Bikes 12 Sep 2014

Tested: 2015 Yamaha YZ450F

MotoOnline.com.au rides and reviews the 2015 Yamaha YZ450F.

The Yamaha YZ450F is a unique and innovative motorcycle that pushes the boundaries of the modern-day motocross machine. When pushing the boundaries of design and engineering, you are bound find a flaw or two within the package during its early stages.

Although the first generation of this reverse engine MX1 contender was criticised at times for being a bit of a handful, heading into the 2015 season Yamaha have definitely nailed the design and put together an awesome package.

Following a complete re-design of the bike in 2014, which included an all-new chassis and updated bodywork, the 2015 Yamaha YZ450F has been massaged and slightly tweaked to further improve on the already impressive 2014 model.

The 2015 YZ450F features the same bilateral beam frame which features roughly the same overall dimensions as the YZ250F. This gives the YZ450F a compact chassis that gives the big-bore four-stroke light, nimble characteristics on the track. This bike doesn’t feel big and bulky at all, it’s quite confidence inspiring to jump on a 450 that doesn’t feel overly large underneath you.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

A new steel lower engine bracket has been added to the bilateral beam frame designed for increased rigidity balance and damping feel. The bike feels much more planted and responsive when cornering, and a new stiffer fork spring and updated valving has improved mid-to end stroke and bottoming resistance on the 48mm KYB fork.

Yamaha has chosen to stick with the regular spring fork for 2015 while many of their competitors have taken the air option. The speed sensitive KYB unit is solid, it’s consistent at all times, provides great rider feedback and soaks up everything you throw at it.

Our test rider for the day, Dylan Wills, felt that the bike steered very well with the KYB unit and handled his aggressive riding style with ease, allowing him to gel with the YZ450F instantly. A large-diameter 22mm front axle and specifically designed top triple clamp help provide the rigidity and optimum front-end feel that this bike provides.

The handlebar mounts are also rubber mounted to improve comfort and reduce handlebar vibration. The rear suspension also features settings optimized for ideal damping characteristics to match the chassis dimensions.

In the engine department, the 2015 YZ450F is mega. The high-performance ECU provides great bottom-end torque which comes on smoothly to allow total control of the bike. Both myself and Dylan agreed this bike is super fast with tonnes of low-end torque, not to mention the fact that it continues to pull for what feels like days.

The best part about this engine package is the fact that you can be a beginner, intermediate or pro rider and still be able to enjoy this bike. Bump this thing up a gear taller and cruise around, or knock it back a gear and let it eat – either way, you’ll be having a great time on this bike.

The accessory GYTR Power Tuner is also available to simplify the work of adjusting fuel injection volume and ignition timing settings to fit personal preferences or track conditions; a huge plus for prospective buyers.

The exhaust pipe features an innovative layout, circling the cylinder, giving the exhaust pipe proper length for an excellent exhaust-pulse effect. At the same time, the exhaust pipe has three different diameters throughout the exhaust tract, bringing out the great power characteristics.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

This layout allows the silencer to be behind the side panel and closer to the middle of the bike, which centralises the mass for improved handling. Mass centralization is the name of the game when it comes to the YZ450F.

The aluminum muffler is positioned closer to the machine’s center of gravity as it is almost completely hidden by the side number plate. The layout allows a shorter, lighter sub-frame and also contributes to mass centralization for a lightweight handling feel.

The compact wet sump lubrication system with piston cooler spray jet eliminates the need for an oil tank, reducing engine weight. The water pump also employs a plastic resin impeller for further weight reduction.

The reduced size of the crankcase enabled by this lubrication system design is a major factor in making it possible to mount the 450cc engine on the compact frame to deliver that precise and instinctive handling. Matching the light and nimble feel of the 2015 YZ450F are the ergos of the cockpit area. Yamaha have slimmed down the size of the radiators to reduce the width of the shroud area.

The unique design of the fuel tank sitting underneath the seat also allows for unrestricted movement to the front of the bike without a fuel cap getting in the way. This design is also one of the key factors to creating great mass centralization by keeping the fuel tank low and closer to the center of the bike.

For 2015 the YZ450F now features quick-release quarter-turn dzus air box fasteners for tool-less access to the air filter. This update will be a favourite for many in the new year, air filter maintenance just got that much easier!

Black Excel rims also come stock on both the Team Yamaha Blue and White colour options for 2015, previously the black wheels were only available on the white colour way. We all love to look factory, and those black wheels sure do help in that department. To add to the factory look, Yamaha have also included a gold chain right out of the box for 2015.

Overall the 2015 YZ450F exceeded our expectations at the Queensland Moto Park facility. With a super strong engine package, impressive and consistent handling characteristics and great looks, Yamaha’s 2015 MX1 contender is a force to be reckoned with. Pricing for the 2015 YZ450F remains the same as the previous model at $11,999, be sure head to your local Yamaha dealer and check one out for yourself!

Click here for detailed specifications

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