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2018 Yamaha YZ450F Completely Redesigned with Smartphone Tuning

Yamaha announced today a completely new 450F motocrosser incorporating the ability to tune the bike from your smartphone (both Apple and Android phones). Both fueling and ignition timing changes can be adjusted on your smartphone and instantly uploaded to the YZ450F via the bike’s onboard WiFi system. The new YZ450F also gets electric starting, a new frame, and a host of other changes.  Here is the press release from Yamaha:

Rebuilt from the ground up with cutting edge technology, including new engine, frame and bodywork.

Yamaha today unveiled their all-new electric start YZ450F featuring the world’s first smartphone tuning app on a production motocross bike. Powered by a new reverse-head engine, this completely restyled YZ450F gives Yamaha riders the power to discover their real potential.

Equipped with the latest cutting edge technology, and delivering outstanding engine power and agile chassis performance, the new YZ450F connects motocross riders to their bikes like never before, and will launch Yamaha riders into the victory zone when bikes hit dealers in August. This all-new MXGP-bred motocross bike represents the start of a whole new era of advanced racing technology in which the rider feels at one with their machine, and where trackside fine-tuning can be done quickly and easily using the touch screen of a smartphone.

The ideal balance of power and confidence

Yamaha’s designers have set out to build a new kind of motocross bike that delivers the ideal balance of power and confidence to Yamaha riders, as well as offering class leading style, performance and handling.

The engine design features an updated cylinder head, piston, cam profiles, cylinder geometry and more – all working together to deliver class-leading power, with even more controllability. And its new aluminium bilateral beam frame is designed with an optimized engine mounting position to enhance the machine’s balance, while also improving cornering feel and increasing overall rigidity.

World’s first production Power Tuner app

Yamaha is also launching today a specifically designed Yamaha Power Tuner smartphone app for devices running iOS® and Android® systems – making the 2018 YZ450F the world’s first production motocross bike with a smartphone-based wireless engine tuner. Now all Yamaha YZ450F riders can connect with their bike like never before, and dial their engine performance in to suit different riding styles, track conditions and changing weather.

The Yamaha Power Tuner app enables the rider to make quick and easy fuel and ignition mapping changes – uploaded wirelessly to the bike via the communication control unit’s onboard Wi-Fi system – for the ultimate in track-side tuning. A “Log” function allows you to make notes about your riding location, conditions, bike settings and more – giving you a baseline for future rides – and this ground-breaking app can also monitor a range of data such as race settings, maintenance and system diagnostics, engine running time and more.

The new Power Tuner app released with the 2018 YZ450F not only makes it possible to modify engine mapping in even greater detail than before – it also allows users to share settings among the team or with friends, thus evolving the system into a unique tool that helps facilitate communication and enhance Yamaha riders’ performance.

Compact and lightweight electric start

Utilizing a compact starter motor and ultra-lightweight lithium-ion battery, the 2018 YZ450F brings the convenience of push-button starting to the racetrack for effortless restarts under pressure – and more relaxed riding when the clock isn’t ticking. Powered by a high-capacity and ultra-lightweight lithium-ion battery, the system adds minimal weight.

New engine

For 2018 Yamaha has refined the YZ450F’s distinct rearward-slanted cylinder design that features a unique rear facing exhaust and forward-mounted downdraft intake system.

The all-new cylinder head is lighter, and the engine is repositioned in the new frame at a slightly more upright angle for optimized front weight distribution. The new engine is equipped with new cam profiles as well as a new crankshaft and a stronger high-compression “box bridge” piston design with DLC-coated (Diamond-like-Carbon) pin – and now breathes through a new 44mm Mikuni® throttle body. Together these updates give the rider an ideal balance of 450cc class power with exceptional control and response.

The transmission and clutch have been overhauled for a more direct connection as well as enhanced strength. Revised gears with a wider surface area, uprated clutch plates and a stiffer outer pressure plate all combine to boost durability.

