Dane Thompson is the lucky man in charge of riding, racing and developing the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F. Dane raced at a National level as a junior racer, competing in Motocross and Supercross races around the nation. Now, he’s an Electrician in a mine and is an A-Grade level racer, in 2017 he won the A/B All Powers class in the Dirt Action Amcross series. He’s the perfect man to put the YZ450F to the test. Take it from here Dane…
The first experience I had riding the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F was at the 2018 Dirt Action 450 shootout where I chose the bike as a clear winner. I have now been lucky enough to become the project bike rider for 2018. The first day riding I found this bike extremely easy to adapt to. The suspension was initially a little stiff but with a few clicker adjustments it really softened up and settled in nicely. Due to only being a lightweight I’m only running 100mm sag, ideally, I’d like to get it to 105mm.
I like the slim feel of this bike along with its low centre of gravity which makes it corner great, I found myself wanting to get lower and lower in the corners and coming out grinning each time. A random feature that stood out for me was the foot pegs, for a stock set of pegs these are great.
The standard handlebars are a tad high for me, so I replaced them with a set of ODI Control-Flex-Tech Podium bars in Shorty bend and matched this up with a pair of ODI V2 lock on grips.
These bars are lower but a more aggressive bend which helped with the overall feel of the bike. I’ve played around with the bar mounting position and found that even with a low bend bar the front triple clamp mounts still made these bars feel too high so I have mounted them in the rear mounting holes.
APP ME UP
Once I was comfortable with the bike I then focused on power and downloaded the Yamaha Power Tuner App. I was impressed how easy it is to build and send maps. The 3 maps supplied by Yamaha all make big differences on how the bike feels. The Hard pack and slippery map make the bike feel like a 250 on steroids where it likes to be ridden high in the rev range. This will be handy during mud races where traction is key.
My personal favourite of the 3, the Loamy map gives the bike back that 450 feel where it can be rode a gear high and really utilise all its power. I still felt like I could get a little more out of this bike and am currently running a custom map from the technicians at Yamaha, it’s the Travis Preston map. This map gave the most bottom/mid power which I love. I would highly suggest studying and building your own maps its easy and the app is designed to stop any damage being done to your bike.
I still would like some more bottom end power to assist with getting 3rd gear in corners. Sure, I could change the gearing but I like how long it can hold a gear with the stock ratio.
WHAT’S THE PLAN?
I plan on racing this bike in the 2018 Dirt Action Amcross series and Macarthur Motorcycle Club point-score. So, to get this bike race ready I installed a holeshot button and some Moto Kit race numbers to start, then going to town with some GYTR accessories – nothing like factory products.
The stock suspension is really good for a standard bike, but there’s always room for improvement. The plan is to send it off to the wizards at Shock Treatment to see just how good we can get the bike working. I’m pumped to be racing the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F this year, if you see me at a race around NSW come and say hi!