2018 Yamaha YZ450F

Yamaha’s MX flagship enters a brave new world

2018 Yamaha YZ450F
2018 Yamaha YZ450FCRS

Fully redesigned for 2018, the YZ450F continues atop Yamaha’s motocross lineup with a new electric-start engine, a new chassis with improved suspension, and revised styling. Most impressive is the engine’s connectivity to Yamaha’s smartphone app. Just a few years ago, leading production bikes came with various couplers you plugged in to access different power modes. No more. Now, just download the free Yamaha Power Tuner app from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, pair up the YZ450F via Wi-Fi, and then select among “Hard Hitting” for loamy tracks, “Linear Torque” for hardpack, or “Smooth Linear” for slippery conditions to optimize power delivery.

Elsewise, the new engine focuses on top-end improvements to further refine that crucial balance between brute force and controllability. The electric starter is powered by a lightweight lithium battery, helping keep the bike’s claimed wet weight to 245 pounds (2 less than the ’17 model). Meanwhile, the aluminum twin-spar frame was redesigned to provide the best balance between straight-line stability and cornering agility. Revisions to the KYB coil-spring fork and shock, plus slender new bodywork, also help make the YZ450F the best big YZ yet.

Likes: Smartphone-enabled engine tuning, electric starting

Dislikes: No backup kickstarter or are we just paranoid?

Verdict: High-tech, hard-hitting, huge refinement

2018 Yamaha YZ450F Specs and Pricing

MSRP $9,199

2018 Yamaha YZ450F Reviews and Comparisons