2019 was a year of domination for KTM’s Jorge Prado where the young Spaniard demonstrated his talent, dedication and consistency to take his second consecutive FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship title. With 31 moto wins and 16 overalls including 14 1-1 finishes this season, the 18-year-old has been nothing short of exceptional aboard his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 250 SX-F, which earned its 11th title win from the last 12 campaigns. In celebration of Prado’s incredible year, KTM created something special and is now pleased to announce the limited edition KTM 250 SX-F PRADO MY2020.

This READY TO RACE machine offers premium components such as Factory triple clamps anodized in orange, a composite skid plate and a Selle Dalla Valle Factory seat. In addition, this sublime model that formed the basis of Prado’s championship winning bike has a race-inspired orange frame, semi-floating front disc, a front brake disc guard, an orange rear sprocket, a Regina gold chain and of course Red Bull KTM Factory Racing style graphics with Prado’s number ‘61’ front and rear. For riders who want the sharpest weapon with an exclusive specification, they should look no further than the KTM 250 SX-F PRADO.

“To have a production bike with the number ‘61’ on it is something that you can only dream of as a child – it’s really special and I think it looks great. We’ve had a fantastic season and I’d like to thank KTM for this celebration of our success together. It’s really cool. I am very proud to be part of the orange family and it’s a big honor to see the KTM 250 SX-F PRADO machine go into production,” confirms Prado.

When it comes to a championship-winning pedigree, the KTM 450 SX-F is a model developed in racing with victory in mind. A lot of this incredible bike’s success can be associated with legendary rider Antonio ‘Tony’ Cairoli, who continues to build a legacy thanks to his nine world championship titles and continued presence at the sharp end of the MXGP field.

 

Cairoli helped shape the latest generation of this proven race-winner, which is simply the most competitive Motocross bike out on track. In tribute to a legend, KTM would like to announce the launch of the KTM 450 SX-F CAIROLI MY2020. This bike is even more READY TO RACE and, like the KTM 250 SX-F PRADO, enjoys exquisite features as well as exclusive Red Bull KTM Factory Racing graphics with Cairoli’s globally recognised ‘222’ number.

 

“My bike is something really special to me and over the years we have made so many big steps in development of the KTM 450 SX-F as we hunted success at the races. A lot of work went into the latest generation of the 450 and I love racing as much as I always have. To have this tribute from KTM is very humbling. To see riders out there with the number 222 on a bike that looks so much like my Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine is really cool. It’s an exceptional bike that has been developed by the best engineers in the world, and this is a really special model. I look forward to seeing them out there,” said Cairoli.

“At KTM we are proud to have two of the world’s greatest Motocross athletes influence the development of our machines and we are happy to take full advantage of it. In celebration of Prado’s incredible season and in tribute to Cairoli’s continued success in MXGP we decided to build two special models that feature some premium components and a true Factory look. They will be available on a strictly limited basis in European dealers during the final quarter of 2019,” told KTM Senior Product Manager Offroad, Joachim Sauer.

For more information please visit your local KTM dealer or www.ktm.com.

Words and Photos: KTM Press Service

This year’s annual New Zealand Trial Championships will be doing things by threes.

The championships will be held in Hawke’s Bay this coming Labour Weekend and will test riders at three different extreme venues over the three days.

In addition to that, the AdrenalinR Mufflers-sponsored contest will feature intriguing match-ups between a trio of separate three-rider groups that are each made up from three generations.

Paraparaumu’s John Lawton is the patriarch of the Lawton clan, with son Stuart Lawton and grand-son James also entered; Tauranga’s Nigel Shilton lines up this weekend alongside his son, Phillip Shilton, and his grandson, Cayden; and Hawke’s Bay fans of the sport will be thrilled to observe Hastings veteran Jeff March compete alongside son Luke March and grandson Ben.

Event organiser Warren Laugesen, himself a remarkable seven-time former winner of the premier title, said it shows that trials is “a great activity for all the family”.

“We are pretty excited to have a new minis class this year too. We want to encourage newcomers to the sport because this is a potential growth area. This is where we offer something for the next generation of riders coming through,” he said. “It would cater for riders aged up to 14 years and allows for electric and petrol-engine bikes. The courses laid out for the minis won’t be too daunting,” he added.

It will certainly be challenging for the senior riders, with tricky terrain set to feature steep rocks and treacherous creek beds. Laugesen said that two of the venues had never before been used for national-level trial events, so there may be a few surprises in store for the riders. The event runs from Saturday through until Monday and will test these elite riders over multiple laps on each of the three days – with each lap including a dozen difficult sections – and at three entirely different locations.

