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News: 2023 Yamaha YZ450F

It’s nearly 50 years since Yamaha won its first ever World Motocross Championship, and the past half-century has seen the company’s off-road competition models consistently demonstrate their winning performance by clinching just about every major FIM Motocross and US Supercross title with 4-stroke and 2-stroke machinery.

During 2022 Monster Energy Yamaha factory riders Jeremy Seewer and Maxime Renaux (MXGP) and Jago Geerts (MX2) have been taking regular podiums in FIM Grand Prix – while Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing riders have dominated US Supercross, with Eli Tomac taking the 450SX Championship and Christian Craig winning the 250SX West title.

This year, once again, Yamaha demonstrates its commitment to all areas of Off Road Competition by offering one of the widest ranges of highly competitive motocross and enduro bikes – as well as line of youth machines including the legendary PW50.

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Yamaha Motor Europe

Following recent major upgrades, the 250cc, 125cc, 85cc and 65cc motocross models and the 450cc and 250cc enduro bikes are fitted with new graphics.

For 2023 Yamaha has focused its attention on the development of an all new YZ450F motocross machine that is lighter, faster and easier to ride, and is designed to live up to its distinguished heritage.

All-new YZ450F (Putting the rider first: A new path to the victorYZone)

Equipped with a lighter and more powerful new engine as well as a newly developed lightweight chassis and all-new ergonomic bodywork, the 2023 YZ450F represents a major step forward for Yamaha’s flagship motocross machine.

On every motorcycle the rider and machine must work in harmony to achieve optimum performance, and this is particularly true for a motocross machine where constant body weight shifting is required when accelerating, braking and cornering. A successful Off Road Competition bike needs to behave as an extension of the rider’s body and mind, and for this reason the YZ450F development team started out with the needs and expectations of the rider as their primary focus.

Rider-centric design

Rather than introducing new technology for technology’s sake, Yamaha’s designers have put the rider first and followed a rider-centric approach which constantly evaluated the potential advantages that any new feature would offer to a wide range of riders with different skill levels.

The result is a highly competitive motocross bike that is fast as well as fun to ride on every type of track – whether the rider is a seasoned pro or a weekend racer. Producing 5% more power across the range and weighing just 109 kg with a full tank of fuel, this new model is designed to reaffirm Yamaha’s position as one of the leading brands in motocross.

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Yamaha Motor Europe

All new YZ450F engine: Lighter, faster, easier.

For 2023 the YZ450F’s engine has undergone a total redesign, with every component reviewed and analysed, making this the most significant change to the powerplant since the original reversed-head layout was introduced in 2010. With a front facing intake and rear exit exhaust, this unique engine layout delivers a high level of running efficiency – and the positions of the airbox, fuel tank and exhaust and the rearwards slanted cylinder contributes towards mass centralization.

Lighter and more durable, the all new engine is designed to deliver more linear output characteristics for stronger and better pulling power with improved driveability, making the 2023 model easier to ride at all engine speeds.

New piston, lightweight cylinder and redesigned crank assembly

The reversed-head engine benefits from an optimized combustion chamber and a newly designed piston, as well as a lighter weight cylinder body that enhance power output and behaviour. To accommodate a 500rpm rev limit increase the new engine is equipped with a high-precision, low-friction cam chain – and for increased running efficiency the crank assembly and con road are redesigned, and a lighter plain bearing replaces the previous needle roller design. A new single balancer weight features a new hollow balancer shaft, and this improved lighter design reduces vibration.

Increased air intake volume

For 2023 the high-efficiency front facing intake design is further improved by a reshaped intake port with a straighter passage to the cylinder head and the use of larger diameter 39mm titanium intake valves that increase air intake volume by 9% at maximum valve lift. To complement the improved intake layout, the exhaust port’s shape is also revised to give a smoother connection to the exhaust.

New air intake routing with vortex airbox

There is a completely new air intake path, with fresh air now channelled through the space between the fuel tank, frame, seat and sidepanels. This re-routed airflow helps to prevent water, dust and mud from entering airbox, and results in a lighter and slimmer machine with more compact bodywork. The 2023 model is also fitted with a highly efficient air box design which creates a vortex so that dust is separated from the incoming air by centrifugal forces before it enters the new round three-dimensional filter.

