In the mid-2000s, Yamaha produced a limited series of Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac rally bikes. These competition-only machines offered a 2WD system developed by Ohlins, which featured a patented hydraulic drive that could deliver up to 30% power to the front wheel.
A gear-driven pump on top of the transmission sent hydraulic fluid via high-pressure hoses to the single-gear, hydraulic motor fitted inside a special front wheel hub. The system is a self-regulating, such that hydraulic pressure to the front wheel increases and decreases according to rear wheel traction, constantly working to maintain the ideal ratio.
Enter Deus Italy, who’d already whet their 2WD appetite on the rare Yamaha TT600R 2-Trac, which won the Sardegna Rally in 1999. They managed to get a hold of a WR450F 2-Trac that had raced the Dakar Rally with an Italian privateer, then set up about rebuilding and customizing the machine. Below, we get the full details.
Yamaha WR450F 2WD Scrambler: Build Story
The Dues Ex Machina team stripped down the bike completely. They added a hand-beaten aluminum fuel tank, as well as side panels and fenders made from special ballistic plastic intended for off-road use. The final look is a bike that maintains its off-road prowess while offering a retro aesthetic reminiscent of vintage motocross or enduro machines. They even created a Deus tank logo that pays homage to the vintage Audi logo — pioneer of AWD for roadgoing vehicles!
To showcase the bike’s prowess on snow and ice, the Deus Italy team enlisted rider Luca Viglio of Half Mag and esteemed photographer Mattia Negrini, and took the bike to the mountain village of Macugnaga in Northern Italy, located at the base of Monte Rosa — the second-highest mountain in Europe.
What followed were some of the most extraordinary photographs we have seen — snow, moon, mountain, and two-wheel drive!
2WD Yamaha WR450F Scrambler: Build Sheet
· Complete strip down and painted frame.
· Engine cases painted black.
· Hand-made custom aluminum tank.
· Hand-made custom saddle.
· Handlebar replacement, construction ex novo (from scratch).
· Rim channels anodized gold.
· Vintage plastics adapted to the frame of the WR.
· Exhaust system pipe painted matte black.
· Rear light and license plate holder.
· Vintage off road front light and number plate.
· Front and rear suspension rebuilt.
· Rebuilt hydraulic front-wheel drive system.
· Tires fitted with anti-puncture mousse.
Macugnaga Photo Shoot