2018 Yamaha YZ450F: A motocrosser you can tune with your smartphone
Yamaha has made a bunch of changes to its YZ450F motocross racer for 2018, including an electric start, new suspension, a new frame and a revised "high traction" engine. It also has a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, which gives riders the ability to adjust the fueling and ignition maps through a smartphone app.
The new YZ450F becomes the first production motocrosser with a smartphone tuning app, allowing riders to profoundly stuff up their machines by the side of the trail at the touch of a fingertip.
The Power Tuner mobile app provides a visual interface for editing, saving and sharing settings for fuel and ignition mapping changes. It connects to the bike through a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, and also lets riders log and share notes, monitor race settings and system diagnostics.
But beyond this bit of wireless fun, the YZ has had a pretty comprehensive makeover.
The bilateral beam frame has been redesigned to optimize vertical and torsional rigidity. The reverse-tilting single cylinder engine gets a new crankshaft, a stronger diamond-like carbon coated piston, new cam profiles and a new 44 mm Mikuni throttle body.
The gearbox and clutch have been reworked to last longer, and despite bigger radiators and the addition of an electric starter motor, the bike's one kilo lighter than the 2017 model at just 111 kg wet.
New fully-adjustable KYB suspension at either end combines with a 3 mm longer trail at the front for increased straight-line stability, and a lighter, shorter swingarm at the rear to keep it nimble in the tight stuff.
Servicing should be a little easier, too, with a single clip to open the airbox, and a clip-in filter cage replacing the previous effort that used a bolt and required tools to play with.
There are no figures available on peak power or torque, but if those are a concern for you on a 111 kg, 450cc mud missile, you're a far better rider than me.
The 2018 YZ450F will hit showrooms this August at a retail price of US$9,199. Lots of photos in the gallery, enjoy!