It is expected that Wellington youngster Dylan Ball will lead the charge to the top of the rankings in the premier Experts Grade class this year, although there are still plenty of contenders to watch out for, including Stuart Lawton, Taranaki’s Matt Foster and Christchurch’s Jules Huguenin.

The 15-year-old Ball has ridden internationally and he won the 2018 North Island champs in this top grade and also won the Junior Grade at the nationals last year. He has been knocking on the door for greater honours too over the past 12 months.

Other leading riders to watch for this weekend should include Dunedin’s father and son pair Gavin and Blake Fox, Christchurch’s Glenn Smith, Wellington’s Carl Robson, Ashhurst’s Kevin Pinfold, Hamilton’s Stephen Armistead, Northcote’s Ray Skinner, Hunterville’s Hannah Rushworth, Taranaki’s Daniel Herbert and Kaikoura’s David Trewin, to name a few.

Australian rider Kevin Zarcynski won the main trophy last year, but he will not be back to defend the title this time around.

Motorcycling New Zealand trial commissioner Paul Jackson said the sport was looking healthy and there are “a few things we are working on to see it pick up some more”.

“The minis and juniors is where it’s at … and it will be good to see if we can get these young ones hooked into the sport,” he said.

In addition to the Experts and Minis Grades, the competition this weekend includes A Grade, Intermediate, Presidents, Sportsman, Clubman, Twin Shock, Women’s and Junior grades in the programme.

Run by the Hawke’s Bay Motorcycle Club, day one of this event is set for Tongoio, north of Eskdale, on Saturday (October 26), with day two at Waitara Road, off the Napier-Taupo Road, and it all wraps up with day three at Dartmoor on Labour Day Monday.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

Paraparaumu’s Stuart Lawton, leading a three-pronged title attack on behalf of his family this weekend.

The golden season just keeps on going for Whanganui enduro and cross-country ace Seth Reardon.

The 21-year-old boat-builder wrapped up his maiden New Zealand Enduro Championships title in July, as well as finishing runner-up in the New Zealand Cross-Country Championships that wrapped up near Taupo in May, and now he’s just added the North Island Enduro Championships title as well, his latest outright win without him even being in attendance for the final race.

Reardon (Yamaha YZ250FX) is currently overseas, preparing for his debut in the Grand National Cross-Country Championships (GNCC) in the United States, and so was unable to contest the sixth and final round of the North Island enduro competition near Masterton at the weekend.

But that didn’t matter because Reardon had already won the premier expert grade trophy with a round to spare.

He eventually won the North Island series by three points from fellow Yamaha ace Josh Hunger, of Stratford, with Cambridge’s Beau Taylor (Husqvarna TE250) claiming the third podium spot.

His American adventure is already underway – the intrepid Kiwi contesting the final two rounds of the GNCC series in West Virginia and then Indiana.

His campaign in the US may perhaps pave the way for him to follow in the wheel-tracks of fellow Kiwi Paul Whibley. Taikorea’s Whibley twice won the GNCC title in the US, in 2009 and again in 2012 and he was a record six-time winner of the parallel Off-Road Motorcycle and ATV (OMA) series in the US as well.

If Reardon can impress during his abbreviated US campaign this month, it is possible that he could earn a placement on a professional team there for the 2020 season.

His first race, in West Virginia at the weekend, did not quite go to plan with him finishing only 15th overall in the XC2 (250) class after he completed just two laps of the race (while fellow Kiwis Dylan Yearbury, of Cambridge, and Liam Draper, of Howick, finished the day 5th and 13th overall respectively in the same class).

“I had a good start going into the trees. Then, about halfway through the first lap, I went over the handlebars and landed right onto some huge rocks, spraining my wrist and bending my front disc, causing me to lose most of my front brakes,” Reardon explained. “We swapped wheels and I tried to go out for another lap, but it was too rough on the wrist. I had to get an X-ray and luckily it’s not broken.”

Reardon remains optimistic for his racing at the final round in Indiana on October 27.

“I am just going to carry on and train hard for the next round,” he said.

Meanwhile, Reardon also currently leads the New Zealand version of the GNCC after finishing runner-up and then first at the two rounds run thus far, in the Woodhill Forest in July and at Taikorea, near Palmerston North, last month.

He plans to return to New Zealand in time for round three, set for Matata on November 9.

