Yamaha moves in measured steps. The Iwata factory typically focuses on updating one model before disseminating those changes to related platforms. Case in point, Team Blue overhauled the MT-09 in 2021 before issuing similar revisions to the 2022 XSR900 and MT-10. That approach isn’t limited to road-going models either.
In 2020, the YZ450F earned new chassis and engine improvements. One year later, Yamaha’s flagship enduro, the WR450F gained the same refinements. The stepped approach also applied to the 2022 WR250F, which received hand-me-downs from the 2021 YZ250F. Fresh off those thorough renewals, the 2023 WR450F and WR250F remain largely the same. New graphics now adorn the radiator shrouds, but the bikes are just as capable on the trail.
While the YZ450F and WR450F share the same liquid-cooled, DOHC, 450cc thumper, the competition-ready YZ boasts titanium valves. Both the motocross and enduro bike roll on Dunlop Geomax MX33 tires while a KYB inverted fork and monoshock provide 12.2 inches of travel fore and 12.5 inches of stroke aft. Seat height (37.6 inches) and wheelbase (58.3 inches) remain consistent across the two models, but the heavier WR450F weighs in at 262 pounds despite its smaller 2.15-gallon fuel tank.
Yamaha follows that same formula with the WR250F. The YZ250F’s four-stroke, 250cc single carries over to the WR but loses its four titanium valves in the process. The same KYB Speed-Sensitive System front end and fully-adjustable rear shock uphold the 12.2-inch front and 12.5-inch rear travel, and Dunlop Geomax MX33 rubber provides more than enough grip. The quarter-liter enduro sheds a few lbs at 254 pounds, but the seat height, fuel capacity, and wheelbase remain.
Despite the lack of changes in 2023, the WR450F stand to gain a host of updates next year (if Yamaha’s pattern holds true). Team Blue bestowed a redesigned engine, chassis, ergonomics, electronics, and styling on the 2023 YZ450F. The WR lineup may only tout new graphics in 2023, but the future looks bright for Yamaha’s enduros.