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ADV NewsCustom Meets Rally Raid In This $59,000 Yamaha WR450F Build

Custom Meets Rally Raid In This $59,000 Yamaha WR450F Build

A stunning rally raider by Le Motographe that is ready to rip.

Published on 08.13.2021

What do you get when you mix the artistry of a custom-bike build with the capability of a thoroughbred rally racer? This dazzling WR450F by French builder Le Motographe, for one.

Le Motographe is a shop of two: product designer Jérôme Mawois and fabricator Yvan Bertona. Located in the small town of Castries in the south of France, they build one-off customs for specific customers with specific ideas in mind; no show ponies here.

Yamaha WR450F Rally Bike

According to BikeEXIF, this bike was commissioned after a customer saw a similar build Le Motographe did with an older version of the WR450, a bike that Bertona successfully raced in three categories in the 2019 edition of Wheels and Waves in Biarritz, France. They dubbed that bike the Skeleton for its naked look and handcrafted tubular frame. Le Motographe built two of them; the other went to a customer in California.

Yamaha WR450F Rally Bike

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The updated version seen here uses a newer, fuel-injected, aluminum-framed WR450F as a start, but tosses pretty much everything into the bin except the engine cradle and the engine itself, which was updated with new fuel-injection mapping.

Yamaha WR450F Rally Bike custom build

Most obviously, Le Motographe designed and built a lovely trellis frame to support a handmade fuel tank and airbox, both crafted from aluminum. The tank holds more than the stock eight liters, but isn’t quite as much of a camel as Yamaha’s factory Rally 450, which holds 32 liters. Le Motographe said the customer was more interested in lightweight and a slim overall design than winning rallies.

Fine details are everywhere on this bike, from the diamond-engraved aluminum fenders and skid plate, to a simple-but-efficient display on the airbox that relays information on throttle position, RPM and temperature. Le Motographe has also incorporated traction control, adjustable in 10 increments by a dial knob.

Yamaha WR450F custom build
Yamaha WR450F custom build

Up front, the nav tower houses a roadbook and slots for GPS and repeater units commonly used at rallies. LED lighting, including a long-range unit, is cradled in a beautifully machined custom mount and protected by a thick piece of Plexiglass. Like many pieces on the bike, the fairing comes off easily and quickly with twist fasteners.

While the engine is stock, Le Motographe added larger radiators rated at two bars (about 29 psi) for additional cooling, while also incorporating a fan and a stainless steel radiator protector. A titanium Devil exhaust system cuts weight and improves exhaust flow.

Yamaha WR450F custom build
Yamaha WR450F custom build

The front suspension is handled by custom Ohlin forks in Nekken triple trees, and a custom Ohlins shock in the rear.  A Scotts sub-bar mounted stabilizer improves control at high speeds. Wheels are Excel laced to Haan aluminum hubs, with a large 310mm Motomaster disc mounted on a custom caliper at the front to bolster stopping power.

Yamaha WR450F custom build

Overall, the bike has a slim, muscular look that’s somewhere between “naked” and “rally.” According to Le Motographe, the bike weighs 137 kilos (about 300 pounds), makes 60 horsepower and has a range of about 136 miles. It took 500 hours to design and build, the company said, and cost about 50,000 Euros all in, which is around $59,000 USD.

Upon delivery, Le Motographe put the customer on the bike and took it out for a full-day ride in the mountains to make sure everything was right. They also put seven-time Dakar entrant Michael Metge on it for some seat time on his own training grounds to ensure it was 100-percent dialed in.

Yamaha WR450F custom build

The result? “A great day on the bike without any problems on the machine and a happy customer,” Motographe reports on their website. “Prototype validated!”

Photos by Damien Lorrai

Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

Author: Bob Whitby
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4 thoughts on “Custom Meets Rally Raid In This $59,000 Yamaha WR450F Build

  1. Pingback: Custom Meets Rally Raid In This $59,000 Yamaha WR450F Build - ADVENTURE & OVERLAND MOTORCYCLE TRAVEL

  2. Nice ,build the Yamaha wr 450 is already a great bike to start needing very little help. I’d have a hard time putting all that time and money in to something I plan on running the wheels off in a rally race.

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