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After a bit of speculation online and a teaser getting dropped by Cooper Webb on social media, Yamaha finally released details on their 2018 YZ450F, and the racer has undergone a major redesign.

2018 yamaha yz450f introduced new

Yamaha was sure to focus on the YZ450F’s history as the first modern production 4-stroke motocrosser and emphasized the advancements that have brought the bike up to this point. For the 2018 model, the overall philosophy focused on controllability, ease of use and power. That translated into a brand new engine, a thinner body width, redesigned chassis geometry and new tech that should bring an entirely new level of connectivity to your YZ.

Starting off, the new engine will have more controllable power down low along with more pull in the high rpms due to refinements in the cylinder head and cam profiles. Yamaha has also gone to a 44 mm Mikuni throttle body that’s paired with a smaller and more refined throttle position sensor.

yz450f new for 2018

But the biggest change will be the inclusion of a magic button. Electric start will now come standard on the YZ450F along with a lightweight (1.5 pounds) lithium-ion battery. The kickstart lever has been completely removed, though it will be available as an add-on.

The 2018’s chassis is revamped starting with a new frame. The tank rail is now straight as opposed to the “S” curve in previous years, and engine mounts have been redesigned as well. The upper bracket has changed from steel to aluminum and moved further towards the bike’s rear. The rearward tilt of the engine that promotes mass centralization is still there, though new crankcases tweak the cylinder 2 degrees closer to upright.

Rider ergonomics also changed for 2018. Foot position will be the same, but seat positioning will be flatter. 8 mm have been taken off the middle of the saddle, and the rear of the seat is lowered by 19. Bar height is raised 5 mm, and hand positioning is bumped forward 6 mm.

2018 yz450f engine closeup

The profile for the 2018 YZ450F will also play into ergonomics as it’s gone through a slimming down process that’s made the air filter and shroud area up front 16 millimeters more narrow (minus 8 mm each side). The saddle and tank area also got reduced by 18 mm, giving riders the convenience and performance of the YZ’s intake arrangement but with the slim profile that aids in aggressive cornering.

Another big upgrade is the move to KYB’s next-gen suspension. It’s still a spring fork up front, but it’s received some serious changes.  The piston has gone from a 24 mm to a 25 mm diameter and significant changes were made to the mid-speed valving. Rearwards, the shock has increased oil capacity and a stiffer spring rate. On both ends, the oil flow and damping characteristics were worked on heavily, resulting in better impact absorption with more stability on the rebound.

new head for the 2018 yz450f

Finally, the 2018 YZ450F will come with a brand new, and industry first, Power Tuner app. But it’s more than just an app. The 2018 YZ will actually broadcast onboard Wi-Fi that’s built-in and emitted from a module located just behind the rear number plate opposite the exhaust. With your YZ450F paired to the app, you’ll have the power to wirelessly tune your fuel and ignition, log settings, track maintenance intervals—eliminating the need for an hour meter—and monitor the overall function of your bike.

The Power Tuner app seems to hide a lot of power under its user-friendly interface, and that sets an excellent precedent that other manufacturers will need to catch up to. We’re excited to get our hands on the new tech.

2018 yz450f and yz250f lineup
Image courtesy of Yamaha

It’s also worth mentioning that certain previous features are returning on the 2018 YZ450F. Launch control, in-molded graphics, 4-position modular handlebar mounts, and the 55 millimeter wide footpegs are all returning for the new year. Overall, the 2018 YZ450F will weigh in with a wet weight of 245 pounds, exactly 2 pounds lighter than the 2017 model.

Though the YZ450F was the focus of Yamaha’s announcement, there was some info on the rest of their off-road line. The WR250F got a good bump in power all the way from 4 to 11 thousand rpm, and  Yamaha also reworked the clutch and the chassis. The WR450F got its suspension refined, and both WR models had their kickstart levers removed. It’s also worth mentioning that Yamaha will have a white colorway available that’s unique to the YZ250F and YZ450F.

2018 yz450f retro colors graphics
Image courtesy of Yamaha

We’re excited at the announcements Yamaha came out with. We can’t wait to try the new tuner app, and more importantly, see how the revamped 2018 YZ450F stacks up against other new bikes like Honda’s CRF450R. It’ll definitely be exciting.

You can see the detailed specs below or visit Yamaha’s site for more details.

2018 yamaha yz450f colorwars
Image courtesy of Yamaha

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2018 Yamaha YZ450F Specs

2018 YZ450F

Engine Type  449cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 4 titanium valves
Bore x Stroke  97.0mm x 60.8mm
 Compression Ratio  12.8:1
 Fuel Delivery  Keihin Throttle Body, 44mm
 Ignition  TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
 Transmission  Constant-mesh 5-speed; multiplate wet clutch
 Final Drive  Chain
 Suspension / Front  KYB Speed-Sensitive System inverted fork; fully adjustable, 12.2-in travel
 Suspension / Rear  KYB single shock; fully adjustable, 12.5-in travel
 Brakes / Front  Hydraulic disc, 270mm
Brakes / Rear  Hydraulic disc, 245mm
 Tires / Front  80/100-21 Dunlop MX3S
 Tires / Rear  120/80-19 Dunlop MX3S
 L x W x H  86.0 in x 32.5 in x 50.6 in
 Seat Height 38.6 in
 Wheelbase  58.5 in
 Rake (Caster Angle)  27.33 degrees
 Trail  4.7 in.
 Ground Clearance  13.0 in
 Fuel Capacity  1.6 gallons
 Wet Weight  245 lbs.
 Warranty  30 Day (Limited Factory Warranty)
 Color  Team Yamaha Blue; White