The 2024 Yamaha YZ450F arrived this week and it was immediately abducted by Pete Murray, who rode the 2023 YZ450 all last year. He did well on it, winning another Vet Championship as well as a couple of wooden bears at Mammoth. We put the brakes on Pete while the rest of us took our turns on the new bike. As it turned out, everyone loved Pete’s settings and input.
First of all, the YZ is shockingly fast. It needs detuning not hot-rodding. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the dyno champ last year despite the sensation of power that it delivers. But it does have the most rapid gain between 7500 rpm and 10,000 rpm. That’s the meat of the powerband when you’re shifting through the gears on the way to the first turn, and that’s what yanks your arms out. Yamaha has done a decent job of making all that manageable, but having easy mapping changes at your fingertips with the Yamaha Power tuner smartphone app is irresistible. Right away, we installed Pete’s favorite maps from last year.
Pete’s map was developed by Jamie Ellis at Twisted Development and it makes the YZ more manageable. Pete also made a slight modification to the airbox lid. Usually, riders drill holes trying to get more air into the bike. In this case, Pete taped off part of the air entrance. If you look closely at the airbox lid, there’s an opening on the left that’s closed off on the right. Pete closed off both sides and that resulted in what he calls the “Husky” effect. For years, the Husky had a more restrictive airbox and we always felt that made the FC450 more controllable than the KTM 450SX.
The really big changes last year revolve around the Yamaha chassis. There’s no debate; the new bike has quicker steering and lighter overall handling. Pete’s was fine with that. In fact, while many riders ran more race sag to gain stability, Pete went the other way. The setting we settled on is 102mm while the fork height is stock at 7mm. He weighs about 175 pounds and felt all the clickers were good in their stock position in the rear. He increased rebound damping by 2 clicks in the fork and reduced comparison by 1.
One thing that all our test riders love about the Yamaha is the roomy layout. The 2022 model was cramped, leading most of our admittedly tall riders to install the optional tall seat and lower aftermarket footpegs. Not necessary this year. Small riders might not care for the increased seat height, but if you’re anywhere near 6 feet tall, the new Yamaha is a good fit.
Last year we got in trouble when we published an incorrect figure for the bike’s weight without fuel. We weigh all our test bikes on a digital scale after draining the gas. The scale wasn’t zeroed properly and it gave us a number that was 4 pounds too heavy. The people at Yamaha noticed and asked us to weigh the bike once more. For the record, the 2023 Yamaha YZ450F weighed 231.5 pounds, and so does the 2024 model. It’s the lightest of the Japanese 450s. A full test of the 2024 Yamaha YZ450F will appear in the January, 2024 print edition of Dirt Bike.
3-BROS 24 HOURS OF GLEN HELEN
This weekend is the 3-Bros 24 Hours of Glen Helen. The entire course was put together by the SRA racing crew who combined the GP track, the Arroyo, the Vet track, the Truck track and miles of fire-roads with some single track. It all will start at 8:00 a.m. Saturday the 28th.
SETH AND THE VETS
Seth Barnes recently joined Dirt Bike Magazine as a National Sales Rep. Before that he was in the U.S. Marine Corps where his primary job was disarming unexploded ordinance. Once you’ve held a job like that, anything is low-stress, including the 3-Bros 24 Hours of Glen Helen. Seth is tackling that this weekend along with Ray Rodden and Skyler Periera–also Marines. They are all part of the Soflete Race Team. Soflete is a fitness training company for military and first responders. The race team formed to compete in last year’s Vegas to Reno where Brent Phillips and Josh Rotcaamp (who is a below the knee amputee) earned 3rd place in the +30 Intermediate class. This year the 24-hour will be the fourth ride for them Vets. Follow them on Glen Helen’s live scoring!
NEW TRIUMPH TIGER 900 RANGE
Triumph announced significant upgrades to its Tiger 900 line of adventure bikes. There are three variations: The Tiger 900 GT, the GT Pro and the Rally Pro. Here are some of the highlights from the Triumph press release:
• New Tiger 900 range delivers more performance, more capability, more all-day comfort, and more attitude
• Significant engine upgrade delivering 13% more power, higher peak torque of 66.38 LB-FT and 9% better fuel economy
• All-new active safety features and new 7” TFT instruments providing more capability
• New rider seat and damped handlebar mounting system to provide more long-distance comfort
Tiger 900 GT from $14,995
Tiger 900 GT Pro from $16,895
Tiger 900 Rally Pro from $17,395
See you next week!