First Look At The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F

The long awaited 2018 Yamaha YZ450F is here and as you can see has a distinct different look to it. 

The 2018 YZ450F is due to land in dealers early August. 

Yamaha had the media out to their Cypress, California headquarters Friday for the unveiling of their new 2018 Yamaha YZ450F. They had a complete presentation and breakdown of the new model and I was there to listen to what they had to say and even hop on the bike to see what it felt like. Although I didn't get to ride it (that will not be until late July), it did feel narrower between my legs when sitting on it. I have had my fair share of time on the 2017 YZ450F this year and I can tell you by just sitting on the 2018 version it doesn't feel anything like the 2017. I was concerned about the 2018 YZ450F gaining even more weight with addition of the electric start, but I am told the new bike is a few pounds lighter than the 2017, which is great to hear. Yamaha’s goal in 2018 was to increase overall power, while making it easier to ride, along with a chassis that was more nimble and lighter feeling for the rider. “One with the motorcycle" is Yamaha’s slogan for the 2018 YZ450F and below are some of the changes/highlights of the 2018 YZ450F. Look for an in-depth podcast with Yamaha’s R&D rider Travis Preston in the next few days over at where we discuss the in’s and out’s of the 2018 YZ450F some more. What about the 2018 YZ250F you ask? Looks like there will be no major changes to the new 250F (except for suspension revisions).   

Yamaha also offers the 2018 YZ450F in Team Yamaha Blue/White. 


Revised Engine Design

For 2018, the distinct rearward-slanted cylinder design – complete with rear exhaust and forward-mounted intake system – has been completely updated for 2018. The all-new cylinder head is lighter and is now angled more vertically, to work with the updated frame, for optimized front weight distribution. Inside, the engine features a longer, straighter intake tract, more aggressive cam profiles, a new crankshaft, a stronger, higher-compression (12.8:1 from a 12.5:1) “box bridge” piston design with DLC-coated piston pin, and more. 

The new angled more upright engine comes with electric start and a whole hosts of other changes: The cylinder head and camshafts have changed with a straighter intake port shape, high lift camshaft profiles, increased valve opening, valve timing overlap is wider, intake camshaft working angle increased and event angle decreased, exhaust camshaft working angle increased, a new Mikuni 44mm throttle body, a change in the piston (lighter and slightly more compression), a piston pin that comes with DLC coating, a revised ECU setting, a longer electrode on the spark plug along with a spark plug cap holder, stronger 2nd and 3rd gears in the transmission, pressure plate shape change in the clutch, steel cutch plate surface grinding is added and improved shape of clutch spring has been changed. 

New Power Tuner App:

Breaking new ground in the industry – again – Yamaha introduces the new Power Tuner app, which brings the power of the GYTR Power Tuner to your iOS® or Android® device. Using WiFi to connect to the bike’s onboard CAN-bus network, the app allows owners to adjust air/fuel mixture and ignition timing maps to tune engine performance for track conditions, record race log information, and monitor a range of data such as maintenance and system diagnosis, engine run time, and more. 

The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F comes with onboard WiFi. Yes that is right! You are able to download the free Yamaha Power Tuner App to your iPhone or Droid device and change fuel and ignition maps along with TPS and RPM’s in 500 increments.  

New Electric Starter System

The 2018 YZ450F now features a compact electric starter system to minimize restart delays on track and add convenience everywhere else. Powered by a high-capacity and ultra-lightweight four-cell lithium-ion battery, the system adds minimal weight. 

The magic button is here! The 2018 YZ450F has an electric start button.

Advanced Fuel Injection

The engine breathes through a new 44mm Mikuni® (from a Keihin) throttle body fed by a high pressure electric pump to ensure optimum fuel atomization and power for a wide range of riding conditions. The more compact throttle body is 12 percent lighter than the previous unit as well. 

Larger Radiators

Updated radiators are larger and angled more directly in the incoming air stream, for improved cooling under the most demanding race conditions. 

Updated Transmission And Clutch

Revised gears with a wider surface area, updated clutch plates and a stiffer outer pressure plate all combine to boost durability. The shift lever and shift selector drum are also updated for 2018, to improve shift feel with a shorter, more direct stroke when changing gears. 

Wrap Around Rear Positioned Exhaust 

The innovative exhaust pipe design improves mass centralization and improves power development, with revised geometry for 2018 (longer headpiece by 12mm, smaller diameter at pipe junction from 38mm to 41mm and a rubber mounted muffler) . This layout moves the rear end of the exhaust pipe farther forward and enables a muffler position close to the center of the mass 

Chassis And Suspension:

New Aluminum Frame

The 2018 YZ450F compact frame is completely new to further refine the instinctive handling that makes this Yamaha one of the best handling machines in the class. Larger upper frame bracing improves rigidity and durability, while wider rear frame spars and all-new engine mounts centralize mass for the best possible balance of bump absorption, stiffness and feeling of grip.

For 2018 a completely New Bilateral Beam Aluminum Frame Extruded straight tank rail replaces the hydro- formed “S” pipe and the tension pipe changed to extrusion from forging. On the swingarm bracket forging, forward / aft width increased 10mm, flat side shape, 6mm narrower, shock mount casting size increased and cradle pipe shape change to rectangle. 

New Compact Body And Seat Design

The new YZ450F features new bodywork from tip to tail, including a new compact fuel tank specifically designed for motocross demands. In addition to shaving weight, the new body design is narrow for more comfortable knee grip and feeling of control, and the seat is updated to give the rider additional room to move aboard the machine.

I checked out the cockpit of the new Yamaha. As you can see in the next photo it’s visibly thinner.

Staring down at the seat/tank/handlebar/shroud area on the new blue machine. 

Class-Leading Suspension

Industry-leading, fully adjustable KYB® coil spring-type fork with speed sensitive damping provides exceptional balance between handling and bump absorption, for race-winning handling performance. The linkage type rear suspension features a KYB® shock with revised damping characteristics to match the revised chassis. 2018 features updated internal valving for more controlled damping characteristics. Piston size has increased from 24 to 25mm, mid speed valve has changed from leaf spring to coil spring type, pressure piston shape change and holes added. On the shock body the sub tank has increased 30cc, new spring with thinner material, spring weight reduction and shock spring went up to a 58N/mm from a 56N/mm. 

270mm Front Brake

Large 270mm front disc brake coupled with aggressive pad material offers outstanding braking performance and machine control, with exceptional stopping power and controllability. Out back, a new, more heat-resistant rear rotor boosts brake durability.

Blue wheels that are lighter come standard on the 2018 YZ450F. 

The blue wheels have more of a flat look to them than a glossy blue color. 

Lighter Wheels

Careful computer-aided refinement of the each wheel’s cross-sectional profile shaves valuable weight without sacrificing durability. 

Steve Butler is head of R&D at Yamaha Motor Corporation. He has been involved in every four stroke motocross production machine that Yamaha has built, including Doug Henry’s 1997 Las Vegas winning one-off 400 thumper.   

What would a visit to Yamaha be without some nostalgia! 

2018 Yamaha YZ450F Specs:
Seat Height: 38.6 inches
Wheelbase: 58.5 inches
Ground Clearance: 13.0 inches
Fuel Capacity: 1.6 Gallons
Wet Weight: 245 lbs.

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