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2013 Yamaha YFZ450R Preview


by Guillaume Rivard ,

The Yamaha YFZ450R is back after a one-year hiatus, and race-ready sport ATV enthusiasts must be ecstatic since it's billed as the most capable racer the Japanese automaker has ever developed.

Racy engine
Compared with the regular model, the engine that motivates the 2013 Yamaha YFZ450R adds electronic fuel injection, titanium valves, and dual overhead camshafts, while slightly increasing its compression ratio from 11.4:1 to 11.6:1. This results in plenty of top-end power. Engineers have also tweaked the liquid-cooled, 449cc single-cylinder to boost low- and mid-range torque. Prepare yourself for explosive acceleration out of corners.

Idle Speed Control (ISC) and the 42-mm Mikuni throttle body will deliver reliable starting and constantly monitor variables such as air temperature, intake pressure, engine temperature, throttle position and more, to ensure the right fuel delivery. A 5-speed manual transmission with a chain final drive completes the package.

Athletic stance is the key

The 2013 Yamaha YFZ450R is built on a lightweight, no-weld cast aluminum frame that makes it more rigid and rugged. With a wider track and longer-travel, premium suspension (25 cm front; 27.9 cm rear), this machine will prove stable and agile at the same time.

The piggyback shocks at both ends feature high/low-speed compression and rebound adjustment, as well as threaded preload adjustment. Moreover, the front Wide Arc A-arms contribute to superior ground clearance and obstacle-clearing ability.

Fine-tuning on race day

The 2013 Yamaha YFZ450R's ProTaper handlebars are mounted on 4-way clamps, allowing riders to choose the most ergonomic position: standard, 10-mm or 20-mm forward, or 10-mm back. The thumb throttle is designed to minimize effort, while the front flip-type parking brake is removable for racing. The front brake lever is adjustable, and the clutch lever is adjustable on the fly.

The design of the rider's seat and body panels on the 2013 Yamaha YFZ450R aims to reduce fatigue and help riders keep pushing the machine all day long. Said panels can easily be removed for quick, simple maintenance. Just as it should, the lone colour option for this racer is Team Yamaha Blue.

2013 Yamaha YFZ450R 3/4 view
Photo: Yamaha

What about the competition?

Despite its lightweight chassis, the 2013 Yamaha YFZ450R weighs 184 kg (full of fuel and oil) -- more than its direct competitors, including the Honda TRX450R, Kawasaki KFX450R, and Can-Am DS 450. At $10,999, it's also more expensive. However, given Yamaha's racing expertise and quality engineering, the new YFZ450R will likely be a terror on motocross courses. In fact, it's already received best-in-class honours from various ATV magazines in the U.S.