just fast—it is the fastest. Adding to its
allure is undeniably the best suspension
of 2015. Forget the new generation of air
forks; Yamaha’s old-school SSS suspension
blows them away. No contest.
So, here is a bike that is faster and
better suspended than anything on the
track, yet it is locked in third place. Why?
Because everything else about the YZ450F
is an acquired taste. The airbox is ungainly,
awkward and loud. The trick Dzus fasten-
ers on the airbox fly off and often rip your
pants in the process. The overall feel of
the bike is that it is tall, bulky, wide and
heavy. In fact, it isn’t any taller, bulkier,
wider or heavier than its competition—but
it feels like it is. The brakes are inade-
quate for a bike this powerful. The han-
dling is still disconcerting at the entrance
to turns. The rubber grommets fall out of
the radiator scoops and gas-cap cover.
Why should it lose? Its charms (power
and suspension) are ruined by its overall
What skill level is the YZ450F best
suited for? This bike can withstand a
direct hit by a smart bomb. Thus, it is the
perfect bike for a rider who wants a bike
that will last for 10 years without needing
to be worked on.
The last word? Proof positive that the
fastest bike doesn’t always win.