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Yamaha Motor Europe

Newly designed transmission and lightweight clutch

To match the engine’s 5% increase in overall power a newly designed transmission is fitted. The distance between the drive shafts has been widened and the diameter of each gear increased to reduce weight and enhance the strength of the 5-speed gearbox. The previous model’s 2-piece steel/aluminium clutch is replaced by a durable and lightweight one-piece steel design with disc springs instead of conventional coil springs. This new clutch is significantly lighter and slimmer, weighing 0.75kg less – and there’s a more direct feel and  lighter pull at the lever.

Increased durability

For increased durability across the more powerful engine’s wider rpm range, the new YZ450F engine is equipped with an updated cooling system as well as a new dry sump lubrication system – and there’s also a new timing chain and tensioner, and a newly designed con rod.

Redesigned aluminium bilateral beam frame

Following the company’s rider-centric approach, Yamaha’s engineers have focused on redesigning the aluminium bilateral beam frame to provide a lighter feel, increased agility and improved stability.

The character and behaviour of the new chassis is determined by many factors, including the geometry, specific rigidity balance of each separate component, and the way the components interact with each other. A significant change for 2023 is the relocation of the joint between the tank rails and head pipe, which is now 15mm lower than previously – and the joint between the frame tubing that connects the tank rails to the downtube has also been lowered by the same amount.

Other important changes include increasing the rigidity of the downtube as well as the cross tube and swingarm pivot area – and the new frame now features a 4mm thick steel front engine mount with three through bolts – as opposed to an 8mm thick aluminium engine mount with one through bolt.

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Yamaha Motor Europe

Compact and slim next generation bodywork

The YZ450F is equipped with completely new ‘Horizontal Movement’ bodywork that gives this flagship motocross machine a sleek and tight new look. Every single exterior panel is redesigned, and the result is a slimmer and more compact body with a seamless and rounded finish giving increased agility for rapid body weight shifting.

A new fresh air supply route to the intake enables the elimination of the front air ducts, and this has allowed the fitment of much more compact shrouds with a reduced width of 50mm, as well as a narrower new fuel tank – giving a much slimmer centre section.

The compact front fender is matched by a new shorter rear fender, and together with the new seat, air filter cover and fuel tank, the YZ450F has a flatter horizontal profile and a much shorter front to rear body length. New side panels and fork guards complete the dynamic new look.

Revised rider triangle

The relative positions of all three elements of the rider triangle – namely the seat, handlebars and footrests – have been changed to achieve an idealized riding position for varying physiques. The seat height is increased by 5mm and features a much flatter surface. Another improvement is the more rounded profile of the seat’s left and right sides, making lateral body movement easier and more comfortable.

Footrests are now positioned 5mm lower, giving a total increase of 10mm in legroom to accommodate larger riders, and the 4-position adjustable handlebars are moved to give a more natural riding position – while the rubber handlebar mounts ensure riding comfort.

Updated KYB front and rear suspension valving

New suspension valving improve bump absorption performance and increase levels of traction – and for easier set up the best-in-class KYB forks are equipped with a hand-adjustable compression damping adjuster. Riders can now access clear information and recommendations on suspension settings via the Power Tuner app on their smartphone, taking the guesswork out of adjustments.

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Yamaha Motor Europe

Improved rear-brake feel

The rear brake plays a key role in directional changes and effective corner entry, and the degree of feel transmitted to the rider is crucial for maintaining control. For this reason, the new model is equipped with a new rear hose with reduced rigidity that improves the balance of the brake input and gives the rider more accurate control.

New adjustable Traction Control System

The use of a new Traction Control System is another example of how Yamaha’s rider-centric philosophy is focused on introducing technology that works for the benefit of the YZ450F rider. This electronic control system offers two levels of assistance as well as an OFF function, and by preventing the machine losing traction entirely it enables the rider to fully concentrate on the track ahead. The YZ450F’s new Traction Control System is controlled via the Power Tuner app, enabling the rider to select their own preferred degree of intervention to match track conditions, changing weather and skill level.

Refined Launch Control System

The Launch Control System features a new ‘Rev limit’ function that can be set with a maximum rpm between 6,000rpm and 11,000rpm in 500rpm increments, allowing the rider power off the line at full throttle and concentrate on getting the holeshot. When the launch control system recognizes that the start has been completed the Rev limit function automatically turns of  and when 3rd gear is reached the Launch Control system is deactivated.

