ATV TEST: 2015 Yamaha YFZ450R Special Edition

Yamaha’s YFZ450R is one impressive sport ATV right out of the box. The engine is powerful, the suspension outperforms all other stock sport quad suspensions, and the overall performance of the machine is very satisfying. Without question, Yamaha continues to upgrade this quad each year, and the 2015 YFZ450R Special Edition was not left out of that process. The SE comes with a radical color combination, mating a red frame with black and white plastic.

PLENTY OF PONIES
From the factory, the YFZ450R has never left us feeling like we need more power out of the stock sport ATV. The powerplant, comfortably nestled in the Yamaha’s aluminum frame, is an electronically fuel-injected, titanium-valved, liquid-cooled, 449cc four-stroke engine. The motor has a mean grunt of torque. There is no real need to clutch it to get moving if you don’t want to. A stab of the ergonomic and smooth-operating thumb throttle will handle it. Like all modern 450s, the YFZ builds power with rpm. It has a strong surge in the middle rpm and pulls like crazy until the engine simply runs out of breath way up top.

As far as transmission ratios go, the spacing has a slightly wide ratio. First gear is appreciably low, so the YFZ pulls hard through the power range quickly in first. Despite some widening gaps in gear spacing, the YFZ handles every upshift of the five-speed transmission without bogging or hesitating. Power is strong but easily manageable in the tight stuff all the way through wide-open, high-speed runs. The clutch pull is light enough, and the engagement is pleasant and consistent. Even though we enjoy the power of the stock YFZ, Yamaha does sell their GYTR parts line for closed-course racing. GYTR offers an exhaust, air filter and power programmer that will open up the engines potential even more.

TACKLING TOUGH TERRAIN
Without a doubt, Yamaha’s design team puts a lot of focus toward suspension performance and handling. The independent front, double-wishbone suspension sports KYB shocks that have 9.8 inches of travel and come fully adjustable. The reservoir shocks have high- and low-speed compression adjustments, along with the ability to set the rebound to whatever is comfortable for the rider. In the rear, a KYB piggyback reservoir shock works with the swingarm and linkage to provide 11 inches of suspension travel, and give the YFZ a smooth and comfortable ride. The suspension soaks up hard abuse in whoops, jumps, deep sand, desert riding and even handles well in the woods. The Yamaha comes with two twin-piston hydraulic disc brakes on each corner of the front and a twin piston rear hydraulic disc brake on the axle.

The YFZ450R comes with a race width stance due to longer A-arms and a wider rear axle. Cornering this ATV is easy even during aggressive racing or recreational riding. The tapered handlebar can be adjusted forward and back, and also has the ability to be set higher on the steering stem for taller riders. Steering is smooth and easily controllable on the Yamaha. The suspension helps soak up a lot of the rough stuff, and as far as traction goes, the 21-inch front and 20-inch rear Maxxis tires hook up well in many different types of terrain.

SPECIAL EDITION
Yamaha’s YFZ450R Special Edition sports an all-new graphics and plastics package. The frame is red, while the plastics come in black and white, with all three colors incorporated into the graphics. The YFZ has quick-release pins to help make removing the fenders easy, which comes in handy for racing and regular maintenance after recreational riding. Yamaha included a GYTR front grab bar onto the machine that looks aggressive and complements the new color scheme of the 450R.

CONCLUSION
Yamaha continuously upgrades their YFZ450R, while other manufacturers have discontinued producing their sport machines or have left the design the same for a few years. The YFZ comes track-ready out of the box with great stock suspension, a powerful fuel-injected engine and a comfortable ride. The Special Edition’s color scheme adds to the already-aggressive look of the machine. For a sport 450 ATV that starts at $8999, it is worth every penny spent. We are excited to see where Yamaha takes their YFZ450R’s design in the years to come.

2015 YAMAHA YFZ450R SE
Engine………….449cc, DOHC, 4-stroke,
liquid-cooled, single cylinder
Bore x stroke…………… 95mm x 63.4mm
Fuel system………………………. 42mm EFI
Fuel capacity……………………….. 2.6 gal.
Starting system…………………….. Electric
Transmission.5-speed manual clutch
Final drive……….Sealed O-ring chain
Suspension/wheel travel:
Front…………………. Double A-arm/9.8”
Rear………………………… Swingarm/11”
Tires:
Front…………………………………… 21x 7-10
Rear……………………………………. 20×10-9
Brakes:
Front…………………………Hydraulic disc
Rear…………………………Hydraulic disc
Wheelbase……………………………………50”
Length/width/height.. 70.7”/48.8”/41.9”
Ground clearance……………………….9.3”
Seat height………………………………..31.9”
Curb weight……………………………405 lb.
Colors………………………………………..Black
Price………………………………………….$8999

ATVATV TestDirt WheelsFuel InjectedFuel Injected 450QuadSport QuadYamahaYFZ450