the time of failure. Most of my riding was hard backroad riding almost exclusively in fourth and fifth gears at 70MPH+ by that point.

Unfortunately, I don't have a cush drive hub and whoever originally converted my bike did not see the worth in spending $50 over a regular hub, but I'd like to think a cush hub would be an adequate safeguard against another failure. I'll probably get one of those Kush sprockets once I have a Benjamin to spare... I DO NOT want to tear down and rebuild my engine again.

If you intend on running under heavy loads/high speeds for extended periods in the same gear, yes, don't be surprised by eventual failure. If you intend to ride it more like a supermoto and less like a sport bike, I doubt you'll ever run into any problems.
 

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As someone who has personally experienced fifth gear failure (one of the few on teh Internets, as far as I can find) due to the dogs rounding off: Yes... Sort of. I had at LEAST a couple hundred hours (probably over 300) and who knows how many miles on my WR450F, just in my hands as the third owner, at the time of failure. Most of my riding was hard backroad riding almost exclusively in fourth and fifth gears at 70MPH+ by that point.

Unfortunately, I don't have a cush drive hub and whoever originally converted my bike did not see the worth in spending $50 over a regular hub, but I'd like to think a cush hub would be an adequate safeguard against another failure. I'll probably get one of those Kush sprockets once I have a Benjamin to spare... I DO NOT want to tear down and rebuild my engine again.

If you intend on running under heavy loads/high speeds for extended periods in the same gear, yes, don't be surprised by eventual failure. If you intend to ride it more like a supermoto and less like a sport bike, I doubt you'll ever run into any problems.
coming in a year later

let me say that it's not $50 more for a cush hub... it's $500 more ok.

anyway:

As someone who's 5th gear just dogged out 3 days ago.....DO NOT DAILY A WR450. I'm about to spend $1500 to repair it, putting just about $6000 total into the bike due to a whole bunch of other issues... to now sell it for maybe $4500.. big loss.

there is not enough information on the internet about this.... this is a race machine... I got one for daily supermoto riding, as a first street motorcycle (after dirt for 3 years)... it is so much fun!

The WR450 is the most fun motorcycle you will ever ride! so much fun, in fact, that you will always be wheeling, jumping, and WOT at every opportunity... your gearbox will fail.

The engine will hold up, but run nice and hot, always keep an eye on fluids!

Everyone should have a powerful supermoto like a cr500 or wr450... but not as a daily commuter, it is a weekend wheelie warrior.

REMEMBER:
street motorcycles do maintenance based on miles, dirt bikes do it based on hours! You will rack up the 45 hour maintenance period using a dirt bike as a daily so fucking quick you won't realize until it's too late.
 

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coming in a year later

let me say that it's not $50 more for a cush hub... it's $500 more ok.

anyway:

As someone who's 5th gear just dogged out 3 days ago.....DO NOT DAILY A WR450. I'm about to spend $1500 to repair it, putting just about $6000 total into the bike due to a whole bunch of other issues... to now sell it for maybe $4500.. big loss.

there is not enough information on the internet about this.... this is a race machine... I got one for daily supermoto riding, as a first street motorcycle (after dirt for 3 years)... it is so much fun!

The WR450 is the most fun motorcycle you will ever ride! so much fun, in fact, that you will always be wheeling, jumping, and WOT at every opportunity... your gearbox will fail.

The engine will hold up, but run nice and hot, always keep an eye on fluids!

Everyone should have a powerful supermoto like a cr500 or wr450... but not as a daily commuter, it is a weekend wheelie warrior.

REMEMBER:
street motorcycles do maintenance based on miles, dirt bikes do it based on hours! You will rack up the 45 hour maintenance period using a dirt bike as a daily so fucking quick you won't realize until it's too late.
Indeed! Not only did my transmission take out the entire bottom-end in my original engine within a couple of months from my previous post, but my the replacement engine I bought in February damn near did the same thing at the end of this June, for a THIRD time in total, about a year after the second failure. So, the first time the dogs rounded off, second the dog(s) broke off due to fatigue (haven't verified, as I haven't had time to waste tearing apart a huge paperweight; all I know is there are pieces of gear and at least one shift fork boss is shattered), and the third about 2.5 months ago the dogs rounded off and one dog shattered. By God's mercy, the most recent somehow didn't cause any catastrophic crankcase or transmission damage before wedging itself in front of the crankshaft (plenty of other damage, though). Caught me by surprise, too, as I thought the dogs had simply rounded off again.