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Yamaha Motor Europe

Reduced weight

Yamaha’s designers have analysed every major and minor component in their mission to make the new YZ450F one of the lightest machines in the category – measured ‘wet’ with a full tank of fuel.

A new fuel pump, airbox and chain guide make significant contributions to the lower weight and help to centralize mass for increased chassis agility. . Even the smallest parts – including the throttle cable, handlebar switches and water pump impeller – have been redesigned to get weight down to just 109 kg wet – a reduction of 2,3 kg.

More intuitive new Power Tuner app

For 2023 Power Tuner app has been upgraded and features an intuitive ‘Quick Tuning’ function that makes it much easier and quicker to select the desired engine characteristics by sliding a scrollbar that runs from ‘Smooth’ through to ‘Aggressive’. The new app includes additional functions including a lap timer, rpm, fuel consumption, speed and other data, and there is also a suspension FAQ page that helps the YZ450F owner to achieve their best set up.

Technical Highlights
  • All-new lighter, slimmer and more compact 450cc engine
  • Increased linear power at all engine speeds, and 500rpm higher rev limit
  • Increased air intake capacity with 39mm intake valves
  • Revised 5-speed transmission and new lightweight clutch
  • New dry sump lubrication system
  • 2,3 kg overall bike weight reduction to 109 kg wet with full tank of fuel
  • Redesigned bilateral aluminium beam frame with revised rigidity balance
  • Updated front fork and rear shock internal valving
  • New hand adjustable front fork compression damping adjuster
  • Slimmer and more compact bodywork for increased rider agility
  • Flatter and narrower seat for greater freedom of movement
  • New 3-mode adjustable Traction Control System
  • Updated Launch Control System
  • New more intuitive Power Tuner app with Quick Tuning
  • New lap timer feature and more
  • FAQ-style suspension set up guidance
Availability, colour options and price

The new YZ450F will be available from November 2022 and will be offered in 2 colour options: Icon Blue and Monster Black. The YZ450F Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition features black bodywork with blue highlights and Monster Energy graphics, inspired by the look of the factory race bikes. Price may vary per country, please contact your national Yamaha distributor for more information.

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Yamaha Motor Europe

Yamaha motocross and enduro models for 2023

Featuring a wide selection of 4-stroke and 2-stroke models – from the all-new YZ450F through to the YZ65 – as well as the WR-F enduro machines – Yamaha’s 2023 Off Road Competition line up is one of the most competitive and diverse ranges.

With a winning record in MX2 Grand Prix and US Supercross – including Maxime Renaux taking the 2021 MX2 World Championship – the YZ250F’s speed and agility are legendary. Featuring Yamaha’s high-efficiency reversed-head engine and lightweight aluminium chassis, it’s the 250cc 4-stroke of choice for ambitious racers.

Yamaha made its name with 2-strokes, and the YZ125 and YZ250 are amongst the best in their respective classes. With their super-agile handling and explosive performance, these lightweight motocrossers have gained a massive and loyal following amongst 2-stroke fanatics.

The latest YZ85 reinforces its position as one of the leading machines in the youth racing class – and with its pure racing DNA the YZ65 gives new racers the very best start in the sport of motocross.

Delivering outstanding performance and easy agility, Yamaha’s WR450F and WR250F enduro bikes have been developed from the winning motocross machinery, and benefit from specific enduro features such as a wide-ratio gearbox, revised intake and exhaust systems, special mapping and cooling systems and more to ensure strong and useable performance.

Yamaha’s TT-R kids bike range features a model to suit riders of all ages. Powered by reliable and easy-to-maintain 4-stroke air-cooled engines, the TT-R50, TT-R110 and TT-R125 provide years of family fun and lasting memories. And, of course, there’s the legendary PW50 2-stroke, the ultimate beginner’s bike with fully automatic transmission, shaft drive and handlebar mounted brake levers. With sales of around 400,000 units, it’s been the number one choice for kids for 40 years and counting!

Availability, colour options and price

These motocross and enduro models are supplied in Yamaha’s latest generation Icon Blue racing colour scheme with new graphics and will be available from July 2022 onwards, availability varies per model.

YZ250F, YZ250 and YZ125 will also be available in Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition specification, featuring black bodywork with blue highlights and Monster Energy graphics inspired by the design of the Yamaha Factory riders winning machines.

Price may vary per country, please contact your national Yamaha distributor for more information.

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MX Vice Editor || 25