2019 Yamaha YZ450F
Yamaha's 2018 YZ450F was a big overhaul for the brand. With the usual updates such as a new chassis and bodywork but taken a bit further. In the case of the bodywork, there was a big redesign up front to thin up the bike and attempt to reach the same feel as their competition. With a new airbox design, relocated radiators and mounting angles, along with a fuel tank change...they were able to rotate the shrouds inwards and this was one of the largest changes a brand has ever made just with plastics. Other than that, Yamaha added their name to the electric start club with a complete engine case redesign and also made some casting tweaks at the top-end of the engine to increase power.
While the changes to the 2018 were well received at our Shootout, there was a few improvements many of our test riders wanted to see to further the bike. As we opened our email box for the 2019 launch information, we were pleasantly surprised to see a list of changes that reflected to what much of the media said would help. While it may seem minor, the changed gearing would help the overly tall YZ450F be more ride-able on tighter tracks; with mapping to help manage the changed gearing and power. The stiffer suspension settings would hopefully improve the bike balance; while the 2018 was plush it was busy, making it a bit difficult to keep the bike settled into the corners and hard to charge on in some situations. The stiffer seat was a must have after the 2018 seat was so soft, you could feel the subframe anytime you seat bounced and could feel yourself sink into the bike in the corners.
How did these small changes, along with working on Yamaha's power tuner app work out for the 2019 model? Click the video below to find out.