Yamaha tantalized the American dirtbike press with the unveiling of its all-new, electric-start, WiFi-equipped 2018 Yamaha YZ450F about a month ago, and we haven’t stopped drooling over the photos and technical specifications of the bike since then. So, when Yamaha offered us the chance to sample the YZ for ourselves to see if we thought it had a chance at regaining the top spot in the 450cc motocross class, we jumped at the chance, which came on an oven-like day at the world-famous Glen Helen Raceway in Southern California.
The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F, is new, but two changes really take center stage. The first is that the bike now features electric start as a standard item – like KTM, Husqvarna and now Honda, the YZ does away with the kickstarter altogether. However, if you read our preview of the 2018 YZ450F, you already know that its electric starting system is completely different than the one used on Yamaha’s successful WR and FX off-road models. A tiny, 1.5-lb., 2.4Ah/13.2-volt lithium-ion battery powers the starter, which is mounted behind a reverse-inclined cylinder that is positioned to 2 degrees more upright in the chassis than previous YZ450Fs. The second is Yamaha’s industry-first wireless tuning app for dirtbikes, the Yamaha Power Tuner iOS and Android App, which we’ll talk about later.
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