For improved performance and weight distribution the YZ450F’s radiators are larger and angled more directly in the incoming air stream for improved cooling under the most demanding race conditions. The innovative wraparound exhaust pipe design improves both mass centralization and power development, and features revised geometry for 2018. This layout moves the rear end of the exhaust pipe farther forward and enables a muffler position close to the center of the mass.

Returning for the 2018 model, Yamaha’s Launch Control System (LCS) is integrated into the YZ450F’s new engine character to deliver quicker, smoother race starts. By boosting controllability when accelerating hard out of the gate, the LCS gives optimized power delivery and ensures that the rider has the best chance to grab the holeshot and lead the pack into the first turn.

2018 YZ450F Engine and Electronics
Main Technical Changes

  • New high performance reverse head engine
  • New lightweight cylinder head
  • New cam profiles and crankshaft
  • Power Tuner with new wireless smartphone app
  • New lightweight electric starter with lithium-ion battery
  • Engine repositioned in frame at a more upright angle
  • Stronger high compression piston design with DLC coated pin
  • 44mm Mikuni® throttle body
  • Larger radiators
  • More centralized muffler positioning

New aluminium frame and optimized ergonomics

The YZ450F benefits from a compact new bilateral beam frame that further refines this motocross bike’s famously instinctive handling. Refined upper frame bracing increases rigidity, while the redesigned rear frame spars and the new engine mounts improve mass centralization to provide an ideal balance between cornering feel and straight-line rigidity. Put simply, the new frame is designed for the best possible balance of bump absorption, stiffness and cornering.

Surrounding this fully rebuilt chassis, the 2018 YZ450F features a new lighter and more compact body from tip to tail that not only looks sharper, but also gives improved ergonomics for easy rider mobility.

A smaller 6.2 litre fuel tank and redesigned top-mounted airbox together with new concave radiator shrouds give a slimmer knee grip area that not only improves styling, but offers better knee grip and enhanced overall riding support for added controllability. And the seat width has been reduced by 9mm and is almost 20mm lower towards the tail end, giving a flatter profile for better rider mobility during front/rear weight shifting.

Class-leading KYB® suspension

The easily tuned, fully adjustable KYB® spring-type forks feature speed sensitive damping that provides exceptional balance between handling and bump absorption for race-winning performance. Their AOS (air-oil-separate) design is widely regarded as being one of the industry’s leading systems, giving excellent low speed feel with high-speed stability – and offers the added advantage of being easy to set up.

The KYB® rear shock boasts new damping characteristics to match the new chassis, and is equipped with a lighter spring for reduced weight – and for consistent damping performance in longer races, the reservoir capacity has been increased by 30cc.

New graphics and blue rims

The all-new slimline bodywork is highlighted with the use of new graphics, and the new 2018 YZ450F is also equipped with blue wheel rims that reinforce its factory bike DNA.

2018 YZ450F Chassis and Ergonomics
Main Technical Changes

  • Newly designed high-rigidity bilateral beam frame
  • New engine mounts for mass centralization
  • Narrower and flatter seat for improved rider manoeuvrability
  • Slimmer, more compact body design
  • Optimised suspension matching the new frame
  • Redesigned KYB® rear shock with larger reservoir
  • Compact 6.2-litre fuel tank
  • New graphics and blue wheel rims

Availability and retail price

The all-new 2018 YZ450F will be available at Yamaha dealers starting in August 2017. Pricing varies per country. Please contact your local press officer for country specific information.

Connected as One

The 2018 YZ450F raises the bar in the world of motocross machine design by offering the very highest level of connectivity between the rider and the bike, both in terms of instant tuneability and also rider/machine unity. You could not be more Connected as One with the YZ450F.

Rest of the 2018 YZ range

For 2018 the YZ250F and YZ 2-stroke models will also feature new graphics as well as new blue wheel rims.

GYTR off road racing parts

Yamaha dealers will again be able to supply competition riders with a wide range of GYTR (Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing) parts for the 2018 YZ450F. Full details will be available on the Yamaha official website from August 2017.

