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2011 Yamaha YZ450F First Ride Photo Gallery

We test the Yamaha YZ450F which features only minimal updates for 2011. Read the full story in our 2011 Yamaha YZ450F First Ride.

Slideshow
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The Tuning Fork crew only made a pair of changes to the 2011 Yamaha YZ450F, and if you listen to what Yammie reps have to say, that’s as groundbreaking as the original full-blown redesign.
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The other change is a reshaping of the clutch actuation arm which has a slightly different cam shape and is 6mm longer.
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A red gripper seat cover looks twice as good as the grey one from last year, and add in the slick preprinted backgrounds from Dirt Digits and the ’11 Yamaha is one darn sexy machine.
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Yamaha simply expanded the fuel tank 200cc for a total capacity of 1.64 gallons.
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Yamaha is proud to point out that the 2010 model wasn’t rushed into production and the engineers didn’t need to fix anything for ’11.
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Our test unit was the white/red special edition with black Excel rims and a black rear fender which we find even more attractive.
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There’s no denying it still feels heavy. Yes, it hides the weight very well on the track, but it still isn’t as light as the 2011 Honda CRF450R.
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A different clutch arm ratio is supposed to decrease the amount of free play at the lever over the course of a moto.
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Everything else is the same for 2011, so the four-valve, dual overhead cam engine has the same 97 x 60.8mm internal bore and stroke.
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It should pump out the same 47.3 horsepower and 30.3 lb-ft of torque, or at least very close as every bike varies slightly.
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Fortunately, the Yammie also knows how to rail ruts.
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The Kayaba fork and shock remain one of our favorite setups and combine with the bilateral beam aluminum chassis to give the rider a rock-solid ride.
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The Dunlop 756 rear tread was happy to eat up the soil on both tracks, but for more slippery terrain, we’d be happy to tame down the power output with Yamaha’s handheld Power Tuner.
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Both ends felt a little undersprung on the slower, jumpy track.
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Two mounting holes and offset bar clamps make for a lot of adjustability.
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Quick-spinning rpm is part of the 450’s snappy bottom end, which really felt at home on the soft traction of Racetown 395.
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We do like how wide the pegs are, which gives an extra solid platform and better control over the bike at all times.
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As for the minor changes, an extra splash of fuel is always a good thing though we didn’t notice significant changes in the clutch. We adjusted the free play a regular amount.
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It has a great engine, good suspension on a stable chassis and the controls function smoothly.
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The Yamaha proved its ability to adapt to fast,
open tracks or tighter layouts.