The new 2018 Yamaha YZ450F corners much better than in previous years, but still can feel like it has some front tire pushing when there is nothing to bank off of. This is not as drastic a feeling as it was in 2017, but some riders want more front end bite out of the blue machine, so we thought we would try Dubach Racing’s engine relocation kit. Doug has had this engine relocation kit out for quite sometime and they have worked well on older model YZ450F’s. I personally didn't think the engine needed to be tilted more forward than it already has for 2018, but I can’t keep well enough alone, so I decided to give it a go. Dubach’s kit only consists of two small bushings that tilt the 2018 engine 1.5mm forward and only takes around 30-40 minutes to install. If you want to understand better on how to put the kit in you can go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NLRyQr4Iss and check out Doug’s instructional video he did. This video is dated, but most of what he is doing to this older YZ450F applies to what you will do to the 2018 version (without the new engine mounts of course). The 2018 kit only comes with two collars/bushings as you will use all your stock/existing engine mounts.
Before you go purchasing Dubach’s Engine Relocation Kit make sure you have tried doing some things to your 2018 YZ450F, like raising your fork up 5mm (flush is stock) in the clamps and be sure your sag is set at 104-105mm (100-102mm is standard). I don't recommend going higher up (with the fork) than 5mm to get more front end bite, as going up any higher will dramatically hurt your straight line stability.
So what exactly did I feel on the track once the Dubach Racing Engine Relocation Kit was installed? A lot actually! “Keefer, it’s 1.5mm, how much difference can it be”? Well once I got out on the track, I immediately noticed how reactive the front wheel was to my steering. I have a ton of hours on the stock 2018 YZ450F and I know how it reacts once I turn the handlebars. The Yamaha with the DR.D Relocation Kit on was almost Honda-like and gave me the feeling of having the front tire tucked in more towards the engine. It took me around two laps to realize that I needed to drop the fork back down in the clamp and re-check my sag to get it to where it wasn't as reactive to handlebar movement. I dropped the fork back down to 2mm up in the clamp, set my sag at 105mm and did a couple motos. The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F has better tip now in coming into corners and I can feel the front knobbies biting down a lot more through flat corners. This was all for the better, however I noticed a little less straight-line stability and slightly less rear wheel traction coming out of hard pack corners. I adjusted my fuel/ignition map on my Yamaha Power Tuner App to help mellow out the low-end delivery and that rear wheel traction returned! The straight line stability loss that I experienced was very slight, but was mostly noticed while on-throttle, off-throttle stability improved slightly. When chopping the throttle the little wiggle I used to get in the chassis has now settled down some. On throttle side to side movement fro the rear end has slightly increased. I wouldn’t say that the DR.D kit makes the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F twitchy, but it will make it very reactive to any slight steering movements you make. If you are looking to make the Yamaha a more reactive machine and slightly more agile, this kit will do just that!
At the end of the day, I prefer the stock tilt for the way I ride. Let me explain this…. I don’t mind a slightly slower turning machine as I can corner fairly good. I do need front tire traction as I am a front end steering rider, but having a little less reactive machine makes me feel stable and I am able to push harder (hence more stability). Now, if you’re a rider that needs every ounce of lean, front-end bite and cornering capability, this is a great option for you. I have several riding buddies that prefer the Honda CR450R over the YZ450F because they want their machines to corner with ease and with more front wheel bite. Having this DR.D Engine Relocation Kit installed made those friends happy with the 2018 YZ450F now. The DR.D Engine Relocation is available now and will set you back $89.95.
If you have any questions about this test please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org