I installed a YFZ450 clutch basket earlier in the summer to better cushion between the crank and transmission input shaft, and it's helped some, but it's certainly no cush drive. I really should get a cush drive after all the shit I've been through, but I've gotten an urge to swap on the stock off-road wheels and hit the trails, which will both scratch my recent itch and give the transmission a break at the same time. I've been much more careful about not lugging in fifth (really need to be above about 4500rpm), considering the two most recent transmission problems involved shattering a dog. I also highly advise oil change intervals of no greater than ten hours, especially under hard use. The single quart of oil shears damn fast, regardless of type.

If only Yamaha's transmissions were as bulletproof as their valvetrains... :headshake
 

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Indeed! Not only did my transmission take out the entire bottom-end in my original engine within a couple of months from my previous post, but my the replacement engine I bought in February damn near did the same thing at the end of this June, for a THIRD time in total, about a year after the second failure. So, the first time the dogs rounded off, second the dog(s) broke off due to fatigue (haven't verified, as I haven't had time to waste tearing apart a huge paperweight; all I know is there are pieces of gear and at least one shift fork boss is shattered), and the third about 2.5 months ago the dogs rounded off and one dog shattered. By God's mercy, the most recent somehow didn't cause any catastrophic crankcase or transmission damage before wedging itself in front of the crankshaft (plenty of other damage, though). Caught me by surprise, too, as I thought the dogs had simply rounded off again.

I installed a YFZ450 clutch basket earlier in the summer to better cushion between the crank and transmission input shaft, and it's helped some, but it's certainly no cush drive. I really should get a cush drive after all the shit I've been through, but I've gotten an urge to swap on the stock off-road wheels and hit the trails, which will both scratch my recent itch and give the transmission a break at the same time. I've been much more careful about not lugging in fifth (really need to be above about 4500rpm), considering the two most recent transmission problems involved shattering a dog. I also highly advise oil change intervals of no greater than ten hours, especially under hard use. The single quart of oil shears damn fast, regardless of type.

If only Yamaha's transmissions were as bulletproof as their valvetrains... :headshake
What year the 07 up don't appear to have transmission issues. At least mine doesn't without a Cush hub.
 

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What year the 07 up don't appear to have transmission issues. At least mine doesn't without a Cush hub.

mine is an '05... so when my rear hub broke in july (sprocket sheared, another common problem on WR's) I chose not to get a cush hub because I knew it was simply a matter of time before my transmission failed.

to be clear, I'm not easy on my WR... I'm sure nobody is... clutchless shifting (no load), WOT, hard chopping on and off, bouncing the limiter... usual hooligan nonsense.

So here's the details with my incident: I was (stupidly) racing an EVO through some twisties, of course topped out on the straights to try and keep up, and suddenly at about 90mph my 5th gear went, engine revved out then idled but I was still rolling (clutch out)... I downshifted to 4th at about 50mph and the rear locked up.

thank GOD no serious damage to the engine... well it's running clutch in and nothing is leaking. Gearbox fully locked and my local shop said they should be taking her apart sometime in the next 3 weeks. of course it dies during perfect riding season here in rochester :headshake

I will then ride it for the remainder of the season, and put her up for sale with the new tranny and cleaned up engine.

I'm thinking of signing my soul to the devil and picking up a speed triple or a litre super sport that's been sitting on the lot... I'm torn though because I want sportbike performance but love upright riding and wheelies! any advice?
 

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I just did 80-90 highway miles today 75mph with no problems and I've drivin it plenty of times to work 25 mile round trip highway with no problems.
 

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Mine's an '06, now with an '03 engine/bottom-end. It's very much an issue on the steel-frame bikes with extensive use; my current Trail Tech reads at about 292 hours as of today. I've probably put close to twice that on the bike since I bought it four years ago next month.

mine is an '05... so when my rear hub broke in july (sprocket sheared, another common problem on WR's) I chose not to get a cush hub because I knew it was simply a matter of time before my transmission failed.

to be clear, I'm not easy on my WR... I'm sure nobody is... clutchless shifting (no load), WOT, hard chopping on and off, bouncing the limiter... usual hooligan nonsense.

So here's the details with my incident: I was (stupidly) racing an EVO through some twisties, of course topped out on the straights to try and keep up, and suddenly at about 90mph my 5th gear went, engine revved out then idled but I was still rolling (clutch out)... I downshifted to 4th at about 50mph and the rear locked up.

thank GOD no serious damage to the engine... well it's running clutch in and nothing is leaking. Gearbox fully locked and my local shop said they should be taking her apart sometime in the next 3 weeks. of course it dies during perfect riding season here in rochester :headshake

I will then ride it for the remainder of the season, and put her up for sale with the new tranny and cleaned up engine.

