Features 27 Jul 2017

Tech: Yamaha Power Tuner App

Taking a closer look at the latest tuning technology from Yamaha.

The release of the all-new 2018 Yamaha YZ450F brought a tonne of excitement to the motocross industry and for multiple reasons. There’s too many updates to list if we really wanted to go into detail, but one that really stands out is the all-new Power Tuner App for your smartphone.

A world’s first, the new Power Tuner App from Yamaha puts the flexibility and precision tenability of the previous GYTR Power Tuner into the palm of your hand. Using Wi-Fi technology, you can now make fuel and ignition timing changes instantly and upload them to your bike for the ultimate in track-side tuning.

It’s remarkable to see just how far technology has come in motocross and this new Power Tuner App from Yamaha is truly impressive. But how exactly does it all work? How easy is it to use for the regular weekend rider? We’re hear to answer all of those questions after sampling the bike and technology first-hand at the official Australian launch in Queensland.

The most common question regarding the new Power Tuner App for the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F is the accessibility. Can someone else access your bike and mess with settings? The answer is no. Each model has its own unique Wi-Fi system and password that you need in order to sync your smartphone with your motorcycle.

Image: Greg Smith (iKapture).

This information is hidden behind the side number plate on the left side of the bike. So yes, if someone can manage to pull your bike apart in the pits and access the information, that would be an issue, but that’s definitely not going to happen. Overall it’s a very secure system and Yamaha have clearly gone to great lengths to ensure no issues of this nature will arise.

Connecting to your 2018 Yamaha YZ450F is easy, you just download the app, which is completely free for both iOS and Android systems, join your bike’s unique Wi-Fi network and enter the password – done! From there you’re in business and ready to experience the wonders of modern motocross technology right there in your hand.

In terms of using the app itself, Yamaha created the most simple and user-friendly experience possible when it comes to tuning a high-powered racing machine. And according to Yamaha Motor Australia’s press fleet manager Darren Thompson it’s not only easy to use, but it has also been designed to ensure riders will not damage their pride and joy when changing engine settings.

“It’s super easy, I’m a guy that doesn’t have Instagram, Facebook or any social media-based stuff and the app is so easy for me to work with,” Thompson told MotoOnline.com.au. “Also, if people are scared, you can be assured that you can’t make a mistake big enough to damage your bike – it just won’t let it happen. Yes you can change a lot, but you can’t actually change it and damage your engine in any way.”

When updating your engine settings using the Power Tuner App, you don’t even need to have the bike running either. Now featuring electric start for 2018, all you need to do is touch the start button to power the machine and you’re left with two minutes of time to fine-tune your settings on the app. Need more time? Just press the button again and you can continue tinkering with your machine.

Image: Greg Smith (iKapture).

It was a huge benefit and convenience on the day to have the opportunity to change our engine characteristics using our phones. If you’re a media guy like myself who’s on his phone consistently, or just a regular rider who’s always scrolling through social media, you’ve got that phone there with you and we can guarantee you’ll never forget your tuner now.

“You know, everyone carries their phone with them at all times, so that’s really the whole key aspect of the app,” said Thompson. “It’s going to benefit riders because they’re going to be able to fine-tune their race bikes to the track conditions, certain temperatures or even fitness levels. If you’re fading towards the end of a race, you can tame a map right down and last a little bit longer. “

Working with engine settings to see if we could make myself, a guy who spends 99 percent of his time behind a computer, last a little longer out there on the demanding Coolum circuit. Within minutes we had multiple maps loaded into my app and it was time to hit the track. In the end it was the initial setting that I preferred, but that’s the beauty of this system – just grab your phone and change it back.

The app is much more than just engine tuning too, there’s a tonne of features aside from the obvious fuel and mapping changes. According to Thompson, the app has also been designed to aid riders in logging their entire bike settings through the Race Log and their maintenance schedules to ensure an accurate history from certain race days and events.

“For example, a lot of people can get lost with suspension settings and what they think they had at this track or that track,” he said. “You can now log everything on this app, you can log your gearing, tyre pressures or even the tyres you were running, there’s room for a lot of information.

Source: Supplied.

“It’s also going to benefit the bike if you follow the maintenance schedule that’s on your phone. Whenever you change your chain and sprockets or put in a new piston, it’s just something that will keep everything in check. With the Race Log, there are already questions there and you can just fill in the blanks, it’s not very time consuming either, you just enter what you’ve done and it’s all dated and documented.”

The super handy Race Log feature actually lets you archive data on your bike settings and the events you have run. The Maintenance screen also features multiple trip meters to keep track of running hours and it can also run engine diagnostics. The Monitor section of the app is also very informative as it displays multiple machine running conditions, including rpm, throttle percentage, battery voltage, coolant temperature, intake air temperature and air pressure in real time.

Speaking of running hours, one of the features that stood out to me was the fact that you can now know exactly how many hours are on a certain 2018 YZ450F. If you’re buying one of these down the track as a used model, you can just ask the seller to log into the app on their phone and show you the running time of the bike. This section cannot be edited and it’s a great way to keep track of your running time and keep used sellers honest.

Now not only can you go into your own settings and create maps with 16 points of adjustment on the fuel and ignition options, but you can share and receive information from friends. I actually tested out this option on the day as former Yamaha enduro racer Chris Hollis had developed a more smooth and progressive option on the day.

Source: Supplied.

Within seconds I was able to download that map to my phone and then load it into my chosen 2018 YZ450F for the day. So if you’re out at the track and your mate finds a golden setting, you can have him send it your way in seconds and try it for yourself on your own personal bike – how cool is that!

Another key point Thompson brought up was the development aspect of the new Power Tuner app. Yamaha are thinking ahead with this new program and hope to use shared data worldwide to further improve their already impressive premier class bike. Different countries and regions tend to favour different settings, so Yamaha are looking to use this to their advantage and offer the consumer an even better bike in the future.

“There’s a setting that benefits Yamaha also where the app lets your information go to Yamaha in Japan via Wi-Fi,” Thompson added. “You can turn it off if you want to keep your settings a secret, but where it’s a huge benefit is if Yamaha notices a whole heap of similar settings coming from riders in Australia. If so, they can start to tailor the bike more to certain countries as well and that would be a great benefit for us.”

So there you have it, Yamaha’s new Power Tuner App for the 2018 YZ450F is definitely something else – a totally new way for you and your bike to be connected as one. And remember, every 2018 Yamaha YZ450F purchased comes with this free technology right off the showroom floor and the app is completely free on iOS and Android systems. Be sure to click here to view our in-depth test on the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F which is due to hit showroom floors domestically this August.