Simple and not so flashy,...
Simple and not so flashy, yet effective! That's what we were aiming for on this build.
You might be surprised that as Editor of ATV Rider Magazine, I do not get the opportunity to test and ride every single model or project build that you see printed in our magazine or posted on our website. Aside from the fact that there is not enough time in the day, I actually appreciate the differing opinions from the members of our very talented team. When Yamaha unveiled the new and innovative YFZ-450R for the media to evaluate many months back, we sent out two of our very trusted and skilled riders to get the scoop on this new racer. The testing went down on the west coast in both a motocross and desert trails setting so that our testers could get feedback from a variety of types of riding. Both testers arrived back extremely excited about this new machine and delivered an incredible first ride report.
Understanding that the new Yamaha YFZ450R will more than likely be a huge hit on the east coast as well, I recently decided to grab a new unit to begin peeling back the layers and figuring out how it would perform in our terrain. I spent several weeks testing in a typical east coast setting which would include everything from tight technical wooded trails, wide open 4x4 jeep roads to launching large jumps so that I could see for myself what it did well and what improvements may need to be made so that this machine really would end up as the ultimate sport ATV.
Even though we did not go...
Even though we did not go flashy on this build, we still thought our YFZR was sexy in near stock trim.
Let's begin with a few of the many items that the new YFZR does well, and yes, the list is long. Over these last few weeks, I've learned not only that the new R is a great platform to start building upon in creating a high performance racer with the ability for podium finishes, but I must note that it actually comes right from the factory ready to roll out as a great performer with only minor tweaks needed for those who will be using it as more of a weekend warrior type scenario. Right off the bat, I pretty much knew that I was in love with the new motor Yamaha engineers had designed. Yes, it is extremely fast, powerful and smooth. Smooth is what I really wanted to point out. Remember Yamaha added fuel injection (EFI) to this model? In fact, the power delivery is so smooth and linear that it's almost deceptive as to how powerful and fast it really is. The reason, you don't feel as if it's jerking your arms out of your sockets, but I assure you it's outputting some serious thrust and speed. Let me put it to you this way, I drag raced several piped YFZ450's against my new completely stock R, and it pulled them on almost every single run. I must also point out what a great job Yamaha has done with the new throttle design on this new machine. Do you remember the pain that the old throttle caused? I do, and I experience almost zero thumb pump from the new design.
It just feels natural to air...
It just feels natural to air out this quad and tweaking it in the air with a little body English comes effortlessly.
The next segment I'd like to focus on is the chassis and suspension redesign, which affects the overall handling. As you are aware, the engineers added a new aluminum frame with wider a-arms for stability, strength and lighter weight. But what really piques my interest about the new design is the area where these two items join together. The aluminum frame sits upright in the shape of a "V". The A-arms mount to the bottom of the "V' therefore giving you quality suspension travel (9.8 to be exact) and an improved ride. This kind of ride, handling and overall stability are almost unheard of on a stocker. I could literally throw the quad around in a rhythmical way with ease, while always feeling as if I were in control and remaining stable. The wider footprint was absolutely phenomenal, well, that is till the trails become very tight. And for sliding around turns, the YFZR hugs the ground and breaks loose and begins to slide in such a way that it just feels magical.