2017 MX Pro Tour

Yamaha will once again visit various tracks around Europe where customers will be able to test, feel and gain knowledge about the 2018 YZ range. Complete details will be live on national Yamaha websites in July.

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. peglegs says:

    jeez, most you guyz need stop the nit-picking and work on your skills. Almost every bike made now is much more capable than the people posting here are.
    Be happy Yamaha does things other company’s will not. I am happy Yamaha takes the extra step and their reliability is second to none.

  2. Half Baked says:

    All new from the ground up and it still looks like Frankenstein’s monster. The new model includes a ridiculous wrap-around header pipe and completely half-assed perimeter aluminum frame. And when will they get rid of the absurdly gimmicky backward cylinder head.

    • MotoMaster39 says:

      Honestly, I think the perimeter frame is the biggest upgrade compared to the last model.There’s a reason why Yamaha was the only Japanese OEM making a backbone style AL frame. Hopefully they finally got rid of the terrible Yamaha MX ergos where the pegs feel super high up and make you jump nose-low. The bike still looks pretty porky around the radiator shrouds from the above-bike photos I have seen.

  3. Gutterslob says:

    Pretty soon, you won’t need to reach over to pull out the keys each time your riding mate challenges you to a drag race at the lights. Just whip out your phone and hack his ass.

  4. GSJim says:

    I realize a lot of these comments are tongue in cheek but some of you guys need to loosen up the tin foil hats, it’s cutting off the flow of blood to your brains.
    This technology has been available for close to a decade in Motocross bikes . It was done by plugging in the bike to a laptop and changing these settings. The only difference here is the way of communicating with the bike. There was always a limit on the amount of change you could make so you don’t blow up your engine prematurely.
    Although not as sophisticated as this I have a piece of diagnostic equipment that uses wifi on two of my Adventure bikes to perform certain functions, again nothing new.
    And to whoever asked, no, there is no communication allowed between rider and crew during professional motocross/supercross.
    I think the PR guy got a little carried away with his press release.

    • blitz11 says:

      No, no, no.

      This isn’t the same as the past 10 years. Now the bike has a mind of its own (quoting the press release): famously instinctive handling.

      Inanimate objects don’t have instincts; only animate things do. This isn’t just a motocross bike, it’s a motocross bike WITH A BRAIN, NERVOUS SYSTEM, AND INSTINCTS.

      The revolution has begun. Watch your back (and your front).

  5. Tom R says:

    Geez, quit playing with your phone, and RIDE!

    • Provologna says:

      Why? Because you say so?

    • Bob says:

      What if playing with my phone makes me ride faster? Is it still BAD NO NOT GOOD in your eyes?

    • Half Baked says:

      The phone in this case is a tool just like any other tool and does not resemble anything like playing with it. And quit telling people what to do.

  6. Gary says:

    Wow, this bike may be a real game (race?) changer. It will be interesting to read actual ride reports to see if this technology really impacts the owner experience. If it does, I’d like to see a street legal SM version of this or something similar.

  7. Fred M. says:

    I don’t want to just adjust my bike. I want to adjust my buddy’s bike when we’re racing each other.

  8. Auphliam says:

    It’s been many years since I’ve been able to make optimal use of MX tools, but this one certainly does look the part. The wifi tuning is an interesting touch. Are motocrossers allowed in-helmet communications?

    • MGNorge says:

      I can just hear it now, “My bike’s been hacked!”

      • Auphliam says:

        Yeah, it’s not that big a stretch to picture someone attempting to use something along the lines of wifi-based drone disabling technology to, say, shut down a competitor’s ignition.

        Reason I asked about the in-helmet communication; A rider could provide immediate feedback to his tuner about the bike’s performance (ie: It’s bogging coming out of the turns, etc.), and the tuner could apply realtime remedies during a race. I imagine the rules committees will be busy.

        • Auphliam says:

          Just read that changes can only be made while the engine is off, which renders my speculation about realtime changes moot.

