In 2004, Yamaha produced a limited production variant of the third generation WR450F. It was called the 2-Trac as it featured an Ohlins-developed 2-wheel drive system, and they’re very difficult to find now!
I’ve ridden a 2-wheel drive bike before (the REV’IT #95), but that utilized a modified Christini system with chains connected to chains connected to chains. The Ohlins system utilizes a hydraulic pump located above the transmission that’s driven by a chain in an oil bath – said pump pushed hydraulic fluid to a motor in the front wheel hub.
Considering the Ohlins connection with the drivetrain, it should be no surprise that the 2-Trac was also equipped with Ohlins suspension and steering damper. Several online sources state that a maximum of 15% of power was diverted from the rear wheel to the front wheel, and there was a slight power penalty for the traction trade-off. Check out MCNews Australia for a write-up on what the 2-Trac was like to ride. In the 2004 Dakar Rally, David Frétigné placed seventh overall (as a rookie) and first in the 450cc class on a 2-Trac, beating out several riders on 660 and 950cc bikes.
Production numbers vary – I’ve seen claims that Yamaha built 445 between 2004 and 2005, other people say that just 250 were built in 2004, and others say that Yamaha wanted to build 250 in 2004 but far less were actually created. Obviously, history has shown that two-wheel drive never became popular on bikes (who knows about the future), but check out this profile on Bennetts if you want to know more about how the Ohlins project fared.
This example (VIN: JYACJ04W000011111) is claimed to have raced the 2005 Paris-Dakar and the sale includes “a beautiful Paris Dakar Story book” but I’ve struggled to find independent verification of this claim. Still, it’s cool as hell. The seller wanted to make the bike street legal at some point but when he contacted Yamaha they said that the serial number did not exist. He bought a YZ450F frame (included in sale) to swap everything over, but he didn’t do it because he “hated the thought of tearing such a possibly important & historical & maybe even significant bike,” then he asks you to save it from him!
The bike comes with 4 aluminum gas tanks, a custom suede seat, custom airbox with a K&N filter, both electric and kick start, ICO electronic trip meter, Migtec roadbook holder, Excel wheels, Talon billet rear hub, and (at extra cost), a new spare front drive assembly.
Find this 2WD Yamaha for sale in Blaine, Washington with an unmet opening bid of $6,500 or a BIN of $8,500 here on eBay.