be riding a rocket to the moon. This has always been a very
fast bike at high rpm, but now the bottom end is torqued up
to make it more responsive off idle.
We did try different maps on the 2016 YZ450F and had
some luck with advancing the timing for a sharper feel, but
overall the stock map provided the best all-around power.
As always, there were issues with the YZ450F transmission
feeling a little gappy. This has been a problem since 2014
when Yamaha tried to fix one tranny problem and
inadvertently caused another. Our biggest shifting issue
has alway been on the upshift from second to third. We
resorted to an old trick, which was standard on the 2014
YZ450F—a 49-tooth rear sprocket in place of the stock 48.
This gave us more thrust from gear to gear and allowed
us to get to third gear sooner, where the increase in
low-to-mid power could be used to its fullest.
Q: HOW DOES IT RUN ON THE DYNO?
A: We didn’t expect Yamaha’s engine mods to result in
more peak horsepower since they were designed to fluff up
the low-to-mid and not the top. It should be noted that the
top doesn’t need any help. The 2016 Yamaha YZ450F’s peak
horsepower was 56. 85 at 9800. That’s fast, although the
peak is rather high in the rpm range. The 2015 YZ450F
made 56. 90 horsepower.
Just as Yamaha’s engineers promised, we saw an
increase in both low-end horsepower and torque from 5000
rpm to 6500 rpm. After that, the 2015 and 2016 powerbands
were fairly identical.
Q: KAYABA SSS SUSPENSION OVER AIR FORKS?
( 6) Front brake. It’s better to be late to the party
than to miss it altogether. The 2016 Yamaha YZ450F
gets a 270mm front rotor to boost its braking power.
The stronger brake will help settle the YZ450F chassis at
turn-in, because the previous 250mm brake wasn’t able to
stop the blue beast with any alacrity.
Q: IS ANYTHING ELSE NEW ON THE 2016
A: Yes. The fabulous Kayaba SSS suspension has
been tweaked with minor valving changes front and rear.
The fuel-injection mapping has been reconfigured, and the
graphics have been updated. For those who would like
to relive the glory days, the YZ450F is also available in a
60th Anniversary Yellow edition (for a $100 surcharge).
Q: HOW DOES IT RUN ON THE TRACK?
A: We suppose the real question to ask is whether
the 2016 Yamaha YZ450F is faster than the 2015 model.
It is, but, then again, it isn’t. The 2014 model actually had
a little more oomph than either the 2015 or 2016—
attributable to its one-tooth-lower gearing and more aggressive
mapping. That said, the 2016 Yamaha YZ450F stands
apart from its two brethren in that the cam change
and 3% leaner mapping fill in the bottom of the
powerband where the previous YZ450Fs were weak.
What you get with the 2016 YZ450F is an easier-to-ride
bike in the slower sections of the track. It has half-throttle
2016 Yamaha YZ450F: The
best reasons to buy a Yamaha
YZ450F is that it has great SSS
suspension, is blazing fast at
high rpm, and you can’t break
it (even if you try).