faithful, I’ve got a lot to say on this subject having owned and raced MX with a 2010 for 2.5 years. I’ve bled blue and a little red my whole life and I want YAMAHA
to do well. Don’t get butt hurt, but the 10-13 YZ450 has issues that just can’t be completely ironed out, trust me I tried. I REALLY wanted to love this bike, but sometimes babies are just too ugly to love! I did the suspension and a lowering link and that made the bike MUCH better. I went to KW bend bars and that helped also. I had an ’06 and an ’08 and when I switched to the ’10 I was blown away how good the bike was. Then I started to figure out how different it was and how strange it was in the corners. My older YZ’s had a push in flat corners which was much improved with the ’08, not completely gone, but better. The older bikes took a lot of manhandling at the tip in for a corner, but were very predictable and you could rail a corner. The ’10 loved tight inside ruts, but in more open corners it just took constant attention and corrections, just not a natural feel. Note: I ride mostly sand/intermediate terrain. I tamed down the hit on the low end and that helped a lot. The bike just never felt naturally settled and planted in a corner. Fade to this year and the 2011 RMZ I picked up used. Very smooth power, ergos fit perfectly for my 5’10 frame, and I just roll into a corner, turn my head towards the exit and the bike follows with no drama. It’s a thing of beauty! The RMZ does feel “harsher” in the rough stuff compared to YZ, but I think that stiffer frame is what makes the bike so predictable and scalpel like. It’s also stable in the straights, just not plush like YZ. I want Yamaha to succeed, the current bike has a too flexy frame IMHO and the seating position puts the rider too far back. And here’s another thing: Since most of switched to 4 strokes we got used to a planted feel. The plus of the newer YZ is that ease at which you can change direction, very easy to move the bike which is why it’s probably a hell of an offroad weapon through the trees. But that nimble feel with 450 power takes more attention. It’s an active, exciting bike to ride. But that in my opinion is also a curse. Sometimes moving forward with technology makes a company pay a price and sometimes they just do dumb things…remember the radiator on the forks of the ’82 YZ250?
Reliability and build quality are top notch
Clutch is excellent with an easy pull
Engine is solid and I loved the tuner options
Suspension is excellent once it’s dialed in, very smooth over the rough stuff
Shifting is solid
Did not like:
Ergo’s are poor, natural sitting position puts the rider too far back and this is one of the major problems with the bike. I also feel the peg to seat height is a little cramped. (I’m 5’10” with short legs!). I don’t think the shrouds are the problem it’s the seat/airbox/tank.
I believe you pay a price for that nice ride over the bumps – It hunts and pecks under braking
and needs constant attention in corners
The bike really likes to light up the rear tire, so traction is a problem, bike doesn’t feel planted
Bike doesn’t like to be “steered with the rear”
Front brake is weak
Yamaha rear brake pedal too short