Reardon is supported by Yamaha-Motor New Zealand, BluCru Yamaha NZ, JCR, PWR, Yamalube, JW Seatcovers, 24/7 Beancounter, W&W Construction, Axiam, Qwest, Boss Engineering, Possum Flooring, Swartz Tyres, Edmonds Painting, Masterbuilt, Pulse Performance, Ryan Construction, Hiremaster, Jurgens Demolition, Action Drainage & Construction, Attrill Agriculture, Tyre Shield, Monahans Barbers and the Higgie family.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

Chad heads to Spain to test the new Enduro range from KTM and discovers a surprising new bike!

The conditions and surrounds couldn’t have been more perfect. The Basella off-road park in northern Spain, at the foothill of the Pyrenees mountains just short of Andorra, was the perfect venue. KTM laid out the red carpet with a multitude of tracks, and a specific skills area to test every model. KTM Factory team riders Johnny Walker and Taddy Blazusiak were on hand, as well as WP technicians and KTM staff. With the full fleet of bikes glittering in the Spanish sunlight, this was going to be one of those days you can only dream about.

What are our choices for 2020?

Considering KTM made a move to TPi 2-stroke models only two years ago, the fact that the enduro range features almost 60% new parts is an incredible job, showing that the Austrian firm is keen to remain at the front. In fact, the entire KTM range has received a significant upgrade for 2020, plus there’s a new fuel-injected two-stroke 150 which joins the party, along with a limited edition Erzbergrodeo 300 EXC TPI.

The enduro range for 2020 consists of seven models, starting with the all-new 150EXC TPI, which is homologated for Euro 4. The 250EXC TPI and 300EXC TPI complete the fuel-injected two-stroke range. If you opt for 4-stroke, you have a choice of four different models, 250EXC-F, 350EXC-F, 450EXC-F and finally the 500EXC-F.

KTM’s racing experience and expertise is unquestionable and continues to be at the forefront of all racing, and the latest range of enduro bikes benefit from the latest innovations gained in racing, not just in enduro, but motocross and even MotoGP. For 2020 each model is around 60% new, with the 150EXC being an entirely new bike for 2020.

What’s new for 2020?

Although the new 2020 bikes may not appear completely different to the untrained eye, they have a massive list of changes, which soon add up. Underneath the bodywork is a new frame, designed to give more torsional stiffness but more flex in places. The cylinder head to frame mounting is new, and on the 250/300 EXC models, the engine has rotated forwards to improve the front wheel grip by transferring more weight towards the front of the bike. The rear subframe is lighter but longer by 40mm to increase strength. WP suspension has been improved across all models, with new adjusters, a new mid-valve piston and revised settings. Fork rings also come as standard on all models, which measure movement and clean at the same time – it’s the little things that make a good bike great… At the rear, the WP adjustable shock receives revised damping and, being the Enduro range, still runs the linkless PDS system directly mounting to the rear swingarm.

Engine-wise, it’s now been two years since the launch of KTM very clever fuel-injected TPI 250 and 300 bikes, which means the new bikes benefit from the 24 months of development and racing. According to KTM, the range of 2-stroke engines are more efficient, with improved performance and now feature a new air pressure sensor, which communicates to the ECU, that compensates the fuel injection dependant on air pressure. The four-stroke machines receive an increase in performance and not necessarily peak power. Interestingly the kick-start has been completely removed from the four-stroke engines, not even an optional accessory, which allows completely new exhaust routing and a cleaner appearance.

Kick-starts are still optional on the 250 and 300 TPi models, and they both receive completely new exhausts to improve performance and reduce noise. The new exhaust comes with an easily distinguishable corrugated surface on the header pipes to add strength against debris, (see pic). Radiators are new on all machines, with increased cooling and mounted 12mm lower, the big 450 and 500 are fitted with electric fans as standard. Airboxes are also completely new.

Appearance, as you’d expect, involves new graphics, but also new thinner sculpted bodywork and a new seat. The seat has more padding than before, more so towards the rear without compromising seat height, which is the same as previously. The bodywork is noticeable thinner towards the rear. We could go on for pages with the list of changes there has been so many, with parts like the fuel tanks (which are new), even the oil tank has more flexible mounting points for improved longevity, demonstrating that KTM hasn’t left any rocks unturned. But the proof is in the riding, so let’s get going.

