You've Got Options! If you're...
You've Got Options!
If you're wanting your quad to have a little different style than your buddies', Yamaha is releasing the YFZ450R in a white and red color scheme. This option features a red frame and seat along with white plastics.
Before I talk about the performance on the trails, let me say that just sitting on the machine for the first time, any rider will be able to feel a difference from the old to the new. I opted to move the bar to a position that was farther forward so that I would be more comfortable. All of the controls were very comfortable, and the seat was one of the plushest saddles I've ever thrown a leg over. A quick push of the start button brings the engine to life, and even at an elevation of 4000 feet the Yamaha idle speed control system self-adjusted and let the engine purr until I gave the thumb throttle a quick jolt forward. That led to a quick revving of the engine and a subtle rumble from the exhaust. This machine was begging to hit the trails, and I was ready to let it.
As I left the staging area, I hit the first trail instantly and began on a hard-packed tight twisty section that really made me use body English to get through quickly. The machine went exactly where I pointed the bar, and my 6-foot-2 body easily made the transition from one side of the quad to the other. As for the acceleration of the machine, it was missing something from the previous model. The YFZ of old had a harsh hit when you stabbed the throttle and gave a two-stroke-like feel because of the FCR carburetor. With the new fuel-injection system, the powerband was very linear and didn't make the machine feel as if it were trying to take off from underneath you. It was definitely more ridable and didn't sacrifice any power to be so.
Further out on the trails, I was able to grab more throttle and see how it handled in some high-speed whooped-out sections and was pleasantly surprised. Simply lean back, get a good grasp on the bar and keep a steady throttle as you skipped across the whoops as if you were racing Baja on a fully modified machine. Not once did I feel the YFZ start to swap from side to side like on many machines. This bike definitely instilled confidence in me like I've never felt riding a stock machine.
The next part of this trail headed into some sandy washes where I could really find out what kind of power this engine had and how the wide suspension dealt with fast sweeping turns. At no time did this engine bog down when I didn't want it to, and I simply leaned off the quad a little to the inside to blast every sandy corner that I came across. At the end of one straightaway was a high-speed kicker that had me staying on the throttle. The suspension compressed on the face of the hit and just lofted me in the air, and as I came down it soaked up the landing so smoothly, it was almost as if the tires never left the ground. I ended the day with a huge grin on my face with anticipation for a full day at the motocross track.
Day two of our test was at a perfectly groomed motocross track that featured plenty of doubles, step-up and step-down jumps, fast sweeping corners and elevation changes that made riders use the full potential of the engine. Again I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of the new machine. The same quad I rode the day before was just as capable on the track with no changes whatsoever. Even with the 20-inch rear tires, the quad handled very well and never felt excessively top-heavy, and I'm sure the wide stance had plenty to do with this. Subtle changes to the shock adjustment made the YFZ450R even better after a few laps on the track and I got more comfortable.
One department of Yamaha that had a huge influence in the design of this machine was the GYTR performance division. In the past, this department has made aftermarket bumpers, nerf bars, filter kits and basic performance upgrades for Yamaha owners to install. On this new machine, it took it a step further by offering a five-way CNC-ported head with camshafts, high-compression piston and fuel-injection controller in addition to the basic accessories it normally sells.