the bottoming resistance to handle
race speeds, big jumps and rough
motocross conditions as well as before.
It still can’t match the plushness of
the Can-Am DS 450 X mx’s Fox
suspension or well-setup aftermarket
For the track, we went to 1.5 turns
out on high-speed compression from
the stock setting on the front shocks.
For 140- to 160-pound intermediate
racers or beginners up to 190 pounds,
the other stock settings on the front
shocks, seven clicks out on low-speed
compression and 16 out on rebound,
work well. We experimented with the
rear shock adjustments, but returned
to the stock settings—one turn out
on high-speed compression, eight
clicks out on low-speed compression
and 15 clicks out on rebound. For
dunes, we backed out the low-speed
compression—two clicks front and rear.
High-performance 450s have a lot of
compression, so they have a lot of
compression braking in off-throttle
situations. The slipper clutch gives
slightly during deceleration, which
helps the rear wheels roll rather than
skip on things like braking bumps. The
result is a smoother ride and more
control. During acceleration, the clutch
hooks up solidly, and the lever pull is
remarkably light. The clutch is easy to
control for starts, jumps and forceful
exits from turns.
The new clutch joins one of the
best sport quad transmissions ever.
Shifts are always smooth and positive,
and this five-speed has proven to be
WHAT KIND OF SUSPENSION DOES IT
The new YFZ450R SE has the same
piggyback-reservoir front and rear
shocks as last year, but the internal
valving is changed for smoother
response to small, sharp impacts. Like
last year, the shocks have adjustable
high- and low-speed compression
damping, adjustable rebound damping
and adjustable spring preload. Kashima
coating cuts friction for smoother
action and fights wear for less oil
The YFZ has wide, motocross-width
A-arms and 9. 8 inches of travel. Rear
travel is 11 inches. That’s more than
the 8. 4 (front) and 9. 3 inches (rear) you
get with woods-width machines like the
HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?
Compared to last year’s YFZ, the
ride is noticeably smoother and more
forgiving, and the suspension still has
The YFZ450R SE is a motocross-width machine with 9. 8 inches of
front suspension travel, about an inch and a half more than most
woods-width 450s. The black front grab bar is part of the Special
Yamaha’s slipper clutch is the first on a production quad. It slips
slightly on deceleration for a smoother ride in braking bumps, grips
solidly under acceleration and has a light lever pull.
New bodywork creates more room for the rider to move on the machine. This year, SE and
base models have quick-release plastic.
HOW IS THE HANDLING?
Effortless and stable. Yamaha did a
great job of keeping the YFZ450R SE
light and centralizing its weight, so it
responds quickly and easily to cornering
inputs for a motocross-width machine.
The machine’s low, wide stance keeps
it well planted, even when it’s thrown
into bumpy turns or off-camber terrain.
The YFZ’s balanced feel invites you
to push your limits and the machine’s.
The front end stays planted, even under
full power, until you want it to lift. The
Yamaha also stays well-settled on
bumpy high-speed straights and sliding
around turns. It’s also very predictable
on jumps and maneuverable in the air
for a motocross-width quad.
ARE THE BRAKES UP TO SPEED?
Definitely. Twin-piston front and
rear brakes give the YFZ massive