Less talk. Let’s ride

The completely new 150 TPI benefits from the engine and chassis changes mentioned above. It takes all the qualities of the proven 2-stroke models with direct fuel-injection and proven reliability. Interestingly, the kick start remains, and it doesn’t have the corrugated surface on the exhaust. I’d describe myself as club level rider, which is why I loved the rev-happy 150 2-stroke as it felt like a very fast mountain bike, it was that light. You can have fun, wring its neck and it’s not going to jump back at you and bite you in the arse. There’s even a two-way throttle map that softens the power further.

The throttle response was impressive, in the tighter wooded sections it will happily pull you through the tight sections, and equally, out in the open you can ride it wide open clicking through the gearbox – I felt like a teenager again! I’m relatively light, and short, and prefer to ride more technical tracks, not wide open, so the 150 won’t fit everyone. But I loved its toy-like ability to make me smile, and if you were a fan of the old 200 XC-W, then this could well be the bike you were waiting for.

250 and 300TPI

The 250TPi was my first choice of bike for the day’s riding. I’ve ridden the now ‘old’ model many times previously. KTM has made the 250TPi easier to live with, and it’s so manageable at low rpm when you’re negotiating tight sections. Considering it’s a 250, it’s not the animal you’d expect. However, higher in the rpm it is still aggressive, more MX than enduro. Again, like the 150 there are two ride modes, which softens or sharpens the fuelling which can be easily switched over on the fly, as long as you’re below 4,000rpm.

The 300 felt a little easier to ride, not as MX like which may sound strange, but as it has more torque, I found I wasn’t chasing the revs as much. But in more experienced hands, the opposite might occur.

Both are manageable and light, which encouraged me to push my skill levels, taking on trails I wouldn’t normally. The slimmer rear-end allows you to really hang off the rear down deep drops, and the seat feels grippier and softer than before.

250 EXC-F

The 250 4-stroke is the friendly dog of the bunch. I raced one last year, and it was a doddle to ride, the perfect beginners’ bike and in many ways is actually easier than the lighter 2-stroke 150. The feeling the 250 provides inspires confidence. The power in the low rpm is lazy like an old diesel Land Rover; it’s happy to plod along and pull you out of any scenario. But when the pace picks up, the 250 will pick up her skirt and run. Yes, you must use the gearbox a little more, but arguably that makes it more fun.

 

350 EXC-F

It’s easy to see why the 350 is so popular – its all-round ability is a clear highlight. For many of the riders on the world launch, from club level riders to former international racers, the 350 4-stroke was always in their top two. It has the ease-of-use of the 250, even inexperienced hands won’t find it intimidating, and equally more experienced riders will appreciate the extra grunt the 350 delivers, without being scary. It’s quick but still manageable. I didn’t find myself simply being a passenger but always felt in control, up to a point. The 350 is the perfect all-round bike, ideal for a leisurely ride with mates, yet can compete the next day.

450 – 500 EXC-F

For me, you really notice the increase in weight and power. I’m only 5’7 and at Clubman level and felt a little intimated by the 500. Saying that, at low rpm you can tickle the big girl around and it’s not the animal you’d expect. But then it leads you into a false sense of security, kinda thinking ‘this 500 isn’t all that.’ Then you tickle the throttle a little bit more, listen to airbox gasp for air, before you’re propelled forward at an alarming speed. On the open section, I loved the power. It’s like riding the same adrenalin rush you get from riding a Superbike on the road. But I could easily see myself getting into a messy situation on the 500. The ride quality is impressive, the suspension feels plush, and there is traction control and two rider modes. You can tame the beast, and it’s impressive that KTM can produce such a powerful bike which is rideable even for inexperienced hands. But if you poke the 500 in the eye it will still bite you.

You can afford to be lazy with the 450 as, like the 500, it will pull up a mountainside. It does feel physically smaller and lighter than the 500, and I had less tendency to miss apexes and ride wide as I did on the 500. The brakes are impressive on both models, but I felt I could physically get the 450 to turn easier than the 500. In many ways, the 450 makes a lot more sense than the 500, but for me, if you’re going to go big 4-stroke you may as well go big. If you’re going out for a few drinks, have a few and don’t come home ’til sunrise.

Pro’s Perspective

Chad had his views of the range, but what about from a serious extreme enduro competitor? Wayne Braybrook has five ISDE Gold medals, is a Scott Trial winner, Hells Gate Extreme Enduro winner, and was 4th at Erzberg in 2007.

The 150 is the new kid on the block, and the 250 and 300 have received updates. The 150 surprised me as you tend to think of it as an over-bored 125, you’d think you’d have to be in bottom gear all the time, but you don’t. When you crack the throttle it’s a busy little bee; you can get on with it and have some fun, weight wise like a 125.

