Dirt Bike tester Cory Lockwood cuts to the bone: “The
Yamaha displays a personality that is unique. From its
wide gas tank and neutral ergonomics to the howling, four-barrel-like Detroit muscle car sound emanating from its airbox, it exhales smooth bottom-end power that seamlessly
connects to a strong midrange rush.” The Yamaha YZ450
is innovative, and in some ways bizarre, but there is a contingent of riders who love it. For 2013, it was the only
machine in the shootout to stay virtually unchanged from
the previous year.
There is no doubt that one of the main strengths of the
YZ450F is its suspension. A perennial absorption king, this
machine is both stiff and plush enough to handle track
hack, resulting in one of the best rides imaginable. The
machine is also well balanced. The cockpit is nicely laid
out—not too big or small—and it provides the average
racer with a nice platform, suiting a wide variety of riding
styles. Top marks go the transmission for smoothness and
spacing, broad power, and good stability.
The YZ-F is a handling oddity. Some corners it dives
into quicker than a rat getting chased by a starving serpent. Others, usually speedier turns, the machine hunts.
It feels light at the front wheel, and the handling gets
vague. It basically turns with power and requires definite
input from the pilot. The air intake is obnoxious, and the
gas tank is too wide. Multiple testers called the power
“gnarly” as it hit, but it tended to flame out down low.
CUT TO THE CHASE
The YZ450F is the most controversial machine in the
shootout. It looks different, feels different and sounds
different. But, it still has two wheels and, under the right
tutelage, gets around the track with the best of them. An
interesting note here: we had several outside riders rate
all the machines, and many were YZ owners. They all
rated the YZF450 in the top three of the shootout, while
seven of our eight test riders rated it last place.
YAMAHA YZ450F YAMAHA YZ450F
A different taste
HEAVYWEIGHT MOTOCROSS FACE-OFF