For the first time since 2010, the Yamaha YZ450F gets a major overhaul.
When Yamaha broke the mold with its reversed cylinder YZ450F in 2010, it all made sense. The “backwards” design allowed for better mass centralization, better air intake-flow and improved air-filter protection, and the result was definitely an improved YZ. It was at the time arguably the best in its class, but that was the problem – arguably. As good as it was, not everyone fell in love with the new design and how the YZ450F performed on the track and didn’t take the world by storm, so none of the other major Japanese manufactures have yet followed in Yamaha’s footsteps. But Yamaha has stuck with its reversed concept and has taken what’s its learned over the past four years and put it into what could be called its second-generation, reversed-cylinder YZ450F.
So, for the first time since 2010, the YZ450F gets a major overhaul. Everything is new, except for the front fender and a couple of other basic parts.
Yamaha focused on three main areas on the 2014 YZ450F – they wanted to improve the rider’s confidence when it comes to handling, improve engine controllability and top-end power, and reduce airbox width and ease air filter maintenance.
It is indeed safe to say that the motor is all-new. In an effort to broaden power, improve controlability, smoothen shifting and increase clutch durability, Yamaha gave the YZ450F a revised cylinder head, intake and exhaust valves, intake camshaft, piston, ECU settings, transmission, clutch, wet-sump design and a new wrap-around exhaust, which many of the factory race bikes now use.
One of the biggest gripes YZ450F owners had with the previous YZ was the excessive width of the radiators and air intak duct between the rider’s legs. Even though the new airbox has more capacity now, the air-cleaner duct has been reduced by 14mm (7mm on each side). As a result, Yamaha claims that the new airbox design increases power across the board, reduces intake noise and provides for slimmer ergonomics and improved comfort.
Like the new YZ250F, which now shares the same chassis and reversed cylinder design as the 450, access to the air filter is now easier, going from a four-step process to a two-step process. And also like the new YZ250F, the gas cap is hidden under the seat, providing a smooth seat/tank surface.
The frame is now the same as the YZ250F’s, which is dimensionally based on the older YZ250F frame. The biggest difference is that the head pipe is moved back 10mm compared to the 2013 YZ450F. The result Yamaha says is more front-wheel weight bias. Overall, Yamaha claims that the new chassis gives the YZ450F a lighter feel, especially while leaned over and in the air.
The new frame also allows for a larger fuel tank, which now holds two gallons instead of 1.6 gallons.
Air forks did not find their way on to the new YZ450F either. Both the YZ250 and 450Fs retained the already much-liked SSS KYB fork. However, both the shock and fork took on new internal settings.
The 450 also gets a new larger front axle and a new MX51FA front tire.
Overall, Yamaha says the YZ450F feels lighter, handles better and is easier to live with.
As with the YZ250F, the 450 is available in either Team Yamaha Racing Blue or white with red colors. The 2014 will have an MSRP of $8490 and should be available later this month.
2014 Yamaha YZ450F
ENGINE TYPE: Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4-Valve, 4-Stroke
BORE X STROKE: 97.0 x 60.8mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 12.5:1
FUEL DELIVERY: Yamaha Fuel-Injection (YFI), Keihin 44mm
TRANSMISSION: Constant-mesh 5-speed, wet multi-plate clutch
FRONT SUSPENSION: KYB Speed-Sensitive System, inverted fork, fully adjustable
REAR SUSPENSION: KYB single shock, fully adjustable
FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL: 12.2 in.
REAR WHEEL TRAVEL: 12.4 in.
FRONT BRAKE: Hydraulic single disc, 250mm
REAR BRAKE: Hydraulic single disc, 245mm
FRONT TIRE: 80/100-21 Dunlop MX51-FA
REAR TIRE: 100/90-19 Dunlop 120/80-19 Dunlop MX51
SEAT HEIGHT: 38.4 in.
WHEELBASE: 58.3 in.
GROUND CLEARANCE: 13.2 in.
FUEL CAPACITY: 2.0 gal.
WET WEIGHT: 245 lbs.
COLOR: Team Yamaha Blue/White; White/Red