First Impression: 2006 Yamaha YZ450F The Total Package By Jimmy Lewis Photography: Drew Ruiz 2006 Yamaha YZ450F We know you’ve been waiting; so have we. In fact we’ve been getting calls from guys wanting to know if we’ve ridden the YZ450F because they are about ready to take their money away from the Yamaha dealer and head to Green, Yellow or Red country. Even though the Blue dealer says the bike will be in any day now... Don’t loose faith yet; the new YZ is such an improvement, you won't be disappointed. Waiting a few days (or weeks even) may just be worth it, especially if you bleed blue. And if you do, there is only one answer: the YZ450F will be the best bike you can buy regardless of which one we pick come shootout time. But if you are unsure of your color loyalty, read on. We got our first ride on the 2006 YZ at the hopefully soon-to-open Competitive Edge Track in the high desert of California. And from our first moments on the bike, we were all impressed. In fact, only one of our testers took more than three laps on the ’05 YZ450F we had along for comparison purposes, and that was because there wasn’t going to be any more track time for him on the new bike. It is really hard to ride the old one after then '06. Why? First thing is the new supple, plush suspension. Even compared to an ’05 YZ450F that we thought was working really well, the ’06 shines in suspension. Second is the new light and flickable feeling the new ride gives. It is way more like a 250F than you can imagine. Third is the power and its seamless delivery. Courtesy of filling all the dips and spreading the power out even better, this YZ rips and is more rideable than ever. And finally, the bike as a package is well integrated and seemed to get the job done. What job you ask? The one of making a wide variety of riders with varying weights and skill levels happy and able to comfortably ride fast. That was the toughest task of the old bike for sure. So how does it rank? What do we really think (after more than a day on the bike)? You’ll have to pick up the next issue of Dirt Rider to find out.