Riding Backyard And Riverbed Tracks On The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F


Primary Use: Motocross

Main Mods: Twin Air air filters, Twin Air airbox cover, Mika Metals handlebar, grips, front and rear sprockets, and chain

Moment of Glory: Using Yamaha’s plush KYB suspension to its full potential on a rough, unmaintained track

Forgettable experience: Having to ride riverbed tracks due to excessive rain and getting sand everywhere, and I mean everywhere!

Hours: 25

Aftermath: Three oil changes, two oil filter changes, three Twin Air air filters, and numerous bike washes

As I continue racking up time on the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F, I’m becoming very familiar with the bike both inside and out. Central California has been getting a decent amount of rain lately, so I’ve resorted to an old-school way of riding and training by doing motos on gnarly, rough riverbed and backyard tracks. These tracks never get maintained but take the rain very well. We can only ride these top-secret tracks a few times a year, mostly during winter after hard rains leave every other track flooded and underwater. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I put the YZ450F through some good testing on some rough, hammered tracks.

I was surprised with how well the stock suspension worked as I expected it to kick around quite a bit more. I’ve always said that Yamaha has the plushest suspension and in this instance, it was much appreciated on such a choppy and difficult course. On a normal track with regular-size jumps, the suspension is a little too soft for my preference. I’d like the suspension to progressively get stiffer as it goes through the stroke and have more bottoming resistance to absorb the big hits. However, on the natural-terrain tracks I rode with very few jumps, the KYB units did an excellent job of handling the small chop as well as the large braking bumps coming into corners.

RELATED CONTENT: Motos On The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F

Something else I noticed on a recent Friday while riding at Pala Raceway was that the bike doesn’t tend to settle well in ruts. I wouldn’t say it feels like it wants to crawl out of the rut, but in most cases, it seems like it doesn’t sit very low in the rut. I’m going to try different setups in the future including different fork heights, sag, and anything else I think of to try and get the front wheel to get better traction by getting more weight on the front end.

As far as routine maintenance, I’ve recently been using some Twin Air products including the pre-oiled air filters and an airbox cover for cleaning. I’ve always wanted to try an airbox cover because, as I stated in previous Long Haul updates, changing air filters is one task I’ve never enjoyed doing. However, using the Twin Air cover made a relatively easy job even easier. I would pressure-wash the entire bike with the filter cover installed, give the airbox area a quick and light spray, and it was perfectly clean. After using the Twin Air airbox cover, I didn’t have to spend an extra five or 10 minutes spraying cleaner on a rag and wiping down the airbox area. I also didn’t have to use any sprays to clean it either.

I noticed the Twin Air filters are slightly bigger in size compared to the stock filter, and it has a rubber piece in the middle where the filter cage skewer goes through the middle of the filter. This feature holds the filter in place much better than the stock unit and decreases the chance of ripping or tearing the filter with this rubber piece protecting it. In the next months, I’ll be working toward figuring out a new setup to help the YZ450F perform better in rutted corners, and hopefully I’ll have an answer in my next Long Haul update!