Yamaha Unleashes WR450F Dakar Rally Weapon

Light, fast, simple. Seriously pretty.

The 2016 Dakar Rally Raid will be upon us soon, and the folks at Yamaha Racing are coming out in full-force. They’ll be fielding a two-bike factory team, and both riders (Hélder Rodrigues of Portugal, Alessandro Botturi of Italy) will be on this, the new Yamaha WR450F Rally. Out in the desert, in the mountains, where the weather is unpredictable and the repercussions for failure are harsh, the blue-and-white four-stroke will be Rodrigues and Botturi’s only friend.

Hell of a companion. The bike’s heart is a 449cc dual-cam, liquid-cooled single with a kick-starter. The transmission, a five-speed, uses a wet multi-plate clutch from Rekluse; the suspension comes from WP, a company owned by KTM. The wheels are a classic off-road setup, 21-inches front and 18-inches rear, each covering single-rotor brakes. Yamaha Racing says the WR450F Rally weighs in at 271 pounds—that’s the wet figure, with both 4-gallon fuel tanks full. Light, fast, simple. Also, seriously pretty.


Rodrigues and Botturi know what they’re doing. Those guys netted a one-two finish in the Rally of Tunisia, and second-third at Turkey’s TransAnatolia Rally Raid. But Dakar, a two-week pummeling over 5,791 miles, is a different breed of beast. They’ll find out just how dependable the WR450F Rally is when the race starts January 3rd.