The best all-around bike because:
You have the trail-oriented character of the Yamaha WR450F with a nastier and racier demeanor.Not the best all-around bike because:
What could be a great bike is held back by a feeling like all the parts are not in perfect harmony.Dirt Rider says:
Niks Industries avoided the pitfalls of some companies that build modified test bikes. They didn't throw a catalog at the machine and give a thumb's-up to whatever stuck.A series of careful and time-proven cam, pipe and piston changes were employed to up the somewhat pedestrian urge of the stock WR450F. They called on Hinson - another proven move - to beef up the clutch for the task. They took pains to make it stop better, survive trail trash and connect to Terra Firma. They made the wheels quick to change, and they made it look trick. That is a very powerful equation. Unfortunately, the other WR in the contest brought modded suspension and two years of race-testing to their package, and that nudged the Niks bike out of the top six. Really, suspension, a different damper or damper setting and a quieter pipe would have put this baby squarely in the hunt.Honestly, I can see the reasoning in choosing stock WR suspension. It is proven, and generally pretty darn good in many situations. If we built a bike without time to test and second-guess the suspension, we would make the same choice. As far as the exhaust goes, we didn't specify a number for the bikes to be under, but many other bikes chose a quieter route knowing DR's support of subdued sound and our sport's need for more responsible sound levels. Our riders weren't specifically tasked with rating sound, either, but when riding back to back with quieter machinery, the Niks bike drew fire for the sound.While the sound may be in question, the performance of the engine is not in doubt. It is different from a stocker or the other WR in the test. The power has meat earlier in the rpm range, and the acceleration has some rowdiness and playfulness in contrast to the all-business Am-Pro bike. Neither direction is wrong, but a reaction to different preferences. For sand and loam the Niks bike rocked, and it was strong on the MX track as well. For low-traction, slippery riding or the extreme test with its jumbled rocks, something smoother might satisfy a bit more.There are a lot of riders who would like a bit more WR-boost, and they can go towards Niks with confidence. There is definitely performance here. It isn't as unmannered as a full-on motocrosser, so off-road remains the strength of the machine, but this WR doesn't take roost, it delivers it.
--Karel KramerI was able to ride both of the modified WR450Fs back-to-back, and they were both good bikes. The Niks model turned well and seemed planted, but the suspension felt stiff - for sure stiffer than the other bikes I rode. This bike hit pretty hard from right down low, and more so than the other bikes, but it was still smooth enough to be easy to ride. I was one of the few who liked this WR better than the Am-Pro one. It just worked better when the terrain opened up, and in the quick-transition turns.
Don Kelley 5'11"/195 lb./B riderAlthough both the Am-Pro WR450 and the Niks WR450 were the same model, they felt like completely different bikes. The horsepower on this 450 was comparable, I was able to control the bike and use the power and response to my advantage. The handling caught me by surprise because it was completely different. The steering damper on the bike threw off the front end like I've never felt before. Not only did it feel like it added 10 pounds to the front end, it also affected the handling. The bike was a piece of work maneuvering through the single track and put up a difficult challenge to not push through each corner. Although the front end was difficult to ride with, the rear end continued doing a great job handling through whoops and square edges. Lastly, this bike has some great style points.
Chris Dvoracek 6'/170 lb./ExpertThis WR450F is a great bike, though very loud. It handled well, but steered pretty heavy with the RTT damper. I liked this bike, and with a simple quiet core and a different damper I'd be pretty happy with it. I had fun riding it, and it was nimble enough (with the exception of the heavy steering) that I asked if it was a big-bore 250F. Nice ride.
Nate Evans: 6'1"/215 lb./Vet AThe Niks WR450F is pretty potent. I like the WR very well stock, and this one has a bunch more boost than a stock one. In spite of the added urge, the power was usable on the trail. The thing is; the normally plush WR wasn't. I didn't see any stickers on the suspension, so I can only assume the legs are stock or perhaps have stiffer springs. Plus, this bike was very loud, and the quiet of the stock bike is one of my favorite things, and I missed it.
Karel Kramer: 6'1"/225 lb./B rider