'06 YZ450F : What Handling Issues???

Well, I spent the winter reading all the major worthless magazine shootouts(Transworld, Racer X, Dirt Rider, Cycle News, Motorcycle Daily, and even MXA). It never mattered to me which bike won really, you have to take all of the tests with a grain of salt......I mean who ever leaves their bike completely stock. Bitching about chains, the tire choice and the bar bend, VOMIT. I am and always have been a proud YAMAHA guy. It really didn't matter to me....I knew what bike I would be buying for 2006. That Yamaha brought the old colors back was just icing on the cake.

One thing in particular that held throughout these tests, was the mention of a ill handling front end on the Yamaha. I have heard of the Applied triple clamps supposedly fixing the issue with a different offset. I have also heard that changing the fork height in the stock clamps will fix the issue. Then again, I have heard that discarding the stock Dunlop 739 will fix the issue.

I rode my bike this past weekend......and was completely amazed with the handling of the bike......and it was completely stock....the way I got it from the dealer. Not one single adjustment or tire change and it felt like heaven.

The track I was on was still pretty sloppy from the winter thaw, the soil is glacial till, lots of exposed golf ball and bigger sized rocks throughout the course. Lots of elevation changes, with a good mix of flat, bermed, on/off camber, and sweeping turns. My front tire was sticking like glue everywhere.

I'm wondering what the hell handling issues these overblown rags are talking about! :confused:

I have a ton of racing/riding experience, I have had sweet handling machines and bikes that handled like maytag refridgerators. This bike tops the best I have ridden thus far.....easily.

Am I alone?


Let me hear from you.....I am not going to try to convince you otherwise. I want your story and experience with the handling.....then I would like to hear what you did to remedy it.

I am really wondering if I am missing something here...If the sublety of this issue is beyond my skill level or if it will arise once things dry out here a bit more or if it is just an idea that constantly repeated gets accepted as fact.

The jetting issues(real ones) were thankfully solved in advance from the information I received here. I am hoping the same if something becomes of this handling issue. Thanks in advance. :thumbsup:

I did the jetting on mine (48/168), new Maxxis IT up front, suspension set up for me, new O ring chain and greased the linkage and swingarm. I can not offer 1 complaint except for the noise.......this bike it loud! I love it. :thumbsup:

I agree with you about the handling issues. I think a lot of the "issues" come from riders who are used to one brand of bike. Dirt Rider on a number of occasions has commented that they were not as comfortable on bike X because it doesn't feel like a honda. I have ridden the 06 suzuki, honda and I have the yamaha.

The Suzuki does have a more positive feeling front end. I was surprised how much I liked the bike, it fit me well, had great smooth hard pull off the bottom but signed off way too early which made it feel slow to me. It also had a tendency to head shake a little, no big deal but Yamaha's don't do that so I was surprised the first couple of times(tradeoff for the front stick).

The Honda is aslo a great bike. The motor felt like it revs slower than the Yamaha which made it feel a little slower to me, I know it really isn't. Handling was good, but it felt heavier than the Suzuki and Yamaha to me. To me Honda's work well but for some reason they bore me. The company seems like it could take the soul out of a top fuel dragster.....

I really like the Yamaha. It did need a little less sag in the rear than previous years, and raising the forks helps too, but it never turned bad. It does have a different feel going into turns than the other bikes, almost like it feels like it is going to be hard to turn in, but once you commit it rails. The bars were too low(I put on some Henry's) and the seat is low for me(I added a gutz tall firm, but it has been raining ever since). The suspension surprised me. Everyone said it was too stiff but it seemed too soft to me at first, though it didn't bottom hard. I stiffened it up to make it feel like previous bikes and it got harsh, so I softened it back up and got used to it and now it feels great. It doesn't even need to be resprung (a first for me). I'm 6ft, 195lbs and fairly fast for reference. Best stock suspension ever IMO. The bike feels very light in the air, 250 2-smoke like. When the 250F's came out I remember thinking "if they could make my 400 this light the bike would be amazing", well they made the 450 feel that light.

I had to reply as I have been wondering where are coming up with the Yamaha having turning issues too. I think it may be people having how to set their bike up isses or how to ride issues. :thumbsup:


Thanks Jasons.

Really good write up...I will be able to spend more time on the bike this weekend as we are supposed to have a groomed practice. I will play with some settings and find a happy medium. The track I am refering to allows a 739 to work well. It will be some time before we get to the silt/soft tracks to break out the 773's.

I agree with you on the "Vanilla flavored" Honda's. I rode an '05 CRF450 over the winter in southern California, very heavy feeling and the motor "chugs" along lazily. It gets the job done but doesn't feel nearly as free revving as the Yamaha. I am the same height but a good deal heavier than you (240). The conditions of our track prevented me from pushing the suspension too much, but what I felt I liked immensely. I really hope to retain the titanium spring.....but if I need to go up a few KG's in spring rate.....they want $500 retail for a titanium spring from the dealer. Anyways, the bike felt awsome through the whoops. I also agree with you on the lightness in the air...definately not like the last 450 four stroke I rode.

One of my competitors is going to let me exchange a ride on his KX450F and another has an '05 RM450. I'm coming off a YZ250 two stroke from last season...as a reference.

My 06 turned fine on the track but on my first trail ride in the mud the front end would not hold the turns. I was a little upset so I decided to lower the forks to the first line and see if that helped. A friend suggested that I lower the tire pressure to 12 psi to increase traction. I was surprised that the tire pressure was at 32 psi, when I dropped it to 15 psi the bike turned great. I can't believe that I never checked that!.

Actually had my beast in the woods for the first time yesterday. This bike rocks. No cornering issues, feels as stable as my ole 02yz250. Tons of power and really gets it to the ground. Amazingly light feel and loves to carry the front through whoops and obstacles. :thumbsup::thumbsup::confused::bonk::bonk:

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