We arrived to see the factory OTSFF Yamaha Team rig complete with 2017 MX1 champion Matt Goerke’s title-winning bike. The 'bLU cRU' – as OTSFF team members are known – are a proud bunch, having also won the MX2 class with Shawn Maffenbeier on an MX101 Yamaha. They were truly excited about their new offering. OTSFF Yamaha's crew chief, Steve Simms, was having a look at the new beast for the first time and saw what upgrades were made to the A-stock bike.
After a 45-minute presentation, it was time to take one of these babies out on the track. They had two of the new 450s – one blue and the other white – both available at the same price. During the presentation, Graeme Jones from Yamaha stated Yamaha has discovered the new white plastic with the blue/purple colour scheme was a love it or hate it affair. He was correct – I loved it and the other three people at my table hated it. The blue 450 was set up with a mild ignition map and the white bike had a more aggressive one.
For a change, I brought another test rider with me in Intermediate class rider Owen Whelan. Since this is an all-new from the ground up YZ450 Yamaha, I thought Owen – who normally rides the previous generation 450 Yamaha – could give me a better idea of the potential differences between the old and the new bike.
The highlights of the new model are it is narrower, lighter and features an electric start with a programmable ignition that uses an app on your phone. A full technical report and our riding impressions are available in the next edition of our MX and Off-Road magazine along with some fantastic Peter Marcelli photography.
By Brad Coles