The 250 is the MX bike of the bunch – loads of punch, strong power but easy to manage, as like the 300 easy to manage. There’s no power valve hit anymore with these bikes as the new mapping is excellent – almost seamless. The new TPI means you don’t have to precise with the throttle, you can ride them both hard. The 300 will pull a gear stronger than the 250, making it easier to ride.

The 250-F is your benchmark bike, the Clubman hobby bike. It does everything, pulls everywhere and just does its job. The 350 in the right hands is the weapon of choice. It’s what Johnny uses. It has heaps and heaps of torque, pulls super strong, but is very easy to ride. The suspension is super plush, it’s not aggressive, and you don’t have to be careful with it, you can ride it hard.

The 450, for me, was the disappointment of the day. It was aggressive and seemed super quick off the bottom. I know it’s a shorter stroke than the 500, which would lead it to be more MX, but it had too much lower down. The 500 was a big donkey! Heaps and heaps of torque, but it’s a big lump there’s no hiding the fact. To get it turned, you need to be physical with it. On the open fast stuff, that’s fine, but the stuff we had today, not so much.

Changes At A Glance

Cooling System:
All the new EXC models feature a 12mm lower radiator location, with the radiators themselves a new shape with new spoilers.

Frame:
The frames are still chrome-moly, but have been redesigned with the cylinder head connected to the frame for optimised stiffness. The engine is rotated downwards by 1-degree for increased front wheel grip, and the sub-frame is 40mm longer

Exhaust:
Completely new for 2020, the 250 and 300cc models receive heavy duty pipes, with the corrugated outer shell of the expansion chamber a lot more resistant to impacts. They’re quieter, too, along with being 200g lighter. The 4-strokes now get two-piece headers for easier removal, with the shorter end-can improving mass centralisation.

Airbox:
A new design increases airflow and therefore throttle response. The 2-strokes get a new intake funnel which houses the new air temp sensor, while the rigid cage makes filter changes a doddle.

Fuel Tank:
All models get a new polyethylene fuel tank with enhanced ergonomics and slightly more capacity, with all models getting a fuel level sensor.

Electrics:
All models get a super lightweight 2 Amp-hour lithium battery for reliable starting and reduced weight, while a reworked wiring harness sees most of the electrical components in a single area beneath the seat making them easily accessible and more reliable.

Styling:
The graphics are ‘sportier’, while the bodywork has been redesigned to offer ‘complete harmony between rider and bike.’ The wheels get newly designed aluminium spoke nipples meaning less frequent tightening of the spokes is required. A new seat features more padding and is held on using one lateral screw. Finally, the bars are tapered Neken featuring four different positions, while the grips are from ODI with the left side a lock-on grip meaning no glue or lock wire is required. Two different interchangeable throttle cams are available on the 4-strokes.

Suspension:
All models get WP XPLOR 48mm USD items with a new calibrated mid-valve position as well as new upper fork caps with new clicker adjusters for easier adjustment. Forged triple clamps with 22mm of offset allow four different handlebar positions. The rear sees the WP XPLOR PDS shock fitted with a second piston and cup for further bottoming resistance.

Words: Adam ‘Chad’ Child Pics: Sebas Romero and Marco Camelli

With the launch of the 2020 Yamaha motocrossers taking place on the hard-pack GP track at Teutschenthal in Germany, we sent our Euro-tester Dave Willet along for a ride. He came back seriously impressed.

The YZ450F has been one of the best big-bore bikes for a few years, and the newer version takes it to a new level. Ten years of fine-tuning the reverse-engined YZ450F has made a huge difference and turned that original 2010 bike from being a technically advanced but flawed machine into a lighter, faster and more user-friendly bike that’s a proven winner at all levels.

Over the years there have been significant changes to the frame to tighten up the handling, while the DOHC slant-back motor and Kayaba SSS spring suspension has been regularly upgraded and altered so, in reality, the new bike shares nothing with that original machine.

The new 2020 YZ450F might look similar to its ancestors but has had a significant makeover and is lighter, has more power and the handling is more precise. The electric-start engine has been redesigned and is more compact and lighter, and the revised configuration enhances the bike’s mass centralised design. After all, it’s the angle of the motor in the chassis that uses the rotating forces to affect the handling and make the bike feel lighter than it actually is.

Lighter, sharper, smarter

One of the key engine improvements for 2020 is the cylinder that’s lighter and more compact, and is home to a new high-compression bridge-box design piston. There’s a handlebar-mounted mapping switch, and the bike retains built-in WiFi so you can tune the motor track-side with your smartphone. The Power Tuner app can also record race log information and monitor a range of data, including system diagnosis, engine run time and lots more.

