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First Mods On The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F

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Primary Use: Motocross
Main Mods: Akrapovic Evolution Line full exhaust system, Race Tech suspension revalve, Works Connection 1-2-3 EZ Build Elite clutch perch, Works Connection front brake lever, Works Connection Pro Pegs (titanium), Works Connection Pro Launch holeshot device, Works Connection Elite throttle tube, TM Designworks swingarm slider and chain roller, Mika Metals handlebar, Mika Metals grips, Mika Metals front and rear sprockets, Mika Metals chain, and a DT1 air filter cage
Moment of Glory: Riding the bike after I installed the Akrapovic Evolution Line titanium exhaust system, which smoothed out the bottom-end power, yet retained the great midrange and top-end pull to clear big jumps with ease
Forgettable Experience: None
Hours: 27
Aftermath (since the Shootout): Four oil changes, three oil filter changes, three DT1 air filters, and several bike washes




The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F has been an excellent bike for me. A few modifications later and now I’m ready to race it in some West Coast rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross nationals! The first thing we had to do to make it more race ready was a suspension revalve, which was done by Race Tech. We also installed an Akrapovic Evolution Line exhaust system to help smooth out the plethora of power the YZ450F has and lastly, installed several goodies from Works Connection.

We picked up the suspension from Race Tech after a day of motos at Glen Helen Raceway on a Thursday, which is pretty much the “stopwatch nationals” this time of year with so many pros testing and getting ready for the upcoming Lucas Oil Pro Motocross nationals. I Installed the freshly revalved suspension along with some of the trick Works Connection parts the next day. The first day of riding with the new parts was at Competitive Edge MX Park on Saturday. It was a perfect day to try out the suspension because the track had just enough chop and braking bumps to get a good feel for the suspension.

We checked the sag before we started riding, set it, and checked it again after each moto throughout the day because it will tend to settle in after it breaks in. After a couple of practices, I started to hammer down to get a feel for how the suspension was working at speed. The first thing I noticed was that the forks handled bumps much better while braking coming into corners. One thing I want my suspension to do is to absorb bumps well under hard braking and progressively get stiffer as it travels through the stroke so that it can take the big hits from jumps or just aggressive riding. The Race Tech suspension did all of that, which I was very pleased with. As the day went on, the track got rougher and I never had a complaint with how the suspension worked throughout the entire day. The suspension worked so great in fact that we never even had to change a clicker! All in all, I am very pleased with how well the Race Tech-modified units are working, and keep an eye out for my full review of the suspension, which will hit the site soon.

After about three motos, we swapped the stock exhaust system for the Akrapovic Evolution Line titanium full system and my first impression was, “Wow, this is a good pipe!” It did exactly what I was hoping it would do to the YZ450F, which was mellowing out the initial crack of the throttle without taking any power away and adding slightly more power to the top-end as well. I was completely happy with how this system worked. As an added bonus, it shaved off 1.5 pounds over stock. After the pipe got some heat on it from riding, the header area turned a blue/purple color that titanium tends to do after getting hot, and we all love when that happens!

At the end of the day, I installed the Works Connection Pro Launch holeshot device to do a few practice starts and sprint laps to gather lap times in preparation for the nationals. The holeshot device worked perfectly every time and released under braking coming into the first turn just as it should. I also installed the Works Connection 1-2-3 EZ Build Elite clutch perch, which I am a huge fan of along with their front brake levers. I love Works Connection levers and clutch perches not only on Yamahas, but every bike I ride because they are so much easier on your fingers in that they’re skinnier and easier to pull in than the stock levers. They are a must for any bike I plan on riding often! We also received some rad titanium Pro Pegs from Works Connection as well, which I will be installing and riding with soon.

I can’t wait to install the rest of the trick Works Connection parts and keep putting down motos on the 2018 YZ450F in preparation for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross nationals, so stay tuned for my Long Haul updates to read about how the YZ450F performs in the Great Outdoors.