2009 Yamaha YFZ450R First Look

September 10, 2008
Steve Atlas
Steve Atlas
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Professional-grade speed and an attitude to match, Steve Atlas is the new blood at MotoUSA. Atlas has AMA racing creds that are even more extensive than his driving record.

Starting with an already class-leading engine  Yamaha opted to keep with the same trusty 499cc cylinder and cylinder head as the previous model  while updating the overhead cams in an effort to gain low-mid torque without sacrificing top-end.
Already producing one of the best racing quads on the market, Yamaha ups the ante in 2009 with an all-new version of the YFZ450R.

Yamaha arguably already had the best 450cc racing ATV on the market, so one would think they would ride that success, adding a few minor changes to keep costs low, and pile in the cash. Wrong. That’s not how Yamaha operates – never has been and hopefully never will be. Innovation is the key to Yamaha’s success, hence it is no surprise that all you ATV junkies can now say hello to an all-new Yamaha YFZ450R for 2009.

Starting with an already class-leading engine, Yamaha opted to keep with the same trusty 499cc cylinder and cylinder head as the previous model, while updating the overhead cams in an effort to gain low-mid torque without sacrificing top-end. The bottom-end now features updated crankcases, which houses a new crankshaft that has been beefed up to handle the extra torque. This is mated to a new counterbalancer with an increased ratio to keep vibration down. Inside the cases now sits the oil tank to keep mass more centralized.

Feeding the more powerful beast is a 12-hole fuel injector, aimed to increase fuel atomization and maximize combustion efficiency. The system uses a large, 42mm Mikuni throttle body and includes ISC (Idle Speed Control) for easier starting.

Embracing the updated powerplant is an all-new aluminum twin-spar frame, looking like a direct trickle-down from the two-wheeled motocross world. The sides are made up of large aluminum pieces, as is the rest of the frame with exception of the under-engine cradle. This is steel for added strength, which in turn allows for the engine to be mounted lower to, again, keep the mass more centralized. The front frame is noticeably more narrow than before at the A-arm mounting points, reducing changes in camber as the A-arm travels through the stroke. As for the swingarm, say hello to a new gravity-fed aluminum unit that is said to be much stronger than the previous model.

Overall, the layout of the ATV is much more spacious than the previous model. Softer plastic body panels used in the areas the rider most commonly contacts and a narrower front portion of the seat are aimed at optimizing the rider interface. In layman’s terms: more comfort equals less fatigue.

Hitting the dealers come November  the new Yamaha YFZ comes in Yamaha Racing Blue as well as a red and white edition  both with a retail price of  7 999.
Fully adjustable Kayaba suspension will help sort out all the obstacles faced by the 2009 YFZ450R Dunlop tires.

Weeks and weeks at the Yamaha test track were reportedly spent solely on the shocks. Up front are fully adjustable 44mm KYB piggyback shocks that feature progressive spring rates and are Kashima coated for smoother operation throughout the 10.4 inches of travel. Out back sees a 46mm shock that is also fully adjustable, with low- and high-speed compression damping, and utilizes 11.02 inches of travel.

Specially designed Dunlop tires come shod on motocross-grade wheels at all four ends; 21-inch fronts and 20-inch rears. Dual front disc brakes and a single, wave-type rear disc brake brings the YFZ to a halt when needed. Rounding out the changes is a throttle lever that requires less effort and a new instrument panel located in front fender providing the machine’s vitals.

Hitting the dealers come November, the new Yamaha YFZ comes in Yamaha Racing Blue as well as a red and white edition, both with a retail price of $7,999. Make sure to keep an eye out, because with hype like this, we will be throwing a leg over one as soon as Yamaha will let us…

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