The motor is held inside a new frame that features thinner main spars together with thicker down tubes and new engine mounts. There’s a more rigid front caliper with new brake pads, while a new lightweight rear caliper and new rear disc reduce unsprung weight. And, of course, the new cam covers sport the cool blue finish.

The 450 has definitely progressed a lot in the right direction over the years. Even though it may look similar to the 2019 model, believe me, it’s not. Yamaha needs to be applauded for the drive and passion in pushing forward the development of the YZF range. Yamaha has taken on board the feedback from the factory teams, privateer teams and even the motocross community in general to produce a bike which meets their needs. And the changes really shine through in the new bike.

The 2019 model was a fine machine, but was known to lose the front end a little, and not have a totally positive planted feeling in and through the turns. It also felt a little wide and the power was aggressive for the average rider. You could say the previous models had to be ridden from the rear wheel and that required a unique style and skill.

The modifications to the 2020 YZ450F make the machine a game-changer. Since 2018 when the 450 received a massive makeover, Yamaha has built very fast and competitive bikes, but the new bike is a truly awesome machine with a mega on-track feel. It’s the best YZ450F by far.

 

Beast Mode

Yamaha’s plan was to make the YZ450F lighter with more controllable power and to improve the mass centralisation with a more compact engine. The new frame and revised suspension, complemented by the low centre of gravity, aids the manoeuvrability yet makes it more stable all around the track. Certainly, when entering and exiting corners, the difference can be felt. And more importantly, it now stays planted through the turn.

Riding the bike on the hard-pack GP track at Teutschenthal in Germany, I could place the bike wherever I wanted to and switch lines with ease. I never felt like the front end was going to break traction, and I never had to resort to a single foot dab to save a crash at any time.

The new frame definitely feels slimmer, and the extra flex provides a better feeling like you are more connected to the track. You don’t buy a 450 unless you like loads of grunt, and the power is just incredible. It’s strong and fast yet so ridable. It’s very much like Romain Febvre’s factory bike I tested when he won the world title which had such a usable, linear-feeling power curve. Like the factory machine, the new YZF pulls high gears yet loves to be revved if needed too.

With the standard settings, it’s quick but very useable and not too scary. I also tried a different, bespoke engine map which one of the engineers made for me on the day. I asked for the bike to be even stronger, so he retarded the ignition and gave the bike more fuel which transformed the motor into a beast, but one that was still manageable. The drive was insane, and the over-rev improved, meaning I could hold a gear longer into a turn and really get the bike to grunt out. There grip and drive was incredible, and it gave me bags of confidence.

Yamaha has never experimented with air suspension, which means total focus has been on continually developing the KYB spring forks and shock. The suspension is firmer than before, and the result is a more balanced bike as you don’t get that front end dip. Yamaha seems to have a real ability in delivering suspension settings that are pretty much ideal for so many different levels and abilities of rider.

To get it right for me, all I had to do was make a few adjustments. I made the front compression firmer and the rebound faster by two clicks and I set my rear sag at 100mm instead of the 95mm recommended by Yamaha. If there was one thing I’d improve on the bike, it would be the clutch action and feel. It works fine, but the bracket doesn’t feel quite right. I think it’s time to add a hydraulic clutch to finish off this modern new machine.

Technical Highlights

Ultra-compact new 450cc engine, increased power with total control Lighter and more compact rearward-slanted cylinder

Mass centralised design

Yamaha Power Tuner for instant track-side tuning via a smartphone Handlebar switch for easily adjustable mapping

Compact electric starter with ultra-light battery

Launch Control System (LCS) optimises engine output for quicker starts Advanced fuel injection system for optimum power

Angled radiators ensure effective engine cooling

Robust transmission and clutch for positive shifting

Compact mass-centralised wraparound exhaust

Forward mounted muffler

Lighter aluminium bilateral frame delivers sharper handling Slimline body and seat for ultimate ergonomics

Class-leading KYB® coil spring-type speed-sensitive front suspension Link-type rear suspension with specially-tuned KYB® shock Lightweight wheels with blue rims

270mm front disc with uprated caliper aggressive pad material New rear disc and more compact caliper

4-position adjustable rubber-mounted handlebar clamp

Embedded graphics give extended durability

Tapered aluminium handlebars with quick-adjust clutch perch Wider and lighter footrests

Words by Dave Willet