Hello gang, I thought I would post my first impressions of this bike since I know when I was wondering what bike to buy I was looking for these types of posts to help me decide. Hope you find it useful, and remember, these are my opinions, not facts so take them for what you will and enjoy the ride! Rider Resume: Years Riding - 26 years Age - 34 Weight: 175 Riding Type - Track and Trail but mostly track Riding Skill Level - Intermediate Bikes Owned 1986 XR80 1984 CR80 1986 KX125 1984 KX125 1990 CR125 1993 YZ250 2000 KX250 2005 CRF450 Bikes I've ridden in the last 10 years 2002 CRF450 2004 KTM SX250 2004 KTM 200 EXC 2006 KX250 2005 RMZ450 2000 CR250 2004 YZ250 2000 RM250 2009 YZF250 2009 KXF450 2009 CRF450 2005 CRF450 (My previous bike) Terrain: Hard Pack - Buddies Track with a combination of many different jump types and corner combinations. Things I noticed out of the box: This bike is sweet. The engineering on it is incredible! I can't believe what bikes are turning into now and days. The attention to detail, how it's put together, it's stance, everything is very impressive. At first I didn't like the radiator shrouds because they were so thick, but now they've grown on me and gives the bike a burly look that I appreciate. The Tornado Pipe is pretty amazing, and I must say, frees up a ton of space in the rear compartment. When I was washing it after the ride I was pressure washing back there and had to remind myself it was okay to go nuts because the filter is under the tank. Staring it is an interesting process. Yamaha tells you to get it to top dead center, which I do, but I've had no issue starting it when it's not. Of course when it gets hot that's another story, but not really that big of deal to me. This thing sounds awesome. Because the airbox is under the tank it gives off this growl when you open it up that really gets your heart pumping. My buddy rode it and said "I'd buy it just for that sweet sound". Motor: In stock form this thing has a low end hit from hell. Don't get on it to quickly or else you'll loose traction immediately. I'm coming off of an 05 Honda 450F which I loved but it didn't have low end like this. So my mistake was trying to ride it like it was the Honda right away. Big mistake, use some clutch! I'm going to be using the power tuner to find a good mapping that will mellow that out for me. After you get by the hit the motor pulls super strong into an electric type feel. I don't know if that's the FI, gearing, etc., but it's magic and I really liked that power. My CRF seemed to have different ranges in the engine, this thing just has a consistent feel to it and pull. You'll hear a lot of guys say that it signs off on the top end, and maybe it does, but I've never been a rider who revs my bikes to the moon, I like to stay in the meat of the power and shift before I get it screaming. I did however try to see if I could feel it signing off early a few times and I couldn't. I guess I'm just not used to that type of riding style so there's no issue for me when some say it does this. Suspension: Excellent. I haven't quite broken it in yet but the 100 foot table top I was taking was not an issue. The bike handled everything I threw at it and I had no harsh landings. There was a few times when I over jumped because I was getting used to the power but the biked soaked it up without the harshness my CRF used to have if I over jumped like I did yesterday. Handling: I've never had a bike that corners like this. My CRF would want to push through corners and stand up. But this one doesn't, it stays planted and gives you confidence. I was able to sit the YZF into ruts, lay it over, and it never even tried to come out or stand up. It was pure magic, I can't explain how well this bike fits my turning style. I've ridden both a 09 KXF450 and a 09 CRF450 and this bike just feels more predictable. The KXF seemed to have this lazy boy, slow turning feel to it and the CRF was very twitchy with a rear end that wanted to break loose through corners. Some guys like this trait but I sure don't, so much so that this is what polarized me away from Honda. I was on the fence until I rode my buddies. The Honda motor was great, the Egro's excellent, but the bike felt too twitchy for me to spend my hard cash on. Maybe this can be fixed through suspension work but I didn't want to spend a bunch of cash on extras after I was going to have to spend $7300 + for a new bike. Misc The clutch seemed a little harder to pull than my buddies CRF, and this is a big issue for me because I get arm pump so easily. I'm planning on looking into options for this but I don't think it's overly harsh to pull in, it's just how I ride that makes it feel that way after awhile. Brakes. Holy crap, they worked great. No issue, the stoppers we're excellent. Egro's. The bike is extremely flat and it lets you move around the cockpit without issue. On my Honda I would have to pull myself up to to the tank for turns, on this I didn't even realize how far up I already was going into them. The bike also has a very slim feel to it, but no too slim that you won't be able to grip it with your legs. Overall it's a great feeling ride. Weight. Yea, it's supposed to be heavy but you can't tell when you're riding it. It was very flickable and easy to maneuver that it would make you think you're riding a 250F. I'm not sure if this is the Mass Centralization, but it just works. Conclusion: I'm very happy with this bike. It does everything I expected and more! All bikes these days are excellent and you can't go wrong, but what Yamaha has done with this years YZF is a thing of beauty. So, if you were like me and were on the fence with this bike or another brand I hope this helps you make your decision.