I'm thinking of signing my soul to the devil and picking up a speed triple or a litre super sport that's been sitting on the lot... I'm torn though because I want sportbike performance but love upright riding and wheelies! any advice?
Exactly what happened to my original engine last June... Hate to tell you, but you're probably gonna need to find another engine like I did. Rounding off the dogs is one thing, but busting a gear and locking up the transmission means serious damage has been done. Mine still ran and was able to power up into my truck in first, but you'd be surprised how screwed up everything can be yet these engines still run, so don't make any assumptions just based off it seemingly running fine. Better cross your fingers than your crankcase is intact, otherwise you're SOL. Use the clutch, man, it's not a sport bike!

I've wanted a Street Triple R for a long time... Much more ideal for our use.
 

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Mine's an '06, now with an '03 engine/bottom-end. It's very much an issue on the steel-frame bikes with extensive use; my current Trail Tech reads at about 292 hours as of today. I've probably put close to twice that on the bike since I bought it four years ago next month.



Exactly what happened to my original engine last June... Hate to tell you, but you're probably gonna need to find another engine like I did. Rounding off the dogs is one thing, but busting a gear and locking up the transmission means serious damage has been done. Mine still ran and was able to power up into my truck in first, but you'd be surprised how screwed up everything can be yet these engines still run, so don't make any assumptions just based off it seemingly running fine. Better cross your fingers than your crankcase is intact, otherwise you're SOL. Use the clutch, man, it's not a sport bike!

I've wanted a Street Triple R for a long time... Much more ideal for our use.

Man I hope I don't need an engine swap... I'm pretty sure I just bent a couple shift forks... if I do need a swap is it even worth it? Probably not....

And to the above poster: I commuted nearly daily with mine to work 35 miles 20 highway every day for 2/3 of the summer... not saying it's going to happen the first week, but if you daily the bike it will happen 10000x quicker then if you have another more oriented bike for daily riding.
 

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This is why I bought a 690SMC for my street duties. I'm not afraid to do longer rides and wouldn't hesitate to take the KTM from L.A. to Laguna Seca for the races. It's heavier than a typical SuMo and you can feel he engine weight (rotational mass), but the power is cool and I can cruise all day on it.

Dave
 

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Man I hope I don't need an engine swap... I'm pretty sure I just bent a couple shift forks... if I do need a swap is it even worth it? Probably not....

And to the above poster: I commuted nearly daily with mine to work 35 miles 20 highway every day for 2/3 of the summer... not saying it's going to happen the first week, but if you daily the bike it will happen 10000x quicker then if you have another more oriented bike for daily riding.
As I'm sure you've found by now, a locked up transmission is much more than "bent shift forks." I found a donor engine for $800. Keep a close eye on craigslist and have patience.
 

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for those that do commute, or tear it up on the streets with their WR what kinda gearing are you running?

Im building up a new 15' wr450f. My "commute" (if you wanna call it one) is only like 7 miles to work, 7 miles home, and then once in awhile a longer ride here and there. I have a DRZsm as well and a truck, so the miles aren't going to be racked up real fast so I'm not worried.
 

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Not worth it. It will seen cool for a while but it's not meant to be a commuter. You will be changing the oil constantly and it will most likely blow up.
 

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Agreed. I wouldn't ride the drz either. I've heard they're time bombs if you don't do 50 different mods to them. I think two guys out of 25jabillion in Thailand had problems, and iirc there was one guy in Austria that blew the entire motor.
On second thought, I wouldn't take the pickup either. I've heard they break down all the time. Best to buy a donkey.
 

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Agreed. I wouldn't ride the drz either. I've heard they're time bombs if you don't do 50 different mods to them. I think two guys out of 25jabillion in Thailand had problems, and iirc there was one guy in Austria that blew the entire motor.
On second thought, I wouldn't take the pickup either. I've heard they break down all the time. Best to buy a donkey.
No need for the sarcasm, I love the wr bikes I just don't think it's a good fit for op's commute is all I was saying.

There are better options.
 

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Not worth it. It will seen cool for a while but it's not meant to be a commuter. You will be changing the oil constantly and it will most likely blow up.
That is absolutely not even close to accurate information. I have commuted 20+ miles daily on a WR450 for years without any issues. Oil changes aren't as frequent as you're making it out to be and I haven't had any blow up.

Yamaha seems to disagree with you too:

http://youtu.be/3w_Q0OZr2qQ
 
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