          • guu says:

            Yamaha’s test rider commented, that he uses the app for quick changes while the bike idles.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I can just hear it now, “My bike’s been hacked!”

        i can hear it now, “i CRASHED because me software CRASHED”.

  9. Stan says:

    This years YZ450F weighs 238 pounds compared to KTM’s 222. Is Yamaha going to add e-start and somehow weigh less than 20 pounds more than the KTM???

    • Half Baked says:

      Yamaha’s website says 245 lbs KTM says 220.9 w/out fuel add 11.5 lbs of gas and the Yamaha is only 12.5 lbs heavier than the KTM.

  10. Stan says:

    No mention of weight. The KTM’s amazingly the lightest and includes electric starting.
    Is Yamaha adding e-start and somehow lightening a bike that this year weighs 238 pounds compared to KTM’s 222 pounds???

  11. John says:

    If only they’d put half this much effort into updating their XT series.

    • Random says:

      +1, the 660 R was a great do-it-all bike, but essentially the same since 2005. 48 hp when the KTMs are reaching 70.

      • Fred M. says:

        That underslung exhaust made it a no-go for real off-road riding.

        • Random says:

          I concur, but it’s a great candidate for a scrambler type exhaust, differently from the lack of functionality of this mod on some customs and modern classics. And it depends on what you consider “real” off roading, seen some doing challenging terrain just staying away from big rocks and logs.

    • Fred M. says:

      They won’t. The Japanese manufacturers have ceded the serious dual sport market to the Europeans while they concentrate on the much more lucrative adventure bike market (even rebranding their aging dual-sports “adventure bikes” to create an economical, low-end offering in the adventure bike category).

      If you want a serious dual-sport, you buy a KTM 500 EXC-F, Husqvarna FE 501, or Beta 500 RR-S and spend somewhere north of $10K. If you want a cheap play bike, then you buy a Japanese dual sport. But don’t hold your breath for any major updates from the Big Four.

    • dt 175 says:


    • richard says:

      the XT is a budget the 250R ?

    • richard says:

      the XT is a budget minded model..designed to keep the price down….they could update the suspension like Honda CRF250L..if you want performance bike a WR250R..descent at 7k as opposed to the KTM..$$$

  12. TF says:

    Yeah, but can you use Siri and Bluetooth and make adjustments while your riding?

  13. Pacer says:

    With a splash of 1991 blue.

  14. Endurorider says:

    WiFi access, good idea as long as they thought out the security aspects.

    • TF says:

      Yeah, Honda will put hackers in the stands to make sure you don’t get the holeshot.

    • Jon says:

      I’d be just as concerned about long term support – what’ll happen when the bike is 10 years old and no phones will run apps that stopped being updated in 2019?

      • Random says:

        I’ve read somewhere about some expensive piece of kit (car, bike or something like this, can’t remember) that needs a 1991 laptop to run well.

        Edit: found it, it’s the McLaren F1. Guess the bike will have to keep an old cellphone to work well too.

      • Roadrash1 says:

        I don’t think anyone who races a ten year old MX bike is looking for the small edge the tuning might enable. There might be a really easy way to return to base tune. Which would certainly be good enough for anyone riding a ten year old dirt bike. Just my 2 cents though…

        • guu says:

          Yeah, really if you are racing 10-year-old bike or even older, than ECU tuning isn’t your biggest support issue. These are race bikes, not collector items like the McLaren road car.

      • Half Baked says:

        Mikuni has really done an outstanding job of supporting their carburetors with complete systems and parts available for models going all the way back to the 60’s. There’s every possibility they will do the same for their EFI components.

  15. Dino says:

    Holeshot?? Yup, there’s an App for that!

  16. Tommy D says:

    I see connected products being very popular going forward. The R1M’s app is just the beginning. This is also a benefit to the manufactures as logs from the ECU can easily be emailed via a phone for any issues with warranty work. Double edged sword…

    • Curly says:

      Your mean we won’t be able to put in a fraudulent claim when we miss a shift and rev it to 22k and bend all the valves? Darn